Oftentimes, we're not 100 percent sure how to tell if our jeans fit properly until it's too late. The first night I hung out with my now best friends my freshman year of college, we sat in a circle and decided to tell each other our most embarrassing stories (I know, I know, how cliche.) My friend opted for her own story of discovering her denim wasn't quite the right fit. She was working at a local retail store and as she squatted down to put jeans, ironically, beneath the table, her new blue jeans ripped all the way around her thigh. Thankfully, she was able to buy a new pair — with an employee discount, of course — finish her shift like nothing happened.
Leaving wardrobe malfunctions aside, jeans that don't fit can just be unpleasant — not to mention, apparently lead to medical problems (very, very rarely). Of course, the easiest way to tell whether your flares fit is if you feel totally comfortable and confident in a pair (feeling like you have to pull at the waistband or squat to stretch the fabric is no good), but if you're trying a new trend or shopping at a store for the first time, you might need some extra assistance.
1. Examine The Ankles & Crotch
Epstein says excessive bagginess or excessive bunching at the crotch are clear signs that a pair of jeans do not fit properly. If you're still not sure, however, he says you can tell jeans are too tight if the back inseam is leaning in favor of the left or right cheek.
Another key place to look is the ankles. If your jeans are bunching near your feet, that's the first sign you need to re-evaluate your size.
2. Check The Fly
"If you feel like you want to unbutton your jeans every time you sit down because you’re uncomfortable, that’s not a good sign!" Epstein tells me over email. Jeans that are too tight tend to squash your butt (ouch) and create an inseam pulling to one side. It's also annoying to have to check that your jeans are staying zipped.
You particularly want to pay attention to the tightness of the pants when it comes to fit. Aside from the discomfort, super tight pants can hinder circulation, which can lead to a mess of other issues.
3. Watch For Extra Saggage
While convenient to skip, Epstein says you should have to button and unbutton your pants in order to take them off if they fit properly. Being able to simply slip them on and off without messing with the zipper and button likely is a sign they're too big. Other signs, according to Epstein, include excessive bagginess, sagging, and bunching especially at the waist and crotch when you wear a belt.
4. Look At The Wrinkles
Wrinkles are a sneaky good factor in determining how your jeans fit. According to the designer, wrinkles facing inward mean the jeans are too tight. And wrinkles facing outward mean the jeans are too big.
5. Check Out The Pockets
Aside from depicting poor fit, Epstein encourages shoppers to check out the pockets pants they're trying on because they can often depict poor construction.
The back pocket, Epstein says, should be centered around your cheeks and cover the "middle third of your backside," but not extend beyond your cheek's curve. In other words, your back pockets should not rest on your thighs. Similarly, the front pocket should stay in the front pocket and you should not be able to see its outline against your leg.
6. Remember That It's The Pants, Not You
Of course fit depends on the type of jeans you wear, but overall Epstein believes pants should actually feel comfortable. You should be excited to wear a pair, not dreading pulling them on.
When you're in the dressing room shopping for new denim, try on several pairs before making your final decision. If a pair of jeans you love mostly fits, remember you can always get things altered if you're really infatuated. Epstein says an individual needs to find their personal line between needing a tailor or deciding a pair of jeans is too much work.
7. Use Your Confidence As An Indicator
"So many shoppers get tunnel vision, and will write off a product if it’s in their 'size' and it doesn’t look right or feel right," Epstein says. He asks shoppers to have patience and keep in mind that size varies across brands. And it's "definitely not about the size you’re wearing, but how you feel when you’re wearing something that fits well. A well fitting garment is the best confidence booster," Epstein says. He encourages shoppers to not be afraid to go up a size if doing so will overall make you feel more comfortable and confident.