How to Find the Perfect Jeans, Based on Your Body Type

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Be honest: how often when you're shopping for jeans do you stop and think, This is so much fun, and don't I look amazing? For most of us, the answer is very, very seldom. The process can involve going to multiple stores and swapping styles and fits a dizzying number of times. No wonder we find ourselves neglecting the task or — even worse — compromising on a not-so-flattering pair of jeans.

To rescue us all from the hell that is shopping for jeans, I got a hold of Samantha Brown, New York-based stylist and personal shopper who has worked on countless fashion shows but also dressed women of all body types. Her general rules: always try on multiple pairs and never pay too much attention to sizes. “The denim construction has so much variation that you might buy a different size in every brand,” Brown warns. With her help, below are our tips on scoring the perfect jeans:

Curvy


You have shape on your waist, hips, legs — the amount of curviness varies from person to person. When shopping for jeans, know where your curves are. Focus on jeans that have a slight stretch in the fabric and are tailored with curves in mind. Brown recommends boot-cut jeans with a medium rise. “The leg-line will appear long, and the cut will enhance your curves.”

Pear-Shaped


Pear-shaped bodies are curvy bodies with the curves happening mainly around the waist and hips. Think Shakira. Brown recommends trouser jeans because they have a little more leg room and fall straight down from the widest point of the hip. “This extra volume will help minimize the pear shape, whereas a skinny jean would further accentuate the body proportions.” To de-emphasize your hips and make your bottom half look more proportionate to your top, look for jeans in a darker wash.  

Athletic


The athletic shape has some protruding muscles on toned thighs and calves, and that's a good thing — after all, the Williams sisters worked hard for those legs. If you have an athletic figure, you can work most jeans styles, but opt out of tight fabric and skinny cuts. Brown warns that skinny jeans “might make you look larger than you are.”

Tall and Lean


If you’re blessed with “mile-long legs,” you can have fun with most jean styles. Whichever pair you choose, make sure it emphasizes your features and check to see that the inseams are long enough. If you’re looking to add a little more curve, go for skinny jeans. “Since you already have endless legs to work with, a skinny jean will fit and flatter,” says Brown.

Petit


Whatever your torso-to-leg proportions may be, the key for petite shapes finding perfect jeans is to focus on elongating height. You can wear almost any style as long as the seam length and fit are balanced. The Olson twins, champions of executing any style under the sun, have shown the petit community that even bellbottoms can work! Brown loves a straight leg or boot-cut style in a medium or dark wash for adding height. “Since the cut is neither flat nor tapered, the leg line will help elongate a petite frame," she says.

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