For almost 150 years, blue jeans have been a casual, functional go-to for the working man and woman. Invented by Levi Strauss during the gold rush in California, blue jeans were created to be comfortable and long-lasting work pants. Today, jeans are styled for all occasions and in different types of fits and cuts.
Fits that Flatter: Jeans for Women
Finding the right pair of jeans is a struggle for many women. It may take trying on 20 different pairs before finding the one that fits and flatters best. Women get so caught up in numbers, when, really, sizing is quite subjective and varies greatly from brand to brand. So it’s important to take the time to find the right fit and cut.
Overall, it is good to look for jeans that have the slightest bit of stretch so that they won’t get saggy or change in the way they fit after a couple of wears. Too much elastic stretch will make jeans little better than leggings, but jeans with a small percentage of spandex are good to look for.
In general, a darker wash will be more flattering for all body types, as it is more slimming; and a dark wash is also far more versatile. Also very versatile, a black slim cut jean is a classic piece that will always be flattering. It’s hard to go wrong with such a pant. For something on the trendy side of things, colored or white jeans are really big at the moment. However, when looking for a basic blue jean, consider the occasions on which they will be worn and look for styles accordingly.
For example, one wouldn’t want to wear an ultra-skinny jean into a formal office, even on casual Friday. Leg-hugging jeans are best worn for going out with friends or, at the most, in a very casual, trendy office environment. A more appropriate office jean would be a wider-leg, trouser fit. This style gives a more professional air, but with its a wide leg manages to stay quite comfortable. A straight fit jean is a very classic look, transcending the trends of the day. With the right top, this style also works quite well in the office.
For a casual weekend look, the boyfriend jean is perfect (though not everyone can pull of this look). With a relaxed cut that tapers at the ankle, which is generally cuffed, this style has a laid-back vibe while looking effortlessly chic. A skinny jean in a medium-light wash can also give a causal vibe for hangout times. For something a bit less trendy, a boot cut, which fits snugly on the thighs and flares out a bit at the ankle, offers a traditional look.
Ultimately, when looking for the perfect jean, the fit is most important. Not everyone can pull off the skinny jean. Others might be better suited to a classic straight leg or boot cut. If you are unsure about what flatters most, ask a sales associate’s opinion — they are there to help find the perfect pieces. Stop focusing on the size, and start looking for the right fit; be willing to try on a variety of styles and cuts to see what works best on your body type and with your personal style.
Transcend the Trends: Jeans for Men
For men, it is incredibly important to know one’s measurements. Men’s pants tend to be a lot more consistent in sizing, since it has to do with inches around the waist and down the leg, instead of a subjective size like women’s pants. Many department and specialty retail stores are happy to take measurements if a customer is not certain of their sizing.
As with women, dark wash jeans are generally preferable, as they suit a large number of occasions and prove very versatile. When looking for the perfect pair of jeans, focus less on the trends and more on the cut one feels most comfortable in and that best reflects one’s personal style.
In any cut, make sure the waist fits comfortably and doesn’t sit too low, and that the hem hits just below the ankle without dragging on the floor.
Once proper measurements have been attained, it ultimately comes down to the image one wants to portray. For a tailored look, try a straight cut jean. This style is more fitted through the leg and just slightly narrow at the ankle. Far from being a skinny jean (which should be left to rock bands and adolescent boys), this look is a bit more trendy or preppy, offering a very put together look.
For the more traditional man, a boot cut or even relaxed fit may be a better option. With a wider leg opening, these styles are looser and more casual. Be sure to try these styles on before buying, however, as it is easy to accidentally buy them too large. A telltale sign that jeans are too big is if they’re baggy beneath the seat of your pants. That look serves no one. Even if one is more comfortable in a looser style, there is still a level of fit that goes into finding the right pair, and if they don’t fit right, the wearer just looks sloppy.
For men and women, look for quality jeans that will last years, not months; a good pair of jeans is an investment. Some may find that an off-the-rack size doesn’t quite fit. Perhaps jeans fit perfectly around the waist but are a couple inches too long in the leg. Maybe the leg fits but the waist is too wide. Don’t be afraid to bring jeans to a tailor to attain the perfect fit. Jeans have become such an everyday item that they should fit perfectly and make the wearer feel great.