In Shop Quality Series, Shopping, Style, Wardrobe Help, Women

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 areapple, hourglass, pear (most women are pears), inverted triangle, or rectangle

2. Go by the rule that wherever you hold your weight the mostย — (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!

โ€ฆand yet, I pretty much ONLY own pairs of skinny jeans (Farrah High-Rise AG Jeans is my ultimate favourite).

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.

Another style of pants I really like for my body, are wide-legged pants, and I am on the hunt for a pair of wide-legged jeans:

DIFFERENT BODY TYPES

Pick the one that MOST matches your shape.

Source: AlleyChic

APPLE:

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.

HOURGLASS:

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!

PEAR:

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.

INVERTED TRIANGLE:

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.

RECTANGLE:

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.


3. Don’t go too cheapย — If you truly want quality, gotta pay for it.

Some women can’t stand the idea of paying more than $20 for jeans. That’s fine, but you’re never going to reach for them and think each time you put them on: These are the best MF-ing jeans in the WORLD!

I used to buy only cheap jeans. I used to wear them, and think: Oh, they’re nice, but I hate how it digs into my waist here…..

Once I upgraded and spent an OBSCENE amount (to me, about $200) on a pair of jeans, I put them on and realized I had been torturing myself all these years.

GOOD JEANS ARE WORTH THE MONEY.

Buy one pair, wear them to death. They end up getting holes in them? Perfect, now they’re trendy distressed jeans, go out and buy another pair, and now you have two.

The jeans I own (Farrah High-Rise AG Jeans and they also come in mid-rise), are all comfortable, and I can literally see myself reaching for the most expensive pairs day-in and day-out because they are just THAT GOOD. They feel like pajamas on, they hug my body, they don’t scratch or dig into my waistline, and they make my bum look great.

They also go with everything!

I’ve also branched out into way more jeans but mostly for style and colour — distressed, heavily distressed, black, dark grey, white, light grey, lighter blues …. but the pair I’d give them all up for, is the Farrah High-Rise AG Jeans. I’m a total fangirl.

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.

Dark-Rinse-Boot-Cut-Jeans

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.

Dark Rinse

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.

Bootcut

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

THE ULTIMATE BRAND FOR ME IS AG JEANS

These Farrah AG jeans are MONEY. They are comfortable, like pyjamas basically, soft, and hug your body SO WELL.

OTHER 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 $20 USD).

They were not quite as soft or as high of a quality, or as thick as when you hit the $200 mark, but they were far better than Forever 21 or other stores that sold jeans at the same price.

LUCKY JEANS:

Lucky-Brand-Sofia-Boot-Cut-Dark-Rinse

Lucky Jeans SOFIA BOOTCUT

ย Lucky-Brand-Sweet-Jean-Boot-Cut

Lucky Jeans SWEET BOOTCUT

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

CITIZENS OF HUMANITY:

Citizens-of-Humanity-Amber-Rise-Bootcut

I love this brand for my body shape because it works well. I own the Rocket High-Rise Skinny jean and wear it constantly (it’s my staple jean with knee-high boots).

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.


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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17 Comments

  1. Emily @ Urban Departures

    Hello, I recently started following your blog and I love how you’re a personal finance blogger with a love for quality, sometimes expensive, beautiful clothes. I like AG jeans and how it hugs my flat butt. However, albeit loosing all my pregnancy weight, I’m still carrying a pudge in my midsection and am usually conscious wearing jeans. I think it may be time to invest in a high-rise pair.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      It’s part of my spending charm.. that I see a value in a $2000 coat where others think a $200 coat would work.

      AG jeans I’ve heard a lot of good things about. I think they’re good, except I wish the rise was higher (mid to high rise is best for my flat butt), though they seemed vey nice in the Anthropologie store.

      I don’t think you would really need to invest in a high-rise pair, you should try looking at Lucky jeans which are around the same price range of $100.

      Otherwise, ANY high rise pair will work, although my preferences run towards Rag & Bone and Citizens.

      Reply
  2. dojo

    I can’t get a pair of jeans by following a plan, no matter how I try. If I don’t go and try them out, it’s bad ๐Ÿ˜€

    The 3 things I need to have in mind: low-cut (I dislike having anything over my waist), 27 inches waist, 32 length. And then of course, they need to have as much cotton as possible (I dread these ‘stretchy’ jeans), look O on me etc.

    Really difficult ..

    Reply
  3. Tania

    I do find the pricier made in the US jeans (like Citizens, Current Elliott) work best for me personally because I’ve got a Kardashian like booty. In the cheaper jeans, the pockets always seem to be too small or not placed right for my behind and I have experienced the shape/proportion changing after washing with jeans from say, the Gap. I know certain jeans designers fit/design each size separately versus fitting one size and then just making the jean bigger or smaller so this is a huge reason for that. Now my sis and my bestie look great in lower priced jeans but they have more of a straight skinny body type (I’m an hourglass).

    The great thing about jeans is there are so many on consignment or available for resale. So I haven’t paid full price for jeans in a long time. I’ve also bought some via flash sales sites like Gilt (returns accepted). I wear jeans to work so I have quite a few.

    I also follow the skinny/roomy rule. Jeans and the top need to be the opposite. Skinny jeans look best with a roomier top and boyfriend jeans look best with a skinnier top. I don’t do bootcut too much but I have to wear something that makes my shoulders look broader to balance out the leg.

    Great guide girl, I’m going to point some friends here.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Ahh! The Kardashian booty. Oddly enough, soft high rise jeans with 97% cotton and 3% spandex work the best for me, because they stick to my hips.

      I like small pockets to make my small, flat butt look bigger ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for pointing people here! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Reply
  4. Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans

    This post came at a perfect time – I’m looking to buy new jeans!

    I am in need of a little advice. I have huge thighs that rub together when I walk, so over time, most of my jeans start to fade at the inner thigh area. It’s a little embarrassing, actually, so I end up throwing away jeans after a year or so. Then again, I’ve never spent more than $30 on a pair of jeans. Will the more expensive brands be able to handle this problem? I don’t want to drop more than $100 only to throw it away in a year or so.

    Reply
  5. Maggie@SquarePennies

    I’m all about deals, so I don’t usually pay much for jeans. I’ve even gotten jeans at Talbot’s Outlet for $8 each. They are good enough for when I don’t need fashion jeans.

    I wanted to look more pulled together for a bloggers conference I went to. So I bought some Jones New York jeans for about $70 at Macy’s. They have a tummy panel that is comfortable for my Apple shape. I got a pair in black and one in very dark midnight blue. They worked well for a business casual look. I expect to wear them everywhere!

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      You should really give Lucky jeans a look the next time if you’re interested ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  6. Fiona

    The raves for Lucky brand is making me want to try on a pair! The most expensive jeans I have are from Mavi and Silver, but I’m willing to pay more for a better fit. I love bootcut jeans as well, but often have trouble figuring out what shoes to wear especially in the winter (short of wearing sneakers/running shoes). Do you have any ideas? I don’t wear heels, and my boots are the taller kind.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      You should at least go into the store and try on a pair. I did it on a whim because I heard about the brand a bit in the past, but I was SO surprised at how nice they were.

      Hmm.. for shoes as bootcut jeans, I am the kind of girl who wears ballet flats or sandals. I only own one pair of sneakers and I rarely wear them.

      I may not be any help there ๐Ÿ™‚ Many people find them too flat. Your other option is perhaps loafers, or you can always buy short booties like the Frye Engineer boots that look like actual shoes but will go well under a bootcut jean.

      Reply
  7. Erin

    LOVE citizens. Despite my frugal tendencies I make some major exceptions for designer denim – bought my first pair last year and now I can’t look back! I just tell myself that I can spread the cost over 3-5 years (which is how long I keep my jeans).

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Try Lucky jeans. You might be surprised, because I love my Citizens too, and found Lucky jeans very comfortable and SOFT.

      Reply
  8. anna

    I don’t stray from boot cut, and completey agree with Lucky. My absolute faces are Hudson Jeans, as well, especially in white boot cut. Great tutorial!

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      @anna: Lucky is one of the best jeans I’ve tried on, especially for the price.

      Reply
  9. Alicia @ Financial Diffraction

    I bought a pair of Lucky jeans two years ago, and I never looked better in a pair of jeans. My legs go on for miles. The denim is sturdy enough that it isn’t clingy but rather gives a bit more structure. The wash is nice dark denim (a little less grey-black and more blue than I prefer, but I will survive). Oh, and the butt area is perfect – I don’t need to worry about partly mooning people.

    The trouble I have is that we don’t have their store here for another pair.

    Oh, and as for body type I am a bit of an apple imposed on a rectangle.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Oh and why don’t you just buy the Lucky jeans online? Or is the shipping prohibitive?

      Reply
    2. save. spend. splurge.

      @Alicia @ Financial Diffraction: EXACTLY! Lucky was a real good find for me, even though itโ€™s $100, itโ€™s not $200 or $300 like the other designer denim brands. My only gripe is that they donโ€™t have super high-rise jeans (which I like in Citizens).

      Reply

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