You can’t deny the cozy allure of lounge pants, sweats, and leggings, but how about a happy medium? Our editors have found theirs in denim—the perfect pant that’s both practical and polished. And because fashion editors are notorious for having large denim collections, I asked a handful of my stylish colleagues to share their favorite jeans. More specifically, the most comfortable pairs in their wardrobes.
Wearing jeans while hanging around the house or at the office isn’t for everyone. Sweatpant supporters might say that jeans aren’t designed to be comfortable, but they can be. Finding a pair that’s somewhere between stiff and sofa-friendly is just a matter of trial and error. And by culling our editor-tested and -approved pairs together, we’ve done some of the work for you.
Per our editors, those die-hard denim fans who gravitate towards non-stretch denim won’t even need to give up their preferences for a 100% cotton pair of twill trousers. As far as fabric goes, there are plenty of options cut from a softer and thinner denim that don’t cross into stretch territory. In fact, jeans are becoming so comfortable that denim has entered a whole new category, more on the non-jean jeans here.
But besides sharing their most comfortable pairs, editors also revealed a few styling tips and tricks: Jeans with a surprise elastic waistband, knowing when to size up, and focusing on denim that doesn’t require breaking in. Thanks to these 19 picks, the search for the perfect denim to wear just about anywhere can end here. Trust us, comfortable jeans do exist. You just have to know where to find them.
Charlotte Diamond, Assistant Market Editor
Though I, admittedly, don’t often wear jeans when I WFH, Everlane’s cheeky jean—which I have in two washes—is my go-to comfy pair. They look polished when I stand up and are as comfortable as my favorite pair of sweatpants when I’m sitting down.
Madeline Fass, Market Editor
I am 100% a pants person, and my jean collection takes up a large portion of my wardrobe. I’ll wear any style of jeans, from stiff vintage to baggy boyfriend, but over the past few months, I’ve taken to pairs that fit like my favorite relaxed trousers. I’ve been living in both of these styles, from Boyish and Closed. The denim is super soft, the wash is just right, and the legs have the perfect amount of bagginess I’m looking for. Even with the loose fit, they hug my waist just right and aren’t a mile too long (a feat for someone who stands at 5′ 3″). With a pair like these, who needs sweats?
Willow Lindley, Accessories Director
My love for these comfortable (without looking comfortable) Gap jeans is already well documented, but I just want to keep spreading the news—especially now that they are under $40!
Julie Tong, Senior Commerce Editor
I’m not a major denim fan, but if there’s one pair I’d slip on, it’s my straight-leg Levi’s Wedgie. I own them both in blue and white, and I honestly wear them year-round. I love that they have a slight wide-leg feel with a cropped hem, which is perfect for my shorter frame. If there’s any pair you buy today, make it this one.
Daisy Shaw-Ellis, Jewelry Director
There’s something about wearing my denim every day that has made the work-from-home dressing situation feel less like I’m giving up on myself from the waist down. This pair of Frame straight-leg jeans is a tried-and-true pair that I wear often. They’re the perfect straight leg—not too slim, not too wide, and not a mom jean. The wash is a true blue that (in my opinion and in my wardrobe) works with everything. And almost as important as all of the above, they don’t bag out after a couple of wears, a major pet peeve of mine.
Alexandra Michler, Director, Fashion Initiatives
Although I will always prefer a dress over pants, I wear jeans almost exclusively at home now. I’ve found straight-leg denim jeans give just enough structure to feel put-together for a workday. I rotate between three pairs, but these from Khaite are my favorite. They are long enough for my legs and hit just above the waist. They’re perfect.
Naomi Elizée, Market Editor
After a summer-long search, I’ve finally found the perfect pair of jeans that both fit comfortably and add some flair to any outfit. These Margiela Slit jeans are now my go-to pair of jeans. They fit more high waist but still have enough length on the bottom, which—for a tall woman like myself—is relatively hard to find.
Christian Allaire, Fashion and Style Writer
I’m a weirdo who wears jeans almost every day, even if I am not going anywhere. I swear I even think better in them! My go-to is a pair of black Levi’s 501s, which at this point feel like a second skin to me. Once you break them in, they are so comfortable—promise!
Mai Morsch, Associate Market Editor
Though non-stretch denim and comfort don’t typically go hand in hand, Re/Done’s stovepipe jeans wear in perfectly. I’ve had this pair for at least five years, and they have become one of the most comfortable pairs in my collection. Plus, they haven’t faded one bit!
Alexis Bennett, Commerce Writer
When it comes to comfortable jeans, a loose-fitting silhouette always gets the job done. The key to maintaining a polished look is to make sure the jeans aren’t too baggy. Agolde’s ’90s Pinch Waist jeans have that perfect in-between balance that looks and feels equally as great.
Steff Yotka, Global Director of Social Media
The only designers who could convince me to wear jeans are Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena. After many months of coveting them, I caved and bought a pair of the duo’s marbled denim made in collaboration with British artist Faye Wei-Wei. Haven’t looked back since! The wide leg and low rise makes them comfortable for walking and sitting, and the sunny pattern makes me feel like I’m not wearing drab jeans.
Kiana Murden, Beauty Commerce Writer
I must admit that I am in no way a jeans girl, and that my search for the perfect pair has only just begun. Though I’m still on the hunt for the pair worthy of tossing out my skirts forever, I reach for 7 For All Mankind’s Cropped Alexa denim. I’m a fan of the wide-leg and cut-hem that gives them a more relaxed look. The material itself is rather stretchy too—ideal for days on the go.
Irene Kim, Production and Editorial Coordinator, Vogue Runway
The only pair of comfortable jeans I’ve ever owned was a pair of mid-rise slouchy jeans I got from the Ralph Lauren boys section many, many years ago. They were the perfect pair, until they ripped. The slouchy boyfriend denim from J. Crew is a great close second though. They’re made from a rigid denim, so they won’t stretch out after just one wear, but are just baggy enough so that they’re not digging into you all day long.
Sarah Spellings, Fashion News Editor
These jeans—which are the only pair in my closet that have any stretch—make me feel good no matter what. Got a six-hour plane flight? Wear these. Long day of Zoom meetings? These are just two notches above leggings in my book. The wide-leg silhouette hugs in all the right places and helps me live out my ’70s dream girl vision as well.
Chloe Malle, Contributing Editor
The Nili Lotan Flora Trouser jeans are the perfect multi-tasking jean. They’re comfortable enough for working at home, but crisp and dressed up enough for a work lunch—the dream combo!
Lilah Ramzi, Features and Commerce Editor
In college I discovered a lot about myself—including which jeans worked for me. More than 10 years later, I’m still wearing basically the same exact pair of pants. Black, skinny-leg, very high-waist denim with a little stretch by Acne Studios. When worn, I feel like Audrey Hepburn as a beatnik in Funny Face dancing in the cafés of Paris. Their extra-high waist means no fidgeting and retucking (blouses and, ahem, skin). Their extra-long length means my ankles won’t get cold. And their slight stretch (1% of elastane that makes all the difference) allows me to crisscross my legs with ease. They look somewhat dressy and can almost pass as a no-denim pair of pants—which is perfect because I seem to be in the extreme minority of people who don’t wear blue jeans.
Ciarra Lorren Zatorski, Assistant Market Editor
Still not quite ready for the resurgence of the low-rise denim, these Agolde mid-rise jeans are a true happy medium with the perfect straight leg and slouch that gives that vintage, worn-in feeling. Plus they’re made with organic materials for an added bonus!
Lauren Valenti, Senior Beauty Editor
I’d been pining for a pair of Judi Rosen’s old-school, high-waist faded blue flares for years. They’re the stuff of peachy dreams: Sculpting and lifting your bum to the heavens as only a sturdy, extra-high-rise style can. The irony that I finally landed a pair now—a time when soft pants reign supreme—is not lost on me. It takes no less than five minutes to shimmy my way into them, and they’re made of a stiff, raw denim that stands in total contrast to lounging, but I’ve relished breaking them in and fantasizing about the day I can take them out on the town. They make me feel alive.