Unless you know your stuff, jeans shopping is a daunting experience that can leave you more than just a little frustrated!
With the sheer amount of choice, from boot cut to straight cut to stirrup (what even IS that?), just knowing where to start is tricky.
But fret not, here is the ultimate guide to jeans and how to style them, to help you choose the perfect pair for you every time.
Fit: Figure-hugging from the hip all the way to the ankle.
Best suited for: Skinny jeans work for any figure, depending on your choice of wash and fabric (stretch versus non-stretch), but they work particularly well on slender women as they’re tight and will thus show off your svelteness to full effect; or on women with broad shoulders as it helps to emphasise the curves on your lower half.
Wear with: Sneakers, ankle boots or flat sandals.
Fashion Editor tip: If you enjoy skinny jeans but fear they’re rather ‘exposing’ in their fit, opt for a dark denim wash instead of light as darker bottoms will automatically make your lower half appear slimmer.
Fit: Figure-hugging from the hip to where the jeans end, usually several inches below the knee.
Best suited for: Taller women with slim calves, as capri jeans tend to end at the widest part of your lower leg and can overwhelm petite frames.
Wear with: Low cut sneakers, flats or sandals.
Fashion Editor tip: Exposing more of the ankle will ensure these jeans don’t ‘cut you off’ but elongate you instead. Steer clear of strappy heels and opt for mules or court shoes to keep the ankle area open. Bonus: Nude platform court shoes are a capri jeans win.
Fit: Bootcut jeans fit snug at the thigh and flare out from the knee to ankle.
Best suited for: Curvier women who are heavier around the bottom and thigh area, as the flare helps balance your silhouette.
Wear with: Boots, pointed heels or wedges to elongate your legs.
Fashion Editor tip: Whilst we’ve seen the skinny jean take over from the bootcut in popularity, this doesn’t mean you should neglect the bootcut completely. Balance the flare out with a fuss-free fitted white tee for a modern twist on this 90’s favourite.
Fit: Baggy from hip down, with a looser fit from the upper thighs to ankle.
Best suited for: Boyfriend jeans work for most figures, but are particularly flattering on figures with thicker calves and thighs.
Wear with: Heeled sandals, flats or low cut sneakers.
Fashion Editor tip: As its namesake suggests, these jeans are meant to look like you’ve stolen your boyfriend’s jeans and adapted them to be your own. So, with that in mind, they’re not really set out to be dressed-up. That said, they work great with some chunky heeled shoes or feminine strappy sandals to provide contrast to your ensemble. But I would always favour working these jeans with what they’re designed for: trainers and a basic top. No fuss, no stress and ….s given. You fill in the blank!
Fit: Figure-hugging from hip to ankle, with a band of extra fabric that wraps under the foot.
Best suited for: All body types, but pick a darker wash if you’re curvier as the stirrup tends to pull the jeans tightly to the leg all the way down.
Wear with: Low cut sneakers, flats or heels.
Fashion Editor tip: But I’m not riding a horse? Yes, I hear you loud and clear, however these jeans can work great for general off-duty style. To show off the stirrup detail, pair with thin strappy heeled sandals, along with a logo print t-shirt (which is a huge current trend) and baseball cap. Voila – sassy and street AND stirrup, all rolled into one outfit.
Fit: Ripped jeans feature rips and large holes on the legs – both front and back. This jean detail can be found in most styles of jeans, from skinny to boyfriend cut.
Best suited for: Anyone looking to achieve the ‘urban off-duty’ look.
Wear with: Whatever you so desire.
Fashion Editor tip: The ripped jeans came back into play a few years ago and have stuck around ever since. From ripping our own old jeans to purchasing new jeans complete with distressed knees and no pockets, the ripped is here to stay. The way we’re rockin’ these at the moment is with fishnets underneath, for the ultimate ‘I am one severely trendy millennial’ OOTD.
Fit: The ultra low rise sits even lower on your hips and usually features a much shorter crotch length.
Best suited for: Women who want to show off toned abs…these are not for the faint hearted. Avoid if you are apple or pear shape as they will only accentuate your middle section.
Wear with: Flats or sneakers.
Fashion Editor tip: If you have a short body, these work wonders to elongate and balance you out, especially if you pair with a long top. If your mid-drift is something your Instagram followers would proudly repost, then these jeans can show off your best asset, either with a crop top or bralet.
Fit: The legs can be a skinnier or looser fit, but always end with a rolled cuff at the ankle. Given the rolled cuff creating a casual feel, they’re usually looser in leg width.
Best suited for: This versatile style fits any body shape, so long you choose a pair that sit comfortably on your hips and thighs. That being said, if you’re super short, these will make you appear shorter so opt instead for a style minus the turned up cuff for elongation.
Wear with: Low cut sneakers, strappy wedges or ankle boots.
Fashion Editor tip: As these jeans finish at the ankles and draw attention with the turned-up cuff, balance the jeans out with a long sleeve crop top and high heels.
Fit: Figure hugging from the hip to the knee, and flaring out to the ankle.
Best suited for: Women with apple-shaped figures. This style helps to balance out a wider upper body while emphasizing curves on the lower half.
Wear with: Heels or boots.
Fashion Editor tip: This pair combines the best assets from the flare and the skinny, giving off a totally relaxed “I don’t work, I do brunch” chilled vibe. They work superb with wicker sandal wedges (closed or peep toed, your call) and a floaty top, plus large brimmed floppy hat. A flute of bubbly wouldn’t go amiss either.
Fit: Extremely baggy from the hip that tapers at the ankle, and features a drop crotch.
Best suited for: Women with leaner and taller silhouettes as the amount of fabric can overwhelm a smaller frame. If you are bottom heavy, you might want to avoid this style as it can make you look bigger.
Wear with: Flats or strappy sandals…or trainers for the ‘street’ look.
Fashion Editor tip: Granted, these are quite tricky to wear…but not impossible. The key here is to make the jeans do all the work – so keep your shoes flat, may I suggest plain trainers, and then the top part keep simple and tight. Weather permitting, rock these with a short black boob tube and large sunglasses, complete with a Tiffany Hardwear chain choker for the ultimate ‘I got this’ sassy style.
Fit: These jeans cover ¾ of your legs and can be looser or more figure hugging at the hips and thighs.
Best suited for: All body types, but avoid if you’re short and stocky as they will make you appear shorter, rather than longer.
Wear with: Heels or flip flops for beach attire.
Fashion Editor tip: I like to down-dress these jeans with an oversized baggy t-shirt and flip flops or mules. For extra fashion points, purchase a unisex or man’s t-shirt in size small so it looks ‘oversized’ but doesn’t swamp you. Roll up the sleeves for even MORE fashion points (we’ve just nailed the off-duty look so well, I cannot cope).
Fit: This style sits several inches below your belly button and below the hip bone.
Best suited for: Women with shorter torsos as it helps to create a visually longer waist. Avoid if you’re apple shape as they focus the attention around the midd-rift.
Wear with: They’re so versatile they go with heels, flats, trainers – whatever you wish!
Fashion Editor tip: The low rise jean is the modern common choice, particularly low rise skinny jean. I don’t need to give any tips to style these bad boys because they work with pretty much anything. Heels and blouse for date night? Check. Trainers and crop top for Saturday? Check. Bra and pants for indoor slouching? Check check.
Fit: These jeans typically sit just below your belly button and comfortably on your hip bone.
Best suited for: Women with torsos proportional to the length of your legs. This style emphasizes the natural curve of your waist and is perfect for any occasion.
Wear with: Heels, flats or sneakers.
Fashion Editor tip: These jeans work wonders for us who have, shall we say, some lower squigy bits (I’m talking about muffin tops before your mind starts wandering). If you’re looking for a staple day pair of jeans that will go with a variety of styles and keep you comfortable, opt for a mid rise pair in stretch fabric. The fabric is very important – if it isn’t stretch, you may fele rather stuffy and restricted.
Fit: Straight cut jeans form a straight line from your hips to the ankles.
Best suited for: Women with wider shoulders than hips, as a pair of straight cut jeans will help balance your silhouette and flatter your hips. Avoid if you are larger around the thigh and bottom area.
Wear with: For maximum leg-lengthening, a pair of heels will allow the jeans to fall nicely from the hip and down to the ankle.
Fashion Editor tip: As these are straight down from hip to hem, they give off the ‘fuss free’ and no frills required vibe. I recommend continuing in this vein by pairing with simple shoes and a plain top. Perhaps you could sneak in a logo or cartoon print on your tee, but make sure it’s minimal. You want these jeans, along with your whole outfit, to say ‘I am effortlessly cool’.
Fit: Usually elasticated at the waist and ankles, like a regular pair of jogger pants. It fits loose at the hip and thighs, gradually tapering into a skinny fit at the ankle.
Best suited for: Given the amount of fabric and cut of these jeans, they look best on women with a narrower silhouette.
Wear with: Sneakers or slide-ons.
Fashion Editor tip: There is absolutely no way to dress up these jeans, so don’t even try. As in, if you decided to wear them for a dinner date I may have to pull you aside and ask you to explore the other 17 slides we have in this handy guide (if in doubt, go for skinny!). The jogger jean is for when you have no energy left to get yourself dolled up, but you still need to leave the flat to do some shopping or head to your boyfriend’s place for a takeaway and movie night in. Wear with anything that fits the ‘slouchy, comfy and don’t care’ aura of the jogger jeans themselves.
Fit: Waist band sits at your natural waist, and can be in any cut from skinny to wide flare.
Best suited for: Women with a longer mid-section as it helps to balance out the proportion to your legs, or if you want to hide a fleshier mid-section.
Wear with: Flats (mules are highly recommended).
Fashion Editor tip: As these jeans come up above the waist (well duh) then pairing them with flat shoes is the easiest way to balance this style out. That being said, they look very feminine teamed with heels if you’re particularly short. You can use the high waisted element to hide a multitude of mid-drift sins with a long top that you leave untucked, or you can use them to show off your perfect form and pert behind by tucking it in. I recommend purchasing in a stretch material otherwise they can be quite restricting, particularly after you’ve ate a large meal (just unbutton and let it all hang out, we won’t judge).
Fit: Usually high-waist, baggy at the hips and tapering slightly from the knee to ankle.
Best suited for: This style is especially flattering on women with hourglass figures, as it helps to accentuate your waist. If you choose a pair with strategically placed pockets, it can help emphasize your rear assets too.
Wear with: Low cut sneakers, wedges or plimsolls.
Fashion Editor tips: Contrary to what the name suggests, the mom jeans are all the rage with hipster millennials at the moment. They’re worn with a chunky black belt, a detailed crop top and large shirt-come-jacket left open for sass ‘n’ swag.
Fit: Snug at the hips and flares out from the upper thigh to ankle.
Best suited for: Most body types, but especially athletic body types with muscular thighs and calves as the flare helps to lean out your silhouette. Petite women should avoid jeans with too much flare as it can overwhelm your frame.
Wear with: High heeled shoes or boots.
Fashion Editor tip: Do not, and I repeat do not, weat these with a baggy or even slightly loose top because otherwise you’ll end up looking 10x sizes bigger than what you are. Keep the jeans as the main ensemble driver and team with flat shoes (they’ll probably not be on show anyway so no biggy) and a tight top – albeit t-shirt, boob tube, crop top or bralet.
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