Fashion tips: Advice on choosing the right jeans for your age and body type
With so many from which to choose, how do you go about finding jeans that will be comfortable as well as stylish?
Jeans have really become a fashion “staple,” and women are wearing them everywhere. Dressed up or dressed down, today, jeans go everywhere! With so many styles from which to choose, buying the right jeans can really be a challenge. The key is to know what to look for and what styles work best to flatter your figure and make you look great.
There are some universal “rules” that all women should follow. Forget about high waists, pleats, tapered legs, and jeans without pockets. These are dated and not flattering to anyone. If you own jeans that fit this description either donate them to the local charity thrift shop or put them away so you won’t be tempted to wear them… ever! Who knows? Maybe someday they will be back in style but, until then, banish them immediately from your regular clothing rotation!
The first thing to look at is the cut of the jeans. There are boot cuts, straight cuts and flare cuts – all referring to the shape of the leg. A boot cut is just what the name implies; the leg is designed to fit over a boot. The ankle on a boot cut jean is between one and one and a half inches wider than the knee. Boot cut jeans look good on just about every body shape but are especially flattering to women who are pear shaped or heavier in the hips.
With straight cut jeans, the legs are the same width from the knee down. If you are “hippy,” avoid a straight cut jean. They also look better on taller women with long legs. They tend to be more casual looking and better for the weekend than the office.
Flare cur legs are wider than boot cut but less dramatic than a bell-bottom. Flare legs balance heavier hips but aren’t good for shorter gals. They are also flattering when worn by thinner women, adding the illusion of curves. They tend to draw the eye downward, away from problem areas.
Bell-bottoms are back but best left to younger women, as they tend to be trendy. Older women should probably avoid ultra-trendy apparel and anyone who likes to keep their clothes for a number of years probably shouldn’t invest in something that, most likely, will be out of style in another year or two.
No matter what cut you choose, you also need to consider length. The length of your jeans depends on they type of shoes that you will be wearing with them. If you always wear flats, your jeans should cover the back of your shoe but not touch the floor. With heels, the leg should end about an inch from the floor. Jeans should NEVER drag on the floor. Conversely, they should never be so short as to show your socks or ankles (unless they are capri’s!).
As previously stated, high waists don’t flatter anyone and tend to accentuate the negative. Today’s jeans are available in waists that start at the natural waistline and can dip dramatically to the top of a bikini. Most women look best in jeans that hit just above the hip. Even if you have a little belly, these jeans will work. Higher waists tend to accentuate the stomach and are not flattering. Older women may be more comfortable in jeans that are just below the natural waistline. They can be conservatively belted and worn with a blazer or sweater. Leave the bikini-jeans to the slender, young girls who are really the only people that should be wearing them. They are not really comfortable and certainly not appropriate for work.
Jeans should have back pockets. Period! Little pockets accentuate the size of your derriere while oversized ones look strange. Pockets should never be smaller than five inches square or larger than seven. And, when buying jeans, look at yourself in a three-way mirror and be honest. Pocket placement should also be considered. If they are too high or too low, they create an unbalanced look.
Try on a variety of sizes. One manufacturer’s size 12 is another’s 14. There is absolutely no consistency. Even within brands, sizes differ. Fabric also makes a difference. You can generally buy a smaller size if the jeans are stretchy. Try them on and see how they feel when you sit down. If they “hurt,” don’t buy them. They will always be uncomfortable and you are wasting your money.
You also need to consider the “rise” – the distance between the waist and the crotch. Low waist, low-rise jeans feel as though they about to fall off and are certainly not comfortable. Many manufacturers offer several different “rises” as well as waist and leg cuts. Again, try them on. Never assume that what they look like on the hanger is how they are going to look on you!
Plus sized women have finally been recognized and manufacturers are now making stylish jeans in larger sizes. Try to avoid elastic waists of any description. With so many styles now available, you should never have to wear elastic again!
Once you have narrowed down your selection, it’s time to look at fabric. Denim is available in a variety of weights and can be either stretch or not. Lighter weight, darker material is dressier while heavier denim in a washed finish is more casual. Darker denim will fade, though and should always be washed in cold water to retain the dye. In many workplaces, jeans are perfectly acceptable and, paired with a nice blazer, turtleneck or sweater, can look as polished as slacks. They are also comfortable. But if you are wearing jeans to work, they should not be worn-looking and, preferably, of a darker hue.
Leave the “fashion” jeans for parties or a casual evening out. Embroidery, beads or patchwork really don’t belong in the workplace and are more of a youthful look. Faded or washed out jeans are great for casual wear but try to avoid styles that appear to have been tie-dyed in bleach. These are not really flattering and are also rather dated. Jeans that are torn or ripped, either by design or normal wear and tear, have a tendency to look sloppy, no matter how much they cost.
Capris or cropped jeans are a fun, warmer weather alternative but cut is also important. Never buy capris that are tight on the leg if you have heavy legs. Go for a more flared leg, which is comfortable and looks great. All the other “rules” apply to Capris.
Today, there are jean jackets and blazers that look great with your jeans. Or try a neat jean skirt as an alternative. There are so many options. Jeans work with many colors, both solids and patterns. White is especially compatible with blue jeans as is solid navy blue.
Shopping for Great Jeans
Jeans are sold in every conceivable department and discount store and at prices that run the gamut. Designer jeans can cost hundreds of dollars while your discount store prices, especially clearance prices, are low. Do not buy jeans based on price, however. Always consider all the factors in order to get a great fit. A cheap pair of jeans is not a bargain if you never wear them! Recently, some of the bigger discount stores have started to offer major manufacturer’s jeans. Although they bear the label, they may not be as high a quality as those found in better stores. Check the seams, buttons, zippers and other features just to be certain. Jeans can last for years, but if they are poorly made, they will fray in the wash and be useless. Quality actually does matter when buying jeans.
Jeans are everywhere and, certainly, there is a pair out there that will fit you. Take your time and try on different styles before buying jeans. Be honest with yourself and make sure that you look at yourself from all angles. Jeans are a fashion investment and can last for years. Don’t allow yourself to be swayed by price or sales people. Learning what looks right on you will make shopping for jeans in the future much less stressful. Busy women have enough stress. Buying jeans does not have to be one of them!