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14 Pairs of Comfy Jeans That’ll Convince You To Leave the Stretch for Your Workout

Photo: Tim Gibson for Well+Good
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With the heavy influence of nostalgia in fashion right now, non-stretch jeans are the look du jour, often with a high-rise waist and in a straight or slim-fit silhouette—you might also know them as “mom” jeans. But that moniker doesn't really do this denim justice say those who are fans of the new styles on the market right now.

“Non-stretch denim is one of our favorite fabrics to play with because of the cool, vintage attitude it gives to jeans,” says Jill Guenza, vice president of global women’s design at Levi’s.

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If you're accustomed to super-stretchy jeans, rigid denim might feel like an unsavory style. But stiffer fabrics can actually be more flattering and get better over time, rather than breaking down and needing to be replaced after a season or two. (Let's call it a win for conscientious consumption.) “The denim has just the right amount of body-molding give, yet holds you in and up in all the right places,” says Guenza. “Because non-stretch denim generally has more structure than high-stretch denim, it gives slim and straight-leg fits amazing attitude.”

Warming to the idea of adding a pair to your wardrobe? Here's a pro-tip for you: “With non-stretch denim, you can expect the jeans will expand slightly as they shape to your body, so be sure to buy them on the snug side,” Guenza advises.

non stretch denim
Photo: Tim Gibson for Well+Good

Alaina Miller, women's design director for Citizens of Humanity, agrees that a "perfect" or "snug" fit will result in the ideal pair of non-stretch jeans. "I think the most flattering fits are snug on the hips and thighs...A half hour or so of slight discomfort most often results in a perfect fit once the jeans start to give and mold to your body," she explains. Leggings, these are not, but every convert I spoke to swears, like a good pair of sneakers or boots, once you get past the break-in period, they're worth the effort.

Still, if you can't get comfortable with a super-snug jean, don't stress. There are options. "It really depends on what the wearer feels their best in," Miller says. "Loose-[fitted] jeans can also be very cool and flattering, depending on your figure."

While high-rise, straight-leg or skinny jeans are a versatile bet, wide legs are another option worth exploring, like Levi’s High Water Wide Leg ($98). “They’re the perfect blend of vintage attitude and modern edge and they go with all of our favorite shoes this fall from chunky dad sneakers to western ankle boots,” Guenza says. In place of overt distressing, Miller says vintage washes with subtle distressing or faded details feel very new this season, as well as lengths that hit at the ankle or below.

Best Non-Stretch Jeans

Re/Done High Rise Loose Jeans — $275.00

This pair of jeans is rigid, and that’s a good thing. With a high waist and comfy, relaxed leg, this pair will be your go-to for your casual outfits of the day. Go for a faded indigo wash with small distressed details or opt for one of the other many colors that have other features like raw hems or ripped patterns.

Everlane The '90s Cheeky Jean — $76.00

Throw it back to the ’90s with this pair of jeans that have an extra high waist, straight leg, and retro-inspired but modern look. They’re made with a premium non-stretch Japanese denim so won’t lose their shape easily.

Levi's 501 Women's Jeans — $62.00

It’s hard to go wrong with a classic pair of Levi’s, especially the 501s, which were the OG jeans. With low-stretch denim, a high waist, a straight leg fit, a button fly, and five pockets, this pair of jeans is timeless. They were invented in 1873 and haven’t gone out of style since.

Nudie Breezy Britt Jeans — $200.00

If you’re looking for something with a slimmer leg but don’t want to go for a skinny jean, this pair is a nice in-between, with its tapered leg. It has a high waist and is made with organic cotton.

Nico High Rise Slim Fit — $101.00

Brighten up your closet with a pair of light jeans that have some fading and distressed detail to give them a nice, well-worn look. They have a button fly and a tapered leg to complete the look.

GRLFRND Bella Low Rise Boyfriend — $225.00

Go baggy with a pair of low-rise boyfriend jeans. This pair has a loose relaxed leg and sit just so on the hips, a nice alternative to high-waisted jeans.

Agolde Parker Distressed Denim Shorts — $104.00

Non-stretch jeans isn’t only limited to pants; for warmer days, make sure you have a good pair of shorts at the ready. These jean shorts are easy to match, have a raw hem and distressed detailing, and pair well with sunshine.

Madewell The Mid-Rise Perfect Vintage Jean
Madewell The Mid-Rise Perfect Vintage Jean — $138.00

Made with non-stretch denim, these jeans have a tapered leg and magic pockets, comfy waist (mid-rise, so not too high, not too low), and will break in to mold nicely to your body. The classic wash will help cheer up your mood and day.

Citizens of Humanity Emerson Ankle Slim Fit Boyfriend Jeans — $198.00

Slim, slouchy, and not a stretch in sight, these Citizens of Humanity jeans will take you from season to season. The boyfriend style is just a tad baggy, so if you prefer a tapered look, go down a size.

AE V-Rise Mom Jean — $30.00

These aren’t your regular mom jeans, they’re cool mom jeans that trade in the regular waist band for sultry V-shaped detailing in the back. They’re effortlessly stylish and totally flattering thanks to that optical illusion V-neck, er, back.

Wrangler Barrel 652 Stripe Jean in Hick Horay — $70.00

There’s a common misconception non-stretch denim has to be straight legged or styled as mom jeans—they don’t. These ’90s-inspired jeans are made from 100 percent cotton and feature a baggier silhouette with a trendy striped pattern. They’re definitely relaxed, but not stretchy and actually hold their shape wear after wear.

Tinsley Baggy High-Rise Jeans
Tinsley Baggy High-Rise Jeans — $98.00

For a relaxed look, these baggy jeans will keep you casual and comfy. They have everything you want in a vintage look, including that signature high-waist, a five-pocket design, and a slouchy silhouette. You can pair ’em with sneakers, sandals, clogs—just about anything.

Rag & Bone Nina High-Rise Cigarette
Rag & Bone Nina High-Rise Cigarette — $160.00

There’s just something effortless chic about a pair of dark, cigarette jeans. They look great with a simple white tee, an oversized sweater, or a leather jacket. These Rag & Bone jeans have a high-rise waist and straight legs, and they hit at the ankle for versatility.

ASOS Design Rigid Dad Jeans
ASOS Design Rigid Dad Jeans — $42.00

Dad jeans, but make them cool. These baggy jeans are made from non-stretch denim and have generous and straight legs that drape just right. And they’re black, so they go with pretty much everything.

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