Jeans: choose the right one for every body shape

How choose the perfect pair of jeans. Rules and tips.

Jeans. They feature in traumatic adolescent memories – we all remember those those inelegant hops and contortions, and the suspect stratagems we devised to squeeze ourselves into a pair. They’re honest witnesses to the success of the latest diet (“I’ve managed to get into my jeans from 1987!”) and now they’re even acceptable in posh dress codes (Diane Kruger appeared at a premiere in 2008 in a pair of super-tight Acne jeans). They’ve become a true essential in the female wardrobe. Jeans are now seen – no less than bags and shoes – as an essential accessory, and brands have multiplied rapidly, along with shapes, designs and washes, to reflect the rampant denim mania. The search for that perfect pair of jeans has therefore become a mission requiring targeted, in-depth knowledge, resolve, determination – and a healthy dose of common sense. Unfortunately though, few things look worse than a pair of jeans that’s totally wrong. So here’s a short but exhaustive buyer’s guide. We hope you find it useful during those moments of cosmic despair in the fitting-room.

Jeans: a perfect pair for every body shape

STRAIGHT LEG This is the design that common mortals and novices would call “normal” – and that’s more or less spot-on. Waist not particularly low, straight leg with linear cut. In other words, they suit practically everyone. They look particularly good on curvy women – they wrap around the figure without squeezing, minimise the weaker points and enhance the proportions. A heavier cloth with less stretch fabric will help to define your shape better, and won’t bunch up unpleasantly over the hips. Go for a dark, classic wash. It’s “more flattering”, as your granny would say, and also means you can wear them on any occasion.

HIGH WAISTED The high waisted design came back into vogue a few years ago, bringing to mind the irresistible retro allure of the stars of yesteryear (remember the Charlie’s Angel Farrah Fawcett?). They’re perfect for “pear-shaped” girls with wasp waists and larger derrières: they skilfully highlight the strengths of the figure, rebalance the proportions of the curves and focus the gaze on the perfect line of waist and hips. If you have very long legs, opt for a 80s-inspired design (Levi’s 501s are still making history) in a light or bleached-out wash. If you’re slightly shorter though, the “midi bootcut” style works well – it lengthens the leg below the knee a little and helps to slim the figure. Beware of pocketless designs. They’re not ideal for bringing the best out of Beyoncé-style curves and you risk the dreaded “baggy” effect.

SKINNY A thorny issue, skinny jeans. They’ve been hugely successful for around a dozen years now, becoming the official uniform of it-girls and models. Tight-fitting, stretch jeans seem designed specifically to ruthlessly reveal even the tiniest smidgeon of cellulite. So they’re really the exclusive preserve of skinny, toned girls (height isn’t important). However, especially if you finished high school a few years ago, it would be better to forget low-waisted jeans if you want to avoid involuntarily providing panoramic views of your behind every time you sit down or bend over. Go to town though on the wash: light, dark, washed-out…!

BOYFRIEND You can take a guess from the name. Boyfriends are jeans that look like they’ve been stolen from your man’s wardrobe. And sometimes they have! Baggy, shapeless, worn out and low-waisted, they’re incredibly difficult to wear without looking scruffy. They’re perfect for tall, long-limbed girls with androgynous physiques – but avoid them if you’ve passed your 40s and don’t want to look like the wife of a slightly eccentric, retired rapper. Go for a light or bleached-out wash, perhaps with a rip or two here or there. They look best at really informal events.

 

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