I’m trying on four styles of the new wider-cut 2021 jeans and comparing them with a pair of 2020 Mom jeans and pre-2019 straight leg jeans. Use these details and images to decide which style is best for you, especially if you’re over 50.
During the past 18 months we’ve been isolated and just wanted to wear very casual comfortable clothing. So we’ve seen the rise and rise of athleisure and loungewear.
This has translated into the new jeans for 2021.
These are 70’s inspired. So expect everything from the traditional 501 style denims through to flares.
Spring is the perfect time to update your jeans collection. Depending on your climate you’ll get masses of wear out of them both with woolly sweaters and cardigans as well as with long and short sleeved tees. In summer you’ll probably need them sometimes when things are cooler, for example evenings. And by Fall you’ll see them as old trusted friends as the days get colder again.
I’ve never liked skinny jeans even on young people. They’ve always seemed a mismatch of sexy and hardwearing. But I know I’m in the minority! So when Mom jeans came back in 2020 I was very pleased.
This year styles are a lot wider cut – but is that going to be too wide for me?
I tried six pairs of jeans on, all different cuts, so you’ll be able to decide for yourself which types could work well for you and your figure.
What size and height am I?
If you follow these try-ons you’ll know that I don’t retouch or elongate the photos to make me look better. The idea is to show exactly what a 71 year old looks like.
I’m short – 5’2” and I weigh 140lbs. So basically I’m a square with wide hips. I’m certainly far, far away from any model you will see on a retailer’s site. But I’m actually typical for my age. So hopefully this try-on of 2021 jeans will help you to visualize these new styles as they might look on you.
Some of the jeans I try on I had to buy locally here in France because of slow imports due to Brexit and Covid so I’ve given you a link to the nearest similar jeans I could find online. Others I bought online and I give you the link to the exact jeans I purchased.
I’m trying on this year’s jeans first, then comparing them to two pairs I’ve been wearing over the past year.
Wide flared jeans
These jeans are standard length which I’ve turned under (massively).
I think we used to call these ‘loons’ back in the seventies. I didn’t wear them then and I wasn’t attracted to them in the store this time around either.
BUT, when I put them on – wow were they comfy!
The fabric seems quite thick (so perfect for Spring but probably too warm for Summer). There is, oh heaven!, a wide elasticated waist. They are cut very, very long as I imagine some women will want to wear them with the new – slightly boho trend – puddling over their shoes. The weight will help them to hang down straight to the ground without too many folds forming on the legs.
The hems may look a bit odd in my try-on as I had to pin them up with a massive hem to get them to ankle length.
At the end of this post I’m going to compare the hem width and front rise of all the jeans I try on.
So what do you think?
Honestly, they don’t look as bad as I thought they would!
I think my main reservation is that to get a good silhouette I would need to wear a fitted top.
These jeans emphasise the width of the lower body with not only wide trouser legs, but also with the front square patch pockets.
Unfortunately, my large waist makes fitted tops look bad on me. Anything that reveals the existence of middle flab is a big no no. With the wide elastic waist these jeans definitely didn’t push my flab up so it looked even worse, but even so, I’d feel less than my best in most of my Spring tops with these very wide-cut jeans.
So I took them back to the shop.
These jeans are petite – other sizes available.
These are very on-trend right now and I was looking forward to trying them on.
Boyfriend jeans are straight leg jeans, cut wider at the waist and on the upper leg so they are very comfortable. Unlike girlfriend jeans they do not cling to the waist.
As soon as I put them on I loved the fit. It took me right back to the sixties and early seventies. I loved the wide waist that gaps slightly at the back. And these were the only jeans where I could tuck a top in easily.
I like to show a bit of a belt at the front if I tuck in and as these jeans have belt loops that was easy.
These denims have the traditional 5 pockets and belt loops.
The material is medium weight and has a slight stretch. It feels like denim used to feel and has the least stretch of all the jeans I tried on.
These are definitely not sexy jeans! They don’t hug your rear or your upper legs. At the same time they are not so wide that they make a big fashion statement.
All wider cut jeans are going to look better with fitted tops but I think I’ll be able to wear these with a tucked tee and possibly a crop cardigan over. This should help even up the silhouette so that I’m a rectangle rather than a flat-bottomed triangle.
I’m not keen on rips and tears in jeans. So I was disappointed to see that these had a couple of very small ‘patches’. But I guess if your boyfriend is a hard-working car mechanic you’d see these jeans as authentic. Alas the days of scrambling out of bed and borrowing clothes from a lover to make breakfast are long gone for me!
I’m less bothered by the ‘mends’ than I thought I’d be so I decided to keep these jeans – if only to stroll down memory lane.
Marks and Spencer’s jeans
I bought these boyfriend jeans online at marksandspencer.com as they now have a dedicated site for France as well as the USA, UK and other areas. They arrived really fast and all taxes and import duties had already been included in the online price.
Since the UK left the European Union some stores such as johnlewis.com have ceased selling to me here in France, whilst others can’t say how much the duties are that might be demanded by the courier company. Needless to say these latter firms don’t offer free returns from here either. I guess it will all get sorted out some time but right now it makes these try-ons here in France more awkward.
So THANK-YOU M&S for your stellar service!
These jeans are standard length.
I wanted to have a pair of pale wash jeans this year. They are reminiscent of the seventies.
Girlfriend jeans are generously cut for the upper leg and have a straight-ish leg.
The difference between girlfriend jeans and boyfriend jeans is that girlfriend jeans taper slightly near the ankle and the waist has a slimmer and more feminine fit.
The weight of these jeans is medium – about the same as the boyfriend jeans I tried on. They also have some stretch.
These jeans have the highest rise (from crotch seam to top of waistband) of any of the jeans I tried. Which is definitely a seventies or eighties thing.
They are left un-hemmed and some people wear them this way. I think I prefer them turned up. Having no thick hem seam makes rolling up the legs easier and less bulky.
If I want I can always cut a couple of inches off and leave the hems unsewn as at present. As these jeans are standard length I presume they are designed to be several inches above the ankle on a standard height woman.
Again, these are not sexy jeans! They have that retro hard-workin’-woman vibe. The pale wash adds to this.
I felt comfortable in these jeans. Not as comfortable as the boyfriend jeans but the wide cut upper leg is easy to move and bend in. In fact the upper leg runs about 3 centimetres narrower than the boyfriend jeans and the hems are just a bit – about 2 or 3 centimetres – narrower than the boyfriend jeans too.
But of course the difference in comfort for someone my shape comes from the waist being smaller, more like a regular (modern) jeans fit. No gapping at the back and probably not enough room to easily tuck in a top front and back.
There are the traditional five pockets and belt loops which I find useful.
So I decided to keep these jeans too. Mainly for the color.
Regular fit jeans 2021
These jeans are standard length but I’ve tucked them up.
These jeans are the main seller this year.
They have a lower rise than the pale wash girlfriend jeans but still reach to the waist or just below (on someone average height). So they have that Mom jean fit we saw so popular last year.
The width at the top of the leg is just a tiny bit more than the Mom jeans I bought from the same store last year but a whopping 6 cms less than the girlfriend jeans (6 cms is about 21/2 inches.)
The main difference we’re seeing this year is the straighter, wider leg. 6 cms wider at the hem than last year’s Mom jeans but almost the same as this year’s girlfriend demins.
In the pics I have turned up the legs so they hit the top of my sneakers.
As these have a very similar cut to a pair of straight leg jeans I bought a couple or so years ago I took them back to the store.
So it seems this year most jeans are wider at the hem though some still retain a close fit at the waist and thigh.
These jeans are standard length but I’ve hemmed them to fit me.
I bought these last Spring as part of my Spring Capsule Wardrobe 2020.
I thought I’d show them here to see the difference between these straight cut high rise pants and this year’s wider cut ones.
They are lighter weight than any of the jeans I’ve tried on so far. They hug waist hips and thighs (on me) with plenty of stretch. There’s certainly no disguising one’s width in these denims. But I have to say that the dark wash and narrower legs look smarter. I could dress these jeans up or down, whereas the wider fit jeans I think look definitely casual.
It may be that in a year or two these jeans will look strangely fitted. But I’ll enjoy wearing them till then.
Straight cut jeans
These jeans are standard length but I’ve hemmed them to fit me.
To see similar jeans see above for regular jeans.
I bought these two or three years ago I think. They are slightly distressed for casual wear. I like the traditional mid blue wash.
I think they still look fine. But I do find the waist a bit tight so I tend to wear them under a sweater or a square-cut shortish top that hangs outside the waistband.
Again, they will probably go out of style in the next few years but they’ve served me faithfully up to now. Us older women don’t need to keep right up to date with fashion, thank goodness. But we don’t want to look as if we’ve been living in a hermit’s cave for years either.
The most important thing for us is to wear clothes that fit us, that are comfortable, that will last a few years (so not high fashion) and that we can style to make our proportions look just as good as they can be.
How the jeans compare by width and rise
Here’s the comparison of the jeans by measurements:
|Style||Hem||Rise||Top of leg|
I hope you’ve found this try-on useful. If so, you might want to see some of my other try-ons:
The 9 Best Boyfriend Shirts if you’re Over 50 I wrote this in Spring 2022. Because the big masculine ‘boyfriend’ look has now extended to tops too. Personally, as a short square person, wearing a big top and big jeans would drown me. So if you’re my shape I’d choose either the boyfriend shirt or the boyfriend jeans in one outfit unless the shirt is left open as a shacket or jacket.
or read what I wrote about choosing Mom jeans last year: