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Try The Trend: Horseshoe / Barrel Jeans

Jeans: We love them. I did a poll on Instagram recently to find out how many you own, as I’d read that the average woman has eight pairs of jeans. The replies varied wildly from no pairs at all (who ARE you?) to ‘I lost count at 120’, which made me feel better about my 26 pairs. I have had a small cull since then and I try to keep them to about 20 pairs which, uncoincidentally, is almost the exact amount that will fit into my ‘denim drawer’ without overspill. In my defence, I basically live in jeans – but I now operate on a strictly ‘one-in-one-out’ policy.

The thing with jeans is that just when you think you’re all set in a ‘No, I definitely don’t need another pair’ sort of way, along comes another denim trend that makes your collection feel, well, insufficient. The latest style to make your boot cuts / skinnies / kick flares / boyfriends look dated in a way you can’t quite put your finger on is the ‘horseshoe’, or ‘barrel’ jeans. Two different names, but essentially the same thing.

horseshoe jeans
Left to right: Free People Horseshoe jeans, Whistles authentic barrel leg jeans, COS Arch jeans.

Don’t run screaming to the hills just yet, though. I know they look a bit weird at first, but horseshoe jeans are a surprisingly flattering style for most of us. Like the boyfriend/mom jeans we have come to know and love, they’re quite forgiving on the hips because they’re roomy in that area before tapering in to become narrower at the ankle. But not too narrow, as that would be the ‘carrot’, which goes into the 2019 denim style pile. Are you keeping up at the back? 

A lot of you will be a bit scared that, due to the shape of these jeans, they’d look best worn with a top tucked into the waistband, and that is true. But fear not, as another trend we’re seeing this year is for the more boxy T‑shirt or cropped shirt, and horseshoe/barrel jeans would work very well here too.

If you’re still with me, let’s dive straight in with the best horseshoe/barrel jeans I have found for you, plus ideas on how to style them…


These actually came out in 2021, but where Citizens of Humanity lead, others will follow. As with any trend, it usually takes about three years for it to trickle down to the high street. This one is for my more fashion-forward ladies as they have quite a pronounced shape that won’t be for everyone. When we get to the high street version, you’ll see this watered down somewhat. It all depends on how adventurous you are (and what your budget is, of course). Talking of high street versus designer, this shirt from Mango is a great version of my favourite Totême one.

horseshoe jeans, barrel leg jeans

  1. Mango flowy printed shirt
  2. COS oversized flock denim jacket 
  3. Citizens Of Humanity horseshoe jeans 
  4. Ganni circular embossed leather handbag 
  5. All Saints Daisy leather eyelet belt 
  6. ME + EM chunky cotton curved hem jumper 
  7. Reformation Bethany leather ballet flats 


A bestseller from COS, these jeans currently come in five colours and are a less pronounced horseshoe style. I would suggest going up one size in these, as COS jeans often come up small. I have the older version but they are essentially the same style, so I assume the fit is the same too. Easy to wear with your Adidas Gazelles/ Sambas/ Spezials (delete as appropriate. Or don’t in my case, as I have a serious addiction to these trainers and someone needs to block me from the Adidas website). Oh, and remember that embroidered waistcoat I got last year from Nooki Design? Well, they’ve brought out a new version for the spring. Adding an extra layer of warmth that’s WAY cooler than a finance bro gilet.

horseshoe jeans, barrel leg jeans

  1. Nooki Design Cassidy embroidered gilet 
  2. Free People Westside leather embellished sling bag 
  3. Abbott Lyon layered gold coin necklace set 
  4. COS tapered Arch jeans 
  5. Hush Emily puff sleeve jersey top 
  6. Adidas Gazelle indoor blue suede trainers 


I have these jeans and, no need to panic, they don’t look as exaggerated in real life. Free People also do this more wide-leg pair, and they’re even nicer (if I’m honest), especially if you’re worried you might look like an actual cowboy in the Good Luck ones. I’m going to pair mine with a simple fitted black top, blazer and ballet flats when it gets a bit warmer.

horseshoe jeans, barrel leg jeans

  1. John Lewis ANYDAY ribbed scoop neck top 
  2. TBco merino wool triangle scarf 
  3. Paola Sighinolfi kabala malachite gold plated ring 
  4. Free People Good Luck mid rise barrel leg jeans 
  5. H&M oversized wool blend blazer 
  6. Arket leather Mary Jane flats 
  7. COS green quilted bag 


Another pair at the more expensive, designer end of the scale, but Agolde do make excellent jeans. Pair with a slouchy V‑neck sweater and some red accessories to make the look a little bit more interesting. The cute red flats are new in from small brand MOI. I know that, like me, a few of you love their velvet Mary Janes, which are honestly THE most comfortable shoes ever, so I have high hopes for these. They come up small, so go for one size larger.

horseshoe jeans, barrel leg jeans

  1. Uniqlo Airism vest top 
  2. Otiumberg gold plated chunky hoop earrings 
  3. Mango contrasting v neck sweater 
  4. Agolde Luna pieced barrel leg jeans 
  5. Russell & Bromley Milan curved leather bag 
  6. Karen Millen cotton knit stitch bomber jacket 
  7. Moi London red leather ballet pumps 


Whistles have been making these jeans for years, so they are WAY ahead of this trend – as are you if you already have a pair. I’d say they run small, so go up one size if you like the look of this style. They are fairly high-waisted and slightly cropped. Along with red, I can see lemon yellow having a bit of a moment this year. This jacket from Aligne is so chic, and the shape would perfectly balance out the volume of a pair of barrel jeans.

horseshoe jeans, barrel leg jeans

  1. Aligne long waisted blazer 
  2. Rachel Jackson gold plated smiley face ring 
  3. Anthropologie knotted pearl drop earrings 
  4. Whistles authentic barrel leg jeans 
  5. Anya Hindmarch small Vere soft cross body bag 
  6. Whistles boxy cotton shirt 
  7. Charles & Keith leather two strap Mary Janes 


I have to admit, River Island isn’t a place I generally gravitate towards on the high street, but online (if you look past the shapeless polyester blazers) you can often find some gems. They tend to do some excellent cotton tops in the summer and their jeans range is very good and usually true to size. Keeping it spring-like here with a simple plain white T, bright cardi and a trench coat with a twist.

horseshoe jeans, barrel leg jeans

  1. Hush stripe wool blend cardigan 
  2. Rayban brown frame sunglasses 
  3. Uniqlo cotton cropped fit boxy T‑shirt 
  4. River Island blue tapered barrel leg jeans 
  5. Toteme T lock leather bag 
  6. COS hooded trench coat 
  7. Crew Clothing leather bar loafers 

So, have I persuaded you to try? Or are you still married to your skinnies?

K x

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