UPDATED: A Plus Sized Sequel was published on October 12, 2012.  Click here to read that post.

Three years ago, I wrote a blog post that inadvertently defined my identity as a blogger. It was about Mom Jeans. I didn’t really write it to be a how-to post – I wrote it as a humor post. Which is a fact that I am constantly explaining to people as they back up against walls for fear of my judging their butts.

However, I do feel that I have learned a thing or two about jeans, and also that comparison photography is a really great way to illustrate how to find a flattering fit. So I set off to write a true how-to post, in my own anal-retentive fashion.

I had 12 volunteers, ranging in age from 27 to 60, in size from 2 to 10, and accompanied by 22 children.

(I apologize for those who have requested plus-sized tips, but I had no plus-sized models volunteer. However, many of the tips contained herein apply across the board. Also, a plus-sized sequel is available here.)

First, a few important points of note:

  • I have tried to match camera angles and lighting to the best of my ability in the comparison photos, and no photos have been doctored to look more or less flattering.
  • Just because a pair of jeans doesn’t look right on one person doesn’t mean it won’t be the perfect fit on another – it’s all about fitting your particular body.
  • High Quality (“designer”) jeans really make a difference. They fit better, look better, and last longer. However, the specific brand does not matter quite as much. I highly recommend being willing to try on jeans until you find the pair that looks perfect on you. Also, you never have to pay full-price for designer jeans – for instance, I get all of mine through HauteLook, and they’re usually over half off.

And the absolute most important point that I hope this post proves is this: If something doesn’t look attractive on you, don’t blame your body. Blame the clothes. The way your jeans fit can significantly swing your perceived weight by ten to twenty pounds. Hopefully you will be delightfully shocked at how drastically the fit of jeans can change the way a body looks.

So. Let’s get started.

1. Pockets.

I spent over 2,000 words talking about pocket placement on my Mom Jeans post, so I’m not going to reiterate all of that. However, there are some important notes worth illustrating.

A. The amount of space between your back pockets can greatly change your butt’s perceived size.

Meet Subject B, a 29 year old size five (who incidentally can be found blogging here).

Subject B Back

Is that difference not stunning?

Subject G, a 36 year old size 9:

Subject G Pockets copy

Subject J, a 31 year old size four, is another good example. Although the actual space between the pockets on these two pairs isn’t significantly different, the stitching down the middle drastically changes the perceived width:

Subject J Back

Please note that this is a very tricky tip, because you can’t completely see your butt when you look in the mirror. You can twist and rubberneck all you want, but the width of the middle section of your backside will be hard to judge. This is why it’s important to never go jeans shopping alone.

B. The height placement and size of your pockets changes the shape of your butt.

Meet Subject D. She is a 30 year old size six who says that she struggles to find jeans due to her hips to waist ratio.

Subject D Back

The pocket rule doesn’t change between bootcut and skinny jeans. Here is Subject E in skinny jeans – She is a 27 year old size 8.

Subject E Back

If you are older and are worried about looking too young, have your pockets only slightly higher to give a modern look without looking Cougaresque. Subject F is a 60 year old size 10:

Subject F Back

2. Tightness.

I personally like to wear my jeans snug. Not skin tight, but I do prefer the feeling that my jeans are somehow holding in some of my flab.

However, some people do not. And since tighter jeans are very much in style right now, many people are afraid that they can’t be in style if they aren’t willing to wear their jeans snug.

However, you can still achieve stylish curves without snugness.

Subject C is a 57 year old size 8 who did not want tight jeans. By combining proper pocket placement with a more modern color and leg flair, the following can be done:

Subject C Loose But Stylish copy

Notice that her jeans aren’t at all tight, but they still look like they fit her body appropriately.

Subject F (60 year old / size 10) – notice how the right pair of jeans doesn’t just offer a more of a modern look, but a significant perceived weight reduction:

Subject F Front copy

Age is not the only reason one might not want tight jeans. Subject A, a 32 year old size 4, has circulation issues. She can’t have her jeans binding on her legs without experiencing tingling and numbness.

To help her issues, we tried on extremely soft, high in spandex jeans. She achieved the modern look without the personal discomfort.

Subject A Fit

3. Flare

Jean flare is a highly controversial subject these days: to skinny jean or not to skinny jean? So I will preface this section with saying that this is simply my observation on what looks best, regardless of the current fads.

Your jean’s flare should be in direct proportion with your thigh size to be most flattering. Which means that if you have small thighs, wear skinny jeans. If you have normal to larger thighs, wear bootcut.

(Which also means that since we’re women, and therefore God blessed most of us with thighs, bootcut typically looks more flattering.)

There is one exception to this rule: if you have medium to large thighs and want to wear skinny jeans, you can offset this disproportion by wearing boots.


Subject D (30 year old size 6) has normal sized thighs. As such, a bootcut looks most flattering.

Subject D Flare

(Out of 22 kids running around, you knew one of them would manage to make it into a photo – right??)

The difference in perceived thigh size can also be seen from the front:

Subject D Front 2

Subject E (27 year old size 8 ) has small thighs. As such, skinny jeans are actually more flattering on her legs than bootcut.

Subject E Flare

Don’t let your thighs get lost in the flare, though. Subject H (32 year old size 8 ) shows how a cut in at the knees, then back out, produces the most flattering effect:

Subject H Flare Side
With regards to this rule, age does not necessarily matter. Subject C (57 year old size 8 ) was, I believe, surprised, at how flattering skinny jeans were on her body:

Subject C Skinny Jean Side

Although she wasn’t quite comfortable with the fit, the flattering look is quite undeniable.

Subject C Skinny Jean

The exception to the rule: Boots add width without taking away from the slimming effect, thereby offsetting thighs and actually making them look thinner:

Subject H Flare copy

4. Color / Feathering / Stitching

In general, just like all other clothing, the darker the color, the skinnier you will look. Subject A (32 year old size 4):

Subject A Color copy

Also, feathering (lighter lines designed to imitate wrinkle marks) and fading toward the middle of the jeans can help minimize the thigh area and add attractive shapeliness. Subject D:

Subject D Feathering 2

Subject G (36 year old size 9):

Subject G Feathering 2

By going a shade darker and having lighter feathering, you lose about one perceived size. Subject E (27 year old size 8 ):

Subject E Feathering 2

However, not all feathering is created equally. Make sure the feathering is natural looking and not “trying too hard”. Subject K (37 year old size 8 ) shows how one type of feathering makes her hips look wider, while the other type makes them look narrower.

Subject K Feathering 2

Also, as good as front feathering and fading can be, back feathering or fading can do the opposite if it goes overboard. Subject B (29 year old size 5):

Subject B Feathering

All butt fading is not evil. Slighter butt fading, as long as it is done naturally, can actually look nice. Subject I (36 year old size 2):

Subject I Fading copy

A lighter stitch color can add interest and minimize by breaking up the space. I’ve already shown you how that helped the pocket width illusion on Subject J:

Subject J Back

But you can see that the stitching also lends to a more attractive front view as well:

Subject J Stitching 2

Subject K has on the same style/brand of jeans, except that one pair has white stitching and the other doesn’t. See how the stitching helps minimize her thigh width:

Nikki Stitch Coloring

Please let me know if you have any questions! I hope to add sequels in the future, including plus-sized and men’s jeans.

And don’t ever forget – if it doesn’t look right, it’s not you, it’s the jeans!!!

Special Thanks to:

  • Subjects A through L for donating their bodies to denim science.
  • My Mom, for invaluably handling the service of child crowd control
  • Ali, who relished her role as children’s activity director. And also really enjoyed the backdrop and a certain pair of pink-stitched jeans.



For the rest of my denim posts:

If you’re afraid you might wear Mom Jeans and have Long Butt, click here.
If you’re over 50 years old, click here.
If you are wearing Gap or Old Navy jeans, click here.
If you are plus-sized and would like to find out how best to flatter your body, click here.
If you want a list of every post I’ve ever written about denim, click here.

Other Posts That Might Interest You…

Red Light Therapy Review and Results

269 thoughts on “On the Proper Fitting of Jeans.

  1. Awwwww, I’d have surely loaned my badonkadonk and thunder thighs if I knew you were lacking in plus-sized models! Let me know if my butt is in neeed (if Vault makes jeans my size)!

  2. I need to make a trip up there for your next how-to. Baby’s got some serious back, and I have the hardest time finding jeans that fit without leaving a lovely gap. I could just start running again and lose a couple inches of tush, but driving 12 hours seems like a better idea.

  3. You did a great job! I don’t mind if you want to put my size. Do you want it? Or do you want it to stay a :) Thanks for all the tips! I look forward to you getting my bum in a good fit very soon!!

    1. Ha!!! It the 8 and the ) had a scientific reaction and created a smiley! Is that considered a typo?? I had to put a space between then to get them to quit overreacting. Now it DOES look like a typo.

  4. the only thing that could have made this post better is baby got back playing in the background. I love the transformations from old butt to new butt

    1. Or actually flattering jeans…which the “correct ” ones are not. the but does look small, but the thighs look huge and stocky. You actually want the but to look bigger then your waist, and the legs to look slim and long, you know.

  5. I need to learn how to jean shop with a friend, as I try jeans on and then squirm around in the mirror like crazy trying to get a good view of my butt to ensure it’s not a mombutt. Also, I really like your repeating message of “it’s not you, it’s the jeans”… I often have trouble with jeans being cut too trim in the thighs (mine are nicely muscled) once I get the size small enough for my butt and waist, and find that very frustrating. But see, now I know, it’s not me, it’s the jeans.


    1. Really good denim “specialists” will have you wear the pair of jeans around their store for 15 min or so to really make sure that they are the appropriate fit. So the “squirm around” idea is completely valid. :)

      1. Yes. I typically make people squat, stoop, bend all the way over, sit, cross their legs, and anything else I can think of. Unfortunately, Monday was a crazyhouse day and I didn’t make Subject K go through all of those motions. So now I must start over with her and her jeans search. (Sigh) Sorry, Subject K.

    1. Some brands I recommend:

      Seven for All Mankind
      Rock and Republic
      William Rast (for a really nice skinny jean that’s not too tight)
      Citizens of Humanity
      Red Engine
      J Brand

      If you’re looking for a specific fit or shape, let me know and I can be more specific!

          1. I love your blog! I have never heard of a vault jean party. I was hoping you could get me in touch with a rep, so I might be able to attend one. Thanks

      1. Could you throw out a quick brand/style recommendation for me? 5’10”, size 26/27 (or 2/4), slim muscular legs with wide hips plus a long looking yet bubbly butt but a tiny waist, and a tendency to have whale tale issues (not no gaping at the waist). I LOVE the Joe’s Honey Fit and they’re perfect, but I’m looking for other options to test out too.

        1. Although I’m 4’11.5 and cannot help you out length-wise, I’ve found success with jeans that are designed to tummy tuck, such as Secretly Slender jeans by St. John’s Bay.

      2. Love your insight! Do you have any suggestions for short legs? How much jean is ok to have around your ankles?

        1. I highly recommend hemming jeans. I do it to all of mine, and it usually costs $10. Get them measured in your tallest shoes that you would wear them with, and have them hem the jeans to the point where they’re very nearly touching the ground.

        2. St. John’s Bay has a good selection of jeans in petite sizes, although if you want colors other than blue you may have to look online. I find them at JC Penney’s. I usually get the “secretly slender” ones (designed to tummy tuck) because I have trouble with jeans either gaping at the waist or riding too low. I’m 4’11.5 and they are the right length for my legs.

          1. I bought some of the St. John’s bay around January of 2016, they seem to fit real well. I am 5′ 7″ and am a bit chubby. Sears had a buy one get one sale, but no more than one per customer per day. Unfortunately I live over 2 hours from Sears and had no friends with me at the time so I could not get more. :(

      3. I wear the brand Silver Jeans in the style Suki. They seem to be the best ones for me because I have a butt on me! lol What is your opinion of those?

  6. Sometimes you just have to go with an inadvertent blog identity. I wrote a few posts about some weight I lost a few years ago, and lo and behold, became a Weight Loss Blogger for a while. Definitely not what I was trying to be when I first started! But I went ahead and explored the territory, and it turned out to be fairly rewarding and interesting to write about the many (real) issues that this topic can raise.

    You’re a humorous and sensible writer and could probably blog anything well. I think it’s good to listen to your audience and give them more of what they want, even if it surprises you at first!

  7. Very informative post!! Thanks for posting it!

    I say we do one on Teen jeans?!?! And, I must say, I kinda wished I could have come to get my butt photographed!! :( (only to the see the difference of course! :) )

    1. Teen Jeans would be good!! Except that I don’t know too many Mothers that want their teenager’s butts on my blog. Therefore, we face a conundrum.

  8. Hehe..I loved this! I wish I could have taken part! (I had originally volunteered my posterior to your cause, but unfortunately I don’t live locally.) Anyway, I recently wrote a post about how my butt has gone all flat since having kids, and that I can’t seem to get my jeans to stay up. (The unfortunate side effect of having a flat rump is that there’s no padding when you fall, so I also wrote about how I unfortunately broke my tailbone). But anyhoo, I posted a pic of my flat bum in a typical pair of jeans…I’d love your feedback! The post is called Broke Butt Mountain, and I guarantee you’ll laugh while reading it!
    Due to my flat butt syndrome, I had actually recently contemplated having a butt vote on my blog, and getting rid of the jeans the readers liked the least. But then I thought…who wants to look at twenty pictures of my bum? Probably no one…except maybe my husband. But you know, after reading this post, I’m thinking of reconsidering! I sort of enjoyed comparing butts here!
    Thanks for the fun, and have a great week!
    Smiles, Jenn

  9. I have no idea what I am doing wrong, judging from the sizes you have listed and the body types. I see women with my same shape who can’t weigh a whole lot more than me, but they are in size 2, 4, 8….I have to buy at least a 12 or 14 now because of extreme discomfort in my abdomen from my fibromyalgia. Clothes can actually hurt me, especially around the waist.

    I have been looking for jeans that fit properly and don’t hurt me for over two years and still haven’t found any. I ended up ordering two pair of maternity jeans (yes, really!) from The Gap and so far, they are the best fit for what’s going on with my middle. I also love lounge pants, pajamas, and sweat pants for that comfortable feeling. But I do so with I had a pair of jeans or two that I really loved. *sigh*


    1. That’s because those aren’t their actual sizes. I was laughing out loud at those sizes. They look bigger then me and I wear a 12. They look huge compared to my daughter who is 5″4, 105 pounds and actually wears a 4 and no it isn’t the photos adding all of that extra weight. I expect they were too self-conscience to put their real sizes down.

      And shame on the blogger for suggesting those horrid large too widely spaced pockets are just right for a women in her 50’s and 60’a as if they are suddenly not allowed to have cute butts. I dare say she will be singing a different tune when she reaches that age.

  10. Made a comment and it disappeared, probably because I added my blog site within the message after already putting it in the info requested.

    I see women who can’t be any bigger than me but wearing size 2 and 4 and I just don’t understand why this is possible! I have been searching for a good fitting pair of jeans for over two years. Anything touching me around my waist is actually painful because of my fibromyalgia, but I would so love to have just two pairs of jeans that fit me!

    1. Can it not be touching at all? I can give you some brand recommendations for stretchy, non-binding waistbands, but to not be touching at all would be a conundrum.

      1. Well, it can be touching. I have two pairs of maternity jeans that I can tolerate. And draw strings are fine, as long as there is no tightness. It seems to be the zippers and buttons that hurt. I don’t think it’s possible to have pants that don’t touch your abdomen, but if they made them, I would totally get them!

        1. Hmm. My recommendation would be to try Seven for All Mankind – they have very generous waists, as well as very soft, flexible fabrics. Also Emerson Edwards has nice wide, soft waistbands, but they’re only available through Vault.

  11. I love reading your posts about jeans! I have been using your simple jean lessons while shopping for a couple years now. I just wish I could get my mother to give up her long-butt Mom jeans, but, even after reading your blog, she is still stubbornly refusing to give them up.

    1. Thank you!!

      Some battles just can’t be won. I have had several women tell me that they prefer the Mom Jeans look, and how can you argue with that?

  12. This is great! After all this training and body reshaping that has been going on for this half-marathon my reward is definitely going to be some fancy jeans.

  13. Great tips! I will definitely re-read this before jean shopping next time. I am totally regretting the timing of our Southern trip now! I should have waited until post-baby so you could have found me some jeans!!!

    I think part of my discouragment with jeans is that I walk with my legs really close together (apparently) because in less than a year I wear a holes in them where my legs rub together. SOOO annoying! If I ever do find a pair I love I will have to buy 10!

  14. What about muffin top? If I go too loose they fall down. If I get them tight enough then I get muffin top. If I go high-waisted then it looks stupid.

    1. You want mid-rise and well-fitted at the waist – i.e. not too tight. It’s a hard balance to find, but if you do, it makes a world of difference!

  15. Man, I wish I could have been around for this! I would have definitely offered up my size 16 booty for an over-haul! I have thunder-thighs and a flat bum, so jeans shopping is a nightmare for me. I’m thinking the next trip you make to Nashville, you may just have to bring any and everything you have even close to my size!

  16. Your original blue jean post was how I found this fun little blog of yours. A friend of mine posted it on FB about a month ago, and I’ve been reading ever since. It’s amazing how such seemingly minor little details make such a big difference when it comes to how jeans fit. I’m planning a fun little shopping trip after I lose 5 more pounds, and jeans are on the top of the list. I will keep your advice in mind.

  17. This is SO HELPFUL! The proximity of the pockets to the back seam makes a huge difference. I knew the pockets were important but I didn’t know the why, but now I do.

  18. First: I would give up an organ of choice from my very own body to have Subject I’s butt in the “good” jeans!
    Secondly: If only I lived near you, I would love to be one of your plus size models! I lost a LOT of weight over the last couple of years and could really use some assistance picking out jeans (really? all clothes! I’m stuck in the Mom jeans/yoga pants/old tshirts that don’t fit me anymore rut!)
    Third: Always enjoy your posts! Your humor is fantastic!

  19. Oh my goodness, this post was great! It’s so nice that you put into words why certain jeans work and others don’t. The photos along with the reasoning – well that was even more helpful. And I loved to hear you blaming bad jeans on the jeans, not our bodies! Thanks!

  20. Thanks ! I hate shopping for jeans. I’m curvy and it’s hard to find proper fitting, flattering jeans. You have helped! :-)

  21. My God this is awesome. All the major fashion houses should be HIRING you as a visual consultant. I am printing this out and taking it with me for my shopping trips. Thank you!

  22. Jiminy Cricket. Can’t I just be happy if my jeans zip up properly and don’t give me muffin top? Now I have to care if my butt looks cute? Agh.

  23. I suddenly have the strong urge to try all my current jeans on and check out my back side. I have a strange feeling I have been approaching the jeans shopping all wrong.

  24. Any tips for a short, plus size woman? Most of my weight is in my stomach, hips, and rear area. Would love to find a pair of jeans that made me feel good when I wear them.

    1. My biggest tip would be don’t be afraid of getting jeans hemmed! It costs $10 – $20 usually, and it is so worth it to get a great pair of jeans, even if they don’t come in your length. As far as brands, I’m still working on plus sized recommendations. I really need to do a follow up post, but it’s going to take a lot of research first!

  25. So, what about the gals who are tall? If we go with the no socks showing rule (which I agree with!), it makes it really challenging to find jeans long enough.

    Also, where can I find these jean brands? I have never heard of some of them. (Granted, I’m not a mall shopper much anymore and the last jeans I bought came from Aeropostale and Eddie Bauer = both offer long lengths!)

    1. Almost all designer brands only come in one length – TOO tall! Which is great for girls like you, and means that the rest of us have to get them hemmed. The brands I mentioned can be found in department stores or, if you’re in the US, through Vault Parties (for up to half off) – for more info, click here: http://www.graspingforobjectivity.com/vault-denim

      Hope that helps!

  26. Great job condensing information and demonstrating the many features of jeans. I’ve been a tailor for 15 years, hemming and fitting many, many pairs of jeans. I would add one comment: Don’t go too low on the pocket placement or it looks like you’ve outgrown your jeans and can no longer fully pull them up. Nobody wants that look!

    1. Thanks! Yes, it’s a very delicate balance. Too high and they’re Mom Jeans. Too low and they make you want to pull someone’s pants up for them!

  27. You just saved me $35 at Old Navy! I was just there today and ALMOST bought a pair. But now I’m a believer! :) Thanks!

  28. I’m thinking I’m too far away from you, here in UT. Sad!!! Cuz I’d also offer my big ol’ butt. I’m horrified now, thinking I’m wearing mom jeans! As I was reading this article, I kept reaching around and feeling my pocket placement. I would love to have better fitting clothes as I always see myself as a chub (and yes, I’m noticing how, at the end of every article, you include a statement about it being the jeans, not my body) If you’re ever in UT, let me know. We’re a single income family (I homeschool while hubby works in the Air Force) but I’m thinking when my SuperHero sees how awesome I can look in a pair of jeans, he might spring for ’em! Okay, off to read more of your stuff!! THANK YOU!!!!!

  29. posting this later on the same day I posted last……so, my friend also checked out all this info and we’ve decided when she moves back here in a couple months we are going jeans shopping together (and yes, we will be staring at each other’s butts, that’s what friends are for) but for today I have to say that thanks to you and this incredible information you have blessed us with, I have a.)been feeling my butt all day checking (and rechecking) pocket placement b.) checking out my daughter’s butt in her cute little size 1’s and noting the placement of her pockets, c.) checking out a wide variety of sizes and shapes of butts and analyzing their jean fit, and d.) been rejoicing with my friend that it is not our fluffly selves that are the problem, but all the evil jeans!! Woooohoooo!! :D

  30. Okay, I know you already have a bazillion comments, but I just have to tell you how awesome this post is! I found you through pinterest and fell in love with your Gap/Old Navy post so I had to hop over to this one. How seriously helpful is this?!! Now I feel the need to wrangle someone into photographing my butt in every pair of jeans I own. Ha! Awesome! Seriously, this is great. Thank you!

  31. did you ever happen to make one of these for bigger girls? i love all this info! i’m a 14 right now, and would love some thoughts on girls who are rounder…. as in, i have a big butt. i get compliments on it sometimes, but to me, in demin, it needs… wrangling. haha weird to type that. in any case, great info. thanks!

    1. I want to, but haven’t yet. It’s just so hard to find great jeans in plus sizes! But I will try to soon – keep an eye out on my blog!

  32. I was curious if you had any tips for plus sized girls!!! I have the hardest time finding jeans that fit right, let alone flatter my body! Thanks!

    1. It is infuriating how few great options there are in plus sizes! I hope to do some intense research soon and find some solutions. Keep an eye out!

  33. So, I’m pretty sure that I need to take a nice long look at my jean collection…and drastically change it. Right now, I’m 7 mo. pregnant though…so I can’t do an accurate jean-tervention. But that doesn’t mean I can’t have a great butt while preggers, right? Do you have any maternity jean suggestions/brands to look for? (I’m 27 yrs, 5’8″, and thin – other than the baby bump if that info makes any difference)

    1. I hate to say it, but they’re either nonexistent or really expensive. I used the rubber-band trick until I was 32 weeks pregnant so that I could wear my regular jeans as long as possible!! Pea and a Pod has the good ones, but last I saw, Motherhood was *starting* to design their jeans a bit better.

  34. Hi there.

    I have just found your jeans guide via Pinterest.
    I just want to tell you that I find it very useful.
    You have made me discover things to think about when searching for the perfect pair of jeans. I will think of your advice next time I buy new jeans.
    Keep up the good work.

    Kind regards,
    Emilie, Denmark

  35. I also encountered you blog via pinterest, and I can’t say how astonished/thankful/perplexed I am at your research! I’ve recently lost about 30 pounds, and have gone from a 12 to a 4, and so am having to find new jeans. I also read your post on mom jeans/long butt, and my question is this:
    I’m not a particularly tall girl, only 5’2″ to be exact, but I do have fairly long legs. However, I can’t seem to find a pair of jeans yet that have pockets that end at the right place on my butt. How do you find those (it seems like my butt ends at my mid-thigh, cuz it’s not up where it used to be!) such that it won’t make my legs or my whole body look shorter? I can’t wear petite jeans because they’re not longer, so I’m often hemming jeans up to 31″ or 32″. I feel like if I find a pocket that ends under my butt, the backs of my legs are going to look like they’re very short. Any thoughts or advice?

  36. Girl, this is incredible! Thanks for your research- I will be taking notes and bringing them with me the next time I go jeans shopping. And I will be repeating your mantra: It’s not my body, it’s the jeans!!

  37. WOW!!! This is probably the most truthful and fantastic blog post that I have ever read!!! I personally go by your rules already (my mom has never let me wear something unflattering) but it just goes to show… The jeans can really make or break a whole look! I’m VERY happy that you posted this, as I think many many many people can benefit :)

  38. Admittedly, I haven’t read all the comments, but I must say I LOVE this article.

    For nearly a decade I’ve let Old Navy age me and my butt (I’m 28, no kids, and I totally have mom butt). But, it seems like they are the only place that sells affordable, comfortable jeans for plus size women. (I’m currently an ON 18, which is usually about a 20-22 anywhere else). Do you have any tips for plus size women? Do you feel that there are any different rules to follow for them?

    1. Plus sized is harder to find, which is so ridiculous – jean makers need to realize what they’re missing out on! A couple of places I’d try are Maurices, Torrid, and Buckle. However, I do hope to do a sequel post soon and explore all options.

  39. Love this article and literally loled at the gap/old navy one, and I shared it on FB. Do you have a brand recommendation for a big stomach? I carry all my weight in my stomach/boobs/torso. My legs, butt, and hips are pretty thin so I always end up going up a size to fit my stomach and then having a baggy saggy butt. Most ladies are opposite, small waist big hips. And most jeans are made accordingly. Thanks for the laugh

  40. I’ll definitely help you with regards to plus sized models!! I’m a 10/12, depending on the brand I think, and I’m only 24 and have come to the realization (through your blog) that I wear mom jeans :( :( :( I had my husband look at all the pictures and asked him “which looks better” and he always went with the “after” picture, and then he made me stand up to look at mine and I said I looked “identical” to some of the mom-jeans :( :( :( I NEED YOUR HELP! hahahaha

    1. If you’re a 10/12, you have many options available to you! Express Stella Cut, LA Idol, and even many of the designer brands (try a waist size 34) would fit you. Just go shopping and try a bunch on! And if you need to email me butt photos, feel free. :)

  41. Another volunteer for a plus size edition! I’m loving the look of the Emerson Edwards jeans, but no idea what the sizing is like…

  42. Thank you! I had an intervention with myself and I bought new jeans! I also shared this on my Facebook page so we can help more women. :) A few months ago I splurged on a pair of Rock & Repubic jeans at Kohl’s ($70) and I get more compliments when I wear them. Then I read this post and I knew why.

  43. I would love to host a Vault Jean show. I live in the Cincinnati area and since having three kids I have been on the endless search for the best pair of jeans. I hope there is someone close by to help me host a show.

  44. I’m in Montgomery and would love to be a plus size edition! (size 16) This is a fantastic idea! So thankful for this experiment. I am now on the hunt for the perfect jeans!

  45. Thank you for this! I put on 20 pounds recently and couldn’t figure out why I looked like I’d put on 50 in some of my jeans. I’m diligently working on losing it, so I will wear the unflattering ones with tops that cover my rear until then. One of my incentives when I lose the weight is nice jeans. Now I know what to look for!

  46. Do you know of a vault consultant in northern Maryland? I would love to host a party! I, apparently, wear mom jeans! We need to fix that, I am only 22, no kids! I am done with ON and GAP.
    Please help!

  47. I have no idea what im doing when it comes to buying jeans…my waist/stomach is bigger than any other part of my body. so when i get jeans they are either too tight on my stomach and fit my legs or just right on my waist and huge everywhere else. And i always seem to buy jeans that stretch and a belt doesnt help so im constantly pulling them up. any tips?

  48. I’m 37 Weeks pregnant at the moment and I’ve put on about 50lbs baby weight. When I got pregnant I was already hiding under mom Jeans, since I was weighing th emost I ever had (at the time). What do you recommend for after I have my baby while I’m trying to take back my body?

  49. I am dependent on whatever jeans I can find in a thrift store that sorta fit – or jeans that people have given to me that sorta fit… It is one of the things I HATE that I can remember having a great pair of jeans or two, but CANNOT find anything that comes close now! I prefer comfort and fit over look, but for me, the two tend to go hand in hand.

    My perfect pair of jeans were called hip-huggers. I have this strange thing where even though I am average height, my legs are short and my torso is long, so I need to wear petite – which ALWAYS makes me laugh because I’m plus sized, lol! I also love boot leg or flared legs, but not full on bell bottoms.

    All the jeans I’ve had for the last few years were a bad fit all around. I bought a pair that seem to fit at Lane Bryant about 4 years ago that were ok at first, but they apparently make all their jeans stretch now, so they hang horribly on me. People are constantly asking me if I have lost weight – which wouldn’t be bad if the darn jeans didn’t drive me crazy!

    The problem is that I want the top of the jeans to settle in the spot just above my hips – and not way up under my ribcage – and most jeans for me are designed that way, or end up that way after a bit of stretching, grr! MORE IMPORTANTLY, I want the part of my jeans that should be touching my crotch – sorry for the vulgarity – to actually touch it! Most of the time, my jeans fall down to sit where I want them, and then the crotch area hangs down 4-6 inches lower than it should be!

    My other conundrum is that when I get jeans that fit the way I want them to around the hips and in the crotch, they tend to be “skinny” jeans that cling to my legs and ride up my shins. I shudder in horror!

    Lastly, I do kind of like my jeans on the tight side. Taking all of that into account, can you recommend a brand I can keep an eye out for? I am often surprised by the variety of jeans that show up in the thrift stores :-D

  50. I found your site through Pinterest and now am in need of a jean buddy to help me shop. I am 27 years old, only 5’0 tall but pretty curvy on the bottom usually a 10/12 depending on designer, material, etc. I recently purchased a pair of skinny jeans since my husband said I looked good in them, I actually don’t mind the way they look when paired with the right top. I am learning to embrace my curves but find it difficult to find jeans that fit right in the waist, usually I have the dreaded gap bc my hips and thighs need to be accommodated. Was wondering what brands you suggest for petite curvy girls? Thank you so much!!

    1. I’m slowly coming around to skinny jeans on everyone – especially the newer skinny cuts. I addressed that in my latest post: http://www.graspingforobjectivity.com/2012/10/plus-sized-denim.html

      For petite girls the first thing I recommend is not being afraid to hem. Granted, jeans may not fit in other places and if they don’t they’re not the right jeans, but rarely do jeans come in the perfect length for anyone.

      My current favorite curvy jeans are LA Idol and Miss Chic – they’re comfortable and flattering on everyone.

  51. I am going as a “mom” for Halloween this year so I was doing a little research on mom jeans and came across your blog. I preceeded to read every article you have written about jeans and how they should fit! But to my horror, I have owned many pair of the mom jeans in your first blog… YIKES!! So as I continued to read on I did a mental check of the jeans in my closet and have discovered I am still committing mom-jean offenses :( My huge issue with jeans is finding anything with a high enough rise in the back to cover everything necessary but low enough in the front that is comfortable. I owned and LOVED many pair of Sukis, but that was 30 pounds ago (which I’m working on, but man it’s hard!). I am 33 years old 5’8″ tall and 162 pounds (size 12???) and have all but given up on fidning jeans that fit. Being in Minnesota maybe I should have a full-blown spree at the Mall of America… on the other hand, I don’t know if my self esteem could take that, ha!!

    Seriously though, thank you for all of the fantastic advise. It will hopefully come in handy on my next (hopefully soon) shopping trip!

  52. Can you come to Florida? From reading your posts I have realized that all three of my pairs of jeans are bad. Guess I’m going to have to put jeans on my Christmas list.

    1. Probably not, but I have a rep on my team that will be having a party in Jacksonville in a few weeks. You don’t happen to be close by, do you?

  53. Loved the tips on your article! I was VERY skinny until I joined the Air Force and began running. I now have thighs and a bum and with a little added age not the tight tummy of my teens. I returned from a deployment to discover I cannot wear any of my old jeans! Shopping for jeans after a body change has been quite a struggle! I appreciate your tips! Maybe I missed it but I didn’t see you address the length issue I see so often. Being from Texas length with boots is usually the issue. Any advice on where I can find bootcut jeans that offer 25/37 or 26/37 w/out being super expensive? Only jeans I’ve found that fit for under $50.00 are at Vanity- Sasha bootcut but the stretchy makes the falling off when I bend over a problem.

  54. OMG. I am only wearing skirts and dresses for the rest of my life. I shudder to think of what my jeans actually look like on me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  55. This is an amazing article! And something I will be using in the future to buy some new jeans. Every time I put on my jeans I always feel like I look fat and it makes me feel awful. But now I feel like I can wear jeans and look skinny and feel skinny! I’m 24 and a size 8 and I think it sounds fat, but looking at the way jeans fit on a size 8, I now know that I can look and feel skinny still! :)

    Thank you!

  56. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your post! I’m 5’2″ and have the hardest time with jeans. I knew that I likes some styles on me better than others, but it never “clicked” as to why. THANK YOU! Being short, I want to share this with you… http://youtu.be/giOkJUcc2wg. I use this technique to hem my jeans and I hope some of your readers will find it useful.

  57. Wow, You really did your research,,,thank you. I was just walkingmy daughter in to school this morning and taking to another, younger mom, about Mom Butt…which I have. I am 46 but have an 8 year old daughter that I want to stay young for. Thanks for the tips and pictures!! Especially the pictures, they have opened my eyes to the way my Mom Butt looks…not flattering..I’m off to shop now, Hope I can rmember the rules. Thanks so much…my anti Mom Butt thanks you too.

  58. My problem is I’m 5″5 120 lbs. Size 3/4, depending on who makes them. The waist is almost ALWAYS lose in the back. I can grasp a lot. So I am always pulling them up. I don’t like skin tight painted on jeans wither. I’m 43 way to old for the SL(word) look.
    I don’t like belts either, but have come to war them. How do I get jeans with a small enough waist that don’t ride up in the front if you know what I mean. I have an athletic body type or boyish some say. oh and a 30 inseam. I do have jeans that are a 28 inch waist but I wear jeans that sit just below belly button, but again they are to big around the area. ughhh I hate those MOM jeans. Can ya help? lol plz

  59. I just came across your site and am actually in need of jeans. I am 30, 5’1. My body shape has changed a lot and my jeans do not fit. I started reading your posts and thought maybe I should try and find a better pair of jeans than what I have had. Now is the time. My waist is about 32″ and at my widest point (which is not my hips) is about 42″. I also live in Canada..so some things we can’t find here. I am planning to go shopping in the States soon though :) Better deals and more selection

  60. Wow, my eyes have been opened! I am on the short side (5″1) with slim hips but muscular thighs, a slim waist, and a small-ish butt. I can never find jeans that are wide enough for my thighs but skinny enough for my waist without bunching all the extra space with a belt! I also struggle with finding jeans that don’t make my hips appear non-existent. What brands can you recommend?

  61. I so need new jeans!! I’m 5’6”, with wide butt/hips. I always have the gap in the back waist of my jeans. What would be a good brand to try? Are there any stores in the Birmingham area that you recommend?

  62. So, for my Christmas present my hubby said, “I want you to go find some Jeans that actually fit you and don’t look like Mom Jeans. Don’t worry about how much they cost (within reason), just find something that didn’t come from Goodwill and doesn’t give you a saggy butt.” While I could’ve been insulted by the fact he didn’t like my poor saggy jeans, I actually was pleasantly surprised. He’s crazy for my slightly plump bod (still amazes me after 12 years of marriage) so I knew he was just trying to help me (in his manly way) to flatter what he loves. Problem: I had no idea what to look for! I was used to just grabbing whatever fit off the rack at Goodwill or Wal-Mart. Then came Pinterest to the rescue. Scrolling through the women’s fashion pics I saw a post that said something to the effect of how to choose the right jeans for your body…blah, blah, blah. I clicked, fully expecting either a spammy site or everything I had read before about pear or apple shapes that had never helped. Instead, I find an intelligent, informative and honest site about butts in jeans. Just what I needed! Thanks to you I feel more than ready to head out on my jeans search. Best of all, because he was so sweet and honest, the hubby gets to go with me, hold my purse and jeans and take all the pictures…heheheh. Thanks.

    1. Skinny jeans with boots typically look fairly good on most people – you just want to make sure that your shirt doesn’t end at the widest part of your hips, wherever that is. End it below or above that point!

  63. What are your thoughts on New York and Company Jeans curvy petite bootcut and American Eagle slim cut boot cut for a curvy 34 year old (size 10)? :)

    1. I would tend to think that the American Eagle would look better, but every jean is different on every body, so it’s hard to make a blanket statement without seeing photos.

  64. This is amazing! I can’t believe some of these butts belong to the same ladies. I myself haven’t ever had too much trouble finding flattering jeans (I am very lucky, I know), but for years I was oblivious to what my panty line was doing to my butt when I wore my otherwise beautifully-fitted jeans. You should do a post about the havoc ill-fitting undergarments can wreak on a nice pair of pants…it seems like it would go hand-in-hand with these tips!

  65. Hi Rachel,
    Love your post!
    I usually wear Gap’s Long and Lean with the flared leg. While the flare is nice, the thigh tends to be too snug and makes my already large thigh look worse. I originally bought this style thinking it would elongate my short legs.
    Is there a non mom jean out there with a slightly flared or boot cut that doesn’t narrow in the thigh too much and has at least a mid rise. Yes, I suffer from muffin top too! I wear a size 10 jean.
    Thank you!
    P.S. I’m from Harrisburg or I’d come see you in person! :)

  66. Help! I need serious help when it comes to jeans shopping. I’m 35, mom of 2, wear somewhere around a 6 or 8 depending on brand/fit. My biggest problem is that because of medical issues related to surgery while I was pregnant, I now need to wear high waisted jeans. I find it really hard to find them, especially to find them that don’t make me think of grandma jeans! I also need them to not be too snug around my abdomen (waist through hips). Is there anything you can recommend? I’d be happy to send pictures of how the jeans I do have fit/look on me if you would have the time to give me suggestions.

    1. This is really hard to find, because typically the high waist pulls the pockets up also. How high of a waist do you need? All the way up to your natural waist, or just to your bellybutton? And yes – feel free to send me pics!

  67. My main problem is that no matter what jeans I put on, I feel like I have a huge flaw in the front. The jeans always bunch weird, making my pubic mound seem so much bigger and it’s horribly unflattering. I’ve only had one pair of jeans that didn’t do that and they were heavily feathered, which reduced the appearance. Other than that, I have to resort to wearing long shirts to cover up that area. I’m only 20 and the only jeans that seem to fit me well are in the juniors section, so I usually shop at Kohl’s. Any advice?

  68. Hi Rachel. Greeting from Raleigh, North Carolina!
    After googling “proper jeans fit” I was lucky enough to spot your fabulous denim blog. Wow! I’m a fashionable and active 58 year old who practically lives in jeans and am proud to say that I have NEVER worn those hideous mom jeans (Okay, I may have sported some high-waisted, acid washed Jordaches back in the day!). I favor slim-fitting Vigoss skinnies and Foster bootcut jeans and have recently hit the denim jackpot with Walmart’s Faded Glory straight leg dark wash jeans for an insane $11 a pair. You read that right. For me, it’s all about the fit. I do have a fab pair of premium AG skinnies in my closet that I bought in Europe so I do appreciate the higher end of the denim spectrum. After reading your entire blog about proper fit, I know for a fact that the Faded Glory jeans are a perfect fit – they make my butt look fab. Thanks again for such an excellent primer! Best, Barbara.

      1. IMHO a great-fitting pair of classic, dark-wash jeans is the most flattering thing a woman OF ANY AGE can wear. But it is indeed a real challenge to find that illusive pair of perfect jeans. I’ve read that most women have to try on at least a dozen pairs before they hit the fit jackpot. The other day I tried on and bought two pairs of Levis 525 perfect fit waist straight leg jeans in a gorgeous dark wash. But don’t let the name fool you into thinking they are mom jeans! The fit IS a medium rise, but the waistband is contoured which means no gapping. The pocket placement is perfection and at $40 a pair, they are a bargain. Continually in pursuit of fab jeans……

  69. Hardly any of these jeans truly fit. There were some good tips in there, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with curvy butts. I would’ve thought many of these look better in the “worse photo”….

  70. Rachel,
    I love this fitting guide, and it’s obvious that you have a keen eye. Can you recommend any brands for PETITE sizes? I’m 5’1″ and 32 years old and I’m sick of buying jeans from the LOFT, which are made for older women simply because my known options are limited. In also a size 0 which also makes it difficult to find jeans, but, perhaps, I would be a different size in a different brand. Help!!!!
    Jen :)

    1. I typically recommend to petite people to be willing to hem. I’m not petite,but I still hem most of my jeans to fit perfectly, and unfortunately, most great brands of jeans don’t come in petite. However, the one I do recommend is Express – try theirs and see how they work!

  71. I ran across your website through Pinterest and I just had to tell you how great it was! I literally laughed my butt off! I immediately read all the jeans articles and forwarded them to all my sisters and friends. Taking the pictures of the same women in the different jeans was such a great idea! Especially loved the one with your mom. I look forward to reading more articles from you. Have you thought about doing the same thing for the different body types with tops?

    Thanks again for entertaining me!!!


  72. Awesome blog!!! My biggest problem is finding flattering jeans that are long enough! I’m 6′ and wear a size 12-14 and finding jeans long enough is nearly impossible! Any tips?? Thanks!!!

    1. Designer jeans usually come in 34-36″ inseams – would that be long enough? I love how Red Engines look – especially on taller girls.

  73. LOVE the visuals! They are so very helpful! Do you know of any brands that have extra long rises? Im 6foot1 size 14(ish) and while i can sometimes find jeans where the inseam is long enough, i can never find a long enough rise and my tush ends up hanging out all of the time! Thanks!

  74. This is the BEST information about buying jeans that I’ve ever read, and I’ve read alot! I’ve also tried to find the right jeans and I thought it was impossible. I tried on all my jeans I have and actually had to get rid of all of them as I figured out what was wrong with them, All bordered on mom jeans except one pair. I went right out and found some R&Rs on sale! I was blown away because these actually worked for my body. I always knew it was something to do with the pockets but I just couldn’t figure out what it was. I’ve seen women in all different sizes look good in their jeans. Women who wear larger size jeans and looking better in them than I do in my smaller size.Apparently they’d figured it out! lol Awesome service you are doing! Thanks so much

  75. Your site, and this post, are amazing!! I dread jeans because I have yet to find any that I really feel good about myself in! I”ve lost a lot of weight, and my stomach is very soft, so I prefer to wear high-cut jeans to keep everything in place. And after years of obesity, I really want to wear skinny jeans, but my thighs are still very thick, even muscular! So what I/what I see/how I feel is way too complicated for me and I usually end up wearing a skirt instead, haha. I need to look into your Vault Denim! But if I do go jeans shopping again, I will definitely be keeping this all in mind!

  76. Love this post!!! I have a question that I don’t see many people asking, are any of these jeans also comfortable? I am 5’2″ and about 115 lbs. I am a mom of three and have worn a size 4 forever. However, now that I am chasing kids, I can’t stand how half my jeans are too low or sagging. I have a bit of junk in the back and low rise jeans with short zippers are showing half my backside! I want jeans I can look great in but am not constantly tugging at! Thoughts? Would be totally willing to spend more money and get them hemmed! Also, I am short, but not petite if that makes sense. I have a “regular” shape and petite pants do not give me the right shape. Thanks!!!

    1. Many of them are the most comfortable jeans you’ll EVER put on. I have one pair in particular right now that is stunningly amazing – Red Engine. The rise is higher, but the pockets are placed correctly, and the waist never comes down.

      The Vault jeans are currently marked down to $19.95 for the first time ever – and they usually cost $150! Let me know if you’re interested and I can see if I can hook you up with someone there, or send you some if you want to try an experiment at my abilities in a long distance fitting.

  77. ok I have a question, love your post by the way very informative!!! I am 45, 5’4″, size 8 in the hips, but 6 in the waist. After 4 kids, I have nice hips and butt, but still have a smaller waist. My problem is if I buy jeans, which I rarely wear, because they look horrible on me, I usually end up with the dreaded muffin top. I would like a pair of comfortable jeans, work at and Elem. School, that look nice and are not to tight. Please Help, Thanks :)

    1. I would try Red Engine jeans. They are expensive in store, but can be gotten for $19.95 right now through Vault Denim. The reason I love them is that they have a bit of a higher rise (they come right below my belly button) but the pockets are perfect, they’re comfortable, and they don’t bind at all. I wear mine ALL THE TIME.

  78. Hi. Your article was very informative. I would like your reccomendations. I am 5 foot 9 inches tall, 30 years old. I have had a few kids, so I have a little belly pouch. I weigh 175 lbs now. I usually wear either a size 12 or 10 pants/jeans, depending on the brand. I HATE jeans. I am tall, so the legs are never long enough, the waist is never high enough, they always squish up my, well, area, they are either too loose or I can’t bend my knees without them pulling down waist….ugh. I just hate pants in general. Please help.

    1. It sounds like you have a lot of issues with your jeans, so it’s definitely hard for me to give you an exact recommendation of what will definitely work without fitting you into some things. I would try Express Stella, but I’m not sure that the rise will be high enough, since you’re taller. I also LOVE Red Engine and think they would be great on you, but they are more expensive (except through Vault Denim, because we’re closing out a bunch of styles, but they’re also hard to find for that reason.)

      Sorry I don’t have a ton of perfect advice! I’ll let you know if I run across something, though.

  79. Thank you SO MUCH for this post. Before this I found jeans-shopping to be a very demoralizing activity. Now I know what to look for and what works for me.

  80. I’m 49, 5′-5″, 135 pounds. Usually a 4 or 6 depending on brand. Even proportions, fit.

    I wear COH Dita Petite (no hemming!) and am fairly happy with the fit (although one pair stretches out faster than the darker pair, which bugs me).

    But I’d love a recommendation for looser “boyfriend” type fit that doesn’t end up looking like a Mom jean.

    What do you think about the AG Tomboy Relaxed Straight jean (saw it at Anthropologie)?

    Any other recommendations for a slighter looser, straight fit?

    Thanks – amazing research, awesome post!

  81. I’m 48, 5’5, size 8-10 with a very flat butt and no waist. Jeans tend to crinkle in the middle butt seam. Any suggestions?

    1. Look for jeans that have flap pockets and, if you’re comfortable with it, some stitching – they will add definition to your butt.

  82. Your tutorial was great! I’m not surprised to read all of the happy, appreciative comments from women who are now equipped with real knowledge with which to assist them in the purchasing of that perfect pair of jeans. You really know your stuff! I was very surprised to see, and quite frankly totally distracted by, all of the VPL–visible panty lines–though. Some women looked like they were wearing a diaper! While pocket placement is imperative, rise is crucial, bootcut vs skinnies carry certain benefits, and whiskering and wash are key, none of this matters AT ALL when one’s bottom looks like it is Pampered. Wearing a thong changes the look of one’s tush in a pair of jeans more than the location of one’s back pockets ever could. And while I don’t at all deny that proper pocket placement is absolutely vital, one needs to start with the right undergarment before they even leave the house to go hunting for that amazing-fitted pair of jeans. If you can’t handle a thong, that’s unfortunate, however there are seam-free briefs out there or undies that aren’t quite thongs but are a little less covering than a full brief is (tangas, whale-tails, etc). Just like a consultant for your denim needs is a fabulous thing to have, there are some very knowledgeable undergarment consultants out there who can offer terrific and highly beneficial advice! You would be surprised how wearing the (right bra and) undies can improve the look of almost everything that you wear!!

  83. I found this on Pinterest, too, and it changed my life. My best friend and I are always checking out each others’ butts now when we’re shopping, ha. I still can’t find the right jeans, though – I lived in ON Diva jeans five years ago before they added the extra spandex, and then thought I’d hit the jackpot with Gap Outlet – but again, the stretching. My problem is that I’m pretty small, 5’5″, 125 lbs, between a 4-6, but when jeans fit me around my waist/hips, they are so tight in my thighs – and if I go up a size, they fit great in the thighs but are far too loose around the waist. The R&R jeans I tried on at Kohl’s were SO tight in my thighs – I was so disappointed. Any recommendations?

    1. I’m glad it was helpful!

      It sounds like you and I have the exact same figure – I’m 5’5″ and 129 pounds, and my thighs are bigger proportionally than my hips. However, I am a 2-4 in most brands, so I’m wondering if you like your jeans to fit looser than I like my jeans to fit.

      Most Rock and Republic cuts don’t stay up on my waist very well either, and I definitely need jeans that have a smaller waist proportionally.

      My absolute all time favorite right now is Red Engine. They’re fairly expensive in stores, but half off through Vault, and we just closed out a bunch for $19.95 so I stocked up! They have a smaller, slightly higher waist so they stay put, don’t buckle, and never creep down. I love them!

      Other brands that work great for me: Express Stella Cut, Express ReRock, Antik, and Hudson. Some are more expensive than others, but shopping clearance sections is a great way to go!

      I hope that helps – let me know if you have more questions!

  84. Wow!!!! Thank u. I went and bought new jeans today because of this pin!! I am a 45 year old mom of 3 & now I know where to go get new jeans and what to look for. Thank u, thank u, thank u!!

  85. great tips and i’ll definitely use them next time i go shopping! i have problems with finding the right fit, though. i like my jeans to be snug but usually when they are tighter, they fall down (i have nonexistent hips) and then if i wear a belt to keep them up, i get a muffin top! ugh any tips on finding snug jeans that will stay on a straighter body type?

    1. It is tricky for sure! I would say look for a slightly higher waist (but not too high, of course) – Red Engines are fantastic for that.

  86. I took all this advice and found that Express ReRock Boot Cut and Barely Boot were the perfect fit for me. They only sell up to size 12 in the stores, but they have 14’s and a better selection on their website. Try to get the length you need in the store or at least know what it is so you can buy it online. I am 5’9″, bought the “regular” length because they said it should be 33″ and it was 1 to 2 inches too long so I had to spend another $10 per pair getting them hemmed. Since the stitching is super thick, I’d try to get the right length without tailoring though. Good luck!!

  87. Thanks for such a fun, inspiring, and useful post about denim!!

    I’m on the hunt for jeans, especially after this enlightening. I hate feeling ugly and frumpy in the jeans I pulled out of the closet (now that autumn is here), so I’m going to do something about it.

    My biggest problem is that I carry my weight in my waist, so even though I’m generally somewhere around an 8 or 10 (depending on the jeans), I end up with frumpy butt/thigh because it’s bigger than it should be (or a muffin top if it fits on the butt/thigh/calves). It’s so frustrating and infuriating. I’m trying to lose weight and get back to my smaller size of years past, but until then, I want to feel cute!

  88. Perhaps it’s a matter of personal tastes but a lot of the pictures that were supposed to be the better fit looked far worse. Don’t get me wrong some were great improvements and there were a lot of great tips but some just ended up looking flat, square and very manly.

  89. I am extremely petite (can wear 00-1). I actually have a very round and awesome butt, but you can’t tell in most of my jeans because I am so generally small. What could really help with that?

    1. You need to find jeans that come in a small enough size that they do your figure justice. Designer jeans come much tinier than retail stores like Gap, Express, etc – I would try J Brand, Red Engine, and the like. If they’re too expensive, try American Eagle. I’m not sure if they’ll be small enough or not, but they’re worth a try. Oh! I don’t know how tall you are, but try shopping designer jeans in the girl’s department – nice department stores have Joe’s Jeans and the like, and they’re MUCH cheaper and might be a better length. I LOVE the girl’s (and women’s) Joe’s Jeans.

    2. Sounds like we’re about the same size–I generally wear a 0 (trying to get up to a 2) 5 ft tall, small-framed but with some pretty nice curves. American Eagle jeans are really the ONLY jeans I can wear that show off the right places, aren’t too long, and aren’t incredibly over-priced. Typically size 00 works well for me.

    1. Thats funny, because I think that you people, and these “tips’ are creating body issues. If I had an extra thousand bucks, i could go into a Levi’s store at the Mall of America, and come out with every single pair of high rise jeans in 27/32. And they would all fit to perfection. . You are losing sight of the overall picture here. Instead of worrying about pocket placement,. or wiskering, or other nonsense, just ask yourself” does this look good”? And don’t be so afraid to go with newer styles like high rise skinny, or high rise flares. Show off your body, don’t try to disguise it! I have never had any trouble finding jeans I like. I have trouble affording every pair of jeans I wish i could buy.

  90. No offense…but aren’t almost all of the models wearing jeans that are WAY too long for them? I mean I’m pretty sure the denim shouldn’t be pooling like that on the ground…..

  91. I love all your tips and ideas…. I have been trying to figure it all out. I use to know what looked good on me, but my body has changed and I have been at a loss, I just tried buckle I think i may have found a couple of pairs but i am just not sure… i’m 5’9 wear a size 10 43 years old … I have larger legs a flat belly and a smaller waist … I have tried curvy jeans but my hips look huge… I have tried straight fit my hips look better I look good from the front but I have huge gapping in the waist over time the but starts to sag but the thighs and knees are still tight…. I can’t do a low rise my muffin top in the back is bad and again the pants stay put in the legs but the top pulls down. but when i go with a midrise to cover my muffin top I I tend to get the mom pant look …. HELP!!!!! please.

  92. I find this really interesting… but as a 5’11” girl, with, what I would consider to be large(r) thighs (thank you competitive cycling), I still feel as if skinny jeans are more flattering (without boots)… because they make my legs look longer. Is this possible, or am I deceived? ;) Also, this is my first intro into Vault jeans…. what lengths do they come in? I struggle to find jeans long enough at a reasonable price, as my inseam for boot-cut jeans is 36 (American Eagle Extra-Long which are special-order only, or Buckle *choke, cough*). With skinny jeans, I can get away with the American Eagle Long – which I believe has a 34 inseam. If Vault would be another option for me, I’d be willing to check into it…

    1. That’s definitely probable! I didn’t have any 5’11” models in this post – that kind of height changes everything! :-)

      Vault carries many different brands, up to a 36″ inseam. But they don’t carry as many great brands as they used to.

  93. I couldn’t disagree with you more. and the overwhelming majority of these pictures show jeans that are way too long which completely distorts the perception. i was hoping for some good suggestions but most of these pictures turn me away.

    1. I agree. I found most of the looks on the “after” pictures are still unflattering. And I completely disagree with the idea that feathering on jeans makes the hips look smaller. I am very skinny but as I grew older, my hips grew. My hips are the biggest part of my body now and I want to minimize them when I wear jeans. When you wear any kind of design or feathering that falls around the hip area, all the attention goes to the design, therefore TO THE HIPS, making them the main focus, therefore appearing bigger. I have two pair of jeans with feathering on the hip and I am amazed how I look so much bigger in them compared to jeans with no feathering. And with my hips being the biggest part of my body, as far as fit goes, I can not shop in the junior section for jeans anymore. Yes its cheaper, but most of those jeans are not made for women with curves.

  94. I love your blog.first blog/forum I’ve actually read the entire page. :) But I was woundering if you could help me with a couple cheap brands of jeans that can look good on me.It’s been my biggest issue since a pre teen.I’m 28 5″10 150 to 160 ( my weight goes up and down but stays mostly in the 150’s ) wide hips,thick thighs always.I would live some jeans that are snug on my butt but not any where else but also pocket proportaion to where my butt doesn’t look flat. :) If that makes any since. I would love to know what you think.

  95. The supposedly “good” fit looks AWFUL!!!! The legs look short and stumpy. You have to be kidding me. No one wants to look stumpy.

  96. What jeans are best for us ladies with saddlebags? I am in my 50s and the problems is getting worse! It seems stretchy jeans make the problem worse, clinging just ABOVE the saddlebags, and accenting them rather than disguising them. I wear a size 14. I have even looked for non-stretchy jeans, thinking that may be the answer, but they are hard to find!

  97. Loooooove your denim posts! I’m a pear shape, 5’3″ and a size 10-12 depending on the brand. Luck Brand in Sophia short fit me, but I would like to find other brands/cuts that would flatter my figure. I have a pair of Hudson jeans that don’t fit any more…I gained weight with a new medication. I didn’t see any responses regarding Pears, so if I missed it please let me know!
    Thanks :)

  98. I have always struggled with finding good jeans, even when I was a much smaller size. I am 5’4″. I am currently a size 12 but in the process of losing all my baby weight. I have two issues: it seems like I am always between petite and normal lengths, is there a brand out there for us in-betweeners? If I have them hemmed the proportions are weird…. Also, I have a flat butt and no hips, I carry weight in the stomach area and have normal to wide thighs and can’t find jeans that I am not always tugging back up where they belong. What would you recommend?

  99. I love these tips. Why is it that despite all this knowledge, its still almost an impossible task to actually find jeans with these flattering features?

  100. Have you ever considerd publishing a purse sized jeans shopping guide? I can’t see me remembering all of this (impossible) nor can I see myself flipping through sheaves of paper that I printed off of the website. Just an idea.

  101. theres a lot of comments so sorry if this was already asked. I am 5’5 wear a size 4-6. My problem is I am as flat as Flat Stanley. I have no butt or hips to enhance and all jeans I try slip right down, even high waisted, and look baggy. Any suggestions when there is nothing there to define?

  102. This is a great article but you also need to mind that great undergarments make a huge difference too, example,subject D looks good in the jeans but the underwear she is wearing with those jeans make a crease that doesn’t look flattering even with great looking jeans

  103. Omg. I am known for loving jeans. And before kids I could look at jeans and know whether or not they fit me. Now, it’s a different story. And I am appalled that I have probably made a mistake or two! I am usually fully aware. I think I’m gonna go Jean shopping tomorrow! Can I send you a butt text? Lol

  104. Do you have any recommendations for size 00-size 0 jeans? I’m not petite-short, but am just very thin. Skinny jeans don’t look good on my hips/waist–always appear too boxy and the crotch always seems to be baggy. I love tight straight leg jeans, but haven’t found a pair that doesn’t stretch so quickly. It’s really frustrating to go to the mall and try on every pair of jeans I can find to no avail :(

    1. Go vintage. Sizes used to be smaller back in the day, and the non stretch fabrik does not stretch as easily. Just pick a somewhat high rise pair of levis in a smal size.

  105. Great stuff! But it doesn’t address the tummy problem. Size 8, slim thighs, slightly low-hung butt, trim waist and hips, with a prominent tummy. What do I do with that?

  106. So what is your opinion on Seven7 jeans? They seem to be the easiest to find of the jeans I am comfiest with (others Including Express and some American Eagle Outfitters, all which are Goodwill finds). And considering I’m a student they are the most expensive ($25-ish) I’m able to go when Goodwill options are minimal. On a side note I am also aware that a yay or nay for any brand is not set in stone: That each pair, regardless of the brand has to be looked over to make sure all the criteria fits. So in that being stated I would really appreciate your opinion on this and want to say thank you for hitting a specific but very important arena for helping women feel more confident and beautiful all around.

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  112. Every time I find a pair of size 9 jeans that fit me good on my but and hips they seem to be to tight on my thighs and when I walk it is uncomfortable because it’s like my thighs are causing my pants to pull down in the crouch area. Why? What can I do different?

  113. I am 32 yrs old and my height is 5’61/2. And my average weight in my 20s was 125 to 130.. I have fast metabolism about the only time i gain good weight is pregnant… And after giving birth 3 weeks later i would be back to my usual weight from 190. And now recently due to my health in 3 weeks i went from 160 cpounds to 130 pounds. And now 120. A week later. Need help plz have nothing to wear. Cuz 3 barely fits me. My boobs went fast too from a 34C to a lil smaller than An A. I heard victoria secrets r good for helping with that… Do u think so… Im so desperate depressed use to have a cute petite but nice butt boobs thighs. Now justso discouraged. What jeans andsize and length.do u recommed plz and …im tall and slender . a lil curvy but just a lil in my booty. What jeans and type of jeans do u rrecommand for my body type. I would love booty enhance and thighs jeans. I love tight fitting skinny jeans. What do u recommend plz and thanks. Need your help plz and thanks.

  114. Thank you Rachel for the info and the laughing out loud!
    You have delivered a phrase to us sisters in, “Its not you, its the jeans!” Wonderful!
    It reminds me of what Stacy London has labored to convey to us also, “It is the fit, not the size—cut the tag out!” (not an actual quote!)
    I am 54 and my daughters have labored to keep me out of “mom jeans” yet not a teenager walking out of Aeropostale! So I did what you did—I purchased 8 pairs of jeans after trying on 24! Brought them home, had my husband take pictures and helped me decide! I used a code so he didn’t know the brand or the price–which didn’t effect him whatsoever!
    Yes, tried the $195 Hudsons, but he liked the $30 Jones of NY and Skye.(I wouldn’t have kept them—there are better, eternal uses for $195!) I am waiting for the Rock & Republic from Kohls to arrive.
    Thank you again for your encouragement that 54yr olds want to still dazzle their man!

  115. I hope you are still an active blogger and will be able to respond to my dilemma. I am a “rectangle”. Shoulders and hips line up and really no defined waist; fortunately to not struggle with muffin top. I usually wear 10/12. However, if you went solely by the numbers bust/waist/hips, I would be a definite “pear”. The reason: from the side, I am all bubble butt! I am 5’4″, 140 pounds. For someone that is 45 years old my bottom has somewhat of a nice perky shape, but buying any type of pants has always been a nightmare. About a year ago, I went on a mission to find the best jean by getting into the store dressing rooms and taking a rear end picture of every pair I would try on; the good, bad, and downright ugly. What an eye-opening experience! I’m almost embarrassed to say that it made me start paying attention to other women’s butt’s to see how they fit in their jeans. So, when I came across your post/website I was so happy to see your comparisons. But I am still discouraged because none of your models seem to have a bubble butt. I have a really good understanding of the rules and what looks best on me and what to avoid….but I have such a hard time finding a brand that will fit my waist, my butt, and not break the rules. I found the brand Peter NYGARD Luxe Denim Slims (NYGARDSLIMS.com) fit well because they are jean material but have an elastic waist, not bunchy, just smooth. However, I am somewhat self-conscious when I wear them because I feel like it might look to others like I’m trying to show off my backside because the jeans don’t hide my roundness. I am a very conservative dresser, but I do want to wear something that flatters and doesn’t leave me with a HUGE gap in the back, wide looking buttocks, or looks like mom jeans. Please help.

  116. I love your blog about the denim. I am 55, and have really thin legs. I am 5’3″ and weight 120 lbs. Any denim tips to help my skinny legs?

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