Finding a great pair of jeans can be wardrobe gold dust, but once you do, it’s easy to slip into a rut and end up wearing the same style for years. If you’re on the lookout for something new, but have no idea where to start, look no further. We are here to give you some inspiration as well as knowledge from our experts about all the different fits, materials and styles of jeans.
THE FIND YOUR FIT GUIDE: WOMEN
We know jean shopping can be a minefield but finding your perfect pair of jeans shouldn’t be a stressful experience! Since we had such a great response to Fi’s ‘Find Your Fit’ guide on our socials, we have put together a women’s jean shopping survival guide. With this guide in your back pocket, you will be able to navigate the world of denim and find your perfect fit that feels comfortable and authentically you.
BACK TO BASICS
Let’s start by taking it right back to the basics, there are a few key words which anyone on the lookout for jeans should get acquainted with; rise, wash, stretch and fit.
Put simply, the rise is the distance between the middle crotch seam (between your legs) and the waistband. It decides where your jeans sit on your body, and where you want to place your waistline, creating your silhouette. Gone are the days of the nineties favourite – low rise. Nowadays, most people choose to wear a mid or high-rise. Mid-rise tend to sit just below the belly button whilst high-rise sits above it. Although different brands may vary.
The ‘wash’ of denim is all about its colour. Unwashed or raw denim is a deep blue colour and with each wash the denim becomes lighter, creating a spectrum of different colours. A light wash is usually worn in summer whilst darker washes are more popular during the winter months; however, a heavier light wash denim definitely works in winter, as does a darker jean with contrasting light florals in the summer.
The word ‘wash’ is itself a reminder that denim does change colour with every ‘wash’ that you put it through. If you plan on washing your jeans regularly, you should buy a slightly darker wash than you imagined to allow for natural fading. On the other hand, if you want to maintain the wash of your jeans, a handy trick is to put them in the freezer rather than the washing machine! This kills the bacteria on the denim, without washing any dye from the fabric. Don’t forget to always check the wash label when you purchase a new pair of jeans.
The stretch on denim varies hugely between jeans. So much so that ‘stretch denim’ is classed as a separate fabric to denim as it incorporates a small amount of elastane into the fabric. Most women’s jeans are made from one of the varieties of stretch denim, this is because it is not only more figure-hugging, but also much more comfortable, as the fabric has more give.
It is important to bear in mind that both ‘stretch denim’ and regular denim stretch permanently when they are worn and washed. We would recommend buying jeans that feel comfortable, but on the tighter side, to leave room for gradual stretch over time; this is particularly true for jeans with a high percentage of stretch/elastane in them, like most skinny or super skinny jeans.
With jeans, fit is everything. When we’re discussing denim, fit refers both to the style of the jeans, such as skinny, slim or straight and to whether the style actually fits you! Everyone has a different body shape, and every brand and style fits slightly differently, so finding jeans that fit can be a game of trial and error. Don’t be afraid to try on different sizes or shapes to find the perfect pair! A great way to work out if your jeans fit around the waist is to see if you can fit two fingers down the back of your waistband without too much of a struggle. If you can fit your whole hand between your jeans and your waist your jeans are too loose, and if you can’t get two fingers between your waist and your jeans they are too tight!
Moving to the other definition of fit, the next section will take you through the most popular denim fits, to give you some guidance before you try on!
THE RIGHT JEAN FOR YOU
Super skinny jeans offer a legging-look fit, fitting tightly from waist to ankle. They hug your body and hold you in, accentuating your curves. Super skinny jeans look great with floaty tops and can take you from day to night with the quick switch from a sneaker to a heel. In many ways, super skinnies sit on the borderline between a jean and a jegging; however, with denim technologies improving with each year, it’s difficult to tell the difference between the two as the fabrics both look like denim.
One of our favourite styles of super skinny is Levi’s 310 Shaping Super Skinny, which gives you a flattering shape that is not restricting, thanks to Levi’s hyper-stretch technology. These mid-rise jeans also feature Levi’s innovative ‘tummy slimming panel’, which flattens the appearance of the tummy whilst also lengthening your legs. We think they look great rolled up with a colourful trainer or rolled down with a sleek heel.
We also love the NYDJ Ami Skinny Legging Fit Jeans. A similar fit to the Levi’s, these jeans are made with stretch denim, they create a drainpipe silhouette that is slimming thanks to the Lift Tuck technology developed by NYDJ. This black pair are the perfect day-to-night transitional piece, and could even be worn in an office with more relaxed uniform guidelines. As with every jeans brand, the sizing varies, and NYDJ recommends buying a size smaller than your normal size in their skinny jeans.
With a slightly wider fit around the ankle, skinny jeans are a popular choice for an everyday jean. Jonathon Cheung, Levi’s head of design agrees, telling Harpers Bazaar, ‘So that’s the baseline, find a good skinny – everyone should have a pair in black or indigo blue’. Skinny jeans wrinkle less on the legs than super skinnies, offering a smoother and slightly wider fit.
Levi’s give you options to find the perfect skinny offering both mid-rise and high-rise styles. High-rise skinny jeans accentuate your curves by sitting on your waist at the smallest point, without being too tight or revealing. Levi’s 721 High Rise Skinny comes in a mid-blue stonewash which is a perfect jean for all weathers and all seasons. We also love the Scotch and Soda La Bohemienne jeans for an everyday skinny. These slightly cropped jeans can be worn as ankle grazers with a boot or a heel.
The term slim fit covers many bases. Ultimately, it is a jean with a wider leg than a skinny, but one that is still tapered slightly at the ankle. In recent years legs with a wider ankle have become more popular than a skinny jean. They look great when they are slightly cropped and paired with a statement heel or a chunky trainer. Our favourites are Scotch and Soda The Keeper Slim Fit and the Levi 712 Slim Jean. For a more tapered fit, the NYDJ Sheri Slim Leg offers a halfway house between a slim and a skinny!
Gone are the days where straight leg jeans are considered unflattering because of their wider ankle. The relaxed ‘boyfriend’ or ‘mum’ fit is perfect for a simple jeans-and-a-tee ensemble. Scotch and Soda’s Petit Ami Boyfriend Jeans elevate any simple outfit with a contrast stripe which runs down the outside of the leg, giving them a sporty edge. Or, why not see if white jeans are for you? We love the super stylish Levi 724 High Rise Straight Jeans. Despite their relaxed fit, they can still be dressed up with a printed blouse and sandals.
IT’S TIME TO TRY…
Now you’ve had a whistle stop tour of everything you might need to know, it’s time to shop. With this survival guide in hand, jean shopping should stop being a stressful experience, and instead be a well-deserved moment of ‘me time’. You can shop all of the jeans in this post, and many more styles, at coes.co.uk. If you want personal styling for your denim, visit us at any of our stores. Our staff are on hand to offer you a personalised jean shopping experience, at a social distance. We also now offer online virtual styling – find out more here.