Bootcut Jeans vs. Straight Jeans: Everything You Need To Know
Shopping for jeans and deciding on the perfect pair (or two or three) can sometimes be overwhelming. The cut, style, fit, wash, and cost varies from brand to brand; however, once you find the perfect pair, they will become your go-to styling item.
Fit, Style, and Wash
As fashion has changed and evolved over the years, so have jeans. They were originally invented for the working man when Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis secured patent number 139,121 on the process of riveting pants on May 20, 1873. Since then, you will be hard-pressed to find someone who does not own at least one pair of jeans, let alone multiple pairs in different fits, styles, and washes.
All jeans can come in multiple fits with the most popular ones being regular or relaxed. The fit refers to the amount of room that there is for the leg hole. The style or cut of jeans refers to how the denim fits on your legs down to your ankles. The most common cuts and styles of jeans are slim, skinny, straight, and bootcut.
Last but not least, you must also consider the wash, which refers to the texture and color of your chosen jeans. Some of the most popular washes are indigo, chambray, and acid. Some wash options can include fading, which typically happens around the knees and thighs for a worn-in look. Buyer beware: a lot of brands have their own names for washes and even for fits and styles.
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What’s the Difference Between Straight Cut and Bootcut Jeans?
Straight cut and bootcut are the two best-selling styles of jeans globally. The difference between these two styles of denim is in how they are cut. Straight cut jeans are cut just like how the name sounds – the cut of the leg stays the same from the waist all the way to the ankle. They are designed to give the illusion of a longer leg.
In contrast, bootcut jeans are tapered and fitted snugly from the waist to the thighs and then the fabric on the legs begins to widen and loosen up slowly through to the ankle. This style of jeans can give the illusion of a shorter leg.
Straight Cut Jeans
A straight cut jean is one of the original, and oldest, styles of jeans. The straight cut is designed so that the fabric is straight all the way from the waist to the bottom of the ankle. This jean’s style was originally designed for workers and was cut to resemble the pants of overalls, which were both practical and comfortable.
These jeans have remained in style for years and work with both casual and more dressy outfit choices. These jeans work with all styles of footwear including sneakers and dress shoes.
Want to own a pair but don’t know where to start? Citizens of Humanity Gage Classic straight jeans are a great way to tip your toe into the straight leg jean pool. The silhouette stays straight all the way down the leg with a little extra room making this a casual and relaxed fit.
Another pair to try is the Relaxed Straight Authentic Flex jeans from Madewell. These jeans are perfect for a weekend full of activities because they can be worn running errands, going to help your sister-in-law around the house, and then out to dinner with friends. They have a conservative silhouette and work on all body types.
Pair the medium wash jeans with a nicely steamed button down shirt and clean white low tops. Or, if you are going for the 90s look that all the kids are doing these days, opt for the light wash and pair it with an oversized t-shirt and Carhartt hoodie.
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A bootcut jean mixes the style of a straight cut jean with a flared one and was heavily influenced by sailors trousers from the 1850s. They were originally popular among cowboys and ranchers because, you guessed it – the fit of the jean works well with a boot. No longer did the wearer have to worry about tucking their jeans into their boots or struggling with trying to fit tight jeans over the boot shaft. The loose fit below the knee helps with the ease of folding, rolling, and slipping boots on without a struggle.
In the 1960s and 70s, bootcut jeans experienced a resurgence due to hippies who wanted to be different and wear jeans that were considered unique. They inspired the wider, bell-bottomed jeans that became popular at the time.
These days, bootcut jeans tend to be worn by men looking for the cowboy touch. They are available in different colorways and washes and they can go with everything from t-shirts to Oxfords. Bootcut jeans tend to work best with… wait for it… boots!
From the classic brand Levi’s, the 527 Slim Bootcut Jeans are the perfect pair to get you started on your bootcut journey. Created originally for functionality, these jeans are now fashionable as well. The slim fit from Levi’s is a little snugger through the thigh and seat before becoming looser at the ankle. This particular fit works well with sneakers and chukka boots.
Keep the rest of the styling simple so you don’t head too much into a 70s moment, unless that’s what you are looking for, of course. If vintage is your thing, Acne Studios Relaxed Bootcut jeans are for you. Giving Dazed and Confused vibes, these super relaxed, loose-fitting jeans look great with t-shirts and bowler shirts alike and do not have to be worn with boots.
Straight vs Bootcut
So which style is better? It depends on what you are looking for. You can never go wrong with a standard straight leg cut that has remained in style for over a century. These jeans are versatile for all body types and work for most events except formal ones.
If you do happen to wear a lot of boots or just want to expand your fashion portfolio, try a pair of bootcut jeans. They work best for casual occasions.
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