Women's jeans

The 411 on Skinny Jeans

In all honesty (and why would I lie?) I haven't always been a fan of the skinny jean. It's not the style I had a problem with though – or how cute they look with a pair of heels – but rather the name of the cut. Specifically the 'skinny' of the skinny jean.

I used to think that this was the jean manufacturers telling me who these women's jeans were made for. Skinny women with perfect waistlines who could – and probably did – step right out of magazine spreads with (for added torture) perfect windblown hair. Women who never knew the agony of sitting for hours in a pair of jeans you hoped would stretch once you bought them but in reality just gave you a stomach ache from being too tight. I was sure choosing to wear 'skinny jeans' would be my equivalent of wearing a corset in the middle of July: uncomfortable, restricting and probably impeding my ability to breathe.

Then I tried a pair.

Not only are skinny jeans comfortable but, when you find the right size, they actually help you look thinner, sleeker and straight up fabulous as well. Don't miss out on all there is to love about skinny jeans because of some preconceived notion. Check out my truths to a few FAQs about skinny jeans and decide for yourself if they're meant for you.

What makes a jean skinny?

To put it simply, skinny jeans have a tight fit throughout starting at the waist, through the leg down to the tapered ankle opening just wide enough for your foot to fit (about 10"-14" wide). They should hit at or above the ankle and should never be baggy anywhere but should instead offer sleek, smooth lines and a slimming silhouette.

What body types can wear skinny jeans?

Every body. Seriously. The trick to anyone wearing skinny jeans is that you want to dress proportionately. Since skinnys hug your body from the waist through the ankle your best bet is to wear something slightly looser on top to balance out your overall look. And, not all skinny jeans are created equal. Some offer a bit wider opening in the leg through the ankle, which can be great for girls with a bit of curve. Super skinny jeans have a less wide ankle opening, which seem to appeal to taller women with more narrow hips. Plus a mid-rise or high-rise skinny jean is great for anyone looking for a smoother look to her mid-section. Not to mention eliminating that whole embarrassing 'back gap' issue you sometimes get from low-rise jeans. Whatever your size, shape or style I'm confident there's a skinny jean out there made to accentuate all of your best assets.

How can I tell if my skinny jeans don't fit right?

Finding your perfect fitting jeans in any style can be a challenge but knowing your proper measurements before you shop can be extremely helpful. Skinny jeans should be snug around your waist but never tight. If you can't sit comfortably in them, have trouble zipping them up or get red marks around your waist then you should go up a size. And if your skinny jeans are baggy around your knees or bunching around your ankles then you'll want to consider a shorter inseam length.

Do skinny jeans get looser?

Like most jeans, after a few wears even skinny jeans have a tendency to feel a little loose, not fitting quite as well as they did the first day you wore them. You can prolong the life of your skinny jeans, however, by looking for a pair made with stretch denim fabric designed specifically to hold its shape even after a long day of wear. Trust me, enhanced stretch is a feature you're going to want to know about. And wear over and over. And over again.

How can I stretch out my skinny jean pant legs?

The reality with jeans is that they can sometimes be a bit too tight. And if you have thicker calves or thighs just getting them on over your legs can be a challenge in itself. When it comes to getting a bit more stretch in your skinny jean pant leg you could scour the internet for DIY hacks – like spraying your jeans with lukewarm water and tugging wide on the pant legs to loosen the fibers – or you could buy a skinny jean made to stretch. Skinny jeans should offer a just-right fit all over including those calves and knees. If yours don't, then it might be time to switch brands. Because getting a comfortable fit throughout far exceeds any internet hack you find. Not to mention taking that extra work out of laundry day. Win!

Are jeggings and skinny jeans the same?

Not exactly. Jeggings are considered more leggings than denim but are made to look like jeans whereas skinny jeans are mostly denim with a bit of stretch. If you're looking for a pair of jeggings that can pass more as jeans than leggings, look for a pair with a bit of weight to them, made from heavier material. A major pro for jeggings is the smoothing look they offer thanks to eliminating that bulky front zipper. But my advice is to look for a pair of women's jeggings with pockets. Yes, they do exist. And trust me, you want them.

Are skinny jeans casual jeans?

Yes and no. The beauty of great fitting skinny jeans is that they're versatile. Dress them up with a pair of heels and a flowy blouse or stylish sweater. Or wear them casually with sneakers and your favorite comfy tee and flannel. It's really all in the way you wear them. Then there's the color you choose. In my opinion darker washed jeans seem to play dressier than lighter washes. So it's probably a good idea you own at least one of each. Wouldn't you agree?

Now that you have the facts, don't you think it's about time you owned your own pair of skinny jeans?

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