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How to find the perfect pair of jeans

2012-07-09 12:18:29

Published on 2012-07-09 12:18:29

Peer into any woman’s closet and it’s highly likely that you’ll find one or more pairs of jeans. First designed in the late 19th century for the farmers and miners of the Western United States, jeans have become a wardrobe staple for men, women and children alike, being worn for purposes ranging from manual labour to high end fashion. Jeans also cross cultural divides – in the book ‘Blue Jeans’, Danny Miller discovers that jeans are worn in most areas of the world with just a few exceptions.

Yet despite the clear popularity of jeans, recent research on the psychology of clothing found that jeans are the garment most likely to be worn by women when they’re in a low mood. It’s believed that women associate jeans with unhappiness as they often fit poorly and aren’t flattering. It’s a shame that such an iconic garment has associations with depressed mood, especially when it’s possible to get a good fit with a bit of knowhow and perseverance. So, how do you make jeans the first thing that you reach for when you’re feeling good, safe in the knowledge that they’re the perfect fit for you?

Getting the right fit is mostly about selecting styles and features that flatter your body shape. While it’s difficult to give advice that covers off every permutation of shape, there are a few basic tips you can follow to help you achieve a perfect fit:

Perfect pockets

Carefully check the size of back pockets - beware tiny pockets if you have a fuller bottom – they will accentuate the size of your bum. Instead, look for pockets that are medium sized.

Also watch for the spacing of pockets - pockets that sit toward the outer body i.e. pockets that are far apart from each other will create the illusion of a wider bum. Look for middle of the bottom positioning with the pockets pointing slightly in rather than out.

Where’s the waist?

High waisted jeans will make most women look like they have a much bigger bottom, with a shorter and wider upper body, so it’s best to avoid this style. Lower waisted (low rise) jeans will visually reduce bottom size, but should be avoided if you have a bit of a tummy, since they can create a ‘muffin top’. For most people, a medium waisted jean that finishes just below the tummy button is the best option.

Careful about the cut

Boot cut

A boot cut jean begins to flare from just below the knee and is great for pear shapes (ladies with a bigger bottom than top half), those with a larger top half compared to their bottom (top heavy) or straight up and down women. They should always be worn with a slight heel, or they can have a shortening effect.

Straight cut

A straight cut jean, as the name suggests has a straight leg with no flaring. It works well on pears, top heavy and hour glass shaped women, and can be worn with flat shoes or tucked into boots.

Skinny cut

Skinny cut encases the whole lower part of the body in either stiff or stretchy denim. These jeans are difficult for many women to wear, since the way they fit puts everything on show. They look great on small hourglass shaped women, but can be a challenge for many other shapes. 

woman wearing well fitted jeans

My experience is that skinny jeans often do more harm than good to a women’s confidence. So unless you’ve found a way to wear skinny jeans that you love and makes you feel great, don’t force yourself to wear them!

For those who want to give them a go but don’t want the ‘cling film’ effect, try tucking them into knee high boots or wearing them with a short dress or tunic that covers the hip and bottom area.

Curves and colour

Darker denim is smarter and more flattering for curves. Stonewash effects will draw the eye to that part of the jean (normally the thighs), which may not be where you want attention!

Doing detailing

Detailing on jeans such as embroidery, studs, rips, tears, etc will draw attention to the area of detail. When looking at the detail, decide what it will emphasise and whether you want attention drawn there.

Try, try, try

Finding a good fit requires patience – you’ll need to put in the effort and keep trying on jeans, observing the effect they have on your figure. Asking yourself a few questions can help you decide if they are right for you:

* What are the jeans doing to my legs – e.g. do they look longer, shorter, wider?

* How does my bottom look – e.g. bigger or smaller than usual?

* How do they feel on my tummy e.g. supportive or creating overhang?

* How comfortable are they? - they have to be comfortable or you won’t wear them!

* How do I feel in them? - the answer must be fabulous!

Let your jeans be a source of happiness and not despair, and find the perfect pair!

Need help understanding your body shape? Come for a Style Confidence consultation or buy my Body Shape Prescription in the Peppermint Style Shop.

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