Which Type of Jeans Look Best on You?

by April Reinhardt
(last updated October 11, 2012)

Depending on the cut and material composition, jeans can either make you look stylish, classy, and put together, or frumpy, dated, and sloppy. As with any article of clothing, the key to looking good in a pair of jeans is the fit. Your body type determines the cut of the jean you should wear. Which body type are you? Here are a few guidelines to help you decide:

  • Pear. The shape of a pear is smaller on top, and larger on the bottom. If you have large hips and a smaller upper body, then you are a pear shape.
  • Round. Think of a ball. If your waistline is not well defined, yet your hips and shoulders are narrow, then you are a round shape.
  • Apple. An apple is broader at the top and tapers at the bottom, like an upside-down triangle. If you have broad shoulders, a large chest, and slim hips, then you are an apple shape.
  • Athletic. Small-framed, with little or no curves, the athletic body usually has very little body fat, resulting in a straight shape
  • Hourglass. If you have an hourglass shape, then you probably know it, since most clothes are already tailored to fit you. With hourglass shapes, the breasts are proportioned to the hips, and the waist is very well defined, making for curves in all the right places.

Now that you have determined your body type, let's talk about the different cuts of jeans, and which ones will look best on your body type:

  • Classic straight leg. Cut for room in the knee and thigh, the legs are cut straight down, with no tapering. This fit looks good on the following body shapes: athletic, pear, and hourglass.
  • Boot cut. This fit is tight at the waist, all the way to the knee, where it flares to accommodate a boot. This fit is good for hourglass, athletic, and pear shapes.
  • Flared. With a wide leg, and a close fit at the waist, this cut is great for round, pear, and apple shapes since it fits the widest part of the body, and then flows away from the body to give a sense of proportion.
  • Skinny. This fit is tight all over, hugging against the skin from waist to ankle. The tapered effect creates a good look for athletic and pear shapes, but isn't a good look for the other shapes.

If you're not sure if a jean is tapered, fold the hem up to the knee. If the hem is narrower than the knee, then it is a tapered jean. After you get a good fit, consider other elements of the jeans such as composition, rise, wash, and embellishments. For a more tailored appearance, choose a trouser jean made of denim and spandex, with a darker wash. The rise of a jean is the space from the crotch to the waist. If you have a round shape, choose a higher rise, but not so high that it sits above the waist. Your natural waist sits at the navel. If you are a pear shape, choose jeans without back pocket flaps, as embellishments in that area will simply add bulk.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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