Best Jeans for Mature Women
Which Jeans Suit Older Women
Ladies, do you ever wonder if you're too old to wear jeans? I must admit the thought has crossed my mind as well, but then I think, 'Heck no, I love wearing jeans!'.
The doubt often starts when we see a photo or video of ourselves then a reality check sets in. We tend not to see a problem area on our bodies as the changes to our shape creeps up on us over the years. So what can we do about it if we refuse to give up wearing jeans? It isn't that we're too old to wear them, we just need to adjust the style to suit our changing body shape, because the design which once suited us may not be the right cut for us now.
Never before have there been so many styles, makes, and adornments to jeans. In fact, if the original makers of jeans, Levi Strauss and his partner Jacob Davis, could see what has become of their initial idea, I think they would shake their heads in disbelief. The robust and reinforced pair of work pants for the Californian gold miners have now become a fashion statement often sold with holes and tears in them and cost more than a miner would have earned in a month panning for gold!
How to Get the Perfect Fitting Jeans
Unlike men, who buy jeans solely by the waist and leg measurement, women need more information. This might work if we were all the same proportions but think about the women you know, how many are shaped the same? Not that many I suspect. You may wear the same size as your friend but everyone has lumps and bumps in different areas. Throw in personal taste and you can see that we need more options to find our ideal pair of jeans. For some women choosing jeans is a minefield with all the new terminology, jargon, and some might say utter nonsense. I will aim to clarify this, as I have contacted my nephew who works at a large fashion house in San Francisco for the latest insider scoop.
To get the correct fit we need to look at the waist rise, the upper leg and the lower leg. Using this combination you will be able to select the perfect pair of jeans whether you're 30 or 90 years old or anywhere in between.
Things have changed a lot since you first starting wearing jeans when there was one waist height or rise as it is called. Now it is possible to walk into a store and find jeans where the waist rise can be anywhere from the navel to ones which barely cover the pubic hairline.
Short Waist, Long Waist or Normal?
It isn't only the shape of our hips, condition of our abs or length of our legs we need to concern ourselves with. Knowing if you have a short or long waist will also be a factor to consider when choosing a pair of jeans. Here is how to determine which category you fall into.
- Measure the distance from your armpit (A) to your natural waist (W).
- Then measure from your waist (W) to your bottom of your buttocks (B).
If the distance from armpit to waist is less than the distance from your waist to buttocks, then you have a short waist. Sometimes this is called a high waist.
If the measurement is longer then you have a long waist or sometimes it is referred to as a low waist.
Here's the equation:
- A= armpit
- A/W>W/B= Low waist or long waist
- W/B>A/W= High Waist or short waist
- W/B=A/W= Balanced or normal waist
Now that you know this, you are in a better position to select a pair of jeans which will suit you.
For women with a short waist, stay away from high rise jeans. The visual effect is that your jeans begin in your armpits which is not the look we're after. The fact that our breasts are also lower makes for a bad combination. On a positive note, having a short waist generally means your legs are longer or at least appear longer. Opt for jeans which are a normal or lower rise as this will lengthen the look of the torso.
For those who have a low waist selecting a pair of jeans with a higher rise will give the illusion that your legs are longer.
For those whose measurements were equal, you can wear either high or low rise jeans depending on your preference and the overall look you want to achieve.
Although one can choose a pair of jeans with a low rise, caution should be exercised, because unless you are the queen of crunchies or planks at the gym, these should be left for the younger ladies, in my opinion. If you have a mummy tummy, or love indulging in bakery goodies leave these for the 0 size models. Unless you have a flat stomach low-rise jeans allow the skin on the abdomen to flop unceremoniously over the top of the jeans resulting in what is often called a muffin top.
What are Muffin Tops
These are one of my favorites as they combine the waist rise, thigh fit and boot cut I like. I like the traditional Levi style of these as I don't like a lot of decoration on the pockets or fussiness. I also don't like jeans which make me look like a cowgirl so I tend to stay away from ones which say, 'western styling'.
The stretchiness of these, I love as it makes them more comfortable to wear all day. I have always loved Levi's style and they just keep improving.
Jean Fits Demystified
The jargon surrounding the fit of jeans is confusing. Let's clarify the meaning of some of the terminology. Remember though, all manufacturers do not classify their jeans the same.
- Jeggings: A relatively new term which is a combination of jeans and leggings. Jeggings are basically leggings made to look like denim jeans. If you are a fan of leggings then maybe these are the ones for you. Unless you have a firm tush and flat abs, opt for a hip length top such as a free-flowing blouse or longer style t-shirt.
- Skinny: These are tight from the waist, across the thigh and taper down to the ankle. Skinny jeans look best on people who are slim and have a balanced or normal waist line. With a bottom which isn't too large or too flat. If you carry weight around your abdomen, then wearing skinny jeans will only emphasize this into what is commonly called a muffin top. Skinny jeans will not make you look skinny!
- Slim: Fits close to the body although not as snug as skinny jeans, they are a narrow fit. These are usually slim at the waist and through the thigh but not necessarily tapered.
- Relaxed /Straight: These are comfortable at the hip and fall straight. This style is the most popular among mature women, as these suit most figure types.
- Boot cut: These can be a high, normal or low rise which has a slim fit through the thigh and flares out at the bottom to accommodate boots. For me, this style is my personal favorite.
- Boyfriend jeans: You may have been married for 20+ years but you can still wear boyfriend jeans. So just what are they and will boyfriend jeans suit the mature woman? The answer is definitely because boyfriend jeans are a little baggy or loose fitting, somewhat worn in and just plain comfy. The idea of some marketing guru, these relaxed fitting jeans are supposed to be ones which we have borrowed from our boyfriend. They are assuming our boyfriend is roughly about the same size as us and the same height. Convenient isn't it? Usually, they are also straight leg and a normal rise.
- Tapered: These are full at the hip and narrow towards the ankle. These can be flattering for many women in either jeans or regular pants.
Top Tips for Jeans
More Useful Words Associated With Jeans
Besides the fit of jeans, there are other useful words to be aware of when buying a pair of jeans. Some of these will be describing the treatment before you buy them.
- Whiskers: These are the faded lines which run from the crotch towards the outer leg. Often there will be several on either side. They're called this because they look similar to a cat's whiskers.
- Distressed: This will be jeans which are ripped or have the appearance of being well worn. Again, in my opinion, these are best left for the younger generation. In fact, I could never bring myself to pay for anything which would have been fit for only rags when I was growing up.
- Stone washing: This process is done with pumice stones. These are the same type of stones you use to remove rough skin from your feet. The manufacturers wash the jeans with these to give them a worn-in and roughed up look.
- Worn-in: This effect can be seen on the thighs, the back of the knees and on the seat of the jeans. This is a slight lightening which is produced by artificial means.
- Rail tracks: These are the faded lines which run down the outer double stitched seam of the leg. It resembles a train track, hence the name.
- Vintage: This is a term which is used a couple of different ways. These can be jeans which are genuinely old or in a 'Vintage' style. Manufacturers are quick to jump on the latest phrases if it helps sell their jeans. However, the term vintage means 25+ years old.
Various Jeans Brands
I have looked through various jeans manufacturers to see how they class their jeans. I looked at traditional brands Levis, Lee, and Wrangler. Plus Pepe, Hilfiger and Diesel to compare what you can get. The upshot of this is most of these brands carry the various waist rises and different fittings through the legs although there is a gray area between what some call skinny, slim and straight. As always sizing is all over the place so it is best to try it on or, if buying online, read the reviews to see if it is true to size. If you are buying from Amazon and the size isn't right, they are easy to return.
Hip and thigh
skinny or slim
high, normal, low
slim, straight , skinny
Which jeans styles do you prefer?
Jean:The most versatile item in a woman's wardrobe
A Love of Jeans
I have loved jeans for as long as I can remember so when the chance came to visit the Levi factory in San Francisco, on a school field trip, I jumped at the chance. I was taking sewing classes in school and together with a handful of other students we boarded the bus to San Francisco.
I assumed it was going to be an ultra-modern building full of people whizzing away on machines. As I recall it was more personal than that, as we had a guided tour with a representative from the factory. With a pile of denim about 18" on the table in front of us, we watched as the machine cut through the fabric. We walked past industrial machines, rivets, and large spools of thread until we saw the final product. To me, I had the feeling that things hadn't changed much since they first started. It was in an older building which had housed it for quite some time. It didn't have the feel of a designer's studio, it had the feel of tradition.
Footwear for Jeans
If you wonder which footwear goes with jeans, the answer is virtually any type depending on the style of jeans.
Boots, such as ankle boots, desert boots or cowboy boots are perfect with a boot cut style of jeans, obviously. But a pair of boots also can look good with slim fit or skinny jeans team as well with rolled up jeans as in the image above.
Wear skinny or slim jeans inside boots such as Ugg's or knee high boots This avoids the excess fabric escaping. See the first video on this page for instructions on how to fold over the pants leg for straight jeans.
Ballet flats and plimsoll style shoes also look fanastic with straight or slim jeans.
Slim and skinny jeans team well with heels such as stilettos or wedges, if you have the body and the legs to pull it off.
There is an old saying “Mutton dressed as lamb” which means an old sheep adorned to look younger than it is. Just because we can fit into these clothes, doesn't mean we should.
Some of us who are mature have better bodies than many of the younger generation but that doesn't mean we have to flaunt it. Confidence in our appearance comes from within and it doesn't need to be cinched in, strapped up and made to look like we are half our age. Maturing means feeling comfortable in ourselves and in our clothing choices.
I will say that many of the salespeople in stores which specialize in selling jeans, know their stuff. Of course they want to make a sale but they realize that if you are happy with your choice, you'll be back.
I remember going into a GAP store in the UK. The young man, enthusiastically came over to help me. He looked me up and down and recommend a couple different styles and sent me to the dressing room. When I emerged from the dressing room, he cast a knowing eye across the lines of the jeans, requesting me to turn around so he could examine all the lines. He put his hand to his chin and paused. He was mentally going through the stock of jeans. “just a second” he said and sped away.
He passed me a pair of jeans as though it was his first born child and said, “try these.”
They were perfect. He knew the style I wanted but more importantly, ones which would suit my body shape and age.
I hope that this article has given you the confidence to continue wearing jeans and a little bit of knowledge with the latest buzz words related to them.
Questions & Answers
I am an older woman with an apple-shaped body and a flat bottom. What jeans would you suggest I wear?
That is also my shape. If my weight goes up, it is around my tummy area.
If your flat backside is a problem for you, then there are a few options. One is to wear padded panties; these will give your derriere more definition. Jeans with large rear pockets with help disguise the lack of fullness. Often you can find jeans with large decorative stitching on the back pockets.
If neither of those options appeals, longer shirts are stylish.
You don't mention if you are high waisted or not. For an apple shape, I wouldn't go for a low rise pair, as any excess around the tummy area will spill out.
Also, you cold try a relaxed fit or a normal rise bootcut style.
Are lighter colored jeans OK for women 60 and over, or should we stay with dark blue?
It is really down to personal choice. It's always said that darker colors are more slimming, but there are many women who are already slim and don't need to worry about a color to enhance their shape.
I live in Brazil, where women of all sizes wear what they want. It is refreshing to see women who are confident enough to wear anything they like without fear of people staring at them.
You can wear whatever color you like as long as you are okay with your choice. If someone else doesn't like it, that is their problem.
© 2016 Mary Wickison