A troubleshooting guide to find the most flattering fit for your body shape
Raise your hand if you ever had a meltdown when a pair of jeans you thought would look “seriously awesome” ended up in “Seriously? Is this how I really look?”.
Simply put, they were not made for you! Your body shape shouldn’t stand in the way of you and a great pair of jeans, so it’s crucial to find jeans with the exact DNA for you.
Today I am going to show you how to find the best jeans for your body type.
“Why do jeans never look good on me?”
There is a handful of common mistakes that many women make when purchasing jeans. Such as buying jeans that:
- don’t fit their body type
- don’t fit their lifestyle and their current wardrobe
- are the wrong size (Disclaimer: Just managing to button a pair of jeans does not make them the right size :D)
- aren’t of good quality and lose their original shape (check here)
- just shrug off an easy alteration such as getting them hemmed
Read also HOW TO BUY JEANS – EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO FIND YOUR DREAM JEANS
On top of that, I have to say that not styling them in the best way is another mistake you might be making. Not to worry, I’ll cover this too.
The golden rules when buying a new pair of jeans
1. Take your time. Resign yourself to the idea you will need to try on several pairs to find the best match for you. Trust me on this. A little time invested at the outset will save you disappointment and money in the future when you will know precisely what you’re looking for.
2. Get your measuring tape out. When buying clothes and especially jeans, it’s essential to know your true measurements. This is particularly true if you buy your clothes online and it will save you a lot of time. With a soft measuring tape you will need to measure:
- around the smallest part of your waist
- your inseam from the crotch down to the bottom of your ankle
- your front rise from your crotch to your belly button.
- additional measurements you might take are around your hips and each thigh if you normally struggle to find good-fitting jeans around those areas.
3. Set a budget. Once you have your measurements in hand, it’s time to think about what is affordable for you. You can find good quality jeans for a reasonable price, though most likely it will mean giving up details like gold stitching or a button-fly. You’ll have to weigh up your priorities and what feels comfortable within your budget. Here you can find more about the cost.
4. Don’t settle for “good for now” jeans. With such a wide variety of brands and styles available, there is no reason to compromise for ‘almost-right’ fitting jeans only to wear them in everyday life and realize that something’s wrong. At which point, you’ll find yourself right back in the dressing room where you started.
Do yourself a favor and break the cycle of buying ‘almost-right’ jeans once and for all. You deserve a pair of jeans that not only fit great but are stylish and comfortable, too. A perfect pair of jeans.
5. Tailor your jeans to fit you perfectly. Once you have found a pair of jeans that come as near as possible to the fit you hope to achieve, you can get them to fit you perfectly with a little bit of tailoring. I know that tailoring jeans might sound a bit excessive, but if you live in your jeans as I do, even the smallest details can make a huge difference. Before making any alteration, make sure you wash your jeans. If you are hemming them, take your measurement by wearing the shoes you will wear most often, and ideally, ask your tailor to keep the original hem.
Tip: For ankle-length jeans, the hem should be positioned just above or right on your ankle bone. Skinny jeans should offer a clean ankle-length look, while straight jeans should cover the top of your feet.
When having your jeans hemmed, always make sure you or the tailor measures them from the back of the leg to avoid ending up with jeans that are too short.
Trouble-shooting common fit issues
It’s a game of trial and error and to win this game I suggest starting by trying on your current selection of jeans and determining why you don’t like wearing them.
Muffin top? Does your butt look too flat or too big? Do your jeans bag around the crotch or wrinkle around your leg?
Understanding what is wrong is the first step to solving all these issues.
Here are a few handy things to keep in mind when looking for jeans that you actually want to wear.
- The Muffin Top. The waistband of your jeans forms a muffin top when it is too tight or not high enough.
- The correct jeans don’t ‘smile’. I am talking about the horizontal dragline that forms across your hips and the front crotch area of your jeans. When there isn’t enough room in the hip area, the rise will take the shape of a full smile. Make sure that line only slightly bends…a hint of a smile like the Mona Lisa:)
- The jeans are digging into your crotch or thighs at the back means that the back of your rise is not long enough. The waistband has to come all the way up to your natural waist on the backside. It is an issue easy to understand as you will feel like the jeans are being pulled downwards.
- The jeans gape at the back. This is a common problem among women with a rounder booty. Finding jeans that fit at the hips but not at the waist. This doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do about it!
- Be proud of your booty and:
- If you are buying a new pair of jeans, look for a brand that designs ‘for curves’. They will have enough room at the back while snugging you around the waist.
- For jeans that you already own, find a good tailor that can add one or two darts at the back of your jeans. This is a common alteration for workwear trousers, so it’s nothing that a competent tailor can’t do. Alternatively, you can buy a Hip Hugger Strap, which is something similar to suspenders but that clip between the back belt loops to remove the gap at the small of your back. It is great if you wear long tops over your jeans.
- The jeans crease at the back. A small number of creases (especially for skinny jeans) is normal and it’s due to the spandex which will expand and allow you to bend and sit while wearing them. However, when the creases are more significantly present it might indicate:
- A thigh width issue. In this case, you will see small straight creases at the back of your leg that dig into your thighs. You might want to try a style with a wider leg that allows more room.
- A seat width issue. These types of creases are concave, much bigger, and looser. It means there is an excess of material and you need to go for a smaller size or a slimmer style.
Tip: The two fingers rule. Try to fit two fingers down the back of the waist. If you can easily fit more than that, they are too loose, less than that, too tight.
The waist needs to feel like a gentle hug around your waist, so they aren’t sliding down and also aren’t cutting into you whether you’re standing up or sitting down.
How to choose jeans that make your butt look good
Passing the back-look mirror test is what makes or breaks the jeans. There is an old Italian saying: “I’ve got the solution in my pockets”, and it’s never been as true as in this case.
Indeed, the placement and shape of the back pockets play a huge role in how your butt will look when you do the ‘back look in the mirror.
Let’s try to break it down one trouble at a time!
- For a flat booty. First of all, I would probably recommend going for a snug-fit style like skinny or slim jeans that will snug and lift your butt rather than a relaxed fit that can make your butt look flatter. Secondly, try to pick a pair of jeans with details like contrast stitching, embroidery, etc., on the back pockets. Ideally, you’re looking for smaller-sized pockets. They will help your butt look rounder and perkier.
- For a generous booty. If you wish to create the illusion of a smaller butt you should look exactly for the opposite I stated above: avoid any details that will draw attention. High-waisted jeans without a yoke can make your bottom look longer. Look for styles with a yoke if this is a concern. See the image below for what a yoke (the stitching or line above the pockets) is.
How to find the right jeans for your body shape
Find your fit
Top tips to find the most flattering jeans for an apple shape
If the circumference of your waist is higher than the hip circumference, then you have an apple-shaped body
- Mid-rise jeans ideally with a tummy control system or an elasticized waist
- Skinny and slim jeans. They put a focus on your legs
- Cropped flares and skinny bootcuts will work especially if you’re tall
- Light-colored denim
- Styles that have fading and whiskering
- Paper bag waists and pleats will add a little volume below your waist and give you slightly fuller hips to create a more defined waist
- Tunics and empire-style tops to create a slimmed-down effect
- ‘Curvy’ cut styles as they have a smaller waist and are designed for rounder hips
- High-waisted jeans that draw attention to your full stomach area
- Low-rise jeans to avoid a muffin-top effect
- Any details that will draw attention to your midsection
- Tucked-in tops
- Tops that end around your mid-waist section
top tips to find the most flattering jeans for an hourglass shape
You have shoulders and hips equally proportioned, a defined waist, and can describe yourself as curvy.
- High-rise jeans that will fit your waist a little better and are the best way to highlight your waist and show off your legs
- Slim or straight-cut jeans to enhance your figure
- Bootcut and flared jeans as long as the flares aren’t wider than the width of your shoulder
- Skinny jeans provided that they are not too tight on your thighs, especially if you carry some extra weight. Choose a particularly ‘curvy’ style as they allow extra space where you need it
- Black or very dark washes. Sleek and slimming, your curves will look their best
- Tucked-in tops
- Jeans with too much stretch that can make your thighs and hips appear larger
- Boyfriend jeans as the waist sits too low
- Baggy or relaxed garments, both on your upper and lower body
- Empire-style tops that will only make you look larger. Your waist needs to be hugged at its narrowest part
Top tips to find the most flattering jeans for a pear shape
You’re a pear body shape if your hips are larger than the bust and shoulders.
- Mid to high-waisted jeans
- Bootcut and flared jeans, especially styles with a tapered leg
- Curvy, skinny styles with a wider ankle opening
- Fading and whiskering. This can be super flattering as it elongates the legs and narrows the hips. Ideally, fading that goes down the side of legs and whiskering across the hips
- Figure-hugging tops that fold at the waist, drawing attention to this slim part
- Darker shades on your lower body – an excellent way to slim the legs and make them appear longer
- Wrap tops or fitted blazers to draw attention to your waist
- Jeans with smaller or rounded pockets or with any embellishments such as embroideries or flaps
- Tops that end at the widest circumference of your hips
Top tips to find the most flattering jeans for an inverted triangle shape
Inverted triangle-shaped body
An inverted triangle body shape has broad shoulders and/or a bust that narrows down to the hips, with little to no waist definition
- Boyfriend or mom styles that work really well because they are looser around the bottom to proportionally balance your body
- Bootcut styles (or flared if you’re tall) that will help balance the lower half of your body with your shoulders
- Curved back pockets to add some shape to your backside
- Pocket with flaps
- Simple, undetailed tops ideally with a flattering V-neckline
- Clothes without any shape. Not only will they hide your feminine silhouette, but they could also make you seem bigger than you are
- Shoulder pads, ruffles, puffed sleeves, horizontal lines, or any details that will add volume to your upper body
- Too many accessories (necklaces, scarves, or embellishments) on your upper torso. The key is to draw the eye downward and focus attention on the slimmest part of your body – your small hips and fabulous legs!
Top tips to find the most flattering jeans for a rectangular shape
Rectangular shaped body
The rectangular shape is characterized by equal bust and hip measurements. Because of the lack of curves is often described as a straight or athletic shape.
- The focus of this body shape should be breaking up the rectangular linear shape by defining the waist.
- You can break up the straight silhouette to create curves from the waist up and down by adding volume with well-structured clothes
- you can achieve a similar result by using different cuts and sizes
- Wear bright colors on your upper and lower body and Wear darker colors around your waist
- for example, a dark belt will pull in the waist at the same time.
- Keep away from shapeless, oversized, and too large items
- Avoid monochrome outfit options.
- Tucking in tops into trousers or skirts is a no-no
- don’t wear clothes that end at the waist put attention to them (tops with embellished ends for example).
Find your rise
Low-rise jeans are a great option if you have curvy hips.
Athletic body types can also look great wearing low-rise, but a skinny style is preferable to hug the waist and avoid a gap.
Avoid if you are pear-shaped. Works well with rectangle body types.
My favorite! They fit most body types giving enough support around the tummy area and also pair well any length of top.
If you’re not sure which rise to go for, this is always a safe bet:)
Gone for a couple of decades, they glamorously resurfaced in the last few years. High-rise is the trendiest choice now.
Bodies with a smaller waist look incredible in a high-rise. Tucked-in and crop tops are the perfect match!
Find your style
Style: Skinny jeans
Good for: all
Despite the name, this style of jeans has nothing to do with your figure—it just means these jeans are the slimmest at your ankle compared to all other silhouettes. In fact, thanks to stretch denim, everyone should have a pair in their closet.
Why the skinny jeans looks good on all shapes
- This style fits all, but be careful when it comes to colors and rise!
- Dark colors are great for pear and hourglass shapes.
- Pear-shaped or curvy ladies who like skinny jeans should look at high-waisted styles to conceal the thighs and the hips.
- Lighter shades look better on apple and athletic bodies.
How to style skinny jeans
Skinny jeans are fantastic with oversized and loose tops. They create a nice game of proportion.
I really like to play with materials when it comes to skinny jeans. For example, have you ever tried to style them with a satin top? So sleek!
Skinny jeans are one of my wardrobe staples! Click here to discover all the 21 timeless wardrobe essentials.
Style: Slim or straight-leg jeans
Good for: hourglass, apple, and rectangular body type
Slim jeans fit quite tightly at the top of your leg, becoming slightly loose around your shins
Why the slim jeans looks good on hourglass, apple, and athletic body type
Slim jeans look great on the hourglass, apple, and athletic body types.
Similar to skinny jeans they fit most of the body types and they are particularly successful with small body-framed people. This style works well also for women who want to conceal their thighs because they create a visually straight line from the hip to the ankle, making the legs look more proportionate.
How to style slim or straight-leg jeans
- They are your 24hr jeans. Accessories will help you style them up or down according to your needs. Up the hem a bit and wear them with heels and a blazer for work.
- Roll up the hem a bit and they make a great party look. By contrast, a basic white tee and sneakers are a great combination.
Style: Boyfriend jeans
Good for: apple, inverted triangle, and rectangular shape
What are boyfriend jeans? Borrowed from the boy’s wardrobe, this cut means a loose and relaxed fit.
Marilyn Monroe began the boyfriend jeans craze in the 1960s
Why the boyfriend jeans looks good on apple, inverted triangle, and athletic body shape
Boyfriend jeans work well on apple and athletic shapes.
If your legs are longer than your torso, get a pair with a low-rise cut to balance out your body proportions.
While boyfriend jeans are designed to be relaxed, it’s key to shop for jeans that fit your figure correctly. Make sure they fit perfectly at your hips and waist without the need to cinch or hoist them, regardless of whether or not you’re wearing them with a belt.
How to style the boyfriend jeans
The boyfriend jean is intended to be worn slouchy and relaxed. However, this doesn’t mean that they necessarily have to be worn extra baggy. Designers are offering sleeker versions of the boyfriend fit that are slimmer and more tapered yet still relaxed. If you want to flatter your silhouette, choose slimmer boyfriend jeans. If you want to be more authentic with the style, size up and choose a slouchy cut. However, check that there’s no gap or excess fabric around your middle, as this can make your figure look bigger.
Style: Mom jeans
Good for: hourglass, inverted triangle, and apple body shapes
They became so popular among moms in the 70s that they were labeled as such!
Mom jeans are high-waist jeans with wide-cut hips and crotch, straight-cut legs, and sometimes an elasticized waist.
Thanks to this design, they are very comfortable to wear.
Why the mom jeans looks good on hourglass, inverted triangle and apple body shapes
What I love about the mom jean is that it sits on the waist and not the hips. Meaning it accentuates your bum and shrinks your middle! It’s a great choice for those with hourglass figures or those who want to create the illusion of curves.
Mom jeans fit loosely on the thighs and around the hips, making the back appear flattered and taking the focus away from highlighting the shape of the lower body.
It’s for those reasons that mom jeans fit well on most bodies as they tend to shape the hips, while for those who are thicker on the thighs, mom jeans provide a very comfortable fit without the tightness of other styles of jeans.
How to style the mom jeans
To balance out the midsection, roll up the hem. Short girls can also benefit because they have a long-leg effect.
To conceal wide hips, dark washes will do the trick. Pair with a light-colored top to draw the eye upward and balance the look, especially when tucked in to create a slim waist effect.
Extra note: what is the difference between boyfriend and mom jeans?
Style: Bootcut jeans
Good for: hourglass and pear shapes
Bootcut jeans fit slim through the hip and thigh with a slight flare from knee to ankle.
Why the bootcut jeans looks good on Hourglass and pear shapes
Hourglass and pear shapes love a good pair of bootcut jeans.
Bootcut is great for tall women but not so good for petite ladies as the cut ends at the ankle, making the legs look shorter.
How to style bootcut jeans
Guess what? They will look fabulous with easy flats and booties and just about any top.
Style: Flare jeans
Good for: pear and hourglass shapes.
When it comes to flared jeans, don’t be shy! Either you flare it or don’t…so go wide:)
Why flare jeans looks good on pear and hourglass body shape
Flares look great on pear and hourglass shapes.
Tip for Petites: Choose the right inseam! You’ll want something that brushes the floor without overwhelming your frame.
How to style flare jeans
Flares are meant to run long. Determine the correct inseam and then choose your heel height accordingly. I particularly love them with oversized tops for that ‘70s look. If you want to show off your waist, then pick a super-fitted one.
Extra note: What Is the Difference Between Bootcut and Flare Jeans?
The top troubleshooting questions I came across during my fashion career
What jeans are best if you have a curvy bottom body shape?
Straight-leg jeans are said to be the most flattering for anyone with a pear figure as they can balance the body proportions. Ideally, choose a pair with a moderately low-rise and in a dark wash.
The expert tip: Avoid jeans with pockets having contrast-colored stitching and other details such as embroideries, sequins, or flaps. Curved pockets? No, thank you! They bring the eye to that area where you want the least attention. Instead, choose pockets that sit lower at the back! Also, a higher waist at the back will be a better fit.
What jeans are best if you have a top-heavy body figure?
Bootcut jeans are best for an inverted triangle body shape as they will balance the figure. If you choose a light-colored pair, that will help to add volume to the lower part of the body.
What jeans are best if you want to look curvier?
Slim-fit jeans and skinny jeans can help give you a curvy look. Opt for stretch jeans with a %-age of lycra in them as these styles are better than looser models like baggy jeans/boyfriend jeans.
Prefer high-waisted jeans to low-waist models. Whisker marks along the hips and thighs can help emphasize curves. Choose jeans with curved pockets that sit on the lower part of your bottom.
Light colors are better for making you look curvier. Alternatively, distressed jeans with fading around the thighs can emphasize those areas and make you look curvy.
What jeans are best if you have a flat bottom?
Buy jeans with some embellishments on the pockets, and sit on the higher part of your bottom.
Low-rise is better to emphasize your butt, especially on stretchy and skinny jeans.
What jeans are best if you want to conceal your tummy?
Here, I would rather tell you what not to do first! The worst thing is to buy low-rise jeans. Mid-rise or high-rise jeans help to conceal a big tummy. An 8 1/2-inch rise or higher is ideal. Keep an eye out for ‘Tummy Control’ models.
What jeans are best if you want to look taller?
Full-length straight-leg jeans or skinny jeans are the right choices if you want to elongate the legs. High-waisted skinny jeans can make you look taller. Low-rise jeans will have the opposite effect. Avoid tapered leg styles and cuffs.
Dark-colored jeans will help you look even taller. With long jeans, the hem should be no more than 1 inch off the floor and graze the top of your shoes – this will lengthen your legs. While for skinny jeans, the right length is below the ankle bone. Wear them with heels to go the extra mile!
Now, you are equipped to make better choices while happily shopping for your denim! But make sure you also read How to buy jeans – Everything you need to know to find your dream jeans, where you will learn all about quality and how to spot the best jeans on the market.
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