There was a time many, many years ago when dangerously low-waisted jeans were my denim du jour. I'm talking jeans so low they violated my high school dress code. (I'm surprised my parents let me leave the house in those infamous Frankie B jeans.) But thankfully, my tastes have changed drastically as I've gotten older, and my denim preference has swung quite the opposite way. These days, I strictly wear high-waisted jeans and no longer want to even look at pairs that fall below my belly button. I personally just think they're more flattering and comfortable. (But hey—if they're not your thing, that's fine too! Do you.)
Now given that I have a long torso, finding jeans that hit at my belly button or above can be quite the task. Since we're talking almost a 12" rise or higher, not every denim brand offers such an option. But over my years of trial and error, I've figured out which brands offer styles that fit that criteria and I've stuck to them. From the wide-leg jeans that get me the most compliments to the ultimate skinny jeans for a night out, below are the nine best denim brands for high-waisted jeans.
When I figured out one of my favorite affordable retailers made ultra high-waisted styles, I was ecstatic. Almost all of & Other Stories' jeans are under $100. Not to mention the fact that the majority of its offerings could easily be mistaken for vintage. If you're looking for retro silhouettes with almost a 12" rise at affordable prices, look no further.
Sustainable and super high-waisted?! Jackpot. Reformation's denim is not only sustainably made and affordable, but they offer multiple styles with a 12" rise. Denim is widely known to be one of the most environmentally damaging categories in fashion, so Reformation's water-saving denim production practices are another reason to feel good about purchasing from them. Whether you're looking for sleek skinnies or cool wide-legs, Ref has your denim needs covered.
Agolde is one of those brands that's a magnet for compliments. With vintage-inspired washes and of-the-moment silhouettes, this is one of those brands that always attracts attention (in a good way). Its 12 1/2" rise on styles like the Pinch Waist and '90s Loose Fit jeans makes them the ideal brand for high-waisted denim fans like myself.
Citizens of Humanity is another brand that offers multiple styles with over a 12" rise. It also happens to have some of the coolest wide-leg silhouettes I've seen, so if you're into this spring/summer 2020 denim trend, you've come to the right place.
My all-time favorite pair of skinny jeans is Cotton Citizen's Cigarette Jean. With an ultra high rise that easily covers my belly button and fabric that perfectly molds to your body, they're the only skinny jeans I want to wear for a night out.
Okay, brace yourselves. Below is my favorite pair of jeans I've ever owned (and also the pair that's gotten me the most compliments): Levi's Ribcage Wide-Leg Jeans. It's called the Ribcage for a reason—the rise is so high it seriously almost touches your ribs. I got the light wash version last summer and have never loved a pair of jeans more. The fabric feels vintage, the fit is absolutely perfect, the wide-leg silhouette could not feel more relevant, and the rise perfectly covers my belly button.
These are the only pair of jeans I feel totally confident wearing a small crop top with because they cover so much of my torso that only a touch of my midriff shows. I can't recommend these enough. All of Levis' Ribcage styles will feature the same ultra high-rise, though, so even if wide-leg isn't your thing, you're sure to find a silhouette you like in this style.
My most recently discovered denim brand is Slvrlake, most specifically, the brand's Beatnik style. Featuring a 12 1/2" rise and multiple washes that feel like they came straight from a vintage store, you can mark my words when I say that this style is going to blow up. And I'd go even further to say that Slvrlake is going to be the next big thing in denim.
Another sustainable denim brand that deserves your attention is Boyish. With multiple styles that feature a 12" rise and trendy silhouettes like flares and wide-legs, Boyish has your 2020 denim needs covered.
Re/Done has been one of my favorite denim brands for years, always debuting the coolest silhouettes and washes virtually every It-girl will be spotted in. Their "ultra high rise" styles feature a 12" rise, which even covers my extra-long torso.
Next, I only want to wear wide-leg jeans, so I'm investing in these three pieces.