The 5 Best Jeans for Petite Women

The women's fashion industry is so f*cked.

Pants with pockets? Well-fitted bras? Consistent sizing?  Good luck.

Don't even get me started on the issues that come with not fitting in the typical US size range - plus size and petite girls have it rough. At the height of all these issues lies...jeans. Jeans are officially the bane of my existence, which is why I only own five pairs of them. Do you choose real denim, or stretch denim? Jeggings? Mom cut? Boyfriend? Flare? What even are patch jeans, and why do they exist? I love a trend as much as the next girl, but it seems like every season, when it's time to refresh our wardrobes with the changing of the weather, we have more options and not a single one of them fit. And this is where I'm stepping in. I've done all the research, scanned all the stores, and cried in all the dressing rooms. And through it all, I've found the five best pairs of jeans for my 5'4" and under gals.

I truly believe jeans should be an investment in one's wardrobe. For me, paying more for a pair of jeans that will last me upwards of a few years is a no-brainer. Not only does it keep cheap jeans out of landfills, but it saves you money in the long run. Why pay $40 every 3 months when your jeans fall apart when you could pay a little over $100 and not have to try jeans on again for at least another 2 years? (Obviously, if your height, weight, or body shape is going to fluctuate over the next few months to a year, the $40 pair you can cycle through will probably be the smarter choice for you - just make sure to donate, resell, or recycle them responsibly.)

The Classic

Madewell Classic Fit Jeans in a Dark Wash

First, we have the classic jean. I'm obsessed with the Petite Perfect Vintage Straight Jean from Madewell. When I think of a classic pair of jeans, I think of a straight leg fit, medium-to-dark wash, and hits right at the ankle. Personally, I prefer my jeans to be high-waisted, as they flatter my petite frame more. I will say, these jeans are more rigid than the ones you would find at, say, American Eagle. There is still a bit of stretch to them, but overall - it's all true denim here. But I love them. The inseam is 26.5", making them the perfect length for me at 5'0". If you're looking for jeans that will take you from casual Friday to after-hours drinks, look no more.

The Flare Jean

The flare jeans are coming back, and I love it. I spent all 8 years of middle and high school in skinny jeans. Give me all the roomy, flattering, flare jeans - please and thanks. My favorites are from GAP, and they're the '70s Flare Jeans with Washwell. This pair is made with a stretch denim, so it's just rigid enough to give it some shape, and stretchy enough to give you all-day comfort. Made of 5% recycled polyester and 7% recycled cotton, these jeans are good for the earth and your wallet ($55!) If you're feeling real adventurous, GAP also makes a pair of these in corduroy and faux leather.

The Skinny

Ok, yeah, I just majorly trashed skinny jeans. But y'know what, they're still a good investment. Sometimes an outfit needs a solid pair of skinny jeans. As long as they're comfortable. And you can breathe. And they don't leave those seam imprints on your legs. Enter the Good American Good Petite Skinny Jeans. This pair of high-recovery jeans (read: all day support) comes in both black and classic blue. They're mid-rise, and rated by Good American as being "super stretch" which means you can sit, stand, and crouch comfortably in these babies. Maybe this pair is what brings skinny jeans back into trend in 5 years? (But also, hopefully not.)

The Budget Option

Listen, I hear you. Sometimes, the budget is stretched thin. Sometimes, our mental capacity is stretched thin. No one really wants to spend time in poorly-lit dressing rooms trying on denim, no matter how good a pair makes us look. Let me introduce you to my favorite affordable jeans from good ol' American Eagle. I love these so much in fact, that I may actually be wearing this exact pair right now. The AE Stretch Mom Jeans. They're high-waisted, hit right at the ankles, and are the most comfortable jeans I've ever worn. The bonus? They've never bagged out on me, despite being super soft. I bought this pair almost 2 years ago, and they're holding up pretty well.

The Boyfriend

You know those days when you don't want to be put together, but you still want to look put together? Yeah, me too. I love a boyfriend jean for those days, but the issue I've found as a petite woman is that boyfriend jeans can make me look like I'm drowning in them. Madewell has fixed that problem for me (and you!) with their Boyjeans. The Petite Slouchy Boyjean is the ultimate solution. With a 25.5" inseam and 9.25" rise, they're perfectly slouchy, airy, and flattering. I like to wear them rolled with boots or high tops, but the inseam length means I can wear them as-is as well. They're 100% cotton, with 20% of that being recycled cotton, and they're just amazing. Have I mentioned that they're perfect yet? No? Well they are.

At the end of the day, finding jeans is still - and probably will always be - a huge pain in the ass. But having these 5 staples in my closet has really given me insight into the companies I feel I can buy from with at least a 90% success rate, even online. It also means that I don't have to shop for jeans every 6 months, because I don't foresee these falling apart in my wash any time soon. I wish I could say that this has stopped me from online window-shopping for jeans, because it definitely hasn't. But at the end of the day, it's made doing the window-shopping easier on me, my mental health, and my wallet.