My Friends Don't Like This "Ugly" Jean Trend—But Ready or Not, They're Happening

The fashion community continues to push aside those antiquated sartorial rules of opting for what’s “flattering” rather than what makes you feel comfortable. As a result, “ugly” trends continue to pick up steam. In fact, I cover those “uncool but actually very cool” looks on the regular. And while many of my friends are all for just wearing what you love no matter what anyone thinks, they do still have some personal opinions on some of the trends I’m particularly into. The latest? Balloon jeans. This straight-leg-adjacent cut features a high waist, cropped length, and a billowing effect (hence the “balloon” term).

When discussing the offbeat trend with my crew, it seems that they’re intrigued by the silhouette but would rather just wear straight-leg jeans or wide-leg jeans instead of this sort of in-between look. But as I mentioned, the look is actually quite forward and worth testing out, because, hey, some of the chicest fashion people are already wearing on repeat. That’s right, balloon jeans started making an even greater appearance throughout fashion month paired with a range of casual and more dressed-up pieces. So it’s safe to say that the jeans are happening.

To showcase this must-try trend (and give further inspiration to my inner circle), I rounded up some of my favorite fits featuring balloon jeans, complete with styling tips and shopping recommendations.

How to wear balloon jeans with a t-shirt and heels

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Style Tip: The statement-making nature of balloon jeans means they can work flawlessly with simple items like a basic T-shirt. But mixing in other eye-catching items like a printed trench and bold heels amps up the look even more.

How to wear the balloon jean trend

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Style Tip: While any top would work with light-wash jeans, an architectural knit feels quite fresh with white booties.

How to wear balloon jeans with booties

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Style Tip: Try the denim-on-denim vibe with a lighter-wash shirt mixed with a trench and black boots.

How to wear balloon jeans with a blazer and boots

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Style Tip: Elevate balloon jeans for a more formal setting with a tailored blazer, turtleneck sweater, and sleek booties.

How to wear balloon jeans with a sweater

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Style Tip: A cozy-knit–and-denim pairing is basically no-fail during this transitional season. While this fashion girl opted for strappy sandals, a pair of boots or sneakers would work with this ensemble as well.