Let’s face it: denim jeans are an American classic. Truly Americana. An icon of the great United States of America. However you want to phrase it, denim jeans are quintessentially American and such a huge staple in our daily uniform.
Gone are the days where jeans were seen as lazy or publicly unacceptable to wear. Denim comes in so many shapes, sizes, textures, patterns, fits, styles, rinses and more that there’s practically a particular pair for any given season or occasion. Some places even allow you to wear denim to work! And it’s very safe to say that most Americans probably own at least one pair of jeans in their closets.
However, finding the perfect pair is a different story. Denim is sold everywhere in America, but with the multitude of styles, shapes and sizes and the plethora of sizes that humans come in, it’s hard to find that perfect pair. One pair of denim could make a girl look incredible, but the same pair may look another figured woman look frumpy or even trashy. And after spending hours trying on pair after pair, shopping for an appropriate style or fit may seem more like a chore at the end of the day.
Thanks to some research (and personal experience!) I have *hopefully* taken the stress out of denim shopping for you. I’ve tried to scout denim for virtually every body type in a decent range of price and styles. I seriously hope you’re able to find the pair your body’s meant to wear — because once you do, it’s life-changing!
Let’s find your body type and get to shopping!
If you’re PEAR SHAPED, that means you generally have more oomph in your hips, rear and legs. The key here is to balance out that lower half with the rest of your body. Look for mid-rise styles since it helps balances out your body’s proportions and helps control some of the somethin’ extra in your hips and rear. In addition, look for a slight bootcut — this helps elongate your legs and slims your frame. Darker rinses also help slim and streamline your frame.
If you have an ATHLETIC SHAPE, this means you typically have strong legs, lots of muscles, but tend to have a boyish figure. Athletic body types should look for slimming boot-cut jeans to create the illusion of curves. Look for boot-cut styles that are more fitted in the thighs and butt but that are relaxed at the calves and ankles with a slight flare. The flare helps balance the proportions of your body but still helps that curvy illusion.
If you have a PETITE body, look for leg lengtheners built into your denim! High-waist trousers helps to create height to your smaller silhouette, while the wider legs adds ample volume. For more impact, pair your flared trousers with stacked booties or heels which does wonders for your legs. Petite frames can also rock skinny jeans with a mid or high-rise which again, balances out the smaller stature and both slims and elongates the legs.
If you’ve got a CURVY FRAME, look for jeans that are marketed with the word “curvy” or styles that are designed for curvier women. These styles typically mean they’re made with curvier women in mind and typically have more stretch to the fabric (which is always awesome!). These designs help feature your best assets and camouflage or assist your more problematic areas. For most curvy women I’d recommend a mid-rise style with a contoured waist (which essentially means that the waist is cut higher in the back so no gaping when you sit!) or low-rise. And for more petite curvy girls, you can rock higher waists since it helps elongate your frame and accentuates your smaller middle.
If you’re APPLE SHAPED or need tummy control, look for styles that are geared toward tummy control. Curvy apple shapes tend to have more weight around the middle, so you need a pair of jeans that has some more give. Seek out mid-rise styles with contoured waists (to prevent that dreaded gaping when you sit!) and with straight legs or a slight boot-cut to streamline yet enhance your figure. Usually tummy-control jeans will be marked “tummy control” and could have possible stretch panels or even built-in slimmers within the pants. Just stay away from high-waisted styles or overly skinny jeans as they will draw more attention to your bottom area or make you look disproportionate.
If you’re TALL, your focus should be on your gorgeous legs, girl! Flaunt those sexy gams with slimming, straight-leg or skinny jeans with a lower-rise. The lower-rise works on your frame since it balances out your long legs with your upper half. Higher-waists can make you look cartoonish. If you’re tall and lankier, try a patterned denim to create some pattern which adds interest. You could also try a slightly flared or boot-cut style to create some curves.
If you’ve got an HOURGLASS FRAME, your body type is the most lenient with denim in that almost any cut can work for you. These body types are curvy but balanced — curvy on top and on the bottom, with a nip at the waist, aka “the hourglass figure.” Skinny jeans with stretchy material can flatter your body and help enhance your curves by hugging them the right way. In contrast, wide-leg trousers can also work since they enhance that tiny waist of yours. Stay away from super low-rise styles as they tend to droop and fall in the back, creating that terrible gap (or show your booty completely!) so contoured waists or mid-rises are best for you.
* Look for stretchier fabrics. They help conform to your curves and create a silhouette as opposed to stiffer denim, which can hang and look awkward on certain body types.
* Dark washes tend to be the most flattering wash among all body types. Darker washes slim, streamline and elongate the figure whereas lighter washes can make more problematic areas (like thicker thighs, bigger booties, and shorter legs) become more of an issue.
* If you have a flatter butt (or just would like to enhance what you’ve got) look for higher-set back pockets which give the illusion of a more shapely behind. Or look for back pocket details, like high-contrast stitching, button-flap back pockets, or even embellishments to give some interest to the back area.
* Never underestimate the power of a great tailor! Rarely are jeans built so that they’ll fit every body type perfectly every time. Investing in a tailor to help hem longer hemlines or adjust inseams can drastically improve a so-so pair of jeans into ones that are meant to be on your body — literally! Stores like Nordstrom have tailoring services for relatively cheap; sometimes free if you purchase the product in store.
* And lastly, never underestimate the power of confidence. If you love your body and love the way you look, that positively and beauty will shine through no matter what you wear. A great fitting pair of jeans helps boost our confidence, sure, but having that positive, beautiful personality and body image definitely helps bring the look full circle.
I hope you’ve found this denim guide helpful — now let’s outfit ourselves in this awesome American staple!
Have a fantastical day!
*curated with help from LaurenConrad.com