Finding The Perfect Pair Of Jeans

How to buy a great-fitting pair of jeans

Your genes may determine the size and shape of your legs, but your jeans can display them to their best advantage.

“A great pair of jeans should give you a great body,” says Charla Krupp, a New York fashion writer.

In fact, if you get the right fit, your jeans should make you look better than anything else you have in your wardrobe, says Krupp, author of the best-selling book, “How Not to Look Old” (Springboard Press, 2008).

Shapes and sizes

Knowing what’s flattering to your figure will make the denim quest easier. For starters, steer away from jeans that come up to your waist because they tend to look dowdy, say fashion experts. Instead, women’s jeans should be a mid-low rise, about with nine inches in the rise, according to Krupp.

The back pockets should end before the lower curve of your buttocks, according to Stacy Wallace-Albert, a Chicago-based personal fashion editor at

“You never want the pockets to be halfway up the cheek and slide down into the curve. If the pockets hang down, everything hangs down,” says Wallace-Albert.

Although jeans with a little stretch–3 percent spandex, for example–can improve your shape, avoid jeans that look as if you were poured into them. To hide bulges, use body-shaper undergarments instead.

When you’re trying on jeans, wear the shoes that will be part of your finished ensemble. The jeans hem should be 1/8 to 1/4 inch from the ground, Krupp says.

Boot-cut jeans flatter everyone; only teens and others without curves can get away with tapered legs.

Fixing figure flaws

Here’s how to pick jeans that will perfect your shape.

  • To minimize your stomach: Stay away from jeans with front pockets, pleats or an elastic waistband, says Kim Johnson Gross, whose fashion advice book, “What to Wear for the Rest of Your Life,” will be published later this year by Springboard Press. Opt for supple, thinner fabric. Stiff denim will make your stomach look larger.
  • To slim down big hips or derriere: Choose straight-legged jeans and stay away from small back pockets. “Small pockets make your butt look bigger,” says Gross.
  • To disguise a short waist: Select jeans that end just below the belly button and wear them with dark flats. “You want the dark line from the waist to keep going,” Wallace-Albert says.
  • For the illusion of height: Try trouser jeans with pockets on the seam and a wider leg; wear the jeans with at least a one-inch heel for a very long look.