Bringing Back Bootcut: What Are Bootcut Jeans?
Styles certainly come and go, but if you’re shocked that bootcut jeans are back in style, you’re not alone. This versatile style has made a comeback in the world of womens jeans, and it has also achieved a more finessed look this time around. High fashion has embraced the return of the bootcut.
Popular in the 2000s (or the ‘Noughties’ as the British call it), the bootcut jean flatters and lengthens the leg without sacrificing the hip and bum curve-hugging that women loved about their skinny jeans and jeggings. If Kate Moss can flex her bootcuts at a recent fashion show, then you can revisit this favorite pair too.
And if you’re in the younger crowd and didn’t get the chance to live in bootcuts and tiny t-shirts yet, you’re in luck. It’s all coming back around.
Let’s take a look at the essential elements that make a bootcut jean.
What Are Bootcut Jeans?
The bootcut as we knew it in the 2000s and the versions we’re seeing today tend to fit closely from the waist to thigh and flare gently below the knee. The waist of the bootcut tends to be a lower rise, but you will see high rise versions here and there à la 1970s. All in all, they can come in a low rise, mid rise, or high rise variety. A curved yoke, curved hips, with no bagging from waist to knee, flatters curves much in the way that skinny jeans do. However, the gentle flare over the calf and ankle creates a long-looking thigh.
Because we’re so in love with all things womens denim, you can find bootcut jeans in every color and wash you can think of. But the classic bootcuts were often seen in a dark blue wash designed to flatter and minimize.
If you are curious about other fits and cuts in the world of jeans, checkout our denim blog for articles like:
The History of Bootcut Jeans
Bootcut jeans for men have been around for over 150 years—as early as the 1870s, Levi’s manufactured men’s jeans to allow room for calf-high cowboy boots. In the 1960s, hippies and others who dressed against the grain, turned first to bootcut, and later in the 1970s to full-blown flare jeans and bell bottom jeans.
In the 2000s, bootcut jeans were back again. Models like Kate Moss wore low rise bootcut jeans with little bitty tops at a time when midriff-baring was very popular. In fact, low rise bootcuts with a substantial belt and an Aéropostale baby t-shirt were a fairly common sight.
As bootcut jeans have come and gone, we’ve seen the waist rise and fall as well. Today, they’re back in both low and high waisted versions. Many people are a bit leery of returning to the low waist craze, so if you want to give bootcut jeans a try, you can opt for a high waist pair.
What Body Types Look Good in Bootcut Jeans
As with all jeans, a good cut and structure is key to flattering any body type. But bootcut jeans, in particular, are an excellent choice for those with a curvy thigh. Unlike straight leg jeans, bootcut jeans have a slim fit through the thigh that gives an elongating effect, and the subtle flare in the calf balances it all out. Those who are concerned about the hip and waist area can benefit from searching for a high waisted bootcut, which also lends a vintage 70s feel to the look.
Pear-shaped and hourglass figures look fantastic in a bootcut jean. Darker washes and colors help create the illusion of a longer and more balanced leg, especially when you pair them with a light colored top. Bootcut jeans can also help to emphasize or create the illusion of curves with a higher waist choice.
And finally, the leg of the bootcut comes all the way down to below the ankle, often resting on the top of the shoe (or boot which is where they get their name from). Bootcut jeans are a blessing for those who don’t like tight things squeezing their ankles or when there isn’t as much definition between the calf and the ankle, and you don’t want to showcase that area.
How to Style Bootcut Jeans
Bootcut jeans can really run the style gamut. Ripped knees and a casual top deliver an effortless street style, while crisp dark blue tailored denim bootcuts with a button-down blouse give ‘afternoon at the country club’ vibes. You can even echo the days of the Noughties and channel your inner Kate Moss with some low cut bootcuts and a tasteful cropped sweater.
The same pair of bootcut jeans, unlike a pair of boyfriend jeans or even mom jeans, can get as low-key or sophisticated as you want. It all depends on the top and shoes you add. Embrace the literal origins of the bootcut and pair them with cowboy boots and a tailored snap button shirt, or try on Jennifer Aniston’s signature look from the 2000s and pair a soft, clingy knit long-sleeved top and contrasting shoes.
What Shoes to Wear with Bootcut Jeans
Speaking of shoes—don’t forget that you can go beyond the obvious with bootcut jeans. Cowboy boots definitely look sharp, but you’ll also look great in low top skate shoes or some canvas shoes. Get fancy with pointed-toe stiletto heels or flats for extra comfort.
You can even take the way-back machine and slip on some clogs or platform mules. Your bootcut jean hems should allow the toe to peek out.
Try platform sandals or espadrilles with your bootcut jeans for a more summery look. With a woven top, you’ll capture a breezy, casual mood that’s also super comfortable.
And finally, give your bootcut jeans an industrial edge with chunky Doc Marten style boots, or go with a sleeker, triangle, or pointed-toe, chunky-heeled boot. It’s actually a challenge to find shoes that don’t look good with bootcut jeans.
Embrace the Style Cycle
Watching bootcut jeans come back in style is a good thing. This cut of jeans flatters many bodies and is so easy to style for just about any occasion. In addition, it can be a more accessible style to wear that doesn’t feel too boxy and baggy but also doesn’t feel restrictive and confining. Bootcuts are here to stay and work for all ages. Whether you’re embracing them as an old friend or trying them for the first time, the moment has come to work bootcut jeans (back) into your denim rotation.