10 summer-ready jeans that aren’t too baggy, too balloon-like or too hot (except in the good way)


Let’s be honest–skinny jeans have had an incredible run. That second-skin denim defined an entire era of style for many of us. But as the temperatures start to rise, it may be time to loosen up our denim game to find the ideal jeans for summer. (Just go ahead and pack those skinnies away with any “going out tops” you’re holding onto. Your daughter’s going to come looking for them in about ten to fifteen years.)

The problem? After they came for our skinnies, they tried to convince us balloon-legged, cartoony old west gun-slinger jeans were the hot new trend. While I can be easily convinced to try new things fashion-wise and add some breathing room between my pants and my flesh, that style, my friends is a hard no. So lately I’ve been on a quest to find the ones that feel updated and comfortable, but still like me. (Obviously if these bring you joy, please by all means, go for it. I do believe it can be pulled off, but I have teenagers and they already try to avoid being in public with me so I have to tread carefully when it comes to jumping on trends.)

Related: 11 summer sandals that go with everything (and won’t hurt your feet)

The good news? This season’s jeans are all about breezy, comfortable silhouettes that still manage to look effortlessly cool. We’re talking loose, relaxed boyfriend jeans that allow for airflow when skinnies would soak in sweat. Fan-favorite straight cuts that somehow make everyone look a little taller and leaner. And gorgeously flattering wide-leg crops that blend throwback 70s vibes with modern sophistication. (Which, blessedly all eliminate the “what shoes am I supposed to wear with these” dilemma we’re all faced with lately.)

No matter your warm weather jam, these summer jeans styles fuse laidback wearability with a healthy dose of freshness. They’re easygoing enough for beach adventures and errand runs, yet sophisticated enough for alfresco date nights under the stars. One smart denim update, and you’ll be staying cool from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Our favorite jeans for summer 2024

Pistola Denim

Lexi Mid Rise Bowed

$168

If you’re tempted by the balloon look, but only want to dabble, I’m pretty sure I’ve nailed it with the Lexi Mid Rise Bowed from Pistola Denim. I’m absolutely charmed by the slight bowing of the legs which looks super fresh without looking foolish and the light whiskered wash that’s utterly summer-ready.

Wrangler Mid-Rise Wide Leg Jean

Wrangler

Mid-Rise Wide Leg Jean

$99.99

I’ve gotta admit, I’ve been sleeping on Wrangler since I had a perm and my mom bought my jeans. But recently, I’ve rediscovered them and honestly, this particular pair is instant staple status. The mid-rise hits perfectly, the legs aren’t obnoxiously wide and the lightweight cotton/hemp blend is absolutely dreamy. They feel like pajama pants and look like the jeans of my bohemian dreams. (And if you’d rather go the traditional denim route instead of natural, they’re available in three great washes as well.)

MOTHER The Hustler Roller Fray

MOTHER

The Hustler Roller Fray

$268

I’m a firm believer you can never go wrong with a pair from MOTHER, but if I have to pick one this season, these are it. With a 70s inspired silhouette and rise that does ALL good things for the derrière, it only takes a simple tank and some platform sandals to look totally on point. The denim itself is a little on the stiff side, but is there anything better than a pair of jeans you’ve lovingly broken in to fit like a glove? I think not.

The Colette Cropped Wide-Leg Pants

Maeve

The Colette Cropped Wide-Leg Pants

$130

The Colette Crop from Anthropologie’s Maeve label just may be one of the most universally beloved pant styles in recent memory. And why not? The timeless cut looks incredible on everyone and because they have just the right amount of stretch they’re insanely comfy without bagging out after a day of wear. For me though, it’s the detailing that has me hooked. The wide hem? Love. Patch front pockets? Adorbs. Eye-catching and oh-so-flattering vertical seaming across the back waistband? SOLD.

Old Navy High-Waisted OG Loose Jeans

Old Navy

High-Waisted OG Loose Jeans

$45.99 $54.99

According to hundreds of rave reviews, the wallet-friendly High-Waisted OG Loose Jeans from Old Navy are “the most flattering jeans ever” which “fit in all the right ways” and are worthy of “buying in every wash.” The relaxed fit falls between a traditional mom jean taper and a straight leg style, making them super versatile and stylish without feeling too trendy. Luckily they do come in nine different washes currently because we’re pretty much inclined to buy one for every day of the week.

Oliver Logan Crosby Relaxed Taper Jeans

Oliver Logan

Crosby Relaxed Taper Jeans

$120

The denim equivalent of your favorite lounge pants, I’ve been wearing Oliver Logan’s popular Crosby style for like three summers straight. The slouchy fit doesn’t sit too high or too low and there’s a dash of spandex to keep them comfy all day long. I also love the raw hem which allows me to easily wear them cuffed or not depending on the look I’m going for. And not only are their styles the perfect way to step outside your skinnies comfort zone, they’re sustainably manufactured with reclaimed fibers and super transparent about their processes. Want to know the exact environmental impact of each product? It’s there right on each product page.

Madewell 90s Straght Crop Jean

Madewell

90s Straight Crop Jean

$128

Madewell has totally nailed the 90s style with this summertime staple. Because of their cropped length, they don’t cause the same shoe dilemmas of full length styles and actually look fabulous with sandals or sneakers. According to one Motherly editor, “They’re very flattering and the perfect length for an average height person. Petites are way too short on me but sometimes regular fits are WAY too long and it drives me nuts.” Keep in mind they don’t have much (if any) stretch so you definitely have to get your sizing right, but once you do, you might have found your new holy grail.

Gap Mid Rise Girlfriend Jeans

Gap

Mid Rise Girlfriend Jeans

$48

From t-ball games to catching frogs, the Mid Rise Girlfriend Jeans from Gap is the consummate everyday jean for summer. The leg is slightly tapered and hits at ankle length and they have just enough stretch to be comfortable from the very first wear.

Duer Performance Denim Harbour Pant

Duer

Performance Denim Harbour Pant

$139

Postpartum (and comfort-loving) moms, listen up! This is the denim you’ve been waiting for. Soft and stretchy, the Duer Performance Denim Harbour Pant looks like a jean but feels like a jogger. And thanks to the brand’s innovative fabric, they’re both temperature regulating and moisture-wicking. But the best part? Two words. Elastic waist.

Outerknown The Brook Wide Leg

Outerknown

The Brook Wide Leg

$198

If I was asked to design my perfect jean right now, the Brook Wide Leg from Outerknown would be it. From the booty-shaping backside and stove pipe leg to the cropped length and wash that reminds me of perfectly worn in vintage treasures, they’re an 11/10. But the fact they’re also made from organic cotton and made in LA at Saitex,the factory that’s setting the bar for sustainable denim, well that’s just above and beyond.



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