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I own only two types of pants — leggings and jeans. As a mom and a work-from-home writer, jeans — also known as my fancy pants — are critical to my everyday life. So I’m always in search of my next perfect pair. I want jeans that are tight, but not too tight. Additionally, they must be the perfect color, the perfect stretch and the correct rise.
But one good pair of jeans is never enough. I need jeans I can wear with boots and jeans I can wear with sneakers. I require high-waisted jeans for short tops and elastic band jeans for long tops. Black jeans are worn as formal wear and light jeans are perfect for daytime shenanigans.
There is no magical jean pant that satisfies my every single need, but there are exceptional jeans that come up in my rotation again and again.
So when I was given the task to test four of the best selling denim styles on Amazon, I jumped at it. I also invited two friends to test along with me. With three different body types, we were able to show how some of these styles transform depending on who’s wearing them — a little sisterhood of the traveling pants magic.
For reference, I am 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weigh approximately 130 pounds. I usually order my jeans in a size 2, 4 or 26/27, and a long length when available. My friend Clare is 5 feet, 5 inches, typically wears a size 6 or 28 and prefers regular length. And at 5 feet, four inches, my friend Elizabeth wears size 2, prefers short length and weighs 125 pounds.
I honestly didn’t know I could still purchase Lee jeans. While I may have coveted Guess Jeans in my youth, Lee was the actual jean brand of my 1980s childhood. Turns out, the iconic brand is still pumping out the hits.
Because we are all moms, it was hard not to feel like we were pulling on our old maternity pants with this pair. The wide band, the stretchy fabric, the pulling and pooling in all the wrong places. But once on, these Lee Sculpting Slim-Fit Skinny Jeans felt better than any maternity pant we’d ever worn. The wide band is quite comfortable — pregnant or not.
Before trying on these jeans, we all commented on the cute back pockets. Unfortunately, once on, these pockets didn’t do a whole lot to enhance our backsides. We felt flat-butted (is that a thing?) and the fabric gathered and wrinkled under our butts and behind our knees.
Also worth noting is that Clare’s pair arrived damaged with a flawed seam. And while Clare and I both had pockets on our wash, the pair Elizabeth tried had faux front pockets.
I tried these in a regular and think the slightly shorter length works well with a bootie or cute sneaker.
We all agreed the feel and fit of these Levi’s 721 High Rise Skinny Jeans were great. They definitely felt more stretchy than the other zip and button pair we tried. The color Clare and I tried, Cast Shadows, is really dark with zero fading, which could work well for a dressier style.
We were both admittedly jealous of the pair Elizabeth tried in the Midnight Falls wash. Oddly, her jeans had a button fly instead of a zipper and the bottom leg opening had a cute frayed detail. Her pair looked like a higher-end denim and were so cute, I’m considering ordering a pair for myself.
We have no complaints about the backside — the pockets were a nice cut and they fit snug and secure.
I tried this Signature by Levi Totally Shaping Pull-On Skinny Jean in the Immaculate Wash, and the color was really nice: dark with well-placed fading. These jeans wear more like leggings because they’re so soft. Like a lot of jeggings, the front pockets are faux, so don’t expect to tuck anything in there.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of an elastic band that doesn’t also include a faux button detail because it limits my ability to half-tuck. But if you’re looking for a pull-on jean, these might be for you.
Elizabeth tried these jeans in the Noir wash and did not fall in love. These bunch and pool in all the wrong places on her and the color is almost too dark with no variation. She described the black pair as work-issue restaurant pants. Yikes!
I had less of an issue with the pair I tried but still didn’t rank them as high as some of the others we tested. That said, of the two pull-on jeans we tested, I definitely preferred these.
At the time of testing, this style was not available in Clare’s size 6.
The Levi Slimming Skinny Jean is the one pair all three of us tried in the same wash. If you’re looking for a great dark wash with some fade, these jeans in Underwater Canyon are a fantastic option. All three of us really liked the feel of this pair, too. They had quite a bit of stretch but still felt like jeans. We all have different areas we like to hide and highlight, but equally liked the way our butts looked in this pair.
Elizabeth, normally a short length fan, tried these in regular length and had to cuff them because they were so long. Short would probably fit perfectly. On the flip side, the long length fit me perfectly, as did the regular length on Clare.
One more thing worth noting is that the bottom leg opening is a bit wider than a typical skinny jean. If you’re used to your jeans requiring a dance and an inside-out flip to remove because they’re tight at the ankle, this might feel more like a straight leg.
Finally, ending on a high note (pun intended), the rise of this pair is perfect — the waist is high, but not so high that you feel like you’re being cut in half.