7 Body Positive Shopping Tips For Buying Jeans

by Melodi Erdogan

Finding the perfect pair of jeans is comparable to Christopher Columbus’ journey to find the new world. When we go out shopping for new jeans that we hope to be able to wear forever, we can never be sure if they actually exist, where they might live, or even how much time or effort must be put into discovering them. It’s just the nature of the process! Denim pants — ever since their inception in the 1800s — are available in so many styles, fits, and designs that it makes finding the so-called perfect pair extremely difficult.

But the thing about jeans is that even though they’re so hard to find, they’re a basic staple in almost everyone’s wardrobe. Unless you’re Anna Wintour and all you wear are floral frock dresses, you have probably experienced the amazing comfort and versatility of a good pair. And if you have found an ideal pair with a great fit, you know how special the feeling can be.

Until you find that pair of jeans that makes you feel clad in denim armor, ready to take on anything that life may throw your way, you might want to consider styles, angles, and fit. But as with all shopping — especially shopping for particularly tricky items — the struggle to stay confident in your skin when nothing seems to fit it right is real. So here are seven body positive shopping tips for buying jeans, because no matter what size or height you are, everyone needs a pair of jeans that makes them look gorgeous and, more importantly, feel their happiest selves.

1. Try Different Styles

Like I said before, in recent years denim has been contorted and styled in an infinite number of ways. Thus, there’s a jean style for everyone. But it’s being open-minded to new looks that’s the hard part. Even though those boyfriend jeans may look baggy and weird on the hanger, trying them on to see how they fit you won’t hurt. Same goes for skinny jeans, boot cut jeans, wide leg jeans, white wash jeans, or even jeggings. Every jean style has its own anatomy, and being able to narrow down a few styles that you know you feel amazing in will drastically improve your chances of finding a pair to love and wear for many years to come.

2. Look At Different Angles

Sometimes fitting rooms can be very unapologetic. Actually, most of the time fitting rooms can be very unapologetic. But before you pass on a pair of jeans because of the first impression you got from it in a teeny tiny room with a weird mirror, step out of said room and walk around to get a real feel for the denim.

Most of the time, fitting rooms also have wider, three-panel mirrors. Inspecting the fit of the jeans from different angles will help give reason to love them or hate them. You may not have liked them from the front, but if they make your butt look super round, you may have to keep the style in mind. Also, from inspecting them in a larger, angled mirror, you can get a feel for how the length and size fits... which brings me to my next point.

3. Try On Different Sizes

No one likes carrying tons of clothes to the fitting room, but no one will blame you for taking three different sizes of jeans in there. Because every store and every type of jean fits differently, it’s important to bring a variety of sizes with you to try on, including the size you typically wear, one size smaller, and one size bigger. If the size you usually wear doesn’t fit you, this shouldn’t cause you to give up on that specific pair. You walked into the store and picked up those jeans for a reason!

4. Bring A Friend

Everyone has that one friend who is brutally honest and/or sartorially minded, so go ahead and bring that friend with you when you’re on the hunt for a pair of jeans. Shopping for jeans is hard enough, but being with a friend who can provide some support and comic relief makes the experience a lot easier. Plus, once you do pop out of the dressing room wearing that pair of distressed skinny jeans in white denim, they will be able to give you a second opinion. It’s funny how friends can make you see things from a unique perspective, so have them tag along and make a friend date out of it.

5. Wear Your Favorite Pair Of Jeans To Go Shopping

While you’re probably in the market for a new pair of jeans, wearing your current favorite can help you narrow down your options. If you are particularly fond of the way your dark wash skinny jeans fit you, you can use them as a reference for different pairs you find in stores or online. If you notice how the back pockets are designed on your favorite jeans, or even the stitching or distressing, you can compare and contrast to other jeans you are also interested in. This trick works for both in stores and online. Plus, if nothing works out, you are reminded that you still have that favorite pair that makes you look fabulous and feel confident.

6. Note The Process

Everyone, at least once in their lifetime, has done the pants dance. We all know it: The jumping, hip-shaking, I-think-I-can-get-my-butt-into-this-hole dance. As you can probably guess, I’m quite familiar with it. But frankly, the pants dance is usually a sign of a size too small (just like slipping into a pair of jeans might indicate a size too big). The process of putting on a pair of jeans can tell you a lot about not only the size and style but also the quality and longevity. If a pair of jeans feels constricting or way too thin and loose, it's not the one. But if it feels thick and snug, like it'll mold to your body in time, it is probably going to be a match for you.

7. Research Their Reputation

To continue on that note, jeans change over time. If you have finally found a pair that you really like and are willing to purchase, one last thing you might want to consider is its average life expectancy. And no, I’m not suddenly talking about cockroaches (even though we’ve all wondered how long that cockroach can survive in our kitchen).

Think about it: Jeans are just like living, breathing organisms. If you’re going to invest in a pair, you want to know how long it will keep its color, how it'll mold to your unique body shape, and how sturdy and well-made it is. You can Google the brand to find out more, ask friends, or even ask employees. Reviews are everything, especially with denim.

Images: Fotolia; Giphy