There is a slight difference between “straight-leg” and “skinny” jeans. It’s all in the width of the leg opening. Straight-leg jeans are a little wider at the hem than skinnies, and often more flattering because they create balance between the top and bottom part of your body.

  • Skinny jeans have leg openings of 12 -13 inches
  • Straight–leg jeans have leg openings of 14 – 15 inches

These hem width measurements are representative of the smallest size (24 or 25 inch waist). They increase as the size of the denim increases, but not by as much as you’d expect. Straight-leg jeans can run as wide as 16 inches on a larger size hem width. But go beyond 15 and 16 inches and you’re in boot cuts or flares.

Straight-leg jeans are generally better than skinnies for gals with wider calves, or pear and inverted triangle body types. Curvy hourglasses also do a pair of straight-legs justice. In these instances, straight-legs are a great substitute for skinnies. They’ll offer a similar sleek profile with the advantage of balancing out your silhouette. It’s a win.

Rich and Skinny 'High' Straight Leg Stretch JeansJ Brand '805 The Straight Leg' Stretch Jeans (Ink Wash) !iT JEANS 'Rising Starlet' Skinny Stretch Jeans (Juniors)

The styles on the left and in the middle are straight leg jeans. The hem width is the same as the width at the knee, thereby creating a “straight leg”. The style on the far right is skinny because the hem width at the ankle is narrower than at the knee.