They may not be the most exciting thing in a closet, but a good pair of black skinny jeans is a wardrobe essential that I can't imagine life without. This was made much more apparent to me recently when I got rid of my trusted pair of black skinnies that I'd worn for years and were definitely past their prime. Only once this key piece was missing from my closet did I realize just how important it was that I invest in a new pair. (You really don't know a good thing until it's gone, amirite?) I have L.A. style, after all, so I wear denim pretty much every day, and a black, skinny option was very noticeably absent after only a few weeks.
Alas, I set out on the most daunting quest of them all: denim shopping. Nothing gives me a headache quite like the glare of fluorescent dressing room lighting, but I wanted to make sure I weighed all my options before deciding on a new pair. Since virtually every brand under the sun makes a basic black skinny, I had many options to choose from. To save all of you the same headache (and unflattering dressing room lighting), I'm here to share my tips on how to find the best black skinny jeans. I tried on a total of 19 pairs between in-store and online orders, but there were only seven true winners that I would feel 100% confident replacing my old pair with. The brands I didn't like shall remain nameless, but the ones I did are going to get a huge shout-out momentarily. Below, my seven holy-grail pairs and why I feel so strongly about them. Plus, some poorly lit fitting-room selfies for your entertainment.
For those who prefer a bit more stretch in their skinny jeans, Paige's Hoxton in Black Shadow is ideal. It's super-stretch denim without being too thin or jegging-adjacent, so you'll still feel like you're wearing pants—but the most comfortable pants you've ever worn.
If you like thicker denim, these are the skinnies for you. Made of Japanese stretch denim, these high-waisted jeans are formfitting while still feeling like they hold you in. Plus, the raw hem at the ankles makes them feel a bit more exciting than your average black jeans.
Buzzy sustainable brand Boyish is one of my new favorite denim labels for a few reasons: They're produced with sustainable fabrics using only nontoxic materials while still being stylish and fitting perfectly. Oh, and the price point is super reasonable for premium denim. Their backside pocket placement also does great things for your derrière.
If you like an ultra-high rise, these are the skinny jeans for you. Full disclosure, I strictly wear high-rise jeans, and I have an abnormally long torso, so a normal high rise typically doesn't even come close to my belly button. But this miracle pair features a 10-and-a-half-inch rise that hits well above my belly button, and for that, I am forever grateful. Plus I like that these are more of a washed black so they look like you've had them for years.
Re/Done has yet to create a pair of jeans I don't love, and its black skinnies are no different. They're made of 98% cotton and 2% elastane, so these are ideal for those who hate super-stretchy denim. Also please note the raw hem at the ankle.
Another amazing sustainable-denim option is Reformation's High & Skinny Jean. These are one of its best-selling styles for a reason. They're the absolute perfect fit. Good for you and good for the environment is a win-win in my book.
Frame's Le High Skinny makes the perfect staple skinny jean due to the thick material. Plus, it actually stays skinny all the way through to the hem (which I find is somewhat of a challenge when you're not 6') so there's no bunching around your ankles.