As American as apple pie, jeans are a go-to wardrobe staple. So why is shopping for jeans such a difficult task? With so many fits, cuts, washes and more to choose from, it might seem like an endless journey to find that perfect pair you’ll wear over and over again. With this quick and handy guide you’ll have the low-down on denim so you can find options that look good and feel great.
Strategies for jean shopping
First when shopping for jeans, be sure to allow enough time to try on a variety of styles so you can find the right pair for your body shape. Go to a store that has many options and don’t rush your time in the dressing room. For example, at Target you can find Denizen from the Levi’s brand jeans that offer seven different styles, so you’re sure to find one (or more) that work for you. When you try on a pair, try sitting, squatting and moving to see how the fabric flexes and shifts.
Common jean styles and cuts
Straight – If you want a versatile style that is as appropriate for a lazy Sunday afternoon as it is for a business-casual working environment, a straight fit jean is for you. This classic look neither tapers nor flares, with denim cut straight down from hip to ankle, elongating the leg and creating a conservative style appropriate for both men and women.
Skinny – A necessity for most women, the skinny jean is also a popular style for men. With a retro edge perfect for a narrow figure, this style is meant to fit snugly with tapering around the ankles. This is a great option for ladies this fall since skinny jeans can be easily tucked into tall boots for a fun, hip autumn look. The skinny jean is equally as versatile for men and can be worn casually with sneakers or dressed up with work boots.
Slim straight – If you like the idea of a slimmer cut, but skinny styles are a bit too extreme, try slim fit jeans instead. Available for men, this style is tailored slim through the leg, but has a straight fit through the seat and thigh with an easy to wear straight leg opening.
Relaxed – The opposite of the structured skinny jean is the relaxed fit jean. This is often the go-to option for men who frequently prefer a comfortable jean over a more tailored option. This simple, yet versatile style fits at the waist and has a loosely tapered leg. If you want even more room than found in a relaxed cut, look for loose-style jeans.
Boot cut – For jeans that pair fashion and function, boot cut is the way to go. Available for both men and women, boot cut style jeans are slightly flared toward the leg openings. This cut is stylish for men and works well for most female body shapes because it balances the body’s curves and can draw attention away from the midsection.
Choosing the right rise
Low-rise jeans sit an inch or two below the navel and are popular with teens and young adults. Mid-rise is the most common option, designed to fit comfortably on the lower stomach and offering ample coverage in the back. High-waisted jeans are preferred by some to conceal curves and prevent gapping in the seat.
Jean colors and washes
Today’s jeans come in every color and fade imaginable, such as Denizen from the Levi’s brand jeans that come in 24 premium finishes at Target stores and on Target.com for men, and 12 finishes for women. A good basic finish to have in your wardrobe is raw denim which means the dye hasn’t been washed down. These dark blue jeans go with any outfit and have a slimming effect. Alternatively, washes can create many different tones of denim. Like the vintage look? Seek out a vintage wash or dirty wash. Like lighter blue jeans? Look for stonewashed options. When deciding what jean colors are best, think about what would blend with your current wardrobe and select accordingly.
With this easy guide you can avoid the denim maze and find the right pair for you. Remember, it’s not uncommon to have multiple pairs of jeans – a couple conservative options for work, a couple casual options for evenings and weekends – so try on a variety, you might be surprised at what you like best.