The Ultimate Denim Guide: Find Your Perfect Fit

Spring 2024 Runway Images, from left to right: Stella McCartney, Gucci, Valentino, Zimmermann, Apiece Apart, Valentino

3.5.24

One of the most exciting things to happen to denim is the shift from skinny jeans to virtually every other denim shape. Straight, Wide-Leg, Flare, Barrel.....all are in! Not only is it so much fun to play with new shapes and proportions, but this means there is a perfect pair of jeans for virtually every body shape. IMO, not only is denim a wardrobe staple, it's an essential. It's the anchor of almost every casual look and would be virtually impossible to live without. Therefore finding the right pair of jeans is imperative! Without further ado, here is everything you need to know about finding your perfect pair of jeans. And if you are still unsure about which style is right for you after reading this guide, try a few different styles to find the best fit. You might be surprised by how many different styles work for you!

Runway images of denim fits

Rises:

Low-rise:

Lower rises sit about 2" below your belly button and even lower for extremely low rises. Low-rise jeans were a trend for a really long time (until the tides shifted to higher rises) and are slowly creeping back into the fashion forefront. For some women, this might be the most comfortable spot and if you are short waisted, it can give the illusion of a longer torso. Lower rises can also give the illusion or being more curvy so if you are looking to accentuate your hips, this is a good fit for you.

Mid-rise:

Mid-rise jeans sit at your natural waist which is at or right below your belly button. They are the most common rise and sits in the perfect spot on the waist for virtually every body type. They also happen to be easy to stye with almost any length top so it's a great fit to have in your wardrobe.

High-rise:

Higher rise jeans sit at or above your navel. It works really well on different body types whether your are straight, pear shape, athletic, or curvy. If you're someone whose jeans gap at the back of your waist, you are most likely a curvy fit and high-rise jeans would help solve this issue. If you are a straighter body type, high-waisted jeans can often give the illusion of a slim waist and create more of an hourglass shape. If you love a cropped top or to tuck blouses in, high-rise jeans are a perfect style for you.

Fits:

From classic to trendy, denim styles are a great way to express your unique personal style. Maybe you have one fit that you love to wear exclusively, but often there are multiple fits that can work in your wardrobe. This article is meant to help you find the best jeans for your body shape and style.

Woman in straight leg jeans

Photo @anoukyve

STRAIGHT

Best for these body shapes: Straight leg jeans are the new core fit - a true replacement to skinny jeans. If you were in the skinny fit before, the easy alternative is the straight fit which can often still be very slim through the leg. Straight jeans look good on all body shapes and heights. They are truly a classic fit that never goes out of style.

How to style them: Straight-leg jeans go with anything! These can slide right into your new daily uniform as they look as good with a tee & sneakers as they do with a frilly top and heels.

Best styles to buy: Levi's 501s have been a tried and true classic for decades! Agolde has a new low-rise straight leg jean and Citizens of Humanity has a high-rise straight leg jean that are both great depending on your personal preference.

woman in wide leg jeans

WIDE-LEG

Best for these body shapes: Wide-leg jeans are typically loose-fitting jeans throughout the leg with a closer fit in the hips and waist and look great on so many different body shapes. If you are hourglass, straight, or athletic, this fit will work for you. Typically wide-leg jeans look best with a higher, more defined waist. If you are on the shorter side, choose a cropped length to help elongate your legs. If you are taller or have longer legs, opt for a full-length inseam.

How to style them: A wider leg opening can vary from slightly open to extremely wide and there are so many options to choose from depending on your personal preference and how/ where you want to where them. With a higher rise, wide leg jeans look great with cropped tops, sweaters or jackets and blouses tucked in.

Best styles to buy: Madewell's The Perfect Vintage Wide Leg Jeans are a great place to go if you are just starting out with wide leg jeans. Frame's Le Jane High Rise Wide Leg Jeans come in a perfect, casual wash for every day or your can try their more extreme Extra-Wide Jeans.

RELATED: How to Style Wide Leg Jeans for Any Occasion

woman in flared jeans

FLARE

Best for these body shapes: Flared jeans work best on women who are tall or have long legs as they generally run very long. Flares also tend to accentuate the hips so it you are a straighter build, they will help give the illusion of curves.

How to style them: Channel your inner 70's vibe and rock flares with a slinky blouse tucked in and a blazer. And don't forget the heels!

Best styles to buy: Like wide-leg jeans, this fit can also run from a slight flare to a more extreme leg opening. Frame's Le High Flare is famous for it's perfect classic fit. For a more extreme version, Chloe's Flared Jeans are a go-to.

Rosie Hungtingdon-Whitely in Barrel Jeans

Photo: Rose Huntingdon-Whitely in Barrel Jeans

BARREL

Best for these body shapes: Barrel jeans sit higher on the waist, have a horseshoe leg shape, and tapers off just above the ankle. They are the trendiest among all the fits and are for those who love to be the first to wear something new! With that said, they look great on straight, athletic, or hourglass shapes.

How to style them: Style this jean with a fitted tee and strappy sandal. Finish with a sleek blazer and you have a trend-forward look for spring with a fun, new denim proportion.

Best styles to buy: Tibi's Sid jeans are a favorite among the fashion set with its cool seaming details. Frame's barrel fit comes in a beautiful light wash to take you through spring and summer. And if you aren't quite sure how long this trend is going to last, but want to give it a try, Zara's barrel jeans won't break the bank.

woman in boyfriend jeans

BOYFRIEND

Best for these body shapes: Boyfriend jeans work great for straight, pear, or athletic body types. They tend to be low rise jeans with a roomier rise and a looser fit through the legs.

How to style them: These looser to baggy jeans are on the more masculine side (hence the boyfriend in the name!) so I like to pair them with decidedly feminine pieces like lace or eyelet tops and strappy heels.

Best styles to buy: Citizens of Humanity has perfected their relaxed fit Emerson jeans....so much so that they come in 11 different washes. Their Low Slung Relaxed jeans are also a favorite.

Arielle Charnas wearing mom jeans

Photo @ariellecharnas

MOM JEANS

Best for these body shapes: Mom Jeans tend to sit higher on the waist, are slightly roomy in the hips, and have slimmer legs when compared to boyfriend jeans. They look great on straight, hourglass, and pear shapes that have a smaller waist and wider hips.

How to style them: Mom jeans, like straight jeans, can be styled with virtually everything! I love to pair them with a sweater that has a pretty stitch and boots for a look with the perfect high/ low tension. Or wear a fitted top with a blazer or coat and finish with a belt to show off the nipped in waist.

Best styles to buy: Agolde's 90's pinched waist jeans are the perfect sexy mom jeans as are Reformation's Val jeans.


If you are looking for the perfect jeans, try a few different styles to find what looks best on you. It might be that your favorite new pair of jeans is an unexpected fit!

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