Denim Guide: Fit Your Shape

gap-denim.jpgToday, fashion addict Sarah shares the first post in a series focusing on denim. Perfect for those of us who love and live in jeans (um, that’s all of us, right?), Sarah offers tips on finding the right denim to fit your shape, as well as what to wear once you’ve found your perfect pair of jeans.

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From Sarah:

We’re moms, and it’s fall. Which means we’re wearing jeans. For me, it’s pretty much jeans-and-a-tee-and-a-sweater -- or some variation thereof -- every day until shorts weather comes around again. And even on the rare occasions I have to dress up, barring a family celebration (grandmothers don’t understand dungarees) or a black-tie affair (I wish), I’m still wearing jeans. But decidedly different jeans than the ones I skulk around the ‘burbs in all week.

Confused? You’re not alone. Even a savvy group like the Boston Mamas needs help in the denim department, judging from what I see around town of a weekday morning. But never fear, help is here. I’ll give you the hot scoop on which pair to wear no matter your figure type, budget, or destination.

Fit Your Shape

Before you decide on a trend that you like, make sure it’s one that’s the right cut for your …um, assets. There is absolutely no point in latching onto the skinny trend if you’re bootylicious, or adopting the wide-leg silhouette if you’re five-foot-one. Remember, it’s not chic if it looks horrible on you.

Petite: Select a slim, pencil, cigarette, or cropped jean with a shorter inseam to make your legs look long. A wide-leg jean will make you look as if you borrowed your mommy’s clothes for dress-up. Skinnies can lengthen the appearance of your lower body, whether with a ballet flat or a heeled bootie, although I recommend steering clear of the tucked-into-boots look. Straight trouser jeans are a great way to put together a more sophisticated outfit, especially with tailored toppers like a great jacket or a cardigan with a belt (but please keep any hemline hip-height or shorter so you don’t look like you’re standing in a bucket!).

Curvy: Your goal is to emphasize your curves without knocking people over. There are many cuts designed to hug your hips without gapping at the waist; look for a contoured waistband that rises a little higher in the back to avoid the dreaded whale-tail when you bend over! Straight-leg jeans will work much better with your figure than skinny cuts, which highlight the contrast between a slender ankle and a full thigh. Shy away from cuts that flare too wildly at the hem; you want to add length to your legs, and that is best done with a slight boot-cut that doesn’t cling too tightly to your thighs. Some stretch will caress your curves; too much will make you look like ten pounds of sausage in a five-pound bag. Some distressing can contour your thighs, but not too much! When pairing tops with your jeans, make sure to accentuate your waist with a nipped jacket, empire top, or wide belt. Do NOT wear high boots with jeans tucked in.

Apple-shaped: Latch onto the current look of an a-line top over slim jeans; this will skim your problem areas and highlight your narrow limbs. Please note, large-busted ladies, that full tops could lead to “Oooh, when are you due?” awkwardness; check yourself out in the mirror before buying and choose tops that just graze your ribcage – no gathers!

Tall: Lucky ducks. With legs that go on for miles, your sole focus is on finding hemlines long enough to accommodate your heels, too. Old Navy and the Gap have jeans in longer lengths, as do many of the designer brands (’s selection is encyclopedic). You can even out your proportions with tunic tops, boyfriend blazers or long, belted cardigans; feel free to stuff stovepipes into a pair of high boots. But too-tight tapered jeans will make you look stork-ish; choose a straight, wide-leg or slight boot-cut to balance the length of your stems.

Booty-free: Pockets. Focus on the rear pockets. Flaps are your best friends, and the higher the pockets are situated on your bum, the more they will lift it. (And that tip works for all bums!) Trouser jeans may not be your best choice, unless they are equipped with buttoned flaps; wear a top with a cinched waist and some fullness below to add volume to a flat tusche.

Coming Soon: The right pair for the right place: work the trends and shine, anywhere!

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Image credit: from the Gap denim collection.

StyleChristine Koh5 Comments