Shopping for jeans can be a frustrating, confusing experience. There are so many brands, scads of fabric permutations, and tons of different cuts, styles, and colors. Believe me, bathing suit shopping is a walk in the park after you've tried on 40 pairs of jeans in bad lighting.
Shopping with a few rules on board will make your next excursion a happier one.
RULE #1: Shop with a plan.
Are you in the market for a skinny jean? High-waisted? Cropped? Bootcut? Know before you go so that you walk away with the jeans that will fit in your wardrobe and look best on your body.
RULE #2: Check the thigh.
The back view of your jeans tells the story of their fit. If you see a defined horizontal line back-of-the-thigh, the jeans are too tight.
|Size up or try a different brand if you see this telltale sign on the back of the thigh - these are too-tight.|
RULE #3: Watch the waistband.
If you're a woman with curves, you're familiar with the waistband-gap-problem. When you've found jeans that fit everywhere except the waist, consider having them altered (bringing in a waist is a quick and relatively inexpensive fix).
RULE #4: Muffin top. Avoid it at all costs.
When your midsection is squeezed out of the top of your jeans, it's a bummer of a silhouette. Not to mention uncomfortable. Look for jeans with a higher waistband (rise), and/or a wider waistband. There are so many different rises available these days, muffin top is completely avoidable. (There are even jeans with wide, elastic waistbands. Heaven!)
RULE #5: Say NO to camel toe. (I'll spare you the picture.)
Dark, uniform wash: perfect all 'round denim that can be dressed up or down - an excellent choice if you can wear denim to work.
Dark wash with fading/distressing: a little more casual than a uniform dark wash, super-versatile in a wardrobe.
Light wash denim: excellent casual choice and beautiful for spring and summer paired with whites and pastels.
Beware: whiskering at the the hips if you are curvy.
Beware: poorly executed stone-washing, sand-blasting, or lightening in places that you don't want highlighted.
The size and placement of the back pockets is a big deal. Small pockets make a beautiful, bountiful booty look like it's going to eat the pockets for lunch. Large pockets can make a narrow booty look anemic. Back pockets should be proportional to your butt size and placed in a flattering location: not too high or low, and not too close together or far apart.
Beware: flap pockets or embellished pockets if you're curvy. Choose a plain pocket instead.
Bootcut, straight-leg, and flare: the hem of your jeans should hit the middle of the heel (approximately) of whatever shoe you're wearing. Sometimes this means buying two pairs of the same jeans. I know, gah.
Skinnies: cropped above at the ankle (my preference, they tuck in to boots in the winter, look great with sandals in the summer) or hemmed just at the bend of the foot.
Beware: jeans (or any pants) that are cropped mid-calf. These are never flattering, I checked.
Most denim comes with a little spandex or lycra these days. And thank goodness, a little bit of stretch does amazing things for fit and comfort. If you're looking for durability and a retro fit and feel, look for 100% cotton denim without additives.
Beware: If the jeans-with-stretch fit perfectly in the dressing room, it's likely that they'll be too big after you've worn 'em for a few hours. Try the next size down.
Stay tuned, I'll post about some slam-dunk, great-on-everybody jeans soon!