Generally speaking, straight legs are roomier on the lower leg than skinnies, but generally not as wide as bootcuts. More specifically, retailers call the cut a “straight leg” cut if some portion of the seam is cut in a straight line. The fit then differs depending on where on the leg the straight part of the seam begins.

A straight seam from knee to ankle on a tailored pair of jeans or trousers results in a tighter looking silhouette, not all that different from a pair of skinnies like the examples below. This style of straight leg can be “your skinny” when you have wider calves. 

A straight seam from thigh to ankle creates a wider silhouette, resulting in a less tapered effect on the lower part of the leg and on the hems, and a roomier fit on the thigh. My Maddie pants from J.Crew are a slightly slimmer example of this type of straight leg silhouette. 

Sometimes, the seam is cut straight all the way from the top of the thigh, which makes the straight legs look like bootcuts because the hems are quite wide.

When I talk about straight leg trousers or jeans without being more specific, I’m generally referring to the first two slimmer renditions which are more tapered on the lower part of the leg. These styles of straight leg are easier to combine in outfits and generally look more flattering on most body types.

The third (widest) rendition of the straight leg is harder to wear because it can look frumpy. A proper bootcut silhouette that narrows at the knee and flares at the hem tends to create a more flattering effect, especially on a curvier figure.

Slimmer straight legs, like the first two rows of examples above, look great with flats and heels up to an inch and a half, which is probably why I like them so much (those are my favourite heel heights for everyday comfort). Slimmer straight legs are a little tricky to hem for higher heels because the hems aren’t wide enough to skim the surface of the ground like bootcuts and dramatic flares, nor are they sufficiently tapered to grab your ankles like scrunched skinnies. In this case, I’ve found that a small break line is best, and allows the back of the hem to rest on the top of the heel portion of the shoe. Wide straight legs worn with high heels like the example above from Ann Klein — can be hemmed like bootcuts. Personally, I think the example is a few inches short because I prefer my regular length wide hemmed jeans and trousers extra long

Finally, slimmer straight legs can be rolled at the hems to create a boyfriend jeans effect, in which case you can wear them with any heel height. They can also be cropped a good few inches above the ankle bone and worn with ankle booties that are higher in the shaft.