What Are Relaxed Straight Jeans? [Explained]


Jean terminology can be confusing. We’ve all been there. The combination of fits and cuts can seem endless. If you have come across a pair of relaxed straight jeans, you may be wondering what you’re up against. What are relaxed straight jeans?  

Relaxed straight jeans have a looser fit than regular jeans, with a cut that remains consistent (“straight”) down the entire length of the leg. This means the leg won’t taper or narrow as it nears the ankle, but will hold the same width of cut down the entire length of the jean.

It is important to understand that the term “relaxed” applies to the fit, while the term “straight” applies to the cut. These jeans have a relaxed fit that won’t hug tight against your leg, and are cut straight, which means the width of the leg remains the same from the top to the bottom of the jeans.

Although straight cut is common in jeans, it is also quite common to come across jeans that have a slight taper. When a jean tapers below the knee, it narrows near the ankle in an attempt to mimic the natural shape of your leg (which also narrows below the knee).

A straight cut does not narrow. In a straight cut, the same width of cut is used both above and below the knee. So for a relaxed straight jean, you can expect that same relaxed width of cut used both above and below the knee.

Relaxed straight jeans have some pros and cons, and won’t necessarily be best for all people. In this article let’s discuss what you can expect for relaxed straight jeans. Here are mine:

levi-559-jeans

What Exactly are Relaxed Straight Jeans? 

As we discussed above, relaxed straight jeans have a looser fit than regular jeans, with a cut that remains straight down the entire length of the leg. This means the leg won’t taper or narrow as it nears the ankle, but will hold the same width of cut down the entire length of the jean.

Compare this, for example, to a “relaxed taper fit”. A relaxed taper jean would be a relaxed fit above the knee, with a cut that then tapers (narrows) below the knee and has a more tailored look near the ankle.

With relaxed straight, you can expect that same relaxed cut both above and below the knee. To read more, visit our article about relaxed vs straight fit pants.

How Loose is a Relaxed Cut?

The actual fit can vary brand to brand, but in most brands a relaxed fit is looser than a pair of regular cut jeans. Usually a relaxed fit is not the loosest fit a brand offers (usually they offer what’s called a “loose fit”), but in my experience a relaxed fit is often the second loosest fit you can buy.

A relaxed fit is perfect for those who like a loose-fitting jean, but don’t want it to look too sloppy or too baggy. Yes, the actual fit can vary a bit by brand, but a relaxed fit combines a loose fit with a professional appearance (not sloppy).


Do Relaxed Straight Jeans Make Sense for You?

Pros of Relaxed Straight Jeans

  • Casual Appearance – Relaxed straight jeans are definitely more of a casual looking pant. The straight fit causes some bagginess below the ankle, which keeps this type of cut from having a tailored, professional appearance. It is more of a weekend jean.
  • Not Sloppy – Sometimes loose fit jeans can be very baggy, and look sloppy. If you prefer a looser fit for your jeans, a relaxed fit is often a step down from loose fit, and combines breathing room with a fit that isn’t quite so sloppy and baggy.
  • Breathing Room – These jeans won’t hug tight against your legs like a slim cut, and are a nice option for those who need some breathing room in their jeans.

Cons of Relaxed Straight Jeans

  • Baggy Below Knee – This is a result of a straight cut. The same width of cut continues below the knee. But remember, your leg itself narrows as it nears the ankle. This causes the jean to look baggy below the knee. You can see that here on my pair of relaxed straight jeans:
levi-559-jeans
relaxed-straight-leg-opening
  • Not Always Right for Office – Because these jeans have a more casual appearance, they won’t necessarily be the right fit for all business casual work environments that allow jeans. If you combine them with dress shoes, the bagginess below the knee may look too casual.

How To Avoid the Baggy Ankle?

Okay, so you like the relaxed fit, but you don’t like how baggy the relaxed straight jeans are near the ankle. What do you need to do?

This is when it would make sense to shop for a relaxed-tapered jean. You would get that same relaxed, looser fit above the knee, but the jeans would taper (narrow) below the knee to create a more tailored look near the ankle.

Relaxed-taper jeans are a nice way to find a more professional appearance for a relaxed fit. Relaxed-straight jeans are more of a casual jean.

Is Relaxed Fit the Same as Loose Fit? 

As we discussed earlier, loose fit pants are usually baggier than relaxed fit pants. For some people, the loosest fit can feel too roomy, and almost get in the way. This will obviously come down to personal preference.

Relaxed fit jeans are created for comfort too, but they have a lot less bagginess in comparison to true loose-fit jeans.

Yes, they will have extra room in the seat and thighs compared to regular pants, but they won’t be as baggy as loose fit pants. If you like a relaxed fit, with a tapered leg, I’d recommend considering athletic fit jeans.


Who Shouldn’t Wear Relaxed Straight Jeans? 

People with average body types or slender legs might want to avoid relaxed fit jeans. The looser cut may look a bit too sloppy. But, of course, it all depends on what you like and what makes you most comfortable. 

For slender body types a more regular straight fit, a slim fit, or even a slim tapered fit might make more sense.

Paul Johnson

Paul is a lead content creator for Workwear Command. He has had several blue-collar jobs which have provided him a wide range of experience with tools and gear. He also has a business degree and has spent time in business casual office settings.

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