Women's jeans buying guide

 

In an array of washes, fits and styles, denim can take you from an office meeting to an evening out, and everywhere in-between. Finding that perfect pair can be tricky but persevere because once you find them, you'll be lost without them. So, where to start? Take a look at our guide to decipher which style suits you best and then browse our jeans collection here.

Choosing a style to suit your shape

Considering your body shape when shopping for your jeans really is key to finding that perfect pair.

Each style differs in its degree of stretch, its tone of wash, fit on the hips and thighs, and its ability to balance out curves or add shape to leaner bodies. A straight leg will work wonders to soften a broad-shouldered top half, but also add width and weight to those with generous hips.

Work out your proportions, assess your hip to waist ratio and check out how your shoulders compare in width to the rest of your body. Do you go evenly in and out like an hourglass, or is your top half significantly smaller than your bottom? Are your hips neat and bottom small, and your shoulders wider in width? Or are you straight up and down, with the slightest or no definition at the waist? Pay attention to your form, and choose the best styles for you from what's below.

Bootcut

  • Fitting snug to the thigh and flaring out from the knee, the classic bootcut jean is a winnder for adding flattering balance
  • On curvacious frames they'll fit snug over shapelier hips, and flare out to create a wonderfully even in and out silhouette - for the ultimate in figure flattery, pick dark indigo washes in block tones, stretchier fabrics and high waists
  • Leaner bodies will also benefit from flared bottoms, adding shape and accentuating slim thights. Pick lower rises, lighter washes, and whiskering effects at the waist
  • For rounded tummies, a bootcut jean helps draw the eye downwards towards the feet. Lower waists are best, as are lighter hues and detailing for added distraction
  • As with straight legs, bootcuts work best when worn with a heel, such as a chic summer wedge, or an elongating pointed ankle boot in cooler months

Boyfriend

  • The casual-cool choice, a laid-back boyfriend cuts fits relaxed all the way through the leg, varying in its level of bagginess and length depending on season and brand
  • Unavoidably looser than any other jean, the boyfriend isn't designed to fit to form. Curvier figures that warrant stretch and a sleeker fit should be cautious, pick the slimmest designs in a more tapered cut, favour higher waists, darker washes and cropped cuts to show off slim ankles
  • If you're lean all over, or broad at the shoulder, or rounder around the middle, these are for you. They add volume and shape, draw the eye downwards, and create balance

Straight

  • Running straight in fit from the hip to the ankle, the straight-leg jean offers a clean, leg-skimming cut, which works brilliantly to lengthen and balance out particular body shapes
  • If you’re wider at the shoulder than the hip, these are for you. Adding balance to your upside-down-triangle shaped frame, they’ll add flattering width to neat hips and elongate those legs, especially if you choose a wash with slight whiskering, fading to the thigh, or a medium-to-light blue hue
  • If you have serious curves, exercise caution as a straight leg jean will sit at the hip, the widest part of the body, and fall straight from that point. They're not great for pear shapes either, though if you're a more balanced hourglass just be aware of how they hug the thigh and ankle, and the height of the rise
  • To maximise leg-lengthening capabilities, straights are best worn will a heel, as the extra height allows for a more flattering fall from the thigh

Skinny

  • Figure-hugging from the hip to the ankle, the skinny leg works for all shapes depending on the stretch construction, colour and wash
  • If you've a curiver frame, choose the much stretchier styles that are snug and smooth over the silhouette. A baggy knee or bottom will accentuate width, when the key is to streamline and flatter. The secret is to avoid any cut which adds anything to you – the more you show your shape, the slimmer the illusion. And waist wise – the higher the better.
  • For broader-shouldered figures, balance is the answer, so darker colours are best avoided as they'll help make your bottom half appear smaller, in turn emphasising that wider top half. Instead favour lighter tones, prints, patterns, distressing and any added detailing
  • Straight up and down frames can carry off almost anything, and a skinny fit will of course highlight a super-slim profile. But if you'd prefer to avoid accentuating your narrowness, experiment with coloured denims, distressing, patterns, textures, detailing and exposed stitching to add curves

Measure for success

Jeans are generally sized by waist and leg length in inches (eg W28/L32) so it's important to know your measurements. 

You

  • Waist (A) Wrap the tape around the slimmest part of your natural waist.
  • Hips (B) Stand with your feet together and measure around the fullest part of your hips and behind.

Your jeans

  • Inside leg / Inseam (C) The measurement from the crotch to the hem.
  • Rise (D) The distance from the bottom of the crotch to the top of the waistband.
  • Leg opening The circumference of the hem.

Where to measure

Choosing a rise

The rise of a pair of jeans refers to where the waistband sits on your body.

Low-rise

  • Sits on the hips roughly 2" or more below the navel and should measure 7.5" or less.
  • Great for a more dressed-up look, be sure the waistband follows your natural contours and covers your underwear.

High-rise

  • The high-rise will sit at or above the navel and is likely to be 9.5" or more.
  • Offering the most coverage, the high rise is perfect for holding you in and smoothing the silhouette.

Mid-rise

  • Perching on the hip bone just below the navel, a mid-rise should measure 8" to 9".
  • Generally the most flattering and popular choice, a mid-rise suits all jean styles.

Caring for your jeans

Looking after your jeans properly will help them last for years. Keep them in the best condition possible by following our care tips.

  • Wash jeans inside out to help reduce fade.
  • If possible, hang them upside down and away from sunlight to dry to help prevent them losing their shape and colour.
  • Try to avoid tumble drying.
  • If you're worried about the dye leaking, put them on a quick wash before you wear them for the first time.
  • Only wash your jeans when absolutely necessary to help keep the denim as fresh as possible.

Points to remember

A few tips when shopping for your jeans.

  • If you're going to wear your jeans with heels, make sure you try them on with heels.
  • Sizes will vary from brand to brand so don't be disheartened if yours fluctuates, too. It doesn't matter what size you buy as long as it fits properly.
  • Always choose a waist size that corresponds with your own waist measurement even if you're going for a style that falls low on your hips.
  • Big back pockets, a darker wash and curved seams all make for super flattering jeans.
  • If gaping is a problem, then look for a waistband that's higher at the back.
  • When trying on, take into account that your jeans are likely to give after the first few wears. Don't be afraid to go a size smaller than the one that fits comfortably particularly, with skinny jeans.