Jean Genie: Liberty Answers ‘How Should Jeans Fit’
Ill-fitting jeans will become a thing of your past with the help of this denim guide
Once you’ve cracked the ‘how should jeans fit’ conundrum, you can leave your days of denim disappointment behind you. You should note: there’s more to it than finding your usual size and running with it. In fact, depending on which style you choose, there are plenty of clever tips and tricks you can employ to ensure the jeans you love on the hanger (or online) look just as good on you. To help you wave goodbye to the trial and error, we’ve compiled this: a failsafe guide on how to buy and care for denim with confidence.
There’s a general rule of thumb to follow when it comes to wide-leg jeans: the taller you are, the wider you can go. In other words, if your legs are on the shorter side, avoid those described as extra-wide to prevent the risk of being swamped in masses of shapeless denim. As for their ideal length, the best pairs will cascade down to your feet, but if your shoes are covered completely, know that you’ve gone too far. Opt for those that let the toe of your shoe peep through, instead. And when you think you’ve set your eyes on the ones, take note from style arbiters Bella Hadid and Hailey Beiber; wear this slouchy cut with something equally ‘90s-inspired like a crop top or grunge-infused jumper.
SHOP WIDE-LEG JEANS
Slim Fit and Skinny
Hugging the curves of your legs, slim-fit and skinny jeans should fit like a glove, but for a flexible, shape-holding pair, bear in mind that denim compositions behave differently to one another. The key here is to look for those that contain around 2% elastane in their jean makeup like Acne Studios’ Peg Skinny High-Waist Jeans, £170 and bear in mind that the higher percentage is, the more the jeans will stretch and move with you. But don’t despair if you fall in love with jeans crafted from 100% cotton denim; simply follow the tried and tested method of opting a size smaller than your usual. While this blend is the most rigid, it also stretches and expands the most over time (some say between 1 and 1.5 inches over a three-month spell of daily wear). If they’re too tight, wear them first while they’re damp so they can mould to your frame and fix in place as they dry. Uncomfortable, yes, but a necessary evil.
SHOP SLIM-FIT AND SKINNY JEANS
Bootcut and Flared
Once an iconic emblem of the 1970s, flared and bootcut jeans are big news yet again. The difference between the two styles? Both widen in cut the further down the leg you go, but while bootcut jeans fit more snug around the hips and thighs, flares tend to be looser and more excessive when it comes to the all-important wide hem down below. To help maintain their distinct shape, when cleaning (as with anything made from denim), turn inside out, use cold water, hang dry them (never tumble dry) and go as long between washes as you can so as to not encourage the fibers to stretch. Perhaps the dressiest of all denim, both partner well with height-extending footwear, but if you do decide to add a few inches with either a Cuban heel or Chelsea boot, beware of the rising hem. To mitigate going half mast (a sartorial no no), ensure the inseam gives you a trouser ground clearance of no more than one inch.
SHOP BOOTCUT AND FLARED JEANS
Generally speaking, skinny and slim-cut jeans are an easy go-to if you consider yourself petite and/or curvy, bootcut and flared denim work best on a rectangular frame and wide-leg jeans are likely to flatter your figure if you’re tall. But straight cut jeans are the style that works for all. This classic wardrobe staple features a straight-up-and-down cut from waist to hem, and since their creation in the early 1870s, have gone from workwear essentials to everyday necessity. Like most jean types, they also come in a range of rises (the distance between the waistband and the bottom of your crotch). To get in on the Y2K trend, look to low-risers which sit either on or just below the hips - trust us, it’s less scary a prospect than it sounds. Mid-rise fits are considered the most comfortable, especially if you spend your day sitting, and should be in line with or just below your belly button. Lastly, high-rise jeans usually lie just above the naval, casting the illusion of elongated legs.