Sometimes, it can feel like you need a special denim dictionary to shop for jeans. There are so many varieties and cuts that figuring out what's what can be a real challenge, so brush up on your fashion terminology. When you know the difference between the styles you see on the rack, picking out the perfect pair will be a snap
The width of the hem in straight leg jeans is the same from the hip to the ankle, so they don't taper or flare. And though they can have a slim fit, they have more room in the knees and hips than skinny jeans and they're more relaxed in the waist, too. This cut still flatters many body types and is great for women with a full derriere and hips, as it can downplay your curves just enough.
Typically, regular fit jeans have a somewhat loose and relaxed fit without being baggy. This style is often associated with men's jeans, but it can be good if you're looking for something comfortable and low-key. Since regular fit jeans are easy to move around in, they're also a dependable choice for work wear. But keep in mind that they might not compliment your figure the way another style can.
Petite jeans are made for smaller gals, usually those who are under 5'4”. Since they're made with a smaller frame in mind, the inseams are shorter and you probably won't have to have them hemmed. This is great for styles that often don't look quite right if they're significantly altered, like skinnies and flares. Often, the rise on petite jeans is adjusted too, and some details (like the pockets) may be altered as well.
Designed with larger women in mind, plus size jeans come in almost every style imaginable. Often, they'll have lots of stretch to accommodate a curvaceous figure and they might have other special features too, including a no-gap waist and a tummy control panel. Some are even made with sculpting fabric that smooths and lifts, bringing out the best in your shape.
Slim through the hip and thigh, bootcut jeans have a subtle flare that begins just below the knee. This means they fall perfectly over boots (so it's not just a clever name), but they're also nice with sandals and heels – tuck in your shirt to make your outfit look extra smart. They're also gorgeous on pear shapes and hourglass figures since they balance out the appearance of a voluptuous body.
Universally flattering, mid-rise jeans sit at (or near) your natural waist. If you've ever struggled with muffin top – that bit of skin that can squeeze out over the waistband of low-rise pants – these will take care of the problem. They're lovely on curvy figures and even hide a tummy. In the winter, you'll find them much warmer than a pair that barely rises above your hips.
High-rise women's jeans reach up to your navel – at least. They have loads of vintage charm and act as shapewear, hiding a soft midsection behind a layer of denim. If you wear a dark wash pair with a cropped or tucked-in shirt, they can also make you seem significantly taller, as they'll create the appearance of a long line going from your ankle to your waist.
Also known as "jeggings," legging jeans are super thin and stretchy and might not even be made from denim, though they look like they are. They're incredibly comfy and often have an elasticated waist that's free from zippers and buttons. If you've got a long flight ahead, consider wearing them – you'll look nice, but feel like you're relaxing in jammies.
The trend that lasts and lasts, skinny jeans have an ultra-slim fit and a tapered cut, so they hug your body from top to bottom. And contrary to popular belief, you don't have to be teeny-tiny to carry them off. A stretchy pair with a high waist is nice on almost any body type; just add a loose, long shirt if you want a little extra coverage. Dark washes usually make you seem slimmer, so when in doubt, get a pair in black or deep blue.