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Jean Leggings vs Skinny Jeans

Jean leggings and skinny jeans have often been mistaken for each other since they are both tight jeans that possess similar qualities. Here's a closer look at their differences so you can easily pick the right jeans that best suit your style.

A couple wearing jackets and skinny jeans.

Tight jeans are tight jeans, right? With the multitude of different jean types and styles available out there, it’s hard to be sure if all jeans are equal. There seems to be most confusion between the tighter denim options, which has led to this comparison between jean leggings and skinny jeans.

Jean leggings and skinny jeans differ in structure, fit, and fabric used. The difference between the two is that skinny jeans have a more rigid construction with zips and buttons, and jean leggings have more stretch, an elasticated waistband, and are a more comfortable hybrid of jeans and leggings.

Jean leggings, also commonly called “jeggings,” are a popular choice as they are amazingly comfortable and look almost exactly like their slightly more restrictive counterpart, skinny jeans. Let’s take a look at how these two wardrobe must-haves compare.

What Are Jean Leggings?

Close-up of woman wearing jean leggings.

Jean Leggings or jeggings were developed as an antidote to the stifling nature of slim-fit pants. They are a hybrid of leggings and jeans that are slim and cozy. Stylish enough to wear to work, a party, or even on a date, jeggings have plenty of stretch in them, so you can feel free to have the burger and not just a salad. They usually have artificial pockets and buttons to create the illusion of authentic jeans.

Jeggings are commonly made of cotton, polyester, and spandex. The high percentage of cotton is responsible for the softness, and the spandex is the stretchy component that gives us the freedom to move and breathe.

There are two types of jean leggings:

1. The first is jeggings that are made from knitted tights material, with fake pockets and belt loops to look like authentic denim. Details are sometimes printed into the fabric to look like stitching and pockets.

Amazon Essentials Women's Pull-On Knit Capri Jegging, Dark Wash, Medium Regular

2. Secondly, we have jean jeggings that are a true cross between denim and legging material. These are denim fabric with the elasticity of a legging due to more spandex in the fiber content and are most similar to skinny jeans.

Democracy womens Absolution Jegging Jeans, Blue, 8 US

What Are Skinny Jeans?

Woman in white button-down long sleeve and skinny jeans sitting on a concrete wall.

Slim-fitting pants have been in and out of fashion since the 1800s. The glam and rock era of the early ‘80s favored the tight, acid-washed denim and rejected the flared pants made iconic by disco and the hippies. Towards the end of the 1990s, the rise of hip-hop and grunge brought with it the low and baggy carpenter style jeans, which was not everyone’s cup of tea.

The need for a more flattering, form-fitting style of jeans was evident by 2005, and skinny jeans were the answer.

Skinny jeans are made from cotton-rich denim, and sometimes there is a minuscule addition of spandex. Still, skinny jeans are notorious for being unyielding and fit only one exact size – no room for weekend binges if you wear true skinny jeans.

Skinny jeans should not be confused with slim-fit jeans, as they are the tightest jeans that are figure-hugging and tight all the way to the ankle, whereas slim-fit jeans are looser around the knees to the ankle but also hug the calves, thighs, and hips.

Benefits of Jean Leggings

No Nonsense Women's Classic Indigo Denim Jean Leggings, Medium Wash, M

There are multiple aspects to love about jeggings!

  • Jeggings fit like a glove all the way to your ankle.
  • They are very pliable and move with your body.
  • They often have a broad, slimming band across the tummy area, helping to shape the figure.
  • They are comfortable to travel in.
  • The stretchy fabric in the posterior should lift the butt and not squish it flat.
  • They are easy to wear with most shoes – and especially great with boots.
  • They help to smoothen any lumps and bumps.
  • They can look flattering worn by all shapes and sizes.

Benefits of Skinny Jeans

3301 Low Rise Skinny Fit Jeans

There are not many highlights to love for skinny jeans, but they haven’t been around since the ‘50s for anything!

  • Skinny Jeans offer a structured fit.
  • They are iconic style.
  • They are versatile in that they can are worn casually or paired with heels for a night out.
  • They will last many years – you just need to make sure you fit into them.
  • The denim fabric will fade and gain more character with each tear or fray.
  • They are very flattering on more petit figures.

How Are Jean Leggings and Skinny Jeans Different?

Folded jeans against black background.

Below is a comparison of the different attributes of jeggings and skinny jeans:

Jean Leggings:

  • Texture: Smooth and soft
  • Fabric used: Cotton, polyester, and spandex blend
  • Elasticity: Very stretchy
  • Style Tip: Pair with a longer top and sneakers for a casual day outfit.
  • Details: Pockets are generally functional, but buttons are for show. No zips are needed.
  • Durability: Thinner fabric shows wear quickly.
  • Comfortability: Very comfortable!
  • Who wears them: Women of all shapes and sizes.

Skinny Jeans:

  • Texture: Slightly course
  • Fabric used: Mostly just cotton denim
  • Elasticity: Unyielding
  • Style Tip: A tucked-in tee with heels makes a very sexy statement.
  • Details: Zips, buttons, and pockets are all functional.
  • Durability: Thick denim ages well and gains character.
  • Comfortability: Very rigid and can hurt if too tight.
  • Who wears them: Women of select sizes, and some men too.


Overall, jean leggings look like a pair of jeans but feel like a pair of leggings. They are versatile in the range of occasions you can wear them to and are a very comfortable must-have item. Thinner fabric leggings should ideally be worn with a longer-length top to avoid showing more of yourself in public than you would like to.

So if you want a pair of figure-flattering, shape-correcting, most comfortable jeans you can imagine, then jean leggings are your new best friend!

Skinny jeans are the classic style of denim that keeps coming back into fashion. They are rock and roll and elegant at the same time. They are available to both men and women but most often reserved for the style-conscious and smaller figures.

If you are a classic girl and love the structure of a dependable skinny, then your winning item will be the skinny jean!