madewell wide-leg vs. slim wide-leg denim

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if you remember, last fall i posted a comprehensive comparison of madewell and everlane’s wide-leg cropped pants. with the wide-leg silhouette just entering the zeitgeist at the time, it proved to be one of my more popular posts. fast-forward six months and the non-skinny style pant is still going strong. it has transcended denim and essentially taken over my own personal jean collection. recently, madewell introduced the wide-leg jean’s slimmer kid sister. i talked about my first experience with them in this post, explaining that it was love at first try-on. now that i own both versions, i figured it might be helpful to do a side by side comparison between the two silhouettes.

i’ve saved a complete breakdown of both pairs in my instagram story highlights if you prefer a more interactive experience. otherwise, the particulars are listed below. as always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any specific questions!

the jeans

madewell wide-leg crop jeans button-front edition

sizing: i find this pair specifically runs slightly big -i’m in my normal size (26) but i probably could have sized down one size

madewell slim wide-leg jeans

sizing: with the slimmer silhouette, i found these fit a bit snugger to the body. i’d definitely stay with your true denim size (i’m also in the 26)


wide-leg || just as the name implies -this pair is most narrow at the waist, with plenty of volume through the thighs and calves. similar to an a-line skirt, i find this version to be universally flattering as it emphasizes the smallest part of the body and pulls away through the lower half creating the illusion of a longer, leaner shape. in terms of styling, with the voluminous pant legs, i find this pair errs on the more casual side. i personally wear my wide-leg denim with sweaters and flats in the fall, and with tees and sandals in the spring/summer. they’re a great ‘weekend’ pant when you’re going for a laid-back vibe.

slim wide-leg || seemingly an oxymoron (how can something be slim and wide?), this pair is kind of like the hybrid of a wide-leg and a straight leg jean. it has a slightly higher rise (11″) and fits snug through the hips and upper thighs, only pulling away from the body slightly to create more of an ‘I’ shape (think legs for daysssss) vs. the traditional wide-leg’s ‘A’ shape. for this reason, i find the more tailored cut of this pair a bit more versatile for styling purposes. they could easily be made office appropriate with a crisp white button-down and pumps or date night ready when paired with a tight-fitting sleeveless turtleneck and leather booties.


as i mentioned above, the sizing is pretty consistent between the two styles. you may be able to size down in the traditional wide-leg pair, but definitely stay true to size in the slimmer version. when all else fails, i’ve found the madewell employees to be very helpful in determining which size will provide your most flattering fit.


both pairs are priced at $128 which is pretty standard for madewell denim. in terms of the greater denim market, i’d say this price falls somewhere in the middle. it’s obviously not the affordable style of abercrombie or everlane, but it’s not as high as some of the more premium brands which can run up to $300. at the end of the day, madewell is known for their good-fitting, quality denim. it’s kind of their ‘thing.’ investing in one of their pairs will only serve you in the long run as you will find their craftsmanship will last you season after season. it’s also important to note that madewell has a generous denim recycling program in which you can earn $20 for each pair of old denim you donate to go toward a fresh pair.

closing thoughts

while i don’t find it unreasonable to own both pairs -despite their subtle differences, i understand that not everyone can justify having multiple pairs of nearly identical denim. so if i had to recommend just one pair, i think i’d go with the slimmer version. shocking to say (considering how much i stan the traditional wide-leg silhouette), but on the whole, i find their tailored shape to be more versatile for dressing up and down.

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