The Perfect Jeans: Five Tips to Get the Best Fit

BlogHer Original Post

The perfect jeans are like the Holy Grail: Many of us aren't sure they really exist, but we believe, and we search. Endlessly. We try on every possible pair, and we put our faith in the most expensive options because if they work for celebrities, maybe they'll work for us.

But it's not about how much you spend, or what brand you're wearing; the perfect jeans are all about fit.

The most flattering rise hits two fingers below your belly button. Stylists call this a "mid rise." If you carry your weight through your middle, the temptation is to go with a higher rise, one that covers your entire belly, but this will just make your stomach look larger than it is. By the same token, a lower rise can make your backside look big. Mid rise jeans flatter every size and shape. Trust me.

Old Navy The Dreamer jeansPockets can add bulk, even when they're empty. Flap pockets will make your backside look bigger; slash pockets make your hips look wider. A traditional five-pocket style is the most flattering, because the pockets tend to lie flat. Trying to de-emphasize your back side? Look for pockets that sit high; they'll visually lift your rear. And put your keys in your handbag, not your pockets -- no matter what their shape.

A boot cut balances hips and thighs. Look for jeans that fall straight from the widest part of your hip. Avoid flared jeans (they'll make your thighs look bigger) and tapered jeans (they'll make everything look bigger). Caveat: If you're planning to tuck your jeans into your boots, opt for a skinny jean, no matter what your size or shape; boot cut jeans are too wide to tuck without bulk. But make sure that your skinny jeans fit perfectly through the hips and thighs, for the sleekest look.

Trouser jeans flatter everyone. Trouser jeans are precisely what they sound like: Jeans made to look like tailored trousers. Trouser jeans are typically more structured, which is great for all figures. Dress them down with cute sneakers and a tee, or dress them up with heels and a silk blouse -- they're the most versatile pants you'll ever own.

Take your jeans to a tailor. Great jeans are available at all price points; I buy my jeans at Old Navy, for under $30, but I won't buy any jeans if they don't fit perfectly. Have a hard time getting that perfect fit? Take your jeans to a tailor; have the waist taken in, or the length shortened; have slash pockets sewn shut. Make whatever alterations you need to get the perfect fit, and no one will ever know what brand or price your jeans are -- all they'll see is that perfect fit.

Pictured: The Dreamer jeans, Old Navy, $34.50. Available in sizes 0 - 20.

Susan Wagner writes about pragmatic fashion at The Working Closet and chic suburban living at Friday Playdate.

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