Shopping·7 min read

I Tried These Viral Jeans From Free People and Have Never Felt Trendier

We The Free Moxie Pull-On Barrel Jeans
Image: Free People, Alessandra Rey
March 26, 2024

Like many women, I get a lot of style inspiration from my mom. The fluffy hair, high-waisted jeans, classic black turtleneck sweaters…they’re all infallible staples I’ve come to build my entire wardrobe (and my personality) around. But as I enter my 30th year of life, I realized a little zhuzhing of the closet was in order. So, in an effort to connect with my fellow youths and explore trendier pieces, I stepped out of my comfort zone (and my tried-and-true flares) and gave Free People’s barrel jeans a try — in addition to a few other scroll-stopping items. Here’s what I wrote home about…

We The Free Moxie Pull-On Barrel Jeans 

Ah, denim. It’s been on quite the rollercoaster over the past year, from the return of the low-rise jean (a jump scare) to the more recent embrace of the bedazzled back pocket. But despite the dramatic silhouette, these baggy pull-on barrel pants from Free People are the denim trend I find more approachable. They’re loose-fitting everywhere, with the widest part hitting at the knees. They come in nine colorways, and in petite and long lengths, so there’s a little something for everyone. ($148

Straight A’s in…

  • Comfort. Any pants that feel like sweats are a must for me, and these are exactly that. They’re lightweight and roomy with a slight stretch, and the pull-on, low-slung style doesn’t dig into my waist with torturous hardware. I went bowling, backed it up on the dance floor, and barreled through the streets to get to a meeting on time and I felt comfortable the entire time. 

  • Style. It’s true, I felt trendy. I tried the Cerulean Skies colorway, which is basically a dark, faded denim, with artfully placed white paint splatters. But it was the paperbag waist that made it easy to dress them up for the office, or down for an Brooklyn art party. I felt cool. Almost as cool as if I actually lived in Bushwick. 

  • Adjustable drawstring waistband. The design of this drawstring is truly *chef’s kiss.* The soft rope is threaded through metal ringlets that are sewn directly on the waistband, rather than through traditional belt loops that sit on top. I can’t quite explain why, but I love not having to constantly adjust how much material goes above or below a belt to achieve the right paper-bag look. How much paper is too much paper? These pants know. 

  • Versatility. I’ve worn these pants everywhere. An arcade date with the fam, a night out at a comedy club, a PR event, a picnic date…you get the idea. I think they look best with a tighter top to help balance out the looseness of the pants, like a simple black turtleneck (thanks, Mom), a white tee, or Free People’s Hummingbird Tank. Shoes-wise, I like them with white sneakers or black booties. It’s hard to go wrong with these. 

  • Functionality. These have four big pockets. Need I say more? 

Room for growth… 

  • Button closure. Team zipper, rise up. There are four hidden buttons in the front that close the pants, in addition to the roped waistband. Why? I’m not sure. I also found the denim material in that area a little stiff, and the button slits too narrow. So it took me a while to actually close them. 

  • Fit. While these pants nearly made me give up on my flare jeans for good, I didn’t love how they made my backside look. Let’s just say, the right things weren’t really accentuated, and my butt was left a little shapeless. 

Wear them with...

Image: Alessandra Rey, Free People

A ribbed long-sleeve top that works for any occasion…

This top just gets it. It’s stretchy for added comfort and features an off-the-shoulder silhouette that I consider universally flattering, and helps elevate any look (including baggy jeans). I wore this out to an office event, a dinner date, and brunch with a friend and I was complimented every single time. My only regret? Getting a color that definitely shows my pit stains. But I’m absolutely going back and getting another shade. ($58)  

Image: Alessandra Rey, Free People

An essential tank top that fits just right…

As a 36DDD with curves for days, I’m always on the hunt for sleeveless tops that flatter the upper part of my arm and hit right at my waistline. This tank checks all the boxes. The wide neckline and strategically designed arm holes show off just enough skin, while keeping my bra well-hidden. I’ve paired this top with my (now-fave) barrel jeans, straight-leg jeans, and cargo pants. I felt chic and put-together in each of them. The iconic exposed seams make it a perfect standalone work or going-out top. But it's snug enough to function as a base layer, too. ($38)

Image: Free People

A cropped sweater that’s not like other sweaters…

It’s a cool sweater. The textured knit design features short sleeves, a collared neckline, and eye-catching buttons down the front. Not to mention a front pocket for added detail — or, you know, storing things. It’s also easy to style opened or closed, on its own or as a top layer. Either way, consider this the perfect transition piece as the seasons change and we all start to believe in love again (read: see the sun). ($148)

Image: Free People

A functional crossbody bag you’ll wear everywhere this season…

If you’re a fellow millennial who has yet to break up with the crossbody you purchased in 2015, you’ll want to add this bag to cart. It’s compact on the outside, but roomy on the inside — making it the perfect bag to bring anywhere that may have a bag size limit (outdoor concert season is upon us, people). It comes in seven unique colors that just happen to go with everything. The best part? The strap is 100% adjustable, so you can transform it from a mini crossbody to a shoulder bag in seconds. Not to mention the easy zipper closure under the flap for extra protection. ($58)

Image: Free People

A step up from your go-to rubber slides…

If you still can't buy into the "elevated flip flops" trend, try its more approachable cousin: the slide sandal with a tiny heel. These leather slides feature a thick woven strap and a micro heel for added "oomph," so you'll get the ease of wear of your beloved pool slides but with more polish. They come in four colors, two of which are metallic, sending my inner theater kid spiraling with excitement. These + any of the tops above + the barrel jeans = the easiest summer look ever. ($98)

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