How to Tell When Jeans Just Don’t Fit

How to tell when your jeans don’t fit properly

Trust me, I’ve been there: Standing in front of a department store mirror, under harsh (buzzing???) fluorescent lights, trying on yet another pair of women’s jeans that fall somewhere in the too-tight/too-long/too-baggy category. Finally settling on buying that one pair (any pair) that mostly fit. Kinda fit? Barely fit from the beginning of this whole excruciating charade. Women's jeans are confusing to buy, and sizes can vary greatly by style, fit, body shape, brand, and so on!

I know that finding a pair of great fitting jeans can seem impossible. All too often we compromise for a pair that we “think” fit us well, only to wear them in everyday life and realize that something’s just not right. And, before we know it, we’re right back where we started in that dressing room. Do yourself a favor and break the cycle of buying “good for now” jeans once and for all. You deserve a pair of jeans that not only fit great but are stylish and comfortable, too.

The first step to owning a great pair of jeans is recognizing when a pair is anything but. Read on for 7 ways you can tell when your jeans just don’t fit and get yourself one step closer to finding the ones that do.

1. Pinching or red marks at your waist

Nothing is worse than trying to function all day in a pair of jeans that are pinching you or causing red marks on your waist because they’re too tight or too stiff. Believe me when I tell you that “suffering for fashion” is not a thing and you don’t have to squeeze yourself into a pair of jeans that are too small just because some fashion magazine told you they would fit like a glove after you “broke them in.” Being comfortable in your jeans is the ultimate goal and if that means you have to go up a size to find a pair that sits well on your waist then that's okay!

2. Showing too much ankle

Unless you’re shopping for ankle jeans, crops, skinny jeans where showing ankle is expected, you should be wearing jeans long enough so that they cover the top of your heel when you’re wearing shoes. Wearing jeans that are too short for the style offers an uncomfortable fit that rides up. Getting a proper inseam measurement will give you an idea of what length you should be looking for, and can even help legs look longer – no matter your height. Check for tall sizes if this tends to be an “every pair” problem.

3. Bunching at the bottom

Sporting excess denim at the ankle isn’t a good look either. As a rule if your pants are dragging on the floor or fall past your toe, they’re too long. If they’re baggy in other places as well, going down a size could solve the problem. Otherwise you’ll need to try a shorter inseam measurement. And don’t forget about petite sizing. Many lines offer a variety of sizes and cuts in specialty sizes like petite and tall – though not always in-store. If you want a baggy look, but don't want to compromise length, opt to size up and get them tailored; or alternatively, you could size up in the petite sizes, which often have a shorter inseam.

4. The zipper zips up – but doesn’t stay there

I’ll be the first to admit to “sucking in” or lying on the bed to get a pair of jeans on. However, regardless of how much work I put in to getting dressed, I guarantee my zipper worked harder just trying to stay shut. Getting dressed in the morning should never result in labored breathing and a sweaty brow. Trade your too-tight-for-comfort jeans in for a pair made with stretchy material. Heck, you could skip the zipper all together and slip into the comfort and style of pull-on jeans. There’s nothing labored about that.

5. The dreaded back gap

Nothing can burden an otherwise flawless look quite like the dreaded back gap caused by a pair of too-low jeans. If you have a problem with your jeans popping out in the back – or riding a little too low for comfort when you sit down, you should consider buying jeans made with your curves in mind. Mid-rise or high-rise jean cuts are also a great choice for eliminating back-gap potential and tend to offer a flattering silhouette on almost every body type. If you have a true hourglass shape, look for curvy fit jeans. The extra room in the hips and butt area allow you to wear the size you need without having your women’s jeans feel too big in the waist.

6. Too tight in the thighs and backside

Some styles of jeans like skinny and boot cut are designed to fit closely at the waist through the thighs, but too tight is an uncomfortable problem. If it feels like the fabric is stretching a bit too much at the inner seam or you feel like you're getting just a little too much definition then they’re probably too small. Going up a size will be way more comfortable and will most likely save you the embarrassment of an inner-thigh-rip down the road (yeah, I’ve been there). It may be an indication you’re a curvy fit. Try ordering the same size in a curvy and see how it goes. They’re specifically designed for an hourglass figure.

7. Too baggy anywhere

You expect women’s jeans to fit a little loose after a few days of wear but if yours are baggy right out of the dryer then it’s time to reevaluate. If you prefer a loose-fitting jean then try a classic straight leg style or boyfriend jean that offers a bit more room in the legs than other styles. The last thing you want is your jeans to be baggy in the knees, butt or crotch. If they are, then you’re in the wrong size. And if you can slip them off without unbuttoning then you should throw yourself a party – a party where you shop for a new pair of jeans in a smaller size because that’s really not something you want out of a pair of pants.

Shopping for jeans doesn’t have to be something to dread. Keep these tips in mind the next time you go shopping and stop settling for “good enough” when it comes to looking your best.


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