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Cat Deeley barrel leg jeans

Cat Deeley makes a case for the tricky barrel leg jean trend - I'm stealing her style with these high street versions

Cat's once again made me want to try a tricky trend - this time, barrel leg jeans

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Carla Challis
Commerce Partnerships Editor
July 8, 2024
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Some fashion trends aren't easy to pull off, but there are people that make even the most divisive of trends look like a breeze - Cat Deeley, my current TV style icon, is the woman who makes me want to take a trend head on. And on Monday's This Morning, its Cat's jeans that I'm going to give a whirl.

Wearing a pair of barrel leg jeans, Cat's Marks & Spencer jeans have sold out but the shape is everywhere right now. A barrel leg jean sits higher on the waist than your average jean, and flare out around the knee area before tapering back in at the ankle.

Cat Deeley on Monday's This Morning wearing M&S jeans
Cat Deeley making a case for barrel leg jeans on Monday's This Morning

Ideal for all body shapes, they are great if you have a bit of a tummy as the higher waist pulls you in. Hips? The shape of the jeans might highlight them, but it actually evens out your look because of the exaggerated width at the knee. 

If you're straight up and down, they can create the illusion of hips and a waist.

I've tried a few pairs of barrel leg jeans on and have to say, they are ridiculously flattering. There's something immediately cool about the unusual shape of them, neither figure hugging nor baggy but bridging that gap. I also think they can look quite smart, and great for the evening with a heel.

I'll copy Cat and tuck in a shirt, blouse or billowy top. For a high fashion look, wear them extra-long but for most of us a slight flash of the ankle is a much easier way to wear them.

When shopping for your own pair, look for some with non-stretch denim. You want these jeans to keep their shape, and be slightly (and I mean slightly) rigid. And the shape does go under a few other names, depending on the brand; balloon leg jeans is a common name for them, albeit a slightly more extreme version, and if you want to dabble in the look without going too wide legged, try tapered jeans which are cut slimmer to the leg and pull in at the ankle.

Along with Cat, Gigi Hadid, Katie Holmes, Camila Morrone and Dove Cameron have all been spotted in various versions of the trend. Want to give it a go yourself? I've found the best barrel leg jeans on the high street for you to try.

How I chose the best barrel leg jeans

Style: The jeans featured are all called 'barrel' and follow the same style points as Cat's: medium to high waist, tapered ankle and flared at the knee. Cat's my inspiration here.

Price: They're all under £100, incase you don't want to commit your whole paycheck to the tricky trend.

Trusted brands: The jeans featured are from brands we know and trust.

  1. 1/5

    River Island Barrel Leg Jeans

    River Island Barrel Leg Jeans

    River Island Barrel Leg Jeans

    Sizes available: 6-18 in short, regular and long lengths

    Colours available: Blue

    Shipping: Free Standard Delivery

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    This River Island pair are about the best version of a barrel leg jean I've found on the high street. Ticking off all the details that make a barrel leg jean - high waist, flare from the knee, taper at the ankle - they're a brilliant price if you want to try the trend.

  2. 2/5

    John Lewis Barrel Leg Jeans

    John Lewis Barrel Leg Jeans

    AND/OR Compton Barrel Leg Jeans

    Sizes available: UK 26R - 36R

    Colours available: Blue

    Shipping: £3.95 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £50

    Returns: Free within 30 days

    Exclusive to John Lewis, the AND/OR barrel leg jeans are baggy and light, a great colour for summer and sit long.

  3. 3/5

    Abercrombie Curve Barrel Leg Jeans

    Abercrombie Barrel Leg Jeans

    Abercrombie Barrel Leg Jeans

    Sizes available: W24-34, Extra Short-Extra Long

    Colours available: Dark Blue, Light Blue, Medium Cream, Black

    Shipping: £3.95 Standard Delivery

    Returns: Free within 60 days

    Abercrombie's Curve Love jeans are a bestseller, loved for their comfort and shape - the barrel shape looks flattering, and there's plenty of washes and colours to choose from. 

  4. 4/5

    & Other Stories Barrel Leg Jeans

    & Other Stories Barrel Leg Jeans

    & Other Stories Barrel Leg Jeans

    Sizes available: 4 - 16

    Colours available: Blue

    Shipping: £4.50 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £40

    Returns: Free within 30 days

    & Other Stories barrel leg jeans sit high on the waist, with a tapered fit and seam detailing.

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  6. 5/5

    Free People Mid-Rise Barrel Jeans

    Mid-Rise Barrel Jeans

    Free People Barrel Leg Jeans

    Sizes available: UK 24W - 33W, Regular and Short

    Colours available: 16, including blue, black, cream and pink

    Shipping: £6 Standard Delivery or free for orders over £100

    Returns: Free within 28 days

    Free People's take on the trend is an exaggerated version of the barrel leg, with extra wide leg and a mid-rise. They're available in a massive 16 colours, too.

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