Female derriere in jeans with pockets for Helen Reynolds Style's jeans buying guide

Go on, own up. How many pairs of jeans do you own?

Two…five…more than 10 pairs?

OK, let me ask you another question.

How many of those pairs do you ever wear?

Jeans are probably the most versatile and hard wearing item of clothing you’ll ever own. However, with the plethora of colours, shapes and styles on offer – not to mention the massive price range, how do you know what to look for in your perfect pair? It can be very confusing.

The truth is, there is A LOT to consider when you’re choosing jeans. So I’m dedicating this blog post to making it easy for you.

Commit to finding the right pair

When you’re shopping for jeans, look at jeans ONLY. Put your blinkers on and ignore all the other beautiful pieces shining brightly to get your attention. Be focused.

Take several pairs of jeans into the fitting room. Once you’ve found a pair you like, it’s worth grabbing two or three more of the same style to try on because no two pairs are identical and you might find a pair that fits you even better.

The fabric

Choose denim with a bit of added stretch. This makes them more comfortable and WAY more flattering.

Darker denim is smarter (more classic) and slimming.

Lighter denim or faded denim is more casual.

Avoid whiskering (faded horizontal lines) if you want to look slimmer.

The bottom

There are some very clever ways to make your behind look fabulous in jeans.

If you want to visually minimise the size of your bottom, choose large pockets. The larger the pocket the smaller your bottom will appear.

Another bottom minimising trick is to look for pockets that have been sewn on with the same coloured thread as the denim. Plain pockets won’t stand out and draw attention.

If you need a bit of help to make your bottom appear fuller, choose smaller pockets or pockets with flaps. These add a bit more bulk and make your bottom look slightly curvier.

Hudson jeans have a signature pocket flap, which are great for flat bottoms.

Hudson jeans signature pocket flap

Hudson jeans signature pocket flap

Alternatively try out padded pants for ‘flat bottomed’ girls. You’ve heard of padded bras right? This is the same principle and can be very effective.

Eloise Padded Panty

Eloise Padded Panty

The fit

Jeans HAVE to fit you properly or you may as well not bother. Choose denim with a bit of added stretch, (but not too much or they won’t last you very long). This makes the fabric hug you in the right places and makes your jeans more comfortable (as well as more flattering).

Prioritise the fit around your bottom and thighs. You don’t want sagging fabric around your bottom but equally you don’t want things so tight that you look as though one wrong move will  see  you spilling out all over the place.

The front needs to lay flat, no extra material bagging out.

New jeans should feel slightly too tight when you first try them on. You need to be able to breathe but it’s really important that they are snug. After an hour or so of wear they’ll stretch and you don’t want them to end up being too loose and baggy and needing to constantly hitch them up.

Put them on and do a bit of lunging (!) and sitting down if you can. Be sure that you can move.

Prioritise the fit around your bottom and thighs. Everything else can be altered if needed.

The tummy

Large tummies will benefit from a wider waistband and whilst we are on the subject of waistbands, a curved one (slightly higher at the back) will ensure you avoid showing your knickers when you bend over…

Coloured denim

Denim comes in every colour imaginable these days so don’t stick to blue if you fancy something more exciting or a colour that partners well with the rest of your wardrobe.

One of my clients had just one pair of blue jeans in her wardrobe that she hardly ever wore but wasn’t sure why.

The rest of her wardrobe consisted of earthy-toned pieces that look amazing with her warm colouring and it was clear to see that the mid-blue denim didn’t partner well with anything. She took the brave decision to wave them goodbye once she realised she wasn’t ever likely to wear them again. They’ve been replaced with an olive green pair which are SO much more wearable (and gorgeous).

The Cut

Skinny

Most people that wear skinny jeans probably shouldn’t. Skinnies look best on slim, evenly balanced figures. End of. If that’s not you, I urge you to try something different.

Next skinny jeans. £20.

Next skinny jeans. £20.

Straight leg

More wearable than skinnies. This pair worked great on a pear-shaped client of mine.

The Gap Real Straight cut £44.95

The Gap Real Straight cut £44.95

Try The Gap’s ‘Slim Straight’ cut if you have a thicker waist and slim thighs or their ‘Girlfriend’ jeans for a slightly looser cut.

Boot cut

These have been out of fashion favour for a while but they are THE MOST FLATTERING cut for all figure types. Do with that what you will.

Boden High Rise Bootcut £49

Boden High Rise Bootcut £49

Flares

The new (or old) cut on the block. More flattering than skinnies for most, give them a go if you are ready to ditch the skinnies. For optimum flatter power, wear with heels.

Whistles wide flared jeans. £95

Whistles wide flared jeans £95

 

10 Top Tips for buying great jeans

  1. Wear clothes that are easy to get in and out of for trying on.
  2. Jeans shopping should be a focused activity – dedicate some proper time to it and look at NOTHING else.
  3. When you have found some that you like, try on 3 or 4 pairs as there will be subtle difference in the sizing.
  4. Prioritise the fit around your waist and bottom first and then the length which can easily be altered.
  5. Never hide inside baggy, shapeless jeans. You will look shapeless and bulky.
  6. There is NO age limit for wearing jeans.
  7. Wash your jeans inside out so the colour lasts.
  8. Jeans with 2 or 3% lycra content will feel comfortable immediately and will keep their shape.
  9. Have different pairs for wearing with heels and flats. The right length is vital to avoid foreshortening your legs.
  10. If you’ve been wearing skinnies for years and know in the bottom of your heart that they don’t do you any favours, now’s the time to try a more flattering cut.

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