What Are Cowboy Cut Jeans?

Jeans come in so many shapes, styles and colors that it seems there’s a style for every occasion. In a world of low-rise, tripped-up, colorful and avant-garde styles, cowboy cut jeans are jeans for a simpler time. Sure, nostalgia isn’t everything, but these old-school jeans have what it takes to stand up to modern fashion trends. So gear up to do your best John Wayne impression and see if cowboy jeans fit your style.

The Basics

When you see someone — usually a guy — wearing jeans in a Western or traditional “ranch” or “cowboy” setting in movies and TV, they’re probably wearing cowboy jeans. These are the quintessential “old school” jeans. In fact, their style is pretty close to the shape of the very earliest blue jeans sketched for a patent by the folks at the Levi Strauss company in 1873. This style of jeans dates back to a time when function was more important than form, but they still remain fashionable today.

The Cut

Cowboy cut jeans have a high waist. On most women, this means they sit at the natural waist, or in line with the belly button. The legs of the jeans are mostly straight, wide enough at the calf and ankle to pull comfortably over a pair of boots — not visibly flaring, but hanging in a generally straight line from the knee.


Though many other modern jeans types come in different colors and cloth patterns or styles such as distressed jeans, pocketless jeans or stone or acid washes, cowboy cut jeans usually are available only in traditional denim blue.

Body Types

Cowboy cut jeans for women are derived from a style created for men. Because of this, these jeans are most flattering on women with a boyish shape and flat tummy. These jeans sit awkwardly on curvy waists or hourglass shapes and are not terribly flattering to round bottoms. They’re ideal, however, if you have long legs, a mild curve to your waist and a flat shape front and back.

What To Wear Them With

It’s good to wear a belt with cowboy cut jeans in order to keep the waist from looking too long. This is especially helpful if you wear a shorter shirt that’s not long enough to cover the waist area. Generally, avoid long shirts that cover the waist area all the way around. But long cardigans or dusters that are open in front but hang in back are ideal.


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