I don’t know about you guys, but I find shopping for jeans a nightmare with a capital N! For me, they’re either too tight across the thighs, too baggy around the waist or way too long in the leg, so trying to find something that fits all three requirements is near on impossible. What I do know though, is that once you have found a shop, designer, brand etc. that miraculously sells your ideal pair it is like finding gold at the end of a rainbow.
Finding the perfect pair of jeans does not need to be a completely random mission. Knowing what styles suit your body shape, how to measure yourself properly and for what purpose you intend to wear them can all make your jeans shopping experience a lot more stress free. So, here are the Gowns and Heels key secrets to finding the perfect pair of jeans:
How to measure yourself for jeans
First and foremost, by far the most important thing you need to do is measure yourself properly to ensure you know what size jeans you should be aiming for. You might think you’re a size 10, but as we all know one shops size 10 is another shops size 12, so it’s always best to work out your exact measurements in the areas that matter. That way when you go shopping you can have a more accurate size guide when choosing the jeans you want to try on. Try not to worry about what the dress size on the label says, it is only a number after all and what’s much more important is that you find a pair of jeans that fits perfectly, rather than stressing that you’ve gone up a dress size.
Most jeans come with a waist and leg measurement that is in inches and will be labelled something like this, W30, L32.
Waist – To take an accurate waist measurement wrap a soft tape measure around the slimmest part of your waist.
Hips – Standing with your feet together, wrap the tape measure around your body at the fullest part of your hips.
You’ll come across lots of different words when you’re buying jeans and it definitely helps if you know what it all means! Take a look at our jean jargon dictionary to help you on your mission to find the perfect pair.
- Inside leg – This is the measurement taken from the crotch down to the hem. Some women’s jeans will come in Short, Regular and Long sizes rather than a specific inch measurement, so if you’re not sure which would work best for you either try a couple of different lengths or ask a shop assistant for help.
- Rise – This is the measurement taken from the bottom of the crotch up to the top of the waistband, which affects whereabouts a pair of jeans will sit on your waistline. There are three different types of rise: Low, Mid and High.
- Low Rise – Low rise jeans sit on the hips making them a great choice for those of you blessed with fantastically toned tummy and who want to show it off with cropped tops. For a look that is more classy than trashy make sure you don’t have any underwear showing, because there’s really nothing worse than being able to see someone’s thong poking out when they bend down. Low rise jeans generally sit about 2 inches below the naval and the rise measurement is approximately 7.5 inches or less.
- Mid Rise – Mid rise jeans are pretty much flattering to all body shapes and, for that reason, are generally the most popular choice. These jeans sit on the hip bone and the rise measurement is between 8 and 9 inches.
- High Rise – High rise jeans are also incredibly flattering because the extra coverage smooths out the silhouette and offers extra ‘sucking in’ power to boot. The rise measurement is approximately 9.5 inches or more and will sit above the naval. If you have a longer torso than the length of your legs, a high waist is great for creating the illusion of longer legs.
What style should I go for?
Many of our style choices are heavily influenced by what is currently fashionable, however when it comes to finding the perfect pair of jeans you should forget all about the latest trends and instead concentrate on what is most flattering to you. Skinny jeans are still a very popular choice, but as I know all too well, they do not suit everyone. Never try to convince yourself you look good in a particular type of jean just because it looks good on the model wearing it in a shop or a celebrity you’ve seen wearing them in a magazine. Be completely honest with yourself, look at yourself from every angle and ask yourself how comfortable you feel. Jeans should be comfortable and if you’re hoiking them up every 5 minutes or walking like a cowboy, then your jeans are definitely trying to tell you something.
This is a very classic style of jeans, but can often be viewed by some as a bit boring and frumpy. On the contrary, the straight leg jean can be incredibly flattering to certain body shapes and is a fantastic solution to balancing out broad shoulders. Straight legged jeans are so named because they run straight down from the hip to the ankle.
- Your shoulders are wider than your hips.
- You have an upside down triangle body shape.
Avoid this style if:
Bootcut jeans have a close fit over the thighs and then flare out at the knee right down to the ankle, creating a wider look at the bottom. They look fantastic with heels, in particular heeled boots.
- You are a pear shape.
- Your hips are wider than your shoulders.
- Your bottom and thighs need balancing out.
- You want to accentuate slim thighs.
- You want to add shape to an athletic or straight up and down figure.
- You want to draw attention away from your tummy.
Avoid this style if:
- You are short. Bootcut jeans can shorten your leg length and make you look shorter.
This relatively new style of jean is for those ladies who like a more casual, relaxed fit to their jeans. The fit is generally tighter around the waist and bottom with the legs being somewhat baggier, although this depends on season and brand.
Choose this style if:
- You are lean and athletic.
- You want to add volume to your body.
- You want to disguise a larger tummy.
- You want to draw the eye downwards.
- You want to balance out broad shoulders.
Avoid this style if:
- You are curvaceous – these will make you look bigger than you actually are.
- You are petite – you risk being swamped by the extra fabric and looseness.
As the name would suggest, skinny jeans are the tightest style of jeans and will fit exactly to your figure, which means you can’t hide anything! Tight all the way from hip to ankle, these can generally be worn by most body shapes, but must be styled in the correct way, worn with flattering pieces and most importantly of all worn in the correct size so as to avoid unsightly fashion disasters such as muffin top and sausage legs.
- You’re body confident.
- Your legs are your best feature.
Avoid this style if:
- You have broad shoulders – skinny jeans will make you look even ore top heavy.
- You don’t want to accentuate a straight up and down body frame.
When you go shopping for jeans there are a few key points you should remember that will help your shopping experience.
Ask for help
Shop assistants are there to ‘assist’ so make sure you take advantage of their knowledge and experience by asking them for their advice and suggestions of what type of jeans are likely to suit you. Many shops offer personal shoppers whose job it is to give you a personal shopping experience and when it comes to something as tricky, but also as important, as buying a new pair of jeans, it may well be worth paying for a personal shopper. Make sure you are open to trying styles, designs and colours that you may not have chosen yourself. You’ll probably find that these are the ones that suit you the best and serves as proof that sometimes you need to think outside the box to find the solution.
More often does mean more!
As much as I love a bargain, when it comes to jeans there’s no getting away from the fact that the more you spend on a pair, the better the quality, the better the fit and the longer the life of the jeans. A good quality pair of jeans should last you a lifetime and if you look after them well, don’t over wash them and stay the same shape it is worth the investment. In fact, if you find a perfect pair of jeans, I would suggest you buy a few pairs, in different colours.
One of the biggest mistakes we can make when buying jeans is buying them too big, which ends up looking incredibly unflattering, isn’t as comfortable and after a wash can make them look saggy, baggy and tired. Jeans need time to relax to your body shape so if anything they should be bought tighter and yes it should be a struggle to get them on! Fashion consultant, Clinton Kelly says, “Unfortunately, there is no universal sizing chart for designers to abide by. You may wear a size 10 in one line of jeans and a 14 in another. Don’t stress about it! Keep in mind: Women very frequently have a range of three sizes when it comes to the different items in their wardrobe.”
So, next time you need a new pair of jeans, arm yourself with these words of wisdom, be prepared to get hot and flustered in the dressing rooms, clench and squeeze your way into denim and be confident you will find the most flattering, most comfortable, most hard wearing and most enviable jeans ever.
And finally, here’s a bit of jeans nostalgia with the famous Levi’s TV advert from 1985, enjoy!