At this point in 2020, it’s pretty difficult to find myself truly shocked by anything. So, while my first reaction to learning that jeggings are back at the top of our shopping lists may have been “wait, what?” it was immediately followed by “yeah, that makes sense.” And despite the fact that wide-leg and boyfriend jeans have pretty much dominated the denim scene for the past year or two, it really does make a ton of sense.
According to data included in Afterpay’s Bi-Annual Global Fashion and Beauty Trend Report, searches for jeggings are way up, particularly for New Yorkers and people who are shopping on Sundays. As a fashion editor myself, I have two main theories why stretchy, skin-tight styles are having a resurgence. First, jeggings are every bit as comfortable as regular leggings but naturally appear to be more dressed up. While it was fun to wear nothing but sweatsuits (and then sweatshorts) at the beginning of the COVID-19 quarantine, we’re not feeling quite as thrilled about sporting PJs 24/7 anymore. Jeggings arrive at that rare junction between being universally appropriate for a variety of different occasions (from dinner with friends to date night and even socially distanced parties in the park) while also being super easy to wear.
Second, we’re all craving comfort in the form of nostalgia. Almost nothing about the year 2020 has felt normal, let alone easy, which has left many of us longing for simpler times. And while we can’t actually revert back to life circa 2011 (nor should we), there’s something comforting about reaching for a similar pair of pants we were wearing when we saw Bridesmaids in theaters or while dancing around to “Friday” by Rebecca Black.
Luckily, we have come a long way since the days of denim-printed leggings and Pajama Jeans (perhaps one of the lowest points in denim history). And the 2020 version of the jegging leans more toward the jeans part of its namesake than the leggings part. The modern iteration is more of a super-stretchy, slim-fit style that’s more comfortable than rigid denim and significantly easier to tuck into the trendiest boots of the season. Most also feature a traditional zipper and button fly with real belt loops and back pockets (although faux front pockets are still majorly popular for creating a smoother finish) to further place them in the camp of true pants. As much as jeggings remind us of years past, there are definitely a few styling tricks to keep in mind to ensure you look fresh and modern.
Our current favorite way to style jeggings is tucked into trendy lace-up boots (i.e., hiker or combat styles, with bonus points for a chunky lug sole) or sleek snakeprint booties. Up top, throw on a simple oversize sweater or a cozy shacket. On the flip side, avoid washes that are too light or that have significant distressing; the most flattering pairs will be clean, dark washes with a mid to high waist. Here, five pairs of jeggings that fit the bill.
1. AE Ne(x) Level High-Waist Jegging
According to Afterpay, these are the most sought-after jegging style among online shoppers. In fact, American Eagle has quite a few Ne(x)t Level Stretch jeggings options, which are all made with a super-soft, stretchy cotton-polyester-viscose-elastane blend that’s specially formulated not to lose shape or bag out over time, no matter how many squats or lunges you do.
Available in sizes 000 to 24, and X-Short, Short, Regular, Long and X-Long lengths
2. Wit & Wisdom Jeggings
These classic dark-wash jeans have a whopping 641 reviews on Nordstrom and a 4.5-star rating, so you can pretty much bet on these being an excellent purchase. Per one happy shopper, “I looooove these jeans! The fabric is super lightweight and has a good stretch to it and the color is a beautiful, super flattering dark wash. I was a little nervous ordering a size down (as recommended) but really glad I did—perfect fit!”
Available in sizes 00 to 18, and Petite
3. Slink Jeans Jeggings
Finding jeans that hugs your curves in all the right places without gapping in all the wrong ones can be a particular challenge for plus-size women. But jeggings stretch and conform to your body in a way that rigid denim just can’t. This pair from Slink Jeans has a higher stretch percentage than the others on this list, meaning it will be especially great for those with wider hips and a smaller waist.
Available in sizes 14W to 24W
4. 1822 Denim Butter Jeggings
Butter indeed: multiple reviews on this 1822 style touch on just how soft the fabric is. However, many also comment on how they suggest sizing down one or even two sizes, as the jeggings have a tendency to stretch a bit in the waist with regular wear.
Available in sizes 24 to 34
5. Free PeoplR aw High-Rise Jegging
In a fun blast from the past, these are the updated version of the exact jegging I preferred back in the day. They now come in 10 washes, some of which are also available in short lengths (huzzah for petite frames!), and an upgraded fabrication that helps combat bagging and sagging. One note: Free People suggests going up a size, as do many reviewers.
Available in sizes 24 to 32
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