Ah, blue jeans. The perfect pair can take you from a casual Friday at the office to a Saturday night on the town and still be the perfect choice for a Sunday morning walk with the dog. No doubt about it. A great pair of jeans is the ultimate wardrobe must. Finding them, however, isn’t always a seamless process. Before you start tearing through endless racks of denim, here are the goods on six common cuts: flare, boyfriend, jegging, trouser, boot-cut and skinny.
They’re baaack! But this time, they’re way less intimidating. Modern flare jeans aren’t belled-out like their 70s counterparts, but they still make a groovy style statement.
Key Traits—A high-rise with a fitted silhouette from the waist to the knee and a gentle (but distinguishable) flare from the knee to the hemline.
Pros & Cons—When worn with heels, flare jeans elongate the leg beautifully. However, if worn too short, they’re equally unflattering.
Dress ’Em Up With—Heels and a tucked-in blouse. If you’re not a fan of tucking things in, go for a shorter-length blouse with a gorgeous kimono sleeve (another big trend for this year).
Dress ’Em Down With—Flats and a roomy cropped sweater or sweatshirt.
Save or Splurge? Flare jeans have come in and out of style—consistently—for close to 50 years, so splurge if you don’t mind storing them in the back of your closet during “out” seasons.
Quick Tip—Buy them long, and hem them to a length that tailor-fits the shoes you most love wearing them with (the cuffs should almost graze the floor).
These jeans, designed to look like you borrowed them from your boyfriend, have become wildly popular the last several seasons.
Key Traits—A mid-rise with a loose-fitting leg and a low crotch. They usually have distressed finishes and rolled cuffs.
Pros & Cons—Boyfriend jeans are super comfortable and fashion-forward. However, save them for casual settings (not professional environments).
Dress ’Em Up With—Strappy heels and a peplum top.
Dress ’Em Down With—Sneakers, an oversized tee (tucked in the front) and a blazer.
Save or Splurge? Boyfriend jeans are going strong, but they aren’t as versatile as other denim styles. Save.
Quick Tip—If you’re short or curvy, pair your boyfriend jeans with a fitted top or jacket to create a fantastic silhouette.
What would you get if jeans and leggings had a baby? Yup. The jegging.
Key Traits—A high or mid-rise usually without pockets. The fabric is thin and stretchy, and the fit is tight like a legging.
Pros & Cons—Jeggings are easy to wear and comfortable; however, they’re notorious for sagging.
Dress ’Em Up With—Ankle boots and a boyfriend-style dress shirt (try it belted).
Dress ’Em Down With—Tall, flat-heeled boots and a long sweater.
Save or Splurge? Save! The thin, stretchy material these jeans are made from wears easily.
Quick Tip—Unless your pair has a high waist and real pockets, jeggings are best worn with a top that covers your rear—just like leggings.
Universally flattering, the trouser jean has been a sophisticated wardrobe staple for decades.
Key Traits—A high to mid-rise with a close-fitting hip and rear and an elegantly wide-cut leg.
Pros & Cons—Trouser jeans universally flatter all body types. These jeans are at their best, however, when perfectly tailored, so search for a pair with a great fit on top, and spend $15 on having them hemmed.
Dress ’Em Up With—High heels with a camisole-cardigan combo. Top with a statement necklace.
Dress ’Em Down With—Wedge heels or loafers and a fitted T-shirt.
Save or Splurge? Splurge! This classic cut will always be in style.
Quick Tip—Trouser jeans fit like dress pants, so they’re the perfect pair to wear to the office on casual days.
Arguably the most traditional of denim styles, boot-cut jeans have stood the test of time.
Key Traits—A high, mid or low-rise with a straight fit through the hip and thigh and a gradual one-inch flare from the knee to the cuff (just enough to accommodate a boot).
Dress ’Em Up With—Pointy pumps and a wrap-style blouse.
Dress ’Em Down With—Wedge heels, a graphic tee and a long cardigan.
Pros & Cons—Boot-cut jeans are incredibly versatile and come in almost every colour, finish and rise imaginable. This style has so many options, finding the right pair can sometimes feel overwhelming.
Save or Splurge? Splurge. Boot-cut jeans are a classic style that will never feel out of fashion.
Quick Tip—Choose the correct rise for your body type; the wrong rise can dig in uncomfortably and create that self-esteem stomping, body-negative term “muffin top.” Seriously! That’s a food not a body part, so let’s either stop using that term or remember that the top is the best part of the muffin.
It seems like skinny jeans will be fashion-forward forever. Many feel only the slimmest among us can pull off this style, but that’s simply untrue.
Key Traits—A high, mid or low-rise with tight-fitting narrow legs.
Pros & Cons—Skinny jeans tuck perfectly into your favourite tall boots, but they tend to lose elasticity over time, so be prepared to replace them more often than other jeans.
Dress ’Em Up With—Booties and a long blouse topped with a cropped, sleeveless sweater.
Dress ’Em Down With—Flat, high boots and a casual tunic.
Save or Splurge? Save so you can wear and replace.
Quick Tip—If you’re short or petite, choose skinny jeans over wider cuts. If you’re tall or curvy, your skinny jeans will pair wonderfully with long sweaters and blouses.
Stretch fabric became popular in the early 90s (spandex biking shorts, anyone?) and comes in two types: 2-way stretch, which actually stretches only one way, and 4-way stretch, which stretches both crosswise and lengthwise. Since 4-way stretch stretches both directions, the fabric can easily bounce back to its original shape and won’t sag.
When it comes to your booty, pocket position matters.
Flap pockets help make flat bottoms appear rounder.
Low-sitting pockets will make a more generous backside appear less generous.
Mid-sized pockets placed toward the center of the jean will balance a wider derriere.
Small pockets will boost bootyliciousness.