The Rise of Mermaid Jeans: A Blowing Denim Trend in 2023

The Rise of Mermaid Jeans: A Blowing Denim Trend in 2023
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The Rise of Mermaid Jeans

Mermaid jeans, sometimes called sweetheart jeans, have become an increasingly popular denim style over the past few years. Characterized by their fitted shape through the hip and thigh, these jeans flare out dramatically at the knee to create a mermaid-like silhouette.

What are Mermaid Jeans?

Mermaid jeans feature a super high waist, emphasizing your natural curves. They cling tightly to your legs from the waist down to about the knees, almost resembling leggings. At the knees, the legs of the jeans dramatically flare out into a wide, flowing bell shape. This creates a vintage mermaid or sweetheart look.

History of This Trendy Style

This type of flared jeans originally rose to popularity in the 1970s, when they were sometimes called bell bottoms. They faded from popularity in the following decades when straight and bootcut styles dominated. However, in recent years, flair and bellbottom styles have made a major comeback with the emergence of mermaid jeans.

What Makes Them Different From Other Jeans

Mermaid jeans differentiate themselves not only through their fit but also through the fabrics they utilize. Many mermaid jeans contain high percentages of stretchy fabrics like lycra to ensure the utmost comfort while maintaining close contouring fits. The flared leg shape also contributes to comfort by allowing room to move.

Why Mermaid Jeans Are Having a Major Moment

Several factors make mermaid jeans an appealing choice in 2023. As high-waisted bottoms dominate mainstream fashion, mermaid jeans' shaping high rises feel both contemporary and vintage. The mermaid shape also flatters a wide variety of figures by cinching in waists while balancing curvier hips and thighs. Finally, many shoppers appreciate both the callback to 70's style and the ability to put a modern spin on this retro look.

They Flatter All Body Types

One of the key reasons for mermaid jeans' popularity lies in their universally flattering silhouette. For those with straight figures, the stretchy fabric and curvy side seams create the illusion of an hourglass shape. On the other hand, women with actual hourglass or pear-shaped bodies enjoy accentuating their curves in form-fitting mermaid jeans.

They Allow for Retro-Inspired Style

The 70's revival feels more present than ever in fashion, from earthy toned patterns to bohemian peasant tops. For denim lovers who want to capture the free-spirited vibe, mermaid jeans' throwback shape makes them the perfect way to channel 70's retro glam - with some modern updates.

They Provide Comfort for All Activities

Despite their snug fit, mermaid jeans' stretch fabrics move easily. The flared shape creates freedom and airflow around the lower legs, increasing mobility. Whether walking around town, dancing at concerts, or relaxing at home, mermaid jeans aim for ultimate comfort.

Tips for Styling Your Mermaid Jeans

Mermaid jeans' versatile shape pairs well with tanks, blouses, sweaters, jackets, and more. Take these tips for amplifying your outfit.

Cropped Jackets and Sweaters

Cropped tops cut diagonally above the waistband keep the figure-enhancing high waist on full display. Neutral cropped jackets also let the flare shine. For colder temps, pair sweetheart jeans with cropped turtlenecks or mock neck sweaters.

Heels or Boots

In terms of footwear, lean into the throwback vibe with strappy 70's style block heels or platforms. For casual looks, balance the flared leg with simple ankle boots. Thigh-high boots can also create visual drama and lean into the retro mermaid aesthetic.

Tops that Cinch at Waist

Snugly tucked tops enhance the perfect hourglass shape. Fitted mock neck bodysuits or logo tanks pair well when neatly secured in the signature high waistband. Cropped blouses with voluminous sleeves also beautifully contrast the sleek jeans.

Where to Find Quality Mermaid Jeans

Mainstream stores like Old Navy, Gap, Levi's, and Madewell carry high-waisted flared options. For the widest selection, browse specialty boutique stores focused on denim styles. You can also shop woman-owned indie brands like DL1961 for premium mermaid jeans crafted from innovative fabrics.


Founded in 2008 by husband and wife team Demetri and Lauren, DL1961 creates forward-thinking women’s denim crafted from sustainable materials like regenerated cotton and post-consumer plastic. Based in NYC but manufactured in factories with ethical labor practices, they lead in innovation while leaving a lighter environmental footprint.


This young contemporary brand under the J.Crew group features on-trend relaxed and slim fitting bottoms. While offering premium denim basics for all budgets, Madewell also drops unique capsule collections and collabs that often include modern mermaid styles.

Good American

Co-founded by Khloe Kardashian and Emma Grede, Good American earned fans for body positive ethos that all women can look and feel confident. Using advanced stretch fabrics and waist-cinching designs, their flared options lift curves for head-turning mermaid shape.


What body types do mermaid jeans suit best?

With their curve-enhancing high waistband and flared leg, mermaid jeans tend to flatter hourglass and pear shaped bodies that carry more weight in the hips, thighs, and rear. The stretch fabric also sculpts the waist area for those with straight figures. So most body types can wear mermaid jeans well with the right fit and proportions.

How should mermaid jeans fit?

Look for a super high waist that comes to your natural waistline and slim, body-skimming legs from waist to knee. Make sure the flared leg feels loose and flowy rather than tight. Stretch fabrics with 2-4% elastane will move well and enhance comfort all day.

Can you dress mermaid jeans up or down?

Absolutely! Mermaid jeans easily transition from day to night. Pair them with graphic tees and jean jackets for casual daytime looks. Style with cropped camis and strappy heels at night. The versatile flared leg flatters both laidback and dressy tops.

What shoes go best with mermaid jeans?

Bells and flares look amazing with retro-style block heel sandals and mules. Ankle boots balanced the volume in the legs perfectly. And don’t forget about platforms and chunky heels to really lean into that 70's look.

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