Ill-fitting jeans can be tortuous: Think red marks, gaping zippers, torn seams, and simply unflattering silhouettes. Finding the perfect pair of jeans might seem elusive, but the truth is there are plenty of options out there for all different body types. The tricky part is knowing what to look for and consider when searching for the perfect denim pair. And before you can find the best-fitting jeans ever, you have to part ways with what is not working. Ultimately, jeans should make you feel comfortable and confident to your fullest, and anything less is unacceptable.
A pair that fits well will make all the difference in a person’s day-to-day presence — after all, jeans are one of the most common pieces of clothing in a person’s wardrobe. “They possess the ability to be super chic or super casual, depending upon how you style them,” personal and sustainable stylist Thalia Castro-Vega tells Bustle. “They're an effortless staple item.”
However, when it comes to shopping for and wearing jeans, it can often feel overwhelming to keep up with what styles of jeans are considered “on trend” in fashion, especially because not all cuts of jeans are flattering on everybody. As personal stylist Bee Stuart puts it, if a trend doesn’t suit you, then skip it. “Trends are an incredible way to keep your wardrobe feeling fresh, but if the trendy item doesn't fit you well and make you feel good, then it defeats the purpose of indulging in the trend,” Stuart tells Bustle. “It's more important to have your clothing fit and compliment your body than to be trendy.”
Whether you feel best in straight leg styles, flares, or boyfriend cuts, figuring out how jeans should fit women’s bodies isn’t a one answer kind of thing. In truth, each body will require different design elements for a comfortable fit. That being said, there are some universal signs that a pair of jeans doesn't fit. To get to the bottom of what people should be looking to avoid in a pair of jeans, Bustle asked style experts for their best-fit tips.
1. They're Too Short
Cropped jeans are definitely a preference and can be incredibly flattering, but that’s completely separate from when a pair of pants are just too short overall. According to Stuart, too much ankle exposure is a signal that the jeans likely need to be sized up.
2. They’re Gapping At The Waist
A classic sign that a pair of jeans is too big for your natural waist is if they gap at the waist. When you sit down, the gap will widen even more and just generally feel uncomfortable, according to Castro-Vega — not to mention the potential of showing your underwear on accident.
The solution here, Stuart tells Bustle, is to have the waist taken in by a tailor, size up in the pair that you have, or find another pair that better fits your proportions.
3. They're Too Big and Baggy
There’s nothing wrong with going for an oversized or boyfriend look when it comes to jeans, but if you constantly have to wear massive belts or pull your jeans up for fear of them falling on the floor, try finding a pair that is smaller and requires less maintenance.
4. You Have Crotch Creases
Diagonal tension marks radiating from the crotch of your denim is never a good sign. Also known as “whiskers,” crotch creases are an indication that a pair of jeans just simply doesn’t fit you right. And it will feel even worse when you sit down.
“If you put on jeans where it’s really tight right across the front part of your crotch and across your hips, it will feel like there's a lot of pulling and tugging,” says Castro-Vega. “When you sit down, it's going to tighten up even more [because] there's going to be more tension there, and it's going to be uncomfortable.”
5. You Adjust And Wiggle All The Time
Constantly pulling up the waistband of your pants is no fun. It means that either the inseam is too short or the waist is a tad too small. “I always tell my clients, if you need to constantly fix, fidget, and fuss with any clothing item, it doesn't fit and it's time to get newer options,” says Stuart. Just ease up in size and glide through the world tug-free.
6. The Waistband Keeps Rolling
If you find that your tummy is spilling over the top of your jeans, it’s worth investing in a new pair. According to Stuart, this means that a pair is simply way too tight. Similarly, if your waistband keeps rolling over itself whenever you sit down, you’re not going to want to wear the jeans very often. Instead, opt for a pair that has a more comfortable waistline.
7. They Have A Saggy Crotch
This is a common problem in the land of baggy jeans and slim fit jeans alike. The thighs might fit, but the waistband and bum areas are a bit too large. Even if they make your legs look a mile long, you don't want it to look like you have room for a baby kangaroo inside the pouch of your jeans. According to Stuart, a sagging crotch is an indication that you should size down.
8. They’re Super Tight In The Thighs
If you find yourself asking, “Why do my jeans have ripples?” you’re already not in a great spot fit-wise. Visible lines and wrinkles on your jeans, particularly in the thigh area, are a sign that the fit is too small, Stuart explains.
The experience of wearing jeans should be seamless (figuratively), so if you are asking questions as to why something feels or looks funny, your gut instinct that something is off is likely correct.
9. The Zipper Won't Stay Up On Its Own
Say you can get the jeans on, and they zip (mostly), but no matter what you do, the zipper just keeps sneaking back down. This is a sign that it’s time to say goodbye to that pair. According to Stuart, it means that a pair of jeans is too tight overall, and as a result, the zipper can’t hold them up. Ultimately, they just don’t fit.
10. You Can’t Sit Down
If a pair of jeans is too tight in the stomach area, it will be uncomfortable, or maybe even impossible, to sit down — and that’s no fun. With a well-fitting pair of jeans, you shouldn’t feel prohibited from doing any of the activities in your normal life. “If you can't do simple activities like sitting, walking, [or] dancing to your favorite tune because your jeans are too tight, then you need to let them go,” Stuart says.
11. They Give You Red Marks
Contrary to what 2000s movies might show you (back when so many people were Googling “how should skinny jeans fit?” because they were so uncomfortable to wear), fashion and style should absolutely not involve pain. If your jeans are causing red marks and indentation marks at the waist, they are “way too tight and causing slow circulation in the area,” Stuart explains. No pair of jeans is worth that.
12. Your Jeans Don’t Make You Feel Good
“It's time to part ways with a pair of jeans when you get anxiety or [feel] frustrated when you have to put them on,” says Stuart. “If you are not looking forward to wearing the jeans because they cause you any sort of discomfort or pain, it is time to let those jeans go.”
Once you find brands, styles, and sizes that work for you, care for them as you would a precious jewel and wear them as much as your heart desires. The perfect jeans aren’t dictated by whatever current styles are trending on TikTok, but rather what feels most comfortable and suitable for you. As Stuart says, “Once you find items that fit you well [and] compliment your personal lifestyle, then you are the trend!”
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