Choosing the Right Denim for Your Body Type

I am a firm believer in each individual finding his/her own style. While I for one am guilty for scouring the ends of the earth after seeing a celebrity looking fabulous in a particular clothing item, I also realize that most Hollywood actors are not typically of the average body type. Keep in mind, no one has a perfect body. If you ask any woman, she will be able to tell you exactly what she doesn’t like about her body.  That includes models and celebrities.  However, the beauty of dressing your body type is that you can create the illusion of a perfect body by choosing clothes to create the appearance of perfect proportions.  It’s not about size but rather about proportions.  So what may look fabulous on Jessica Alba may not look the same on Jane Smith. The bottom line, know your own body type and embrace it. One size does not fit all. On the same note, one style does not suit all.  Every woman deserves to have her own unique style.  Keep in mind that these guidelines are not universal law but merely our own personal opinions here at StylePosts from our own observations.

I decided to write this piece on how to dress your body type with the right pair of jeans.  I chose jeans because: 1.) Our reviews center mainly around denim since we are such denim lovers; and 2.) After 200 years since the making of denim, nothing has been created better than jeans in my opinion.  Jeans have been re-invented with a unique twist through every decade.

So here we go with jeans for different body types…
We know there are many different styles of denim available.  Here is a list of denim styles that flatter different particular body types.

Bootcut:  This is probably the most universal style that suits most body types.  If you are tall, petite, slim, or curvy, this style will work for you.  Keep in mind the different rise measurements, as curvier body types should typically avoid lower rises.  And lower back rises can give off the dreaded “plumber crack.”  If you are on the curvier side, try jeans with a mid-rise that sits above the hips, as it gives a more slimming effect to the hips. Bootcut styles tend to make the body look long and lean, given the right length.  The key is to accentuate length which allows the body to look more lean. (Brands to try: Hudson, 7 For All Mankind, True Religion)


:  Don’t let the style name fool you.  You don’t necessarily have to be stick thin to pull this style off.  Just be sure to choose a particular brand that enhances your best features.  Be sure to avoid skinny jeans that might accentuate thicker calves or thighs.  Colored denim in particular, especially the lighter pastel colored ones, tend to make the thighs look wider.  (Brands to try: J Brand, Paige Premium, Rich & Skinny, Black Orchid, DL1961)


Wideleg/Flare:  While you might assume this look is only for the supermodel tall girls, this actually isn’t true.  This style tends to lengthen the look of your legs, giving the illusion of more height.  So if you are more petite in stature, you don’t necessarily have to shy away from these.  Just be sure to choose cuts that will give length to you height, such as the slimmer fitting ones with flare bottoms.  Good examples of such are styles by MiH and Current/Elliott.  You want to also avoid the higher rise jeans in this style, as it will shorten the look of your torso.  On the other hand, lower rise will lengthen your torso, such as styles by Frankie B.  For a slimming effect on the hips and thighs, try styles that are less fitted and more of a trouser wideleg throughout, such as styles by Level 99.


Boyfriend:  While this isn’t a personal favorite of mine, it’s a style that can look super cute if worn right.  Avoid wearing this style with looser fitting tops, as it tends to make the entire outfit look baggy and just all around sloppy.  The beauty of this style is that it works for both the tall and the more petite in stature.  The downfall of this style is for those with smaller rears.  This style doesn’t typically give much dimension to the rear because of its relaxed fit.  (Brands to try: Current Elliott, AG Adriano Goldschmeid, PRPS)


Cropped:  There are different categories among the cropped style jeans.  Among them are skinny cropped, flare cropped, and boyfriend cropped.  This style is a lot of fun for the summer.  Cropped jeans tend to look more casual but can also be dressed up given the right shoes and top.  While this look is a lot of fun, if you’re conscious of your height, I find that cropped jeans tend to make the legs look even shorter.  If you’re petite and still a fan nonetheless, then I’d suggest wearing your cropped jeans with some heels.  Wedges and platform shoes would work just as well.  (Brands to try: J Brand, True Religion, DL 1961)




High Rise:  High rise is measured well above the hips, hitting just under or slightly over the navel.  I find this style looks best on those with a longer torso, narrower hips, and a curvier backside (does that combination exist on any woman??).  With a high rise comes a high back rise as well, flattening the look of the rear.  So someone with a smaller backside is going to appear to have an even less defined derriere.  (Brands to try: 7 For All Mankind, J Brand, Citizens of Humanity, Current/Elliott)


Straight Leg
: This style often gets thrown under the radar, as it often gets mistaken for skinny jeans.  But make no mistake, there is a difference.  And these are actually a great alternative for the curvier girl who isn’t as comfortable in skinnies.  It has the same slimming effect as skinny jeans can have, but these tend to create a more elongated effect especially for those with curvier hips and/or thicker thighs, particularly the ones with mid to higher rise.  (Brands to try:  Current/Elliott, True Religion, Siwy)


One more thing I’d like to add, which is a big one when buying denim, is the rear pockets.  Rear pockets can really make or break the entire look of the jeans.  The placement as well as the size of the pockets make such a difference in how the jeans will look on you.  Pockets that are placed lower tend to give the rear a lift, which is good for those with a smaller derriere. Also pockets that have dimension to them will lift the backside.  Siwy in particular with their quilted rear pockets are a good example of this. (Other brands to look for are:  Frankie B, Diesel, and Rag & Bone)


On the opposite note, smaller pockets and pockets that are placed further apart make the rear look even larger.  You want to avoid this if you are looking for a jean that will minimize your backside.  Darker washes tend to have a more slimming effect.   (Brands to look for: Joe’s Jeans, Citizens of Humanity)

With so many options in details, cuts, colors, and styles, everyone can find a great pair of flattering jeans.  The key is being able to understand your shape and accentuating the areas that you love and minimizing the areas that you want to conceal.  There is a jean out there for everyone!   Happy shopping and let us know if you need any assistance with your next jean search.  We’re here for you. 🙂

11 Responses to “Choosing the Right Denim for Your Body Type”
  1. Julie Belzeski says:

    Great article! Makes me want to try on some new jeans!

  2. Maria Etkind says:

    Thanks! Great article now I just have to make some time and go to Saks! Maria

    • Susan says:

      Hi Maria! We’re glad you found it useful. Online shopping is a good alternative if you don’t have time to get to the store. Any one of our affiliates has a great selection of denim to choose from. Thanks for commenting!

  3. True Religion Women's Becky Inglorius says:

    I must admit that this is one great insight. It surely gives a company the opportunity to get in on the ground floor and really take part in creating something special and tailored to their needs.

  4. jill says:

    great post! as a woman with fit challenges (i am 5’7″; tiny everywhere EXCEPT for my hips which are giant in comparison with the rest of my body) i am CONSTANTLY on the hunt for new styles that work with my body type to add to my absurd “collection” of over 100 pair of premium denim… i came across this article while hunting for Rag & Bone fit information, as i want to order a pair of the corduroy bell bottoms, and am curious how the fit/sizing is in comparison to other brands with similar cut that work well on my body… I have several pair of: 7FAM Dojo and Ginger; JBrand Love Story; Rich & Skinny Wide Leg; JBrand Monroe, Genetic Denim- Mutated Gene; which are my preferred styles/brands of WIDE LEG denim for my body type that i own and wear more than my other wide-legs…with that being said, I have found that several of my favorite brands (namely JBrand & Current Elliott) tend to have sizing inconsistencies in cords and colored denim / NON denim fabrics) which makes me nervous about ordering new cuts/styles/brands on-line…while my collection runs the gamut on brands- I tend to prefer AG and JBrand for my skinnies…I am very interested in trying Mother Brand and Rag & Bone, but NONE of these are available to me anywhere but on-line. For the life of me, I can not find any fit/sizing comparisons for any of the new Fall 2011 styles in Cords or Colored denim for Rag & Bone Wide Leg Cords or JBrand Ali Wide Leg Cords or Mother Wide Leg cords… I was wondering if you had any information or could point me in the direction? thank you!

    • Susan says:

      Hi Jill.
      As far as I know, the J Brand Ali Wide leg cords fit about the same as J Brand typically fits. So I’d suggest ordering whatever size you normally wear in J Brand jeans for those. The cut on the J Brand Ali is similar to the cut on the J Brand Bette (we did a review on the Bette’s on 6/1/11, if you’d like to use that as somewhat of a reference). I personally have not tried the J Brand Ali cords yet, so I’m not sure about the material content (i.e., how much stretch there is in the material). I do know that the J Brand Skinny cords run true to size with a very comfortable amount of stretch. Their colored cords run a little larger than their colored twill pants (the twill’s run small).
      As for the Mother Wide Leg Cords, I have not tried those either. We did, however, do a review on the Mother Curfew Jeans back on Aug. 5th if you’d like to use that as somewhat of a reference.
      From my experience with Rag & Bone, they also run true to size. So whatever size you take in J Brand, I’d suggest taking that same size in Rag and Bone.
      I hope this helps.

  5. Nancy says:

    Thanks for the share!

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