I did a roundup of my spring denim favorites last year around this time, and it was one of my most popular posts of the season, so I thought I’d make it an annual feature.
As you all probably know by now, denim is my thing. I wear jeans at least six days out of seven, and I’m very particular about fit and feel. I also like to stay up to date on the trends without being a total slave to fashion.
I’m a huge proponent of wearing what looks best on us and what we feel most comfortable in, but I also want to look modern and stylish as I age, so I think it’s important to try new styles and give our eyes some time to adjust to new silhouettes before we decide to wear them or not.
We’ve seen an evolution in denim styles over the past year. Last year when I wrote this post, I was holding onto my skinnies and trying to incorporate some straighter styles every now and again, but my eye has adjusted to higher rises and straighter silhouettes. I still don’t love the baggier styles on me, but I feel a lot more balanced in jeans with a slim straight fit or a flared leg.
My Spring 2021 Denim Favorites
I have a lot of jeans, but these are the ones I find myself reaching for most often this spring, and the ones I’d recommend to anyone looking to update their denim wardrobe.
Most of these are in the premium denim price range, so I included a budget-friendly option to each for those who may want that, but keep cost per wear in mind. You will be far better served by investing in one great pair of jeans that you wear over and over than buying several pairs that don’t fit quite right or wear very well.
#1. Mother The Insider Crop Step Chew in Dancing On Coals
Mother Denim makes some of the best jeans I’ve ever worn. They look and feel amazing, they’re extremely flattering and hold their shape, and the washes are practically works of art. Mother Denim is also made in the USA, which is hard to find these days.
Of course, you pay a premium for these unicorn jeans. I realize they don’t fit everyone’s budget, but if I have to choose my all-time favorite jeans to wear right now, it’s the Mother Insider Crop Step Chew Hem in Dancing On Coals (pictured above).
These jeans are a crop flare, and I wasn’t sure I was crazy about all the distressing at first, but I kind of like how the rips and jagged step hem add texture and interest to my casual outfits. These jeans run true to size, or size down if in between; I take my usual size 28.
If you want a similar style with less distressing, the Insider in Walking On Coals is a good option with a slightly darker wash. And if you want a more budget-friendly pair, J.Crew makes a 9″ demi boot and a 10″ demi boot. Both have a similar leg silhouette and inseam measurement.
#2. Mother The Mid Rise Dazzler Ankle Fray in Riding The Cliffside
When I want a pair of casual jeans without the rips, I grab these Mother Dazzlers. They have a slim, straight silhouette with an ankle-length inseam, and the fabric is soft and stretchy and not too thick for spring and summer weather.
I almost put the AGOLDE Toni in this spot, but they’re sold out, and the denim on those is a bit heavier. I wore those a ton during the winter, but I’ve been reaching for the Dazzler more often this spring.
I find The Dazzler to run a bit small; I have both pairs in a size 29. If you want a lower priced alternative, Madewell makes The Perfect Vintage Jean, and the Levi’s Wedgie Straight Fit is another similar style.
#3. Good American Good Straight Raw Hem in White037
These jeans have a similar fit to the Mother Dazzler, but with a higher rise and a raw hem. They also have a much better price point without sacrificing fit or quality. I kept the Dazzler as well so I’d have a pair with a finished hem for dressier looks, but this Good American pair will be on regular rotation as soon as it warms up around here.
The denim on these is nice and thick, so there isn’t much show-through, but I always wear these skin-colored shaping shorts underneath to be on the safe side. They have a contoured high waist for a gap-free fit and lots of stretch, so they hold in all the fluff through the midsection. #yesplease
Good American jeans run true to size, but when you pull them on, they feel suuuuper tight, sort of like wearing Spanx. Don’t let that scare you away. They settle in quickly and become quite comfortable. In this brand, I recommend ordering your true size and the next one up and wearing each around the house for at least 20-30 minutes before deciding on which size to keep.
#4. Mother The Hustler Ankle Fray in Fairest of Them All
Mother Denim is really representing this spring! I usually have a wider variety of brands in my denim wardrobe, but right now Mother seems to be working best for me. For a white ankle flare, I love The Hustler. I also have The Insider in white, which I wore a ton last year.
The Insider is a crop flare with a step hem, and The Hustler is an ankle flare with a straight raw hem and a slightly higher rise. I like The Insider better with flats and The Hustler with heels, so I have both pairs in my closet.
Fairest Of Them All, Mother Denim’s white wash, isn’t quite as thick and opaque as the Good American white denim, but it’s good enough for me. Again, I wear these skin-colored shaping shorts underneath to be on the safe side.
Last year I was able to wear my usual size 28 in The Insider, but I’ve put on a few pounds, and I needed to size up to the 29 this spring. I also tried both sizes in The Hustler, and I ended up keeping the 29. A lot of ladies like to size up in white denim anyway, so it can’t hurt to try both and see which you prefer. Most of the retailers I feature offer free shipping and free returns, or they offer Shoprunner, which I use with Saks and Bloomies.
#5. KUT from the Kloth Reese Ankle Straight in Ecru
Off-white and ecru denim washes are trending this spring, and this pair just came from Evereve. I love the lightweight, stretchy denim; plus they have a nice slim, straight fit and the perfect ankle length. The raw hem and distressing near the front pocket give them a casual, lived-in vibe, but you can still dress them up for a casual dinner out.
KUT from the Kloth is my favorite brand for denim under $100. I also really like their Stella High Rise-Fab Ab Flare.
#6. Fidelity Cher High Waist Ankle Slim Jeans
For a black wash, I’m going to name these Fidelity jeans a favorite for spring, but the fabric is on the heavier side. Last summer, I wore the Frame Le High Straight in Bosworth a lot, and I really love those for spring/summer because of the lighter weight and the subtle texture to the black wash, but they no longer make them.
I also really like the Mother Insider in Not Guilty for dressier spring/summer looks, but I tend to wear those with heels, and I didn’t really want to feature yet another pair of Mother Denim in this roundup. Still, they probably deserve a mention.
All that to say, it remains to be seen how much I’ll reach for the Fidelity Cher once the weather warms up, but it’s my best recommendation at the moment for a slim straight cut in an off-black wash.
These jeans run true to size, or you may be able to size down if in between; I have the 28. Same is true for the Mother Insider in Not Guilty and Frame Le High Straight in Bosworth, should you find a pair on a resale site.
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