Fortunately -- once you've found you're perfect jeans -- choosing the right shoes to wear with them isn't all that difficult. The reason for this is because it is all about creating a look that is well-balanced with the rest of your outfit. So, for footwear purposes, most cuts of women's jeans fall into one of four categories, which I'm labeling as "Skinny Jeans," "Flared Jeans," "Bootcut Jeans," and "Straight Leg Jeans."
Below, I get into a bit more about which women's jean styles make up each of those categories; as well as your best boot and shoe options for each of them.
Skinny Jeans, Slim Jeans, Cigarette Jeans
For a quick refresher, I've listed some of your best choices below.
- Ballerina flats
- Delicate thong sandals
- Stiletto pumps
- Streamlined sneakers
- Any kind of boots, as long as the jeans are tucked into them.
- Heeled or flat ankle boots and booties can be worn under the jeans, but it's best to avoid really weighty styles, and thick platform soles.
Pictured: Paige Denim 'Verdugo Ultra Skinny Jeans'
Flared jeans are generally more fitted through the thigh area, then flare out below the knee, hence the name "flared" jeans.
In the seventies, the most extreme flared jeans were referred to as "bell bottoms," and they're also often called "wide leg jeans," although the latter term actually refers to jeans that are wide throughout their entire length, not just below the knee.
For the sake of this article, I'm lumping all of these styles in together.
So, if your jeans have a wide or flared opening, you should be looking for shoes that don't get too lost in the mass of denim that's pooling around your feet. You're best bets are:
- High heeled shoes and boots
- Platform shoes and boots
- Lug-soled boots and shoes
- Any shoes or boots with chunky heels
- Sneakers (especially simple, old-school styles)
- Wedge heels
The only real "don't" for jeans with wide legs is trying to tuck them into anything. Ever.
Pictured: Affliction 'Ziggy Flare' in Dolce
Again, you'll find a lot of naming and style variation in this denim category, but for clarification, I'm referring to jeans that flare out very subtly at the bottom.
This distinction is important, because true bootcut jeans are the most flexible when it comes to footwear options; they're able to take on delicate, moderate, and even slightly heftier footwear with ease. Consequently, they work with nearly anything; heeled boots, flat boots, pumps, platforms, sneakers, ballerina flats, and sandals.
Pictured: Joe's Jeans 'Honey Curvy Bootcut' 36" Inseam in Angialee
Boyfriend, Relaxed, Loose and Straight Leg Jeans
Simply put, the legs are straight from the top to the bottom. No flare, no real definition -- unlike skinny jeans, they're loose; and, as opposed to flared and bootcut jeans, they don't curve out below the knee.
Boyfriend jeans are similar, although they tend to have a slightly baggier fit -- as if you'd borrowed jeans from your boyfriend. For shoe-picking purposes, both of these styles fall under the same heading, as do relaxed, loose-cut or loose-fit jeans.
So, what do you pair with denim of such an undefined nature? Again, we go back to balance -- and the way to add balance to a pair of casual, loose-fitting jeans, is to opt for a pair of extra-stylish shoes.
Like their bootcut buddies, straight-legged jeans can handle nearly any height of heel, and they play as well with trim shoe styles as they do with heavier ones. But, unless you're going for a really, truly, totally casual look, you might want to add a bit of definition to your outfit by choosing a basic shoe style that has a bit of extra polish to it, like simple loafers with a shiny, classic buckle; ballerina flats with studs or rhinestones; or chunky-heeled boots with a bit of a platform sole.
Pictured: True Religion 'Billy Super T Low-Rise Straight' in Hollow Horn