The Viva Team's Most Favourite Jeans

Build your essential wardrobe with denim you'll never want to retire

Paris Georgia's Terry jean. Photo / Supplied

A pair of jeans is a wardrobe fixture — an undemanding staple that's uncomplicated, until it isn't. What cut do I go for? Do I want something stretchy or steely? The options are myriad for these perfectly versatile pants. Here's where to start when picking denim you'll forever return to.

Paris Georgia 03 Elemental Terry jean, $275
“I’d been casually looking for a pair of relaxed-fit black jeans for a while when I came across this pair in Paris Georgia’s latest Elemental collection. They’re butter-soft and the kind of minimalist, unadorned style I so often turn to — no impractically tiny pockets or obtrusive branding splayed across one’s behind.” — Julia Gessler, digital and production journalist

Ruby Clover jean, $229
"Much like bikini shopping, jean shopping is something I dread. My waist-to-hip ratio often means that jeans are too loose at the top but tight round my thighs, which is why I did a little happy dance when I discovered Ruby's Clover jeans. The high-waisted style sits snug at my smallest point, and the exaggerated flared leg skims my thighs and elongates my legs. I love wearing them all through winter styled with a cosy roll-neck jumper and my trusty old sneakers." — Ashleigh Cometti, beauty editor

Neuw Lexi jean, approx. $205
"Alexa Chung and Camille Charriere once discussed the myth of comfortable yet stylish jeans, declaring that only rigid denim, the type you could tow a car with, looks any good on. When it comes to my Neuw Lexi jeans, I have to agree  they’re not the first pair I’d reach for before relaxing in front of a movie, but with their highish waist and flattering straight cut, they’re a little more forgiving on the silhouette. (And if a movie is on the agenda, I throw on my softies from Seed.)"  Rebecca Barry Hill, contributing writer

Penny Sage Dreyfus jean, $375
"I like classic cuts and rigid, heavy denim — vintage Levi's 501s, 505s or 517s (the style Carolyn Bessette Kennedy used to wear) are my favourites. I can spot them a mile away. Locally, Penny Sage cut a great pair of jeans (and pants too) with enough ease in the hip and seat for my proportions, and a nice high rise. They also use great quality denim, with durable finishing, and they're made here in Aotearoa. I have several pairs, and this dark wash is on my list next — a vibe shift." — Emma Gleason, commercial editor

Levi's 501s, $170, from Karen Walker
"I've never been a fan of skinny jeans, denim with stretch in it just feels wrong. Instead, you'll find me in slouchy boyfriend jeans, a style that works for everyone. The key is to buy them oversized for a relaxed look. My favourite jeans right now are Levi's 501s in dark denim from Karen Walker. With the original button fly and straight fit, I'm wearing them rolled at the cuff with sandals, a singlet or loose-fitting man's shirt, and will keep this vibe going with biker boots as we move into winter. They just get better and more comfortable with every wear." — Amanda Linnell, editor

Jacob Kalin Wayward jeans, $450, from Sabotage MFG
"I love jeans and my most recent love is a pair of Jacob Kalin's Wayward boot cut denim jeans, handmade from his home studio in Mt Eden. Inspired by traditional denim craftsmanship with elements of modern tailoring, these are made in small runs from 12oz/14oz selvedge denim woven in Japan. It fits through the seat with a slight flare, and I like that they feel like old-school workwear jeans I can wear to the office or during the weekend. You'll have to flick him a message via his Instagram page to order, they're that special, or preorder from Sabotage MFG." — Dan Ahwa, creative and fashion director

Agolde Riley jean, $340
"Agolde's Riley jean is a go-to style for me, with its high rise fit and straight leg, made from organically grown cotton. It has a cropped inseam which makes it ideal to wear with everything from ankle boots to sandals. The denim is rigid and non-stretch but soft to the touch, and the wash is vintage-look indigo, which I quite like for its combination of classic and cool." — Johanna Thornton, deputy editor

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