6 Jean Shopping Tips

When you invest in denim, it is the beginning of a long (and intimate) relationship - and like any other long and intimate relationship, you want the pair you invest in to be the "one." Faced with the hundreds of options that are available online and in store, this seems like an almost impossible decision to make. How do you choose the right brand, the right size, the right silhouette, the right wash? These six simple rules will help you to make sure that the pair you choose matches your body and lifestyle.

1. Set your size

With many contemporary brands sizing their denim according to waist measurements, it's best to measure yourself to make the cut as precise as possible. With a flexible measuring tape, measure your natural size (the smallest part of your waist) and round off the whole number. So, if your waist measures 28.5 inches, your size would be 28. Once you know your size, the variations on all brands are low. This means that the rest of the adjustment preferences are reduced to other factors such as leg silhouette and height. Remember: The most difficult thing to alter on a pair of jeans is the waist, so you should never question the size setting.

2. Understand the fit

When you choose between different sizes, skew on the fitted and fitted side, as the elastic fibers of most skinny jeans wear out. If you do not like how high or low the jeans hit your waist, look for clues pertaining to the rise. A pair that’s marked “mid-rise,” which is typically at least eight inches provides greater coverage as it hits higher on the waist, so it generally contour to reveal less. Do not try to increase the size if the rise is too low; that will only lead to a mediocre and uncomfortable fit. Instead, look for a different style that suits your body and comfort level.

3. Length is negotiable

Making adjustments to the inseam is a minor modification, but the jeans must be modified with the shoes with which they are eventually used. Flares that better fit heels or wedges should fall about an inch off the floor, while skinny jeans should touch just at or above the anklebone. To give dark skinny jeans a modern look, you can even cut the hem to show a rough edge.

4. Let the silhouette and wash work for you

Do you want to minimize the hips or create the illusion of longer legs? Choose dark, whisker-free flares or trouser jeans that almost touch the floor. If your legs are your best resource, play them up with lighter washes or extra details like distressing or moto seaming. Rather not show off your calves? Look for a monochrome wash and a cigarette leg that falls straight down from the widest part of your calf. Cast a wide net, and bring a varied haul (of styles, washes, and even sizes when it comes to new brands) with you to the dressing room however daunting it may seem. You never know, a pair that does not have the reputation of suspension could be extremely flattering on the body.

5. Take a 360-degree approach

Do a test run before you commit. Stand in front of a three-quarter mirror to see what the jeans look like from the behind. Then sit on the bench in the dressing room and do one or two squats to make sure there are no discomforts, that the denim will not stretch and you will not reveal too much.

6. Stay with what works

Peggi Jewell, Vice President of Merchandising & Design for 7 For All Mankind, says her infallible advice is, “Keep it simple. Know what fit works best for your body and makes you feel confident and then stick to that fit. It’s like knowing what haircut works best with your face shape.” When you've landed on a brand or style that works for you, let that be your starting point and mix it up with washes and little variations in silhouette. Lastly, be patient. In the end, it's a valid process.

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