Best Jeans for Mature Women

Updated on February 4, 2018
Blond Logic profile image

Middle-aged women are forgotten about by retailers. I offer help with clothing choices, skincare, and healthy eating for the mature woman.

Best Jeans for Mature Women
Best Jeans for Mature Women | Source

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 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:

  • B=buttock
  • W=waist
  • A= armpit
  • A/W>W/B= Low waist or long waist
  • WB>AW= High Waist or short waist
  • WB=AW= 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

Avoid Muffin Tops
Avoid Muffin Tops | Source
7 For All Mankind Women's "A" Pocket Jean, Slim Illusion Barcelona Bright, 25
7 For All Mankind Women's "A" Pocket Jean, Slim Illusion Barcelona Bright, 25

These are one of my favorites as they combine the waist rise, thigh fit and boot cut I like. I like the traditional style of these with a slightly worn look across the thighs and subtle whiskers.


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 manufactures 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 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 suppose 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.

LEE Women's Modern Series Curvy-Fit Ruby Boyfriend Jean, Dreamer, 16
LEE Women's Modern Series Curvy-Fit Ruby Boyfriend Jean, Dreamer, 16

Lee have really thought about the design of these. They are a mid rise in the front which makes them look stylish. The back rise is higher, which helps to cover up any small love handles. A nice relaxed fit for curvy women. With the addition of Spandex, they are a little stretchy but keep their shape beautifully.


Top Tips for Jeans

Distressed and vintage Jeans
Distressed and vintage Jeans | Source

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
Lower leg
slim, skinny
skinny or slim
high, normal, low
slim, straight , skinny
straight, slim
Boot cut
high, normal

Which jeans styles do you prefer?

See results

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.

Best shoes for jeans
Best shoes for jeans | Source

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.

Author's Opinion

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.

© 2016 Mary Wickison


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    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 6 days ago from Brazil

      Hi Rene,

      Unless women have had implant surgery or spend their lives doing squats, we are all going to have a droopy backside. Just because large posteriors are in fashion at the moment, we don't have to kick ourselves for a less than perfect derriere.

      If you're concerned and want to add fullness, there are padded panties you can buy. Some have pockets so you can add the pads when required. These will give you a nice shape but not overly pronounced.

      Regarding your knees, I would suggest opting for a relaxed fit. These are a little fuller around the knee Or there are some called wide leg jeans. Although stretch jeans are wonderful, they will show, as you've said, any unevenness.If a relaxed fit is still too tight, normal jeans might not be an option.

      However, there are styles such as culottes, Capri, and palazzo pants. All of these can be found in chambray which is a denim-like fabric but softer. Plus these types of pants have the wow factor. Let me explain.

      We, women, have grabbed our jeans out of habit almost as a security blanket. But there are other women who opt for something to make them stand out in a crowd. Any of those I have mentioned should be wide enough to accommodate your knees. If the compression items you're wearing are socks, then long flowing palazzo pants would be a great choice. They are very feminine and comfortable!

      Remember, with most online shops, such as Amazon, they offer free returns so you can try them on at home and get a feel for them.

      I hope that helps, let me know how you get on.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 6 days ago from Brazil

      Hi Maureen,

      I'm glad you found the information useful. If you really like skinny jeans, then you could always wear them with a flowing hip length top. That will cover up your waist but still allow you to wear skinnies.

      Although I love the bootcut style, I have long slender legs and occasionally like to flaunt them. Skinny jeans and heels or boots look great.

      However, I am not getting to an age where I choose comfort first.

      We all have to reassess our body shapes and our clothing choices as we age. We don't have to wear what the stores suggest but we do have to be honest with ourselves. We have to dress to please ourselves and not others.

      Thanks for reading and your comment.

    • profile image

      Rene Kruze 6 days ago

      My knees are very large and my rear end has "drooped". I wear compression wraps and stretch jeans show every velcro strap. Size 20 is good except for thigh to waist. Please help!

    • profile image

      Maureen 8 days ago

      Hi Mary, GREAT information. I have tried on more skinnies than I can tell you and can never find one that works. You mentioned that skinnies don't work for certain waistlines - mine happens to be thick and I also measure longer in the legs than in the torso. Your comments helped me to figure out that my figure just isn't right for that type of fit...problem finally solved! I love slim fit jeans and sometimes bootcut which goes along with your advice. Thanks so much for a terrific article and re-assuring what I was discovering about my figure. You clearly stated what I was discovering but couldn't put into categories. Thanks again!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 3 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Donna,

      I'm sorry to hear that. Perhaps jeggings might be better. They are leggings but with a look of denim. Jeans, although I love them, are a lot of thick fabric and if you want a sleek look it can be difficult.

      Some women also opt for denim skirts which look great with a pair of boots for winter.

      Let me know how you get on.

    • profile image

      Donna Rambis 3 months ago

      I just can't find the right pair of jeans that will fit me ❤

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 5 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Dolores,

      I have quite a few pairs of casual pants with drawstrings. I'm finding waistbands on some pants, very confining and irritating.

      Why the hatred of zippers?

      I too like leggings as I have a high waist so the longer tops help balance me out.

      I say go with what makes you feel comfortable.

      Thanks for your comment.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 5 months ago from East Coast, United States

      I enjoyed learning the lingo of jeans as well as your visit to the factory. I must confess to wearing "pull-up" or elastic waisted jeans which works for a person whose weight bounces up and down 10 pounds throughout the year. Too old for low rise and always hated zippers. I will wear jeggings with a mini dress or tunic. As an older woman I wonder how you feel about elastic waists for people who can still stand upright. I know it's pathetic but I don't care about that, as you can see from my photo my clothes don't always match either.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 5 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Mona,

      Now that I am in the tropics, I wear jeans less during the day but if we are out in the evening, I wear them.

      I think you should go for it, have a day just jeans shopping and see if that past love of jeans is rekindled.

      I'm glad my article has given you the confidence to give it another go.

      Thanks for your comment.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 5 months ago from Philippines

      I have not worn jeans for over 10 years, but one thing I can say about your article, it gives me confidence. You make it sound so easy and doable. Thanks so much. I am giving my cupcake another chance, hahaha

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 7 months ago from Brazil

      I too have a flat bottom but have decided, I prefer it. Who wants to be carrying all that excess around behind them? Believe it or not, wearing jeans with large back pockets or ones with a design on the rear pocket helps. Paris Hilton, also has a flat tush, who knew we were in such company! LOL

      Your choice of straight jeans is probably your best bet or even a boot cut style.

      Thanks for reading and your comment.

    • profile image

      AB 7 months ago

      I like straight jeans, but I have a relatively big waist for my size (and a flat bottom.)

      I'm still searching for great jeans!

    • profile image

      BH 13 months ago

      The pop up survey you posted on this site before I had a chance to read it just made me crazy. If you want me to like your article you need to back off on the response questions until the end. ARG

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 13 months ago from Brazil

      Hi ljb,

      I'm pleased you found it interesting. I think there are many women who don't realize about the height of their waists and how this can affect clothing choices.

      Thanks for the Facebook share.

    • profile image

      ljb 13 months ago

      This is the best article for "mature" women that I have ever read. I especially appreciate the information about short- and long-waisted measurements. THANKS! I have shared your website on Facebook.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 14 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Vespa, sorry for the late reply, I don't know what happened. Straight jeans are a popular choice with many women as they look timeless. Also if you wear nice shoes they don't get lost under a boot cut flare.

      Hi Glenis, happy belated birthday to you. Actually both of the pairs of jeans I have here in Brazil are from M & S. I love the Per Una range of clothing. I agree with enjoying a bit of stretch in the jeans, it helps keep the shape and we can still get a nice fit.

      Ladies, thanks for reading and also your input about your favorite style of jeans.

    • profile image

      Glenis Rix 14 months ago

      I'm 69 years old ( as of last Sunday) and I spend most of my waking hours in jeans. Straight leg with a little stretch, from Marks and Spencer, are my preference for a good fit - and they cost a lot less than the best known brands.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 17 months ago from Peru, South America

      This is a very informative article. I appreciate all the tips on style and cut. It's true that our bodies change over the years and we have to take many factors into account when choosing the right pair of jeans. I prefer straight but not too skinny jeans. Thank you.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 18 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Diana,

      It's really down to personal choice. I think with anything if a person feels overweight or carries extra pounds around the hips, a dark color will help to mask this. Small rear pockets also help with this.

      I personally don't care for light color jeans. A slight fade is okay but I feel if I have something too light, it looks too worn. I think young women can wear it, but for me, I prefer a light colored top and mid to dark jeans.

      Another reason I prefer a darker shade is like yourself, I'm active. I don't wash my jeans every time I wear them. I try and wear them a few times until they get too loose before washing.

      I'm glad you enjoyed reading the article, thanks for your visit.

    • profile image

      Diana Clarke 19 months ago

      Was researching jeans & came across your very interesting article. I was wondering about colour which you didn't touch on, whether light or dark wash. I think I have the cut & style figured out as I have worn them forever, boot cut regular rise, I am only 5'4" and 125 lbs. I also just turned 76 but feel 50 and act 40, retired but still ride horseback, bike, ski and skate. I live in Canada. Still not decided on the colour, light for summer, dark for winter or does it matter ?

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 19 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Susan,

      There are some wonderful people working in retail who go out of their way to help.

      I think we all are a bit lopsided to be honest with you. There is nothing wrong with wearing an elastic waistband as many of the manufacturers have incorporated this as a feature.

      The point is, we as mature women have options above and beyond what the glossy magazines show on their rake thin models.

      Good luck to you in sourcing your next pair of jeans.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 20 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Dianna,

      We are definitely not too old. I too like the boot cut as I think it is more flattering. Plus I don't like looking down and seeing all of my shoe.

      I may be the only one who is wearing them when I turn 90, but wearing them I will be.

      Glad you liked the article. Thanks for reading.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 20 months ago from Arkansas USA

      I need your GAP guy to help me find a nice-fitting, comfortable pair of jeans. I have a lopsided figure, so I settle for elastic in the waist. Perhaps your excellent information will help me find something without elastic that would actually work.

    • profile image

      teaches12345 20 months ago

      Great article. I wear boot cut myself for the comfort and style. I'm glad to know we are never too old for jeans.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 22 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Deb,

      I have the same problem, but as you say, now we are lucky to have the shape we do. You are right to think that some jeans aren't flattering on those of us with a flat backside.

      Selecting a pair of jeans with larger rear pockets will help disguise the lack of a booty. Plus it is much easier to do that then hit the gym for a round of squats.

      I am pleased you found the terminology about jeans useful, it can be confusing.

      Thank you for reading.

    • profile image

      Deb Hirt 22 months ago

      Great article. I used to hate it that I had no butt and no hips, but found out in my older years that it was a blessing in disguise. At least now I know what all these terms mean if I see them.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 22 months ago from Brazil

      I think it is easy to get carried away when you see something new you like. But we have to stop and ask ourselves, 'does this really suit me.' Just because we can buy it in our size, doesn't mean we should.

      Thanks for reading, I am pleased you found it interesting.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 22 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Very interesting and informative hub!

      I don't wear jeans normally but I loved going through all the information you shared about jeans.

      I agree we should dress according to our age. And dressing gracefully is very important. We must understand what suits our personality and should not get carried away by what others are wearing.

      Thanks for sharing this informative and interesting hub!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 22 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Peggy,

      Much of this information also applies to other pants as well. You're right, you have to be comfortable.

      Thanks for reading.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 22 months ago from Houston, Texas

      I don't think that I ever owned a pair of jeans. If I did start wearing them I would go for comfort first. I do wear pants however in different styles. You certainly have your jean jargon perfected! :)

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 22 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Dora,

      I hope the lack of jeans in your wardrobe isn't age related. I know my Grandmother never wore trousers until she was over 50.

      Here in Brazil, it is so warm I don't wear them much but I just can't part with them.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 22 months ago from The Caribbean

      This is quite an education for me (no jeans in my wardrobe right now). At least, I can upgrade my jeans vocabulary. Very interesting!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 22 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Anita,

      High rise are preferred by many women specifically because they can flatter us as you say. Thanks for your visit.

    • Anita Saran profile image

      Anita Saran 22 months ago from Bangalore, India

      Low rise is everywhere and it's been ages. Finding high rise is pretty difficult. But it's so much more flattering for women's bodies - young or mature. Great info.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 22 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Bill,

      I think many women past the age of 40 find it difficult. Clothing manufactures have forgotten about us in their quest to clothe the millennials. We are often left with the choice of clothing which is too young or something only our grandmothers would wear.

      Thank you for your continued support.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, I'm not really sure what to say about all this mature women clothing about this....I love what you said about having better bodies than the younger generation but not having to flaunt it. Love that line and truth. My advice to attractive women....don't try so hard. When you've got it, less effort in displaying it all is better in many cases. :) For what it's worth.

      Have a great weekend!