Once upon a time, picking out a new pair of jeans was as simple as grabbing the right waist size and inseam. But today, with choices like high- or low-rise, skinny or boot-cut, designer or budget brands, shopping for denim can send you into a tailspin. Before you hit the racks, check out these tried-and-true tips for finding the best blues for you.
1. How do I know which wash is the best for me?
In general, a dark wash with no fading is most slimming, which matches people to jeans based on their measurements. Want to create curves where there are none? Try a pair with faded patches, which accentuate the lighter areas.
2. My jeans get baggy after a few wears. What can I do?
Since jeans that fit you like a glove in the store typically stretch out ¼” all the way around, buy a pair that’s snugger, says Hodge. This may mean going a size down, but don’t go too small. If you can’t fit your finger where the waistband meets the hipbone, or the zipper is pulling, they’re too tight.
3. I have a tummy. What rise should I be wearing?
Go for a medium- or higher-rise jean, which covers your middle and controls jiggles with no unflattering spillover. Place your thumb on the crotch seam and measure up to the top of the waist with your middle finger. A lower rise is 7 1⁄2″ to 8 1⁄2″, a medium rise 8 1⁄2″ to 9 1⁄2″, and a higher rise 9 1⁄2″ and up.
4. What’s the best length to wear with heels and flats?
Once you’ve found a pair you love, buy two and have them hemmed, says Hodge. For bootcut and trouser styles worn with heels, the hem should rest half- to three-quarters of the way down the heel. Wearing flats? Jeans should skim the floor but not drag. Skinnier cuts should hit at or just below the ankle, with both flats and heels.
5. Are a $150 and a $30 pair really that different?
Yes. Pricier jeans typically have a tighter weave, so they’re more durable and less likely to lose shape, says Hodge. Even if you don’t plan to buy expensive jeans, try on a pair. It will help you tell the difference between good-quality inexpensive jeans and those that are just cheap.