WOMEN'S JEANS

Straight cut: the universally flattering pair of jeans.

Once upon a time, jeans were just jeans. They didn't really vary that much from one pair to the next and they were something luxury brands hardly even considered. All of that's changed though, and shopping for jeans can be confusing – what style is best? What about color? Which waistline works for me? Instead of stumbling down a rabbit hole, stick to straight leg jeans. Universally flattering, they're great on every figure.

Why they work

Straight leg jeans create the appearance of a long, lean line. This means they can make you look tall and slender, making them a smart choice for almost any body type. To maximize this effect, skip light colors and go for a dark wash denim instead. Add a black top and everyone will be wondering if you grew a couple of inches overnight.

What about tall, plus-size and petite figures?

Plus-size women will find they can also enjoy the elongating and slimming effect of straight leg pants, as the cut can balance out the look of a voluptuous body in a way leggings can't match. Curvy petite gals also look good in straight leg denim, just like those blessed with long legs and slim hips.

What about shoes?

Another great thing about straight leg jeans: they go with almost any kind of footwear. Wear them with your favorite heels or cuff them and put on some chunky boots instead. Speaking of cuffs, you can roll up your jeans and wear them with sandals in the summer or even a pair of canvas sneakers. Cropped straight leg jeans are nice with ballet flats and heels alike – the short cut places the emphasis on your shoes and they're a wonderful way to show off your favorite pair.

What kind of rise is best?

Shorter women should choose jeans with a mid or high-rise waist (which provides a little tummy control) since a low-rise pair can actually make your legs look shorter. If you want to make yourself appear taller, wear your shirt tucked in, as the sight of pants reaching from your ankles to your navel helps creates the illusion of height. Are you taller with a boyish build? Then go ahead and try low-rise jeans, which can make your hips and rear seem fuller.

Which top should I wear with them?

Straight leg jeans look nice with many kinds of shirts. However, since they have a more voluminous fit than skinny jeans, a slim-fitting shirt will look especially smart, whether it's a turtleneck or a tank top. Of course, a freshly-ironed blouse and a leather belt are always in vogue and a tailored blazer or cashmere sweater are perfect for the office. When the weekend arrives, reach for a v-neck tee, crewneck shirt or a bateau top.

How can I look trendy in them?

When it comes to rocking the latest trends in your jeans, focus at the hems. Instead of a typical pair, try some with asymmetrical, raw edge or dip-dyed hems, which really catch the eye. You can also experiment with your accessories. A new bag, necklace or scarf can be a great way to make your look seem of-the-moment, and it doesn't have to set you back much, either.

How long should they be?

Jeans must be the right length to look good. If you're 5'3” and under, the inseam should be about 27 inches long unless you're wearing heels. An inseam from 28 to 32 inches is ideal for those between 5'4” and 5'7”. Tall women who are 5'8” and above should look for an inseam that's 32 or 34 inches. Of course, cropped styles will be shorter and some might even fit like a full-length pair if you're on the small side.

How do I care for my jeans?

Once you've found the perfect pair of straight leg stretch jeans, you'll want them to last forever. That might not be possible, but if you avoid washing them too often and only use the cold cycle, they'll look good for longer. Also, don't use bleach when washing denim, which can fade its color and damage the fabric. You can even stick your jeans in the freezer to kill odor-causing bacteria and freshen them up.

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