Thankfully, denim manufacturers are finally getting hip to our hips... and other body parts. Today, they're designing jeans to flatter curvy figures, long torsos, petite proportions and everything in between. Major fashion brands offer petite and tall sizes. Online fit guides, such as Levi's Curve ID, direct shoppers to the cuts most suited to distinct shapes.
The new attention to fit means that shoppers can select jeans not only by style, but also by inseam, rise and leg opening. There's a lot to know, so here's a handy guide to finding the right jeans for your figure.
If you're apple-shaped
You have a larger waist and upper body with slimmer hips and thighs.
- Choose midrise jeans, ideally with 1-2 percent spandex to avoid muffin top and spillover.
- Avoid pleats and gathers; a flat front minimises the waist.
- Select boot-cut or flared jeans to balance a heavier upper body, says boutique owner Jill Roberts.
- Don’t despair: Upcoming styles feature wider flare-leg jeans that are better proportioned for the apple shape, says stylist Tod Hallman.
If you're pear-shaped
You have curvy hips, bottom and thighs; a defined waist; and proportionately narrower shoulders and bust.
- Chose moderately low-rise jeans, preferably with a boot cut or slight flares to balance proportions, says Roberts.
- Look for new stretch blends and shape-enhancing engineered fits to help visually contour the hips and thighs and prevent gaps in the waistband.
- Opt for dark washes; they're more slimming than light hues.
- Choose patch back pockets with simpler stitching designs.
If you're rectangular
You have a flatter rear, an undefined waist and shoulders and hips that are in equal proportion to your bottom half.
- Select a higher rise (10-12 inches) that sits at or above the waist and balances a long torso.
- Try skinny and pencil jeans, which tend to fit the typically longer rise of the rectangular figure, says Hallman.
- Trouser-style jeans that are fuller through the thighs and sit higher on the hips can add elegant shape to a rectangular figure.
- To add a curvaceous boost to thin legs, look for washes that are lighter in the seat and along the front of the thighs.
If you're petite
You're less than 1.63 metres with a small overall frame.
- Investigate brands that cut small sizes, specifically proportioned for shorter women.
- Beware of back pockets with elaborate embroidery or flaps that can overwhelm petite figures.
- Find a good tailor who can hem jeans that would otherwise drag or crumple on top of your foot, says Hallman.
- Flaunt it! Colourful skinny jeans look great on petite physiques.
A final note of advice from Hallman: "No body type looks great in all jeans. When you find a brand that works for you, stick with it!"
With a passport and scads of beauty products in tow, veteran journalist Valli Herman has covered international fashion, beauty and travel for many print and online publications
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