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What are barrel-leg jeans? The trending denim shape to try now

By Megan Bedford

Barrel leg jeans 2024
Images: @Agolde, @Citizensofhumanity, @nlmarilyn
Roomy and chic, barrel-leg jeans are taking the fashion world by storm.

As we stow away summer favourites and reach for slightly warmer garments, the faithful denim pieces in our wardrobe are rediscovered.

You might be taking stock of what you still love and how to style it now, as well as which new items to pick up.

Denim is a classic that is always in style, but trending shapes and washes – and ways to wear them – do come and go.

This season it seems as if the slow move over the past few years away from skinny jeans has reached its peak, as bigger and baggier styles reign supreme.  Slouchy styles that pool at the ankle are even being donned by style influencers and celebrities. Known as puddle pants, or puddle jeans, the relaxed floor-grazing styles demand slightly more laundry than we’re a fan of (especially in winter!), but those of us with short stature will have been inadvertently been embracing this look for years.

For a slightly more chic option, wide leg jeans, styled with neat-fitting knitwear and streamlined sneakers, or preppy with a blazer, a crisp white shirt and loafers, are a great option.

However there is a new shape – the barrel leg- that will really have an impact this year.

What are barrel-leg jeans?

Barrel-leg jeans, also known as ‘horseshoe jeans,’ have a brand new shape being embraced by fashion-forward denim brands and denim enthusiasts. The chic new option elevates the look of wearing denim during the day and even into the evening.

Often high-waisted, barrel-leg jeans are notable for their roomy shape and tapered leg. They hug the hips, offering the cool swagger of baggier styles around the knees, but regain a touch of elegance with as they come in to a neat shape, ending at the ankles. 

The curvy look has become a go-to for stylish celebrities of late, as the likes of Julianne Moore, Blake Lively, Gigi Hadid and more have been stepping out in the style.

More extreme versions, sometimes called ‘balloon jeans’, can be found from high-fashion brands like Alaia, but the style is also being incorporated more gently elsewhere with a very slight tapering in straight leg or relaxed ‘mom’ style jeans. These are the perfect option for dipping a toe into the trend.

If you find this look confronting, and you are still pining for the days when skinny jeans reigned, don’t worry. There are plenty of indications they will make a serious comeback, perhaps even later this  year. Among other brands, Miu Miu has just included a tight, cropped pair of skinny jeans, worn double denim-style with a short denim jacket in its Fall/Winter 2024 collection at Paris Fashion Week.
Best Barrel Leg Jeans 2024

L-R: Citizens of Humanity Horseshoe Jean; Alaia Round Denim Pant; Toteme Barrel Leg Jeans; Frame Barrel Leg Jeans; Zara Mom Jeans


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