At Lands’ End, we value simple pleasures in life. A great-fitting pair of jeans, warm flannel sheets on a chilly night, the crisp of a perfectly baked apple pie… But, when you think about it, that first one isn’t as simple as it seems. After all, how many times have you bought a pair of women’s jeans with the hopes that they’ll be the pair you can count on? Relying on them to accentuate your best features but also maintain their shape and keep you comfortable from day into night? Only to realize that these jeans – like all the others before them – are lacking in style or comfort (or both).
Don’t fret, we’ve been there and now we’re here to tell you not to lose hope. Finding your pair of perfectly fitted jeans can be hard, but it’s not impossible. Read on for the answer to a few frequently asked questions when it comes to shopping for jeans and get one step closer to enjoying the pleasure of finding yours.
Believe it or not there used to be a time when the styles of jeans were limited (hence the success of the bellbottom). Lucky for us, we live in a time of endless choices when it comes to fashion, and jeans are no exception. With so many different rises and styles to choose from it’s no wonder there’s some confusion on how to tell if a pair of jeans actually fit your body. But the basic rule of thumb is this: jeans should fit your waist comfortably without the need for a belt or a struggle to fasten the zipper. If you’re experiencing red marks, discomfort, or the dreaded “muffin top” then chances are you need to go up a size to get a proper fit in the waist. And buying them too big can cause ill-fitting problems all around too. The last thing you want in a pair of jeans is too much fabric weighing you down and giving you a sloppy look.
Of course, we know proper fit isn’t all about the waist. You also want to make sure you’re shopping for the right inseam for your height to avoid buying pants that are too long or too short. Basically, unless you’re shopping for skinny jeans in general or ankle-length or cropped pants specifically, you don’t want your jeans to show ankle and they should definitely cover the top of your heel when you’re wearing shoes.
Yes and no. The first jeans ever to hit the market were of the straight leg style, making them an instant classic if you will. And for good reason. Straight-leg jeans offer the most universally flattering leg shape no matter your height, curves, or lack thereof. But like all good classics, the straight leg jeans of today have evolved, offering a slight taper to the leg making them more flattering and versatile. Plus they look great with almost any shoe. And they’re never tight on your legs, meaning if you want to roll them into an ankle-length pant to get a different look, you can. Trust us, there’s a reason this classic cut is a must-have in any closet.
Think of this popular cut as a distant cousin of the fancier, spot-light driven flared leg jean, except the bootcut jean bottom should only be wide enough to accommodate a wide boot (Aha!) or shoe – but of course, they look great with heels as well. And, unlike straight leg jeans that basically maintain the same width all the way down your leg, a close-fitting bootcut jean should taper at the thigh area and then widen from your knee towards the hem. But should you even be concerned with the hem? Of course. In fact, some consider it the most important part of the whole fit. You want the hem of a bootcut jean to fall where your toe meets your foot. So if you want to wear them with a taller heel, you’ll need a longer pant.
Don’t let the name fool you, skinny jeans have less to do with the width of your waist and more with how they hug your body. Unlike straight leg jeans that taper off from the knee to the ankle, skinny jeans have a slim fit all the way down, hugging your thighs and calves. Showing a little ankle is to be expected with skinny jeans, and they should always be sleek – never baggy. If yours are baggy in the knees or around the ankle then you should consider shopping for a shorter inseam length. Likewise, if you’re having trouble pulling them on over your calves (we’ve all been there), go up a size in the waist to get that sleek, long look you’re after. Skinny jeans should also fit comfortably at or above your waistline even when you’re sitting down. Opt for high-rise jeans that cinch above your hips, accentuating your natural curves and eliminating the risk of exposing too much lower back (or beyond) when you sit.
If just the idea of jean shopping stresses you out then you might want to consider skipping the department stores with their funhouse mirrors and unflattering lighting and order your jeans online instead. We know the idea of buying something before trying it on sounds intimidating. That’s why we offer an easy-to-read size chart for all of our clothing at landsend.com. Do yourself a favor and take the time to get your measurements done – either professionally or on your own in front of a mirror. You never know, you may realize that the solution to all of your shopping woes could be that you were in the wrong size or length all along. Another great asset we offer at landsend.com is our clothing product details where you’ll find what the material is made of and how much (or little) stretch you could expect from those jeans you’re eyeing. Just a little something you wouldn’t know by looking at them on your computer – but could make a world of difference when you’re wearing them.
We know that when it comes to jeans, finding the perfect fit can be frustrating. This time around, let perfection find you and follow these guidelines the next time you shop for jeans.