Denim Fit Guide

Jeans… the frienemy of womankind

Let’s talk about jeans for a second: we protested them for a little while because, well, leggings. BUT tried and true, denim will not fail you… UNLESS you don’t understand how jeans are created, and NOT all jeans are created equal (which if you’ve lived on this earth for more than 3 minutes, you have probably experienced.) Our girl, Brittany takes some time to break down how to find the perfect fitting denim- with little to no crying in the fitting room.

Be honest with me… have you ever taken 10 pair of pants in a fitting room and come out with zero sayin “darn this body!” Well I’m here to tell you… knock it off. FIRST and foremost I want you to replace that saying with “it’s the clothes, not me”. It’s a piece of freaking fabric, why do we let it do that to us?! I’m here to help you take your power back, sister. 

So to give y’all a little understanding of my qualifications, I used to manage a “Buckle” retail store (that’s me on the left. Approximately 117 years ago). Training video 1 is a welcome to the team and a “here’s how denim works” because that knowledge is THE most important thing to their business, hands down. We carry around fit guides and offer style cards for a reason, because we want to share education with you to make your denim purchase memorable so you come back over and over and over… yes, that’s how they get ya. BUT I want to share with you the basics of training video 1 because it doesn’t get any more helpful, especially to a woman, than this… for real. 

Jeans are broken down into 6 basic fit points (**7 for men):





Bottom Opening



This fit guide I’ve shown below, from ABLE (which is one of my favorite brands) is the perfect example of how to educate people on which jeans are best. When I was taught to introduce a denim I’d say something like this: “Hey, what you’re checking out is the _______ jean. It’s a low rise, slim fit denim, which means it is narrow through the hip and thigh. Is that how you like your jeans to fit?” Which most times by looking at a human, I’d know whether or not that was really something they would wear BUT at that point most people go “oh no… I got a booty, show me the booty jeans…” or something along those lines, which would tell me exactly the fit they are looking for. I’d ask a question, you’d sell yourself!

BUT let’s break down those fit points to help you understand how this applies.

Waist: this is the physical waistband of the jeans- the measurement (producing the size) is completely dependent on the rise (how high or low) of the jeans. A lower rise jean is going to have a larger waistband than that of a higher rise in the same size; this is because the band is closer to the wide part of your hips- the higher the rise the smaller it’s going to be (most typically a woman has a smaller waist than hips). 

Hips: this is always the widest part of the jeans- if you are a curvy woman (I pray for curves everyday), hold up whatever denim you’re looking at, if the hips are NOT wider than the waist, put them down. If when you make the waist smaller than the hips, the band puckers, it will do the same thing on your body! THIS fit point is the KEY to the best fit. If the shape of the top 2 fit points does not resemble the shape of your body… you will NEVER be happy. This is where the “narrow through the hip and thigh” phrase in my statement above comes into play. 

Knee: this is most relevant because of its ratio to the bottom opening. BUT this point shows whether the actual leg of the jean is going to work with your body. 

Bottom Opening: this fit point is where names of jeans get a bad wrap… so if the name “skinny jean” makes you cringe, I’m here to help.  All that “skinny” jean means is the bottom opening is smaller than the knee (whew… you can stop worrying now). I’ll break these names down as sub-points. BUT just because something says “skinny” doesn’t mean if you’re curvy you can’t wear it! Girl, they make PLENTY of curvy fit skinny jeans- let’s do this!

Skinny: knee is wider than bottom opening by at least 1”

Straight: knee and bottom opening are exactly the same

Boot: bottom opening is at least 1” wider than the knee

Flare: bottom opening is at least 3” wider than the knee

Rise: this what I referenced earlier as the “height” of the jean. We’re all friends, here right? I can say things like “crotch”… because this is the inches from the bottom seam that sits in your “crotch” to the waistband (whew that was more awkward than anticipated). To find your perfect fit you must know whether you fell most comfortable in a low rise, mid rise or high rise. 

Inseam: This is the length from that same darn middle crotch seam again to the bottom hem of the jeans. Lengths of jeans matter, friends. If they’re too long and dragging or bunchy… it looks sloppy. Having a seamstress is a God send (look into it, I have references if needed). BUT this is mostly dependent on your height and leg length. Some places offer multiple lengths for our tall friends, some don’t (those aren’t your places). 

Have I lost ya yet? Hope not because we’re almost done. Once you have those points down, from there it’s all about what look you want to give off! The details are what give jeans character! Destruction. Wash. Triple Stitch Inseam… okay, now we’re getting crazy (we can cover these another time)! 

But that’s what I’ve got for Denim 101. I really hope this helps clarify some struggles and helps you look at denim as a friend instead of a foe. I love you all and happy jean shopping! P.S. if you’re looking for in-store help with jean shopping or shopping in general, my girl Stef has an amazing service that does just that. If you specifically want to jean shop, I’d be happy to tag along, just let her know! SCHEDULE WITH HER, SERIOUSLY. 

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