In a perfect fashion world, the first pair of jeans tried on would fit like a glove.
But in the real world, inseams are too short, waistbands pinch and button flys don't quite close.
There are really two issues when it comes to finding the best pair of jeans for your figure: finding a pair that fits and finding a pair that flatters.
Okay, let's get one thing straight: just because you can zip up a pair of jeans, it doesn't mean that they fit.
One reason it's so hard to find perfect jeans is because there are so many parts to the design that are required to fit, including the waist, thigh, length, inseam, backside. All it takes is one of these areas to fall short and the fit is a wash.
Here are some tips:
- Look for a waist that buttons or snaps easily (laying down on the bed to do it doesn't count). For low-rise jeans, make sure they don't bind or you'll create a "roll" effect over the top.
- The crotch/back seam portion should fit comfortably without grabbing.
- Make sure the jeans are long enough to wear with whatever you have planned to go with them, including boots or heels. They should reach the top of your footwear in the front. Some manufacturers are even making angled hems to keep you from wearing out the back of the hem.
- Big bottom - Avoid skin-tight styles and any extra embellishment on the back (like the new popular vintage treatments that make the butt area look worn). Choose pockets that are proportionally sized and spaced (too small and wide spaced will make your backside look even broader). Styles with a slight flare or ankle interest (vents, embellishment, etc.) will balance out your lush figure. Low-rise jeans can also flatter your bottom (Jennifer Lopez uses this trick often).
- Ample tummy - Never, ever buy pleats. Choose five-pocket styles or jeans with slash pockets on the diagonal. Look for stretch jeans (that aren't snug) for some give. Elastic waists may feel comfy, but the denim bunches below the elastic and adds unwanted inches.
- Heavy thighs -- Go for a style that skims (but doesn't hug) your leg. Flares and boot cuts are good because they elongate the leg and give some heft to the ankle area to even out proportions. The worst? Peg legs, stretch jeans that fit skin tight and baggy jeans with no shape.
- Tall & thin-- Try the new retro peg leg (very narrow ankle opening) or extra low-rise styles to show off your flat tummy and slim hips.
- Short legs -- Slim-fit styles with a slight flare make your legs look longer. Avoid cuffs and peg legs.
- Heavy, stiffer fabrics (right-hand twills) won't hang as well on your body. Look for softer weaves and washes that will drape your lower body.
- A slight flare looks good on just about every body type.
- The darker the denim, the thinner you will look. Conversely, you'll look larger in lighter washes (and the new treatments that make you new jeans look old that feature "worn" areas will highlight your figure wherever they are -- like the backside of your jeans; the folds of the crotch, etc.)