Jeans, the ultimate wardrobe staple. I honestly couldn’t live without them! As a Personal Stylist in London, across the UK and around the world, one of the most common questions I receive is how to find the perfect pair of jeans. This could be to do with the specific cut, the rise, the wash. The questions are endless. They can be worn for a casual day look or a dressier evening look and the changes in trends see different styles come and go.
So to make your life a little easier I’ve put together my top 5 points to consider when hunting for the perfect pair of jeans. And dotted through the blog you’ll find some of my current favourite denim picks.
Get to know your body shape
First up, the same style of jeans is not going to suit everyone. Yes trends in denim come and go, but that doesn’t mean a trend will always work for every body shape. Understanding the proportions of your body will help you to establish the style of denim to go for.
And when I talk about body shape, it isn’t a reference to size but to the proportions you see in your body. So for example, if you find you carry more weight in your lower body (hips, thighs, bum) and less weight in your upper body, then denim styles such as a straight leg, flare or boot cut will work well for you. The reason for this is that the fit through the thigh and slightly wider cut on the lower leg of the jeans means you create more balanced silhouette through the hip line.
On the other hand if you find you have a quite straight frame through the body and you are looking to add the illusion of curves to your shape, a Mom fit style which tapers at the legs can create the illusion of curves on the lower half of the body.
So the first priority should always be to get to know your body shape before you decide what style of denim to invest in.
Understand the different fits and cuts of jeans
There are so many different styles of jeans on the market. So here is my breakdown of the most common.
The 2000’s saw the rise of the skinny jean. The slim pipe leg means they fit almost like a pair of leggings. Hence the evolution of styles like the jegging. Skinny jeans were all of the rage and really showcase your legs!
A great alternative to the skinny is the slim leg which still fit snug through the thigh but have a little more width to the bottom, allowing a little more balance through the hip line. You get styles in a small kick flare or cropped options as other alternatives.
A timeless piece, the straight leg cuts straight all the way from hip to the ankle. These are an ultimate classic in any wardrobe and can easily be dressed up or down, occasion dependent.
The rise of the bootleg, once popular in the late 80’s and 90’s is making a fierce comeback. The style provides a fit through the thigh with a then subtle flare our from the knee. You can see these worn today with trainers for an on-trend look.
Flared denim were all the rage in the 70’s. And again they make a stellar comeback! Flares sit looser than a bootcut style and have a more exaggerated flare from the knee compared to a bootcut. Flares are giving ultimate 70’s nostalgia, now paired with everything from trainers to a chunkier pair of loafers.
Wide denim has a much more relaxed look sitting wide through the whole frame. They can add a lot more bulk and width to the lower half of the body, something to consider when balancing your proportions.
Lots of names for essentially a similar sort of style. Mom jeans have the baggy fit with a tapered leg while a Dad jeans has a baggy fit with a straighter leg. Girlfriend jeans are just a more feminine version of the boyfriend jean, that borrowed look from your latest love with a fit through the waist and hips and more relaxed fit through the legs. These styles are great at adding a bit more volume to the lower body.
Understand the rise of the jeans
The rise of your denim can make all the difference to an outfit! High waisted denim has been all of the rage for quite some time now. 90’s me remembers the low rise, I was young, but i know they gave no support, showed far too much from behind and made your legs look short!
High rise and now super high rise for 2024 will make your legs go on for days. A higher waist visually makes it look like your legs start far higher up than they do which, when you pair with a long length jean, will make your legs look super long, perfect for my petite girls. With this the high rise also shows off your waist, often highlighting the smallest area of your body and encouraging the illusion of curves. And a final note to add is that a high rise, when paired with the right fabric can offer great support to the lower tummy area too!
Now for 2024 we seem to be finding super high rise as the new trend. Word of warning though, make sure if you do go for a super high rise that you check the fabric because you don’t want any uncomfortable situations when sitting down.
For those not so comfortable with a high rise you can opt for a medium rise which will again offer some support to the lower tummy and still make the legs look longer than a low rise.
What wash and details to go for?
Golden question, what colour should you go for. I receommed for every wardrobe to have a classic pair of darker indigo denim, black denim and one lightwer wash blue denim. This should help cover you through different occasions. Other options includes a white or ecru wash, often useful the warmer weather although they can work well for Autumn/Winter too and then a grey wash can look a little different too.
Remember if you do carry more of your weight on the lower half of the body, then a darker wash will help to streamline the silhouette.
With the wash you might also want to consider other details such as whiskering. Whiskering are the lines you often see on denim across the thighs. If you tend to carry more weight across the thigh area, whiskering can broaden this area so you might prefer to go for a style with less detail like this.
Denim also often comes with embellishments like fraying, rips and turn ups, more recently. Again consider where you want to add detail and interest to your frame and if that is the right style for your lower half of the body.
Consider the fabric of jeans
So denim, typically made of cotton, can often include other materials. For example, you may come across some denim that has extra stretch where the cotton is commonly combined with a material such as polyester or elastane.
It’s worth considering what you want the denim for. If it’s a casual day to day look where comfort is key, a softer cotton denim with a slight stretch might be a better option. On the other hand if you are looking for an occasion pair then you might want something closer to 100% cotton with less stretch and a more structured construction.
It’s also worth thinking about breathability too. Jeans with higher levels of cotton (a natural fibre) are going to be more breathable than a pair with high levels of synthetic fabrics such as polyester. This is something to especially consider in warmer weather.
Jeans are a must have for every wardrobe. Finding the right pair takes times, patience and some trying on! Experiment with different brands, fits and styles to find the best options for you, your body and your lifestyle. I would also say they are a piece that is worth investing in. So if you spend your money anywhere in your wardrobe, denim is a no brainer!
I hope this jeans guide has been useful. Let me know what styles you love in the comments. And if you need help finding the perfect pair, why not book on for a FREE 20 minute Style Call. Lets make jeans magic happen!