Jeans are durable, comfortable, and can be quite stylish. Though old precepts about age and fashion dictated that women shouldn't wear jeans after 40--switching instead to trousers and other cloth trousers--that is no longer the case. With a discerning eye toward style and brand, mature women over 40 can find a perfect pair of jeans for their rear end and their budget.
Relaxed bootcut jeans stay close to the leg and help older women avoid looking like middle school students. However, these jeans should only be worn by women taller than 5 feet 4 inches. Keep your boots under your jeans unless you're doing some type of messy labour, according to Oprah. Levi's 550 comes in this style in sizes 4 to 16 short and regular, in a range of attractive washes.
Trouser fit jeans flatter any figure and can be paired with a nice jacket or top to keep your look from verging toward the sloppier day wear of your 20s and 30s counterparts. This style is suitable for everyone--even those below 5 feet 4 inches--because the trousers stay closer to the leg, which doesn't make the thighs look wider by flaring out. You can find trouser fit jeans--along with many other styles that hug the leg for shorter women--at the Gap.
Keeping a classic wash on your jeans--preferably a dark blue or medium blue--keeps your look classic. Acid washes, studded appliqués, and fringed hems are great for kids, but can look out of place on a mature woman. Old Navy has a wide range of sizes and washes of jeans--most of which come free of any extra designs--and they're made to fit most women. Remember that dark washes are almost always less casual than lighter washes--they're a great way to look classy but stay comfortable.
A medium rise jean is one where the waistband sits at or slightly above the hipbone. These jeans offer a contemporary look, staying away from typical high-waisted jeans that have been associated with mature women in the past, but they also avoid the low-rise band that is best suited for very young women. Seven for All Mankind makes a great pair of mid-rise jeans.
Make sure that your jeans are as comfortable and useful as they are attractive. Bend over in them; squat down in them. Try Seven Jeans at Lane Bryant if you're having trouble finding a good fit. They're designed for plus-size women with a variety of body types.