2 Pairs of Classic High Rise Jeans (+ how to style them)

A single pair of perfect high rise jeans is the one thing that makes everything else in my closet work. In my world, it’s the master key that makes getting dressed easy. But like most good things, the perfect pair is not so easy to find.

After lots of try-ons this year, I found 2 pair that are working for me.

Stick with me, because in this post we’re covering:

  • 1 Easy Denim Styling Formula (using things you might already own)
  • 2 Classic High Rise Jeans for Spring
  • Tips on Finding Your Size in 100% Cotton Jeans

Now on to the jeans! First, a few styling ideas you can use, probably with things you already have…


1 Easy Denim Styling Formula

jeans + classic tee or tank + neutral shoes + silk scarf + minimal gold accessories


  1. Agolde Pinch Waist Jean in pepper consciously made | similar here for less | and here for less + more stretch
  2. minimal hook earrings consciously made
  3. animal print hair scarf | similar here new | similar here handmade
  4. charm necklace | similar here and here for less
  5. neutral sandal by Marais sold out | similar here and here
  6. long hair scarf
  7. bar necklace
  8. Levi’s Rib Cage Jean in “life’s work” (here in longer length with raw hem)
  9. minimal stacking rings consciously made
  10. neutral fitted boot consciously made (50% off here, low in stock) | similar here for less

(I’m also wearing these classic rib tanks in black and white consciously made)

I love this formula because it keeps things simple and breezy. The neutral shoes are walkable, making it easy to get outside and stay outside in Spring weather. They also give this classic look a contemporary vibe. The minimal jewelry dresses things up a bit– and each piece has personal meaning for me.

The scarf adds color and– bonus– can be worn as a hair tie or neck scarf. Limiting your shopping right now? Second-hand scarves are all over thrift stores and etsy. So hie thee to the Goodwill!

Let’s take a closer look at the jeans…


CLASSIC HIGH RISE JEANS PAIR 1: Levi’s Rib Cage



Levi’s Rib Cage Jean in “life’s work” | here in longer length with raw hem

classic rib white tank consciously made

neutral boots (50% off) consciously made | similar here for less and here with a kitten heel

animal print hair tie | handmade version here,similar here, similar vintage piece here)

thrifted belt | similar here , similar handmade version here

charm necklace | similar vibe here and here for less

The Jeans: The Levi’s Rib Cage Jean is getting a lot of attention lately. My take? I love ’em. They meet all of my criteria: they’re nearly 100% cotton, with a true high rise (over 11″) and a straight leg (there may be a slight flare but I don’t find it notice-able). I’m wearing a cropped version here, but Levis makes a longer version with a raw hem that you can wear folded up for a workwear style, or have hemmed for a few bucks at the tailor. They run under $100.

Sizing: I wanted a fitted waist, so I took my lowest comfortable size in these. (Size up for a more casual look, and try on a couple of pairs if you can.) They broke in at the first wear, and are getting softer and stretching out at the waist as I hoped they would. I cannot wait to see this indigo fade over the years.

How I find my size in 100% cotton jeans: 100% cotton jeans generally stretch out nearly a full size. They tend to feel very tight and rigid at first, especially if you’re used to stretchy jeans (jeans containing elastin or a version of it). Every body is different, but here’s what works for me: For a fitted look, I generally take my smallest comfortable size and let the jeans break in over time. If you like yours more loose, go with a pair that fits perfectly at first try-on, and be ready for them to get more comfy and casual-looking over time (there’s a reason big belts were a thing in the 90s).


CLASSIC JEANS PAIR 2: Agolde Pinch Waist Jeans


Agolde Pinch Waist Jean in pepper consciously made |similar wash here for and here for less | light blue wash here

classic cotton rib tank consciously made

charm necklace | similar vibe here and here for less

walkable neutral sandal by Marais (sold out) |similar here and here

The Jeans: I’ve had my eye on Agolde — a conscious California denim brand– for a long time. I’m really loving their new “pinch waist” style. While the name “pinch waist” sounds a little scary, I find that they’re comfortable at the waist and flattering in the hips.

Technically these are a “kick flare”, but the flare is subtle and they read to me more like a straight leg. These have very minimal distressing around the pockets, and are a slightly faded color of black that I love. If you want the ease of wearing all black without an ALL BLACK statement, switch black pants for a faded or dusky pair of black jeans. It softens the look and adds a beautiful tonal quality.

Sizing: Agolde’s sizing is tricky– I find their sizing varies across styles and even different washes. I recommend trying several sizes to find what works for you. I wanted something fitted at the waist, so I took a size that felt a little bit tight (not painful). I was happy to find that these broke in in only a few hours.

A note on price: These are well-made, serious denim. They’re also an investment. If you like these, but Agolde isn’t in your budget now, Levi’s makes a similar pair at about half the price here, and Everlane has a similar pair here for even less (with a lower rise).

I promise that 100% cotton jeans are worth the initial effort of figuring out sizing. A good pair will last years, can be repaired, and best of all, will develop a beautiful faded color over time that tells your story.


P.S. The book I’m reading in these photos? It’s The Boy Who Set the Fire by Mohammed Mrabet (translated by Paul Bowles). I’m loving everything by this Moroccan story-teller lately.


Now for your story

Are you into these classic styles, or not your thing? What do you wear with denim? I’d love to hear.


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