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How to Select the Right Size Jeans

I enjoy writing articles that help women feel more comfortable in their own skin and clothing.

How Can I Find Jeans That Fit?

It's a vexing question many denim lovers have probably asked themselves at some point. Some people don't mind spending a good amount of their time shopping around or slipping in and out of the fitting room until they find a perfect pair of jeans. But unfortunately, not everyone has time for that. Many people now prefer buying jeans online, whether it's due to convenience or irresistible discount offers.

One obvious downside of online jean shopping, however, is that you don't get to try them on. True, most people know what their size is, but jean sizing tends to run differently among designers. Those who normally wear a size 8 Ann Taylor may sometimes have to opt for a size 6 when buying from Banana Republic. Even within the same brand, the sizing among various styles may differ slightly. Don't let this inconsistency perplex you, though. Here is how to correctly determine your jean size, regardless of what brand or style you're buying.

Measure Your Body for Jean Fitting

Some of you may think your waist size is all you need to know. Well, it's not that simple. There are a few other measurements you'll also need to make. Now get your measuring tape ready!

  • Waist: Around the narrowest part of your torso, slightly above the belly button
  • Hips: Around the widest part of your lower hips
  • Rise: From the waist to the crotch
  • Inseam: From the crotch to the bottom of your foot

Finding a Perfect Pair of Jeans

When purchasing jeans online, don't just choose them by their numerical size and assume they will fit perfectly like other pants you already have in your closet. First, look at the rise measurement or the length between the crotch and the waistband. The shorter the length, the lower the jeans will sit on your waist.

Jean Rise Guide

RiseLengthWaistband Position

High Rise

more than 12"

Above the natural waist

Classic Rise

11" to 12"

At the natural waist

Mid Rise

9" to 10"

Slightly below the natural waist

Low Rise

7" to 8"

2" to 3" below the navel

Ultra Low Rise

less than 7"

4" to 5" below the navel

Once you know where exactly the jeans will sit on your waist, measure your waist at that position and compare it to the waistband size of the jeans. Then finally, consider the hip and inseam measurements of the jeans you want to buy.

Best Jean Styles for Different Body Types

Body TypeDescriptionFlattering Jean Styles

V Shape

Small hips and thighs with a wide mid-section

Mid-rise, tummy-control slim leg, tapered boyfriend style

Pear & Hourglass

Tyra Bank's waist, Oprah's hips

Curvy, bootcut, trouser, stretchy slim jeans


A lot of love handles in both the waist and hips

Trouser, relaxed fit, wide-leg


Slim and virtually curveless

Skinny, low-rise, flare leg, bootcut

Tapered Boyfriend Jeans

Tapered Boyfriend Jeans

Best Jeans for V-Shaped Bodies

Go with a mid-rise or classic waist if you want to rock your jeans! Low-rise jeans can cause the "muffin top" effect, whereas the high-rise style may draw a bit too much attention to your large midriff. Finding jeans that fit right at the waist but not too unshapely on the hip and thigh area can also be challenging for this body type.

To emphasize your slim hips and thighs while concealing the love handles, opt for tummy-control jeans with straight or slim legs. Plus, accessorize your wardrobe with a couple of pairs of tapered boyfriend jeans. These relaxed-fit jeans are nice-and-easy on the waist and hips but not too baggy in appearance overall. Any jeans that give you the leggy look and shift the focus away from the tummy are your best friends.

Best Jeans for Pear and Hourglass Figures

Curviness is a lovely aspect of femininity. A lot of women with other body shapes are secretly jealous of you. However, that doesn't mean your life is that much easier than theirs when it comes to finding perfect jeans. Curviness does come with a curse. Some jeans that have the correct waist measurement may turn out to be too small for your hips, while those that fit the hips quite nicely tend to have a huge gap at the waist, ride way down when you're seated and reveal a little more than you want to show.

Fortunately, though, many designers have been creating special lines of jeans with the pear and hourglass figures in mind. Curvy jeans is what they're called. In addition to having a larger waist-hip ratio than those of regular jeans, they also better contour to your natural curves! Also, try to avoid low-rise jeans with all your might; large-hipped women do need extra coverage down there.

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Tapered slim jeans may be a flattering option for hourglass-shaped gals with slender legs. For the pear body type with thunder thighs, however, it's better to stick to styles that create the long, steamlined look, such as bootcut and trouser jeans.

Best Jeans for Round Figures

Some say overweight women shouldn't wear jeans at all. That is downright untrue. There are certain styles of jeans that can look amazing on round figures. Classic-rise trousers and relaxed-fit jeans with straight legs are some favorable choices. They make your legs appear slimmer while not accentuating your waist and hips too much.

Wide-leg jeans, although continuously going in and out of trends, should also be wardrobe essentials for full-figured women. Fitted at the hips, they won't add undesirable bulk to your behind like baggy jeans do. The billowing leg openings also provide perfect coverage to some thigh flab you might want to hide. Avoid low-rise and super tapered jeans; they will only draw bad attention!

Best Jeans for the Stick Body Type

Stick-thin women can rock pretty much any style of jeans. It's the reason why most jean models have this body type! There are a few styles, though, that tend to be more flattering on your not-so-curvy shape than the others. Low-rise skinny jeans, of course, are many slender women's number one choice. They add visual curves to your behind and hips while accentuating your slim legs.

If you want to give some dimension to your straight silhouette, go with bootcut or flare-leg jeans. For those of you who are ultra thin, don't wear loose-fit or baggy boyfriend jeans. They don't make you look fuller at all but emphasize your thinness in an unflattering way. Some people might want to offer you a cheeseburger or direct you to the nearest soup kitchen if they saw you in those oversized jeans!

More Fashion Tips for Women


Om Paramapoonya (author) on March 11, 2013:

@Jonny Carroll - Well put, Jonny! Thanks for dropping by :)

jonnydonut from Arlington, Texas on March 09, 2013:

Seriously, more people should read this. Just because it's denim and looks good on someone else, doesn't mean it will look good on you.

Om Paramapoonya (author) on March 07, 2013:

Thanks so much for your positive and kind feedback, everyone! So glad to hear from y'all! :)

viveresperando from A Place Where Nothing Is Real on March 07, 2013:

Enjoyed reading this! I am very picky about what jeans I buy. :) Found this quite helpful!

Mazlan A from Malaysia on March 07, 2013:

Om, congrats on another HOTD, you have earned quite a few already. You certainly know the secret to writing articles that will earn the HOTD award. This article is very informative & a good guide to a difficult issue for most people. Voted up for this awesome hub.

deergha from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!! on March 06, 2013:

Very detailed information here. Congratulation for the HOTD and its most deserving. Thank you for sharing this one. Voted up and shared.

KenWu from Malaysia on March 06, 2013:

Very detailed and well-written hub. This is surely very helpful for denim lover especially the ladies.

Subhas from New Delhi, India on March 06, 2013:

Millions of people are left undecided when buying a pair of jeans; this piece of info would really help them ease out.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on March 06, 2013:

Very informative hub. I think we must read this hub before buy the jeans, especially for women. I love your tips and the pictures as well. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up!


Bake Like a Pro on March 06, 2013:

Congrats for earning HOTD, yay :).

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on March 06, 2013:

This is a great article. Congrats on HOTD, I can see why you won it!

I like the input on what the different styles are like, and what types of jeans are best for the different body types.

I always have to try on jeans, because the different styles, and even different brands, can be drastically different. But it is amazing how the "right" kind of jeans can be especially flattering! Thank you for sharing this with us.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on March 06, 2013:

Congratulations on a well-deserved Hub of the Day! What a detailed and useful hub. I'll definitely use these guidelines next time I shop for jeans. Thanks!

Nancy Owens from USA on March 06, 2013:

Hi Om!

Congratulations on Hub of the Day! I really enjoyed this hub. It is jam-packed full of useful information, and I liked that you included so much detail about the various rises, which always seems to confuse me when shopping. Now I have the information I need to make good choices.

Thank You!


Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on March 06, 2013:

Fantastic hub - I LOVE the way you approached this topic and so many women will thank you. Voted up and shared!~

Mark Johann from New Zealand on March 06, 2013:

Good hub and I agree that some sizes differ depending on the brands. I got four jeans of same size but one jeans does not fit like the others.

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on March 06, 2013:

Congrats for earning HOTD for this well written and useful hub.

I love the tables and the fact that you included info for all figure types.

Jon from UK on March 06, 2013:

Hey Om !!

love this hub I could not help thinking of something I wrote on the subject ages ago and think you might find it funny !!

Check this out



Great hub btw

Kalpana Iyer from India on March 06, 2013:

I am still on the lookout for those perfect pair of jeans! This page has helped me a lot and will keep some of the points in mind next time I am out searching for one.

Christopher Peruzzi from Freehold, NJ on March 06, 2013:

Good advice... especially for husbands looking to find a good gift in jeans. Thanks.

Comfort Babatola from Bonaire, GA, USA on March 06, 2013:

Well written hub on a very real subject. I've seen jeans on people with curves and overflow in all the wrong places. This should help.

Voted up and useful, and congrats on the HOTD award!

Carolyn Dahl from Ottawa, Ontario on March 06, 2013:

Great Hub! I don't think people realize that you have to put a little thought into what style of jean looks best on you and to take measurements too. I don't wear jeans much anymore, but now that I'm starting to lose the baby weight I might just reconsider.

Leah Lefler from Western New York on March 06, 2013:

A long, long time ago, I had a stick body. I wish I had it back! I have had to find a better fit now that I have had two kids and discovered the joy of pastries, haha. I really dislike the low-rise jeans, as they don't work well for someone with wide hips and a smaller waist (I find they tend to slide down), but it is hard to find jeans that sit at the natural waist anymore. Congrats on the HOTD, Om!

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on March 06, 2013:

Congrats on HOTD! I like high rise to classic and they have to be a relaxed fit. Hard to find these sometimes.

Great reference hub!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on March 06, 2013:

I figured this would get a HOTD when I first read it. Well deserved. Congratulations!

Mary Kelly Godley from Ireland on March 06, 2013:

Great advice. As a very short curvier lady finding jeans can be hard work and I do have some on-line disasters that make me want to stay away from the fridge forever. Like your advice and I will read more, how to dress your age might be my next read. Thanks.

skperdon from Canada on March 06, 2013:

Thank you, this is very helpful. I am one of those people who spends a lot of time in and out of fitting rooms trying to get the best fitting jeans.

Kristin Trapp from Illinois on March 06, 2013:

What an incredibly useful guide. I can't wait to try out your sizing tips next time I go jean shopping.

Om Paramapoonya (author) on February 14, 2013:

@rebeccamealey - Thanks for dropping by, Rebecca. Hope this hub makes your jean shopping experience less troublesome! Talbots, Levi's and NYDJ are some good jean brands for large petite women :)

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on February 09, 2013:

This is a great guide for buying jeans...always a problem for me. I wear "large petite" sizes.

Om Paramapoonya (author) on February 07, 2013:

@lindacee - Good to hear from you, Linda! Mid rise jeans are also my favorite. High rise and classic waist, to me, look kind of mumsy. Low rise jeans are okay but they make me somewhat self-conscious when I sit down, especially when my top is not long enough to cover the upper hips.

Linda Chechar from Arizona on February 04, 2013:

OMG, finding jeans that fit these days is a major hassle for me! I typically go for a bootcut and mid rise, but sometimes that's a difficult combination to find in a budget jean. Right now, I have a couple pair that are low rise and I find I'm constantly trying to pull them up--guess I don't have the hips and derriere to wear them. Sigh. Anyway, I loved this Hub and will def refer to it the next time I'm on the hunt for jeans!

Om Paramapoonya (author) on January 30, 2013:

@akirchner - Yeah, glad you didn't rip your pants or get severely injured. But seriously, try not to fall off the sled ever again!

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on January 28, 2013:

Cool--thanks for the tip~ I'd hate to split my pants when I fall off the sled next time--I did fall off once so far...thank goodness I had on stretchy sweats! Didn't do much for my ego though but at least the next time I weathered the storm in my sweats...up on the sidewalk the 2 brats took me screaming WHOA and many other colorful words~ At least I didn't rip my pants but jeans would be nicer when I have to go to the ER~ ha ha HOPING NOT!

Om Paramapoonya (author) on January 28, 2013:

@Bake Like a Pro - Glad you enjoyed this hub. Keep these tips in mind next time you shop for jeans!

@akirchner - So you'll be your grandson's personal stylist? Hehehe that should be a lot of fun. I always think the most fun part of being with kids is dressing them up! BTW, have you ever heard of NYDJ (Not Your Daughter's Jeans)? I think those might be great slim jeans for mushing.

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on January 26, 2013:

Interesting info, Om--I know over the years it's become more and more difficult to buy jeans as there are just too many types--without trying them on in my case. Every cut is different but so are the waists these days and they do seem to go a lot for low riders.

Great picture at the top--I'm wondering though why guys don't seem to have this many choices and consequently trouble finding a pair of dang jeans~

Even trying to buy jeans though for my little grandson to be, it's insane how many different "looks" there are--I'm doing a hub at the moment on our local mens store (I think no kidding it's been there for 30 years) and since this is ranch country....OMG TABLES of jeans. But where are the old lady stretchy jeans for mushing?

Bake Like a Pro on January 25, 2013:

Om what a detailed and informative article wow! I enjoyed reading it. I always have trouble finding the perfect jeans and try about 20 pairs until maybe I get lucky. I learned a lot from your article. Hopefully this time around I can find the perfect fit jeans. Voted up and sharing :)

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