Discovering the dreaded gap between one's lower back and the waist band is perhaps the most frustrating changing room moment - the jeans fit in every other way, except at those few precious inches around the waist. Sonya Easterbrook, a denim expert at Levi's Canada heralds denim lines like Levi's Curve ID as the answer with "a fit system that allows people to be measured and identified [for] what is their best fit. So now, you're not just necessarily a size 26, there's three ways you could be a 26. If you always have that gap in the waist, than you're most likely a Bold Curve and proportionately the jeans are made with different [measurements for] your hip-to-waist ratio."
Also see: 10 Easy Steps: Finding The Best Swimsuit For You
#2. ALL STRETCHED OUT
Most jeans, especially skinny jeans and flares, are made with a mix of cotton and spandex in order to form perfectly to your curves. But, be warned, "there's absolutely something considered too much stretch," says Sonya. "Usually you look for about two percent stretch. It's the right amount to give you a little bit of give, but it also is the right amount that things are going to bounce back and you're not going to get a lot of gaping under the booty or around the knees." Look for the magic number on the tag: 2% spandex, 98% cotton.
FLARE pick: Gap legging jeans, $80, gapcanada.ca.
Also see: Office Style: 15 Work Essentials for Summer
#3. WHERE'S THE FLOOD?
Jeans are for the weekend, for going to the movies, for lounging around the house, but they are also for dinners out, girl's nights out, and these days, often for the office as well. In other words, I wear jeans with loafers, high tops, stilettos, platform wedges - you name a shoe style, I've probably worn them with a pair of those ubiquitous pants. So, while my height varies by as many as six inches, my jeans, for better or worse, maintain an unaffected length. Here are my rules: bell-bottoms and flares should only be worn with heels and when paired with said shoes they should be an inch off the ground maximum. There's nothing worse than a pair of leg-lengthening flares that behave as flood pants when worn with your favourite pair of pumped up kicks. Or, as Sonya puts it, "It's a matter of not being too short, you don't want the pants to not move and flow while you're walking. Typically when you have a bell or a boot cut, boot cut-skinny is a favourite fit of ours for fall, you always want the pant to be a little bit longer." Skinny jeans on the other hand, should hit your anklebone to avoid the bunching that comes from too-long-pants causing an unflattering ending to an otherwise smooth line down the leg.
FLARE pick: J Brand mid-rise flare jean, $233, intermixonline.com.
Also see: Stampede Style: 9 Ways To Wear Cowgirl-Chic
#4. FADE PROOF
We see it everywhere, but whiskering at the top of the thigh actually gives the illusion of a wider hip and leg. Maintain the dark colour of your jeans for as long as possible. Denim purists like the people at indie design house Nudie insist against laundering your jeans for as long as a year after purchase to maintain the colour and shape. When you eventually do wash your jeans, do so in ice cold water with only a tiny amount of detergent, and lay flat to dry.
FLARE pick: Nudie indigo jeans, $180, ssense.com.
Also see: 7 Olympic Style Finds
#5. THE NUMBERS GAME
Jean sizing - even those that measure by the waist in inches - is notoriously inaccurate. Every brand (from Japan to Europe to America), and every style within that brand, fits differently. Experiment with sizing every time you try on a new pair of jeans: you may be surprised to find that a size or two smaller or bigger than your 'usual' actually fits you better.
FLARE pick: 7 For All Mankind slim straight jean, $220.00, eluxe.ca.
Also see: 11 Ombré Summer Style Picks
#6. LONG STORY SHORT
Fast fashion labels like the Gap sell many of their styles in regular, long and ankle lengths. Most luxury labels, on the other hand, cut their denim on the longer side, so that on the average woman the hem extends a few unnecessary inches past her foot. These are not meant to be left as such and should be tailored to your individual ideal length.
FLARE pick: J.Crew tall bootcut jean, $134.00, jcrew.com
#7. THE RIGHT CUT
Let it be known: there are some labels that are better for particular body types. Curvy, petite, tall - there are jeans enough for all of us, but perhaps not from the same store. After some serious change room research, here are my favourite labels per shape and picks that are in stores now:
Best Petite Brands: Joe's Jeans, J.Crew and the Gap.
Best Tall Brands: BDG, 7 For All Mankind, Paige Denim.
Best Curvy Brands: Levi's, Citizens of Humanity, Lucky Brand.
#8. THE PRICE IS RIGHT
"There's obviously going to be some fabrics that are lighter in nature [but] that doesn't necessarily make them bad quality - it's really about the drape. When you have a great brand, that's tried and true, you know what to expect," shared Easterbrook. Premium jeans, which usually start at $150 to $200, will offer you higher quality weaves but that doesn't make the under $100 finds less durable. Stick to tried and true labels with strong heritage because when it comes to denim: practices does make perfect.
FLARE pick: Tripp NYC striped jean, $79, urbanoutfitters.com.
#9. THE BACK STORY
Jeans can do a lot of good or a lot of bad for the butt. We're always going for the former, and your level of success has a lot to do with pocket placement. According to Easterbrook: "If you have a smaller booty you'd look for a smaller pocket with a higher placement to give you a little bit of a lift, and if you have a bigger booty that you're trying to disguise you'd proportionately look for jeans with the pockets slightly larger." It's all about proportions and you'll find that premium brands tailor each pocket to each size--instead of the one-size fits all approach.
FLARE pick: Paige Denim skinny jeans, $189, shopbop.com
#10. VARIETY IS EVERYTHING
The multitude of styles available means that you can wear denim day in and day out. Skinny jeans are great to show off shapely legs, especially with a high boot, whereas straight and boot cut jeans elongate your silhouette rather than cutting it off at the ankle. Give boyfriend jeans a try for a casual, but sexy look. Wide leg and flares, especially when done in a darker denim, can double as perfect pants for the office - for an ultra-feminine look, be sure that these styles are fitted in the bum. Switch it up and try a new cut because when it comes to denim, one is never enough.
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