BASICS

Are You Wearing the Most Flattering Jeans?

Finding the Right Jeans For You

I pretty much live in jeans. Not overexaggerating…I wear jeans five+ days per week. I also used to dress dozens of women when I worked as a wardrobe stylist so I can safely say that when it comes to denim, I know my stuff. Which means I also know how overwhelming it can be to find the perfect jeans for your body. There are SO many options! But, do not worry. If you follow these 10 key tips, I know you will find the perfect jeans that will fit and flatter your body shape.

If you are looking for some cool fashion combos featuring jeans, be sure to check out this post! You can also watch the video version of this post on YouTube here or at the bottom of this post.

 

How to Pick the Right Pair of Jeans

how to pick the right pair of jeans

 #1 | Know Your Rise

There are three categories when it comes to the rise of jeans.

– Low Rise – 7”: low-rise jeans sit well below your belly button and have a shorter zipper. I stopped wearing this style of jeans after I became a mom. Bending over in Costco or the grocery store to show the world your behind…is not a good look. 

– Mid Rise – 8-9”: mid-rise jeans sit at your hips and just beneath your belly button so you are always comfortable.

– High Rise – 9″+: high-rise jeans sit at your belly button or higher just like the pair of GRLFRND jeans I’m wearing above! The benefit of wearing them is that they conceal any extra skin around the tummy area that you don’t want to show. High-rise jeans can help you eliminate the muffin top! Yay!  If in doubt about what pair of jeans might be most flattering for you, high rise is most likely the way to go. High-rise jeans can elongate the legs while also creating the illusion of a slimmer waist. I’m a fan!

Most online retailers will let you know the rise of the jeans in the product name or description. When shopping for a pair of jeans, be sure to take an extra minute to find out so you don’t have to waste time returning things.

how to pick the right pair of jeans

#2 | Inseam Length

Whether you’re petite, or tall… knowing your inseam is important when picking out a pair of jeans. It’s difficult to measure your own inseam, so I recommend getting someone to help you with this. For an accurate measurement, measure from the bottom of your crotch to the bottom of your hem.

You can always cuff a pair of jeans that are too long, but if you purchase specific cuts of jeans such as ankle, bootcut, straight, or flared, you should measure for each of these lengths. You also want to factor in your shoe height. One of the nice things about frayed hem jeans like the Mother flared hem jeans I’m wearing above, is that you can just cut them yourself without having to take them to a tailor. 

jeans back pockets

Jeans with High Back Pockets

#3 | Small & High Back Pockets

This is one of the areas that we don’t pay much attention to when searching for a pair of jeans. This style tip can be broken into two categories: 

– High & Small Pockets: if your pockets are high on your butt, it will appear more lifted. And don’t we all want that!? Gravity is not our friend. 😉  

– Wide Set & Narrow Pockets: if your bottom is small, pockets set wider apart will create fullness. For wider bums, jean pockets closer together will slim your bootie. The pockets should be about  2-3 inches from the smile of your butt (that’s the bottom of your behind where it meets your legs).

#4 | Pocket Placement

With the wrong pair of jeans, excess space between the pockets can make your butt appear wider. A smaller amount of space between the pockets makes your butt look small yet round. Think 2 to 3 inches between pockets.

how to pick the right pair of jeans, make sure they have a YKK zipper

#5 | Zipper Quality

The industry standard for jean zippers is the “YKK” zipper. You can look at your pants and jeans and see if it says “YKK.” This may not be a deal-breaker when it comes to purchasing your jeans, but just something to keep in mind as you shop. If a pair of jeans does not have the YKK zipper, the zipper is likely not the best quality.

best seam for women's jeans

#6 | Quality Stitching

When purchasing a new pair of jeans, be sure to turn the jeans inside out and take note of the stitching quality. The flat felled stitch is used most commonly with jeans. It resembles two railroad tracks on both ends of a seam. If a pair of jeans only has one row of stitching, the seam is more likely to come apart and they will not retain their shape as well.

how to pick the right pair of jeans, make sure you buy a pair with a longer zipper

#7 | Zipper Length

I got this next style tip from another YouTuber, Alexandra’s Girly Talk. When you have a pair of jeans and the zipper length is short (i.e., there’s a lot of space between the bottom of the zipper and the crotch of the jeans), that creates a wedgie effect or camel toe. I think we are all familiar with that dreaded style mishap. To avoid this, go with a pair of jeans that have a long zipper length with little space between the end of the zipper and the crotch of the jeans.

jeans with boots outfit

#8 | Fading Placement

Fading is when one part of the denim is lighter than another part. Sometimes fading at the front of the jeans may look like cat whiskers. In this case, the fading will make that particular area of your body appear larger. But, when you have a lighter, faded strip down the middle of your legs, for example…and a darker strip of denim outlining it on both legs, that fading can actually make your legs look tinier. The key is… use your fading strategically. Look at the placement. Is it placed in a way that will flatter your body or the opposite… exaggerating a problem area?
Always remember that fading should maximize your assets (pun intended!). 

best jeans for your body type | how to pick the right pair of jeans

#9 | Dark Wash is Slimming

This point is worth repeating because it’s SO important! When looking for a versatile pair of jeans that you can wear all the time, you want to look for: 

– A dark wash
– Minimal fading
– Minimal details, if any
– No contrasting stitching
– No embroidery
– Free of embellishments

You want a clean, classic dark wash pair of jeans that elongates your limbs and slims your body. All of us should have a pair of these in our closets!

how to pick flattering jeans

#10 | Fit and Flatter Your Body

You must understand what silhouette works best for your body type. Knowing what accentuates your body is the key! Don’t fall the trends. Stick with what works for your body shape. For example, if skinny jeans aren’t your thing because you have a bigger butt, wider hips, and thighs, then you do not have to wear them. Maybe opt for a straight, boot-cut, or flared leg instead. It’s important to understand your body so you can dress in the most flattering way.

Bonus Tip | Find the Brand for Your Body Type

There are particular designers and brands that design jeans for certain body shapes and lengths. Here are links to blog posts I did where I share my favorite brands for tall, curvy, and petite jeans.

What is your favorite denim line?? Please share in the comments below. I love Mother, AG, and Moussy Vintage.

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Erin Busbee signature

How To Manifest Anything, Fashion blogger Erin Busbee of Busbee Style wearing an orange and blue Staud Ina dress with white sunglasses walking around in Telluride, Colorado
Erin Busbee
After a decade in TV news, a desire to help women "look pretty" sparked a career pivot. I started my own wardrobe consulting business, styling "real" women for many years. In 2014, I changed direction again, using my TV background and styling expertise to launch this website and my YouTube channel. We are now a community of well over 1 million dynamic, vibrant, amazing women over 40... who know that age isn't something you need to hide from. For us, life is just getting started!!
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16 thoughts on “Are You Wearing the Most Flattering Jeans?

  1. I love my AG jeans! Have been wearing them for years in Australia. They are expensive, but they last for ages and wear really well 🙂

  2. Good post on jeans. Mother jeans are just the best. I have Mother hustler in black, light wash, and dark wash. They are expensive but I feel great when I wear them, I just turned 70 this year and love your blog.

    1. So glad you liked this post and that you’re loving the site, Kathy! I love the Mother Hustler jeans too and you’re so right…worth the price when you feel amazing! ~Erin xo

  3. I find AG and Mother fit the best. I am interested to try Moussy sometime too. I read an interesting article that talked about the yoke of a jean. The “V” shape on the back of the jean. It said the deeper the yoke the curvier the jean tush area is and the straighter the yoke the flatter the tush area is. It’s my go to now when I look at jeans. I am a typical hourglass shape so I always look for a deeper yoke to fit my tush and not gap at the waist. Cheers

    1. Definitely try the Moussy jeans…you won’t be disappointed! Great tip about looking at the yoke of the jeans. We’ll have to check that out now too. Thanks so much, Katie! ~Team Busbee

  4. I love the post on the best jeans.. I have a 12″ rise which makes a typical high rise fit like a below belly button Rise for me … Pocket placement is Interesting.. I never found high pockets or small Pockets? Thanks Erin xo
    Cindy

  5. When you are older and have(had) a flat butt,HIGH POCKETS DO NOT LOOK GOOD!!! THEY JUST accentuate a low slung fanny!!!!!!!!

  6. Erin, all of these tips are great and ive memorized them from your previous viDeos and posts. Heres my problem: im 5’4” anD 72 years old. Im a rectangle with no Saddle bags or extra weight in my legs but to be Even MODERATELY comfortable , i have to buy jeans that fiT my expanded waistline. Tgey usually fit through the hips buT are too baggy in the legs— SPECIFICALLY under my butt. Always extra fabric because i have more tummy/ waist and less junk in the trunk. Anybody creating for that demographic or am i alone?

    1. Hi Sherry, I hear you on the baggy bottom problem, I am an inverted triangle shape. I find both Hudson and Frame denim to be more forgiving in the waist allowing me to have a better fit on my slimmer hips, legs, and backside while minimizing muffin-top. I focus on the mid-rise styles with Lycra and cotton blend, which allow for a snugger fit on the backside and some stretch to accommodate the waist. Hope this helps.

  7. Hi Erin
    This is a much needed post. Thank you! Any retail suggestions on where to shop for curvy/ pear shape when yoy aren’t plus size?

  8. i love moussy, paige (i’m tall), and some more “western” jean styles for riding and wearing with cowboy boots.

  9. Was such a great article about jeans. I have body shape question. I have lost 80 lbs. yeah me. Im 5’3 and wear a size 12 in jeans. I MEASURE out kinda hourshape in body shape. But i have excess bElly skin now. I am very self conscious about my image. So i wear mostly skinny Jeans with tunic type shirts to hide my tummy bulDge. Any other suggestions would be awesome. Thank you again. GennieLou

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