The Difference Between Bootcut, Straight, Skinny, and Flare-Legged Jeans

difference between bootcut, straight, skinny, and flare jeans

What is the difference between bootcut, straight, skinny, boyfriend, and flare legged jeans?

Sometimes it can be quite confusing trying to figure out what the different styles of jeans look like. Someone might be talking about bootcut jeans and you might have no idea what they’re talking about, or you might mistaken one pair of jeans for the other. Here is a quick reference to the different styles of jeans below.


Bootcut jeans are similar to straight but not entirely. They are fitted around the thighs and only slightly taper off at the knees, so as to accommodate a boot. It’s not entirely straight like a straight-legged jean and it’s not totally flared like a flared-legged jean. It’s sort of in the middle between a straight and a flare. Men’s bootcut and women’s bootcut tend to be different where a women’s bootcut jeans are tight along the thighs to the knee whereas the men’s jeans are loose/flared from the crotch all the way down to the bottom of the hem.


Celebrities wearing bootcut jeans

This style became popular in the 1990’s and still continues to be popular today along with the skinny jeans.


The straight jeans are popular among men, and have been in traditional style since Levi Strauss’ introduced them to the Americas in the late 1800’s. They normally have the same circumference from the knee to the hem.

women straight legged jeans

Women wearing straight legged jeans


Skinny jeans are exactly what the name implies: they’re skinny and tight. They have a snug fit from the waist all the way down to the hem. They became popular in the 1950’s when many celebrity singers wore them including Marilyn Monroe and other rock band singers. In the 1980’s they were popularly worn with leg warmers over the bottom portion of the jeans. Skinny jeans are also called cigarettes, drain pipes, carrot legs, pep legs, pencil legs, skinny pants, and tapered legs.


Skinny jeans for girls

Super Skinny

Super skinny jeans are also exactly what the name implies. They’re more tight fitting than regular skinnies, and sometimes they can be quite difficult to put on and take off. Along with the regular skinnies, these jeans are popularly worn with boots or scrunched at the ankles. Be prepared to walk uncomfortably with these!

women wearing super skinny jeans

Super skinny jeans

Boyfriend Jeans

Boyfriend jeans are similar to skinny jeans except that they have a wider circumference around the thighs. They are usually meant to be worn baggy at the thighs and with the hems rolled up to the shins.


Boyfriend Jeans

Flared Jeans

Flared jeans, also called bell bottoms, is a style of jeans that become wider from the knees down, forming a sort of “bell-like” shape of the pant leg. They were popular in the 1960’s and were even rumored to be first worn by sailors in 1917. They became popular again in the 1990’s where marketers preferred to call them flared jeans instead of bell bottoms. The bell bottoms of the 1960’s were different from the flared jeans of the 1990’s, in that the bell bottoms were a little bit more loose while the modern flare jeans are more tight fitting around the thigh area. Flared jeans can have anywhere from a moderate flare to an exaggerated flare. The moderate flares may also be called bootcuts, depending on the manufacturers and different consumer tastes.


Women wearing flared jeans

Wide Leg

Wide legged jeans are a type of jean style that is wide from the thigh area all the way down to the hem of the pants; they have a wide circumference the entire length of the pants. Extremely wide legs will completely cover a person’s shoe and drag on the floor. They are also called “baggy pants” or “hip-hop” style jeans. They are popular with the skater, raver, and gangster groups.

celebrities wearing wide legged jeans

Celebrities wearing wide legged jeans


A style of baggy jeans