Guide to Picking Mid-Rise Straight-Leg Jeans

Your ultimate guide to picking mid-rise straight jeans

Searching for the perfect pair of women's jeans doesn't have to turn into a lengthy mission that leaves you frustrated and empty-handed. It all boils down to precisely what you're seeking for style.

If you favor a straight silhouette, then you likely have a preference for classic styles and the simplicity that makes jeans so reliable. They're fitted in the hips and thighs, but never tight or constrained, and the leg falls straight from there to your ankle. Think of it as the LBD of the denim world.

If you love the idea of such practicality, then a mid-rise is a natural progression because it's just as timeless and equally flattering. The rise refers to the distance between the seam between the legs and the waist. The shorter that proximity, the lower your rise. For many, the mid-rise jean is a genius solution because it minimizes issues that are common with low-rises, like sizable back gaps and skin-baring tendencies. It's also a nice alternative to the retro high-rise style, which is flattering but may be just too high for some.

As you search for the ideal pair of mid-rise, straight-leg jeans, bear in mind that they're truly the ultimate option for any body type. They're so versatile that you can wear them with everything from T-shirts to blazers, and they're structured enough that they don't look sloppy. Best of all, they strike a fine balance between low- and high-rise styles. Find your perfect fit with these suggestions:

1. Make sure jeans sit right

A general rule of thumb is to pay attention to where the jeans rise in relation to your navel. Mid-rise denim sits just below the belly button and comes to rest at a naturally comfortable spot on your hips. They shouldn't press too tightly on your midsection or constrict your natural range of motion in any way. If anything, they should sit in a way that provides some support to your belly. There's a reason people with so-called "muffin tops" love their mid-rise jeans–they're great for holding, concealing, and flattering. When they sit properly on your figure, you can reap all of these advantages fully.

2. Perform the Standard Fit Test

You won't feel good in your jeans if you fantasize about yanking them off as soon as you sit down–nope, that won't do at all. Perform a thorough fit test to make sure you get the greatest value for your money. Pay attention to how it feels when you pull up the zipper. If it's a struggle, back to the rack that pair goes. The right jeans won't be a chore to pull on and stay on, nor will they feel like you're waging war every time you try to slip into them. Then move around a little–or a lot. Don't be afraid to really put those jeans to the test; after all, you aren't going to be timid when you go about your everyday activities in the real world. Mimic those movements by walking up and down the stairs and around the house. Bend at the waist and crouch at the knees. Do the jeans feel like they're holding your bottom in a vise? Is the seam at the crotch so tight that you feel uncomfortable? Are the pockets where they are supposed to be? All of these are serious indications that there's a better pair of mid-rise jeans for you out there!

Think about how you plan to wear your jeans, too. If you're going to wear a pair with a tunic top, you might be less concerned about how it sits on your waist. But if you're tucking a top into them, watch for the possibility of back gaps and other fashion faux pas.

3. Get Familiar With Body Types

Just like the perfect blazer or little black dress, the right pair of mid-rise straight-leg jeans flatter your body best when you understand why it's right for your figure. If you have a small torso, for example, then a low-rise jean is your BFF, but you can just as easily slip into a high-rise pair if you prefer the comfort of more coverage. The beauty of a straight leg is that it has the ability to elongate the leg and create a more proportionate look. That's why it's a great choice for a so-called "inverted triangle," or a body type that is broader on top and narrower on the bottom.

There is some volume involved in a straight cut. It's not quite like a pair of flared jeans, of course, but it's not as sleek as a pair of skinny jeans, either. For that reason, they direct attention to your lower half and create a more balanced look on people with top-heavy figures. You can also rock a pair of mid-rise jeans with a straight leg like a superstar if you're more triangular in shape, or carry the majority of your weight in the lower half. The fabric helps smooth out your midsection without adding any unnecessary bulk–all the better if it's ever so slightly fitted, but not tight. This will lend a little more shape to your lower half and create a sleek definition.

4. Style Your Jeans With Authority

Once you've found the right pair of jeans, it's time to style them! Don't forget that the entire outfit comes together to create a streamlined look. If you only find great jeans but don't focus on the rest of the ensemble, you won't feel quite as put together as you would otherwise. In general, the mid-rise straight-leg jean is a classic that looks great with nearly anything in your closet: a turtleneck on a cool day, or a smart blazer and a tucked-in T-shirt when you want to lend your jeans a more authoritative look. If you're petite or want to add some inches to your frame, step into a pair of low-profile heels or booties.

For the ultimate in style and comfort, start with a mid-rise straight-leg pair of jeans and you'll be good to go this season.


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