I'm someone who wears jeans almost every day. I'm also someone who lives in the hot and humid South, so wearing denim in the summer months is often a no-go. But a girl can't live in shorts and dresses alone (at least this girl can't), so I set out to find lightweight jeans that I can actually get away with wearing in the summer without sacrificing my body temperature.
As luck (or something like that) would have it, an intense heatwave recently appeared and I got to put a stack of lightweight jeans to the test. In choosing the jeans that I would try, I stuck to stretchy styles, most of which were below 11 ounces (denim weights typically run from 5 to 32 ounces). For the sake of variety, some of the styles were slim-fitting while others were wide-leg, but all of them were reflective of current denim trends and were created by some of the coolest denim brands on the market.
Keep reading to find out how I fared in my search for the best lightweight jeans to wear as the temperatures climb this summer and shop them for yourself.
That's me testing the Mother jeans discussed below.
My legs taking the Paige jeans out for a spin.
The amount of inventory at Levi's is vast, but I was happy to spot a pair of lightweight jeans in its classic 501 fit. I loved how they looked with sneakers and a cropped tee.
Verdict: Extremely lightweight and perfect if you're seeking a relaxed pair for the weekends. They're also under $100, so there's that.
Re/Done Originals just released a collection of Comfort Stretch jeans, which I was very eager to try. I'm a big Re/Done fan, and of the many styles that I've tried, these are by far the most lightweight. While they weren't the most lightweight that I tried for this experiment, I actually appreciated that they were just thick enough to hold their shape beautifully.
Verdict: I loved the flattering fit and wash of these, and the comfort level is very high. This pair is definitely a new favorite of mine. On an extremely hot day, I recommend wearing them at night as opposed to high noon.
I chose to try a summer-friendly white pair of cropped jeans by Mother. You have to be careful with white jeans, as you don't want them to be too thin, but you also don't want to suffocate in them. These weren't too thick or too thin and were relaxed enough to be even more breathable.
Verdict: Wearable on even the hottest of days. And the high rise holds everything in, which is always a plus with white jeans.
This was the only pair of skinny jeans I tried. The high rise made them feel modern, and the high-stretch factor and lightweight denim ensured I stayed cool. If you're someone who prefers to not have fabric against their skin in the heat, you may want to go with a more wide-leg style, but if you love skinny jeans year-round, this style is a must buy.
Verdict: These are the perfect summer jeans for skinny-jean devotees.
Reformation's Emma Jeans have the advantage of being wide-leg, allowing for airflow on a hot day. They're very rigid, which helps them keep their shape.
Verdict: The wide legs ensure that you'll stay and look cool.
Mott & Bow
Mott & Bow's Mom Jeans are made of 12.4-ounce denim, but they feature 23% elasticity, so they feel lighter in weight than they actually are.
Verdict: I loved that the high rise and medium wash gave these an authentically vintage feel, and they're just breathable enough to work for the summer.
These jeans feature 2% Spandex, which is gives them some comfortable stretch. The legs are cropped, so my legs didn't feel trapped in the sweltering heat.
Verdict: I was eager to try this style and can see why they're so popular (I noticed that they frequently sell out). They're very, very flattering. While they weren't the most ideal weight for a hot summer day, they were flattering enough that I didn't care so much.