How to find jeans for your body type

It isn't impossible to find the right ones. You just have to know what you're looking for.

It isn’t impossible to find the right ones. You just have to know what you’re looking for.

There’s nothing more comforting than slipping on a pair of perfect-fitting denim jeans for your body type. They hug you in all the right places, confidently flaunt your best features, and discretely hide your imperfections. When you find the perfect pair of one-in-a-million jeans, it feels a little bit like making a new friend, a new confidant. Whether you are curling up on the couch or going out on the town, you can depend on good ole’ denim to get you through any fashion crisis. Just as the saying goes, “good friends are hard to find,” well, so is finding the perfect pair of jeans. So, how should you begin looking for a needle in the haystack? First, let’s take a look at a few basic denim rules. Then, we will drill down into the details with some recommended styles based on your body’s shape.

The modern “blue jean bible” consists of only a few easy commandments. First, always purchase jeans according to quality and fit, not necessarily brand and price point. The average woman tries on nearly fifteen pairs of jeans before finding a match. Obviously that’s quite a bit of time to spend parked in a fitting room, but it’s well worth it. As you probably know, nearly all brands of jeans fit differently, and since there is no universal size chart, trying them on is the only option. Even if you typically purchase bootcut jeans, don’t overlook other styles and cuts. Every manufacturer has a different definition of each style, and by trying other types of jeans you might find something that suits you even better than your go-to brand and style.

Secondly, dark-wash denim always looks crisper and classier than lighter denim. Navy blue denim hues easily double as crossover pieces that can be worn to more upscale affairs, such as causal business events or church. Darker denim also has the added benefit of creating a slimmer look through your legs and thighs. Especially when paired with a contrasting lighter blouse, dark denim creates a longer, leaner silhouette from the waist down to the floor. Unfortunately, lighter denim has the opposite effect. Regardless of the current trends, faded blue jeans are often seen as a more casual fabric, and they don’t offer the same slimming qualities as their darker counterparts. If the jeans are intentionally distressed or bleached in certain places, keep in mind that those areas of the body will appear larger.

Lastly, keep in mind the function of the jeans, and what else you plan to wear with them. Do you spend much of your time working outdoors and would benefit from very comfortable jeans? Skinny jeans are probably not the answer. Are you looking for versatile jeans that could be worn to in a professional setting? Dark-wash denim in a bootcut or straight leg style might be just the thing. Do your homework before you start shopping. Throw open your closet and start pulling out the tops and shoes that you plan to wear with your new jeans. As with all shopping trips, it’s important to first get a clear vision of what outfits you want to create before you head to the stores.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are a few tips on choosing denim jean styles based on body type:

Fuller thighs and hips:

For women with fuller thighs, choose jeans that are made specifically for curvy women. Look for jeans that have a higher waist, a bit of stretch throughout, and comfortably hug your thighs. Some brands even feature an elastic band built into the waistband, which accentuates the waist even more. If you have fuller hips, try a straight-leg style in a lightweight fabric. Steer clear of skinny jeans with tapered legs, and always opt for the darker denim colors.

Petite frame:

Smaller gals should look for jeans that are fitted throughout the thigh and bootcut towards the bottom. Petite frames often look swallowed up by larger styles that are out of proportion with their small size, so forgo anything oversized: accents, pockets, or wide legs. Petite women should also consider purchasing two pairs of “perfect fit jeans,” then tailor them both so one pair can be worn with flats and the other with heels.

Long legs and flat butt:

For women with extra long legs, start shopping by special order. Many retail stores can order standard jean styles with extra length added. Both bootcut styles and skinny jeans with tapered ankles are flattering on women with longer legs. If you are lacking a bit on the backside, look for jeans that feature slit pockets with a flap, rather that traditional flat cut-out pockets. The slit pockets will add a little oomph and show off your backside’s natural curves.

Even if you haven’t found a flawless pair of jeans quite yet, don’t give up the search. It may take more than one shopping trip to find what you are looking for, but the work is well worth the reward. Spend the time upfront searching and trying on several brands (and even sizes) to find the right fit. Your time and efforts will not seem wasted when you find your perfect match!

Kristin Hauch-Melton

Kristin Hauch-Melton is a writer and communications consultant. She earned a degree in Communications and Business from University of North Florida, serves on the board for the Fayette Chamber of Commerce and lives in Peachtree City with her husband, horse, and dog.