How to shop for and purchase the perfect pair of jeans to wear
Jeans are the hardest but also the easiest things to buy because of the breadth of styles available. The trick is finding the right pair of jeans in your price range, because everyone can buy a great pair of jeans if they drop $300! It’s harder to find a pair at $100 or even $50.
Now, the style of jean obviously depends on what looks good on your body, although you can also bend the rules if you dare.
If you don’t really know what you shape of jean flatters your body, here’s a quick guide:
1. Find out what general body type you are — apple, hourglass, pear (most women are pears), inverted triangle, or rectangle
2. Go by the rule that wherever you hold your weight the most — (e.g. your hips), you need to balance it out elsewhere so it doesn’t look disproportionate.
That’s pretty much it. There are plenty of guides out there on the internet as well that tell you how to dress your body shape, the trick is really trying to figure out your MAIN body shape.
Take for instance my body:
I myself am an inverted triangle which is a shape with very large shoulders but a small waist, hips and butt. I am also a bit of an Apple shape because I do carry a little (not much) weight in my midsection.
As a result, my shoulders look wider than the rest of my body, and technically, if a pair of skinny pants makes my bottom half look really slender and skinny, I shouldn’t stick my legs into it!
…and yet, I own a pair of skinny jeans (Citizens of Humanity Poison High-Waisted Skinny Jeans) and 2 pairs of skinny pants (Rag and Bone Mid-rise Legging Jeans in Gunmetal Grey and the Artizia version in a Khaki Green)
I can wear those skinny pants because I am conscious not to over exaggerate the width of my shoulders with the top I choose.
I try to pick something like a tank top with wide straps so that I don’t look so disproportionate up top, and I minimize the width and size of my shoulders. I wouldn’t for instance, pair skinny jeans with a flawy, blousy, shapeless boatneck top!
I also prefer skinny jeans and pants when I want to wear them tucked into boots.
There’s none of this excessive fabric crap that bunches up in the boots and creates unsightly bags at the knees when you sit down and stand up again.
DIFFERENT BODY TYPES
Pick the one that MOST matches your shape.
You carry weight in your midsection (I’m a demi-Apple as well), so your best bet is to find higher rise jeans that don’t create muffin top.
I buy jeans that are mid-rise at a minimum, but I prefer high-rise jeans, or at least jeans that are higher in the back than they are in the front (designer jeans tend to build in this trick of having a higher curved back in the jean and a lower front for comfort so it doesn’t cut across your belly.)
You also want to looks for jeans that taper in at the waist so that you get a bit of a definition at the waistline.
You have a curvy top and a curvy bottom, so your best bet is to find jeans that taper in at the waist because your waist is smaller than your hips, and you wouldn’t want a pair of jeans to basically look too loose around your tiny waist.
You can wear any kind of cut on the bottom even skinny jeans!
You have your weight around your hips, butt and thighs but your upper half is slender. You are made for straighter-legged cuts of jeans and skinny jeans, as it will add less volume on your lower half. You should emphasize your upper half with larger, blousier tops to balance out your proportions.
You have broad shoulders, a flat butt, small hips and skinny legs (this is my body type!), and you are best to stick to jeans with a wider hem such as bootcuts, flares or 70s style jeans that are very voluminous and give the illusion of more weight on your bottom to balance out your shoulders.
Skinny jeans and pants are not your friends unless you are able to balance out your upper half and minimize the width of your shoulders.
You’re quite even from top to bottom, and can wear any style. Lucky you! The only thing I’d suggest is finding jeans that give your waist definition and the illusion of more curves.
DIFFERENT QURIKS OF EACH BODY TYPE
Then within each body type you have different quirks.
You may have a curvy figure but a rather flat butt, which means you need to not only look for jeans that taper in at the waist (mid-rise or higher), you need to also compensate for your flatter butt by finding jeans that have smaller, higher-placed pockets in the back to give the illusion of a curvier butt.
Or maybe you have a very slender body overall but a curvy butt with bigger hips, which means you will need to find jeans that taper in at the waist and are a higher rise so that you don’t get that gap of loose fabric at the back.
IN GENERAL: A NO FAIL PAIR OF JEANS TO BUY
This is what it looks like.
You don’t even need to know the brands, you just need to know the shape, look at the end of the hems as being bootcut (slightly wider and SLIGHTLY flared, not bell bottoms) and to fix that colour in your mind.
It’s hard to fail in this department if you look for the following 3 criterion, no matter what your body type is:
Mid to High Rise (depending on your comfort level)
Mid-rise is when it hits just below your navel (about an inch or so).
High-rise is when it is at your navel or higher.
It eliminates excessive fabric in the back that gaps (and shows a plumber’s butt), and it hugs around our womanly hips better than low-rise or super low-rise jeans which are made for tweens.
I personally prefer high rise but find that it cuts into my stomach, but even so, I feel a lot more secure with a high rise jean than I do with mid-rise, that tends to slip after it loosens up from regular wear.
No weird bleaching, colours, tassels, or designs. Simple is best, and some dark rinse jeans (like the dark rinse trouser jeans I bought at Banana Republic eons ago), can pass for actual trousers and pants at work, but are infinitely more comfortable.
Universally flattering, the bootcut is not tight, it’s not straight, it’s not tapered and it’s not too loose and clownish. It gives the right weight to the bottom of your body, and looks good on every body type.
SOME BRANDS TO USE TO FIND DECENT JEANS
These are jeans I have purchased or tried on and know from personal experience.
H&M: They had a premium denim line a while back that was of pretty good quality considering the price (around $50).
I don’t know what happened to the line, but if your budget doesn’t allow you to spend more, H&M (in the past), had decent mid-rise, dark rinse bootcut jeans that even I was tempted to purchase (before my “No More Made in China Crap” crusade).
They were not quite as soft or as high of a quality as when you hit the $100 mark, but they were far better than Forever 21 or other stores that sold jeans at the same price.
They run around the $100 range and are SUPER soft, my favourite cuts from the line are either Sweet or Sofia.
I’d suggest this line to everyone.
They come in a wide range of styles, and I personally like the highest rises possible which are still only mid-rise. For the price, the quality is pretty high and they have a wide range of styles to choose from. I’d consider them premium denim, even though they don’t cost an arm and a leg 😉
CITIZENS OF HUMANITY:
I love this brand for my body shape because it works well. I own the Poison High-Rise Skinny jean and wear it constantly (it’s my staple jean with knee-high boots), and I also own the Amber Mid-rise dark rinse bootcut jean that have now seen better days.
They wash and wear very well over the years, and the quality is outstanding. I have never seen the colour fade or go wonky on my dark rinse jeans either.
RAG & BONE:
In full disclosure I have not bought or tried on their bootcut jeans, but I like this brand mostly for their Twill Skinny Legging Jeans which feel like leggings but are more appropriate to wear outside than actual leggings, because leggings… are not pants.
My favourite cut is mid-rise, and it only comes in 2 colours: Gunmetal Grey and Indigo Blue.
They did a collaboration with Aritzia and came out with the same style of pant in a slightly lower quality (the Khaki Green faded slightly), but in Khaki Green and Beige as well.