Jeans are a classic and versatile wardrobe basic that can be dressed up or down. Plus, jeans can be super flattering! But, with the number of styles out there, it can be a bit confusing to know what jeans are right for you. Finding the perfect pair of jeans can be tricky because we all have such different body shapes. Has anyone ever seen The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? While it’s a cool concept…chances are, you won’t find a pair of jeans that magically fits you and your 3 best friends. BUT, you can find a pair of jeans that are slimming, flattering, and fit your body just right. You just need to know a few important things before buying jeans…which is why I’m sharing 9 key tips on how to make you look slimmer in jeans.
#1) Choose Dark Wash Denim
This point is a no-brainer but worth repeating. Darker colors are more flattering no matter what your body shape…no matter what the piece of clothing is. But if you want to look slimmer in jeans, go with dark denim. A dark wash jean is not only extremely versatile, but it elongates your legs and slims your body. You want to look for dark-colored denim (can even be black jeans), no embroidery or embellishments, no contrasting stitching, and minimal fading (more on that below).
#2) Opt For High-Rise Jeans
High-rise jeans are typically the most flattering on most body types. But since we all have different torso lengths and proportions, you have to be aware of what rise is really best for your body. For example, Erin prefers high-waisted jeans that are about 9” or more. Most online retailers will include the rise measurements in the product description or name so make sure you take an extra minute to read up on what you’re about to order so you don’t have to waste time returning things.
– Low Rise: Usually around 7”, low-rise jeans sit well below your belly button and have a shorter zipper.
– Mid Rise: Usually around 8-9”, mid-rise jeans sit at your hips and just beneath your belly button, so you are always comfortable. Mid-rise might be ideal if you have a shorter torso.
– High Rise – 9″+: Usually above 9”, high-rise jeans sit at your belly button or higher. The benefit of wearing high-rise jeans is that they conceal any extra skin around the tummy area that you don’t want to show. High-rise jeans can help you eliminate the muffin top (depending on your torso length)! Yay!
If in doubt about what pair of jeans might be most flattering for you, high rise is most likely the way to go. High-rise jeans can elongate the legs while also creating the illusion of a slimmer waist.
#3) Know Your Ideal Inseam Length
No matter what your height, knowing your inseam length is SO key to finding the right pair of jeans and looking slimmer in them. It’s difficult to measure your own inseam, so we recommend getting someone to help you with this. For an accurate measurement, measure from the bottom of your crotch to the bottom of your hem. You can always cuff a pair of longer jeans but if you’re interested in purchasing specific cuts of jeans like ankle, bootcut, straight, or flared, you should measure for each of these lengths. You also want to factor in your shoe height. The inseam you need for wearing high heels is different than the inseam you need when wearing sneakers.
#4) Know Your Ideal Fit
Knowing your perfect fit and understanding what flatters your body type is key. Luckily right now, pretty much any denim silhouette is on trend so you can try straight-leg jeans, flared jeans, wide-leg jeans, skinny jeans, or whatever calls to you. It’s important to understand your body type so you can dress in the most flattering way. For example, if you have a bigger butt, wider hips, and thighs, then skinny jeans aren’t for you. Maybe opt for a straight, boot-cut, or flared leg instead.
#5) Be Aware of Pocket Placement
This is one piece of the perfect jean puzzle that many women don’t pay attention to but is still very important. There are three main pieces to this…size, placement, and space between pockets…
1) Size – Smaller pockets are ideal to slim the bottom.
2) Placement – Pockets high on the butt will make it appear more lifted!
3) Space – If your bottom is small, pockets set wider apart will create fullness. For wider bums, jean pockets closer together will slim your booty. The pockets should be about 2-3 inches from the smile of your butt (that’s the bottom of your behind where it meets your legs).
#6) Choose Quality Stitching
If you’re trying to find a pair of jeans that is the most flattering and slimming, you’ll want to find a pair with no contrasting stitching. Some jeans have white, yellow, or light gray stitching which can look totally fine and normal. But if you want to look slimmer in jeans, go with a pair that has black or dark blue stitching to match the wash of the denim.
Quick Jean Stitching 101
When purchasing a new pair of jeans, be sure to turn the jeans inside out and take note of the stitching quality. The flat felled stitch is used most commonly with jeans. It resembles two railroad tracks on both ends of a seam. If a pair of jeans only has one row of stitching, the seam is more likely to come apart and they will not retain their shape as well.
#7) Be Aware of Zipper Length
When you have a pair of jeans and the zipper length is short, meaning there’s a lot of space between the bottom of the zipper and the crotch of the jeans, that creates a wedgie effect or camel toe. To avoid this, go with a pair of jeans that have a long zipper length with little space between the end of the zipper and the crotch of the jeans. Not only will you avoid this dreaded style mishap, but it will also actually make your legs look longer.
#8) Notice Fading Placement
Fading can either work in your favor or work against you. The key is… use your fading strategically! Sometimes fading at the front of the jeans may look like cat whiskers, and in this case, the fading will make that particular area of your body appear larger. But, when you have a lighter, faded strip down the middle of your legs, for example…and a darker strip of denim outlining it on both legs, that fading can actually make your legs look tinier. Look at the placement. Is it placed in a way that will flatter your body or the opposite… exaggerating a problem area? Always remember that fading should maximize your assets (pun intended!).
#9) Find Your Brand
When you find a pair of jeans that flatters your body shape, makes your legs look longer, makes your tummy feel slimmer, and makes you feel confident…buy a second pair! And, look at that brand and see if there are other pairs of jeans you can try. Often, if you find a brand you love, you’ll love the fit of their other jeans too. For example, Erin loves Mother, AG, Frame, Citizens of Humanity, Agolde, Moussy Vintage and owns multiple pairs of jeans from each brand.
Jeans That Make You Look Slimmer
If you’re an email subscriber or a regular here on the blog, you’ve definitely seen these jeans. Erin has had them for years, wears and talks about them all the time, and owns them in multiple washes. These are her go-to jeans no matter what the occasion…kids sporting events, dinner dates, running errands, etc. They’re that versatile! They have a 10.75” rise which is great for tummy control, a 26.75” inseam which is on the shorter side but perfect for petites, and the deep dark wash is super flattering. There’s not a ton of fading or whiskering and the pocket placement is great!
Erin has been blogging for about 9 years and these jeans are one of the top sellers of all time…and she only bought them during the 2022 NSale. We completely understand why these are some of your favorite jeans! They are a super dark wash with no contrasting stitching or hardware, making them a basic that will never go out of style. The flared leg silhouette is on-trend but still a classic style, so you know you’ll wear them for years and years. Plus, the flared leg and dark wash make them super flattering and elongating for most body shapes. They are high-rise (10”) and have a 31.5” inseam, which is great for wearing them with high-heeled shoes if you’re petite but you can also get them hemmed if you want to wear them with lower heels or flats. If you’re taller, these are a great length for you! The exact wash is sold out but we linked a few Genevieve jeans in different dark washes below.
These Pistola straight-leg jeans are SO good. Multiple Team Busbee members (of all different shapes and heights) ordered these jeans this year and LOVED them! If you’re on the hunt for affordable versatile jeans, these Pistola jeans are IT. They have a classic leg silhouette that’s flattering on most body shapes, have a dark wash, very minimal distressing and fading, and the fit is lovely.
If you’re looking for a good pair of black jeans, these Frame wide-leg jeans can really take your jean-drobe up a notch! These are called the Palazzo jeans and have a super wide-leg which is another silhouette that can look great on different body shapes. We love the dramatic look of an extra wide-leg jean but know it’s not for everyone. This pair of jeans runs a little long so they’re great for taller women but you can definitely wear them with heels if you’re shorter.
Moussy Vintage is one of Erin’s favorite jean designers because of their relaxed fits, unique washes, and shorter inseams. This exact pair is older, but we linked a similar pair that has the same tapered leg and a similar wash. While these jeans are not dark wash, the wash and fading are still flattering. You can see the lighter fading outlined by the darker wash that actually slims the legs.
We mentioned in tip #9 that finding a brand that you love is another helpful way to find even more jeans you’ll love and that fit and flatter your body. Well, Erin did exactly that and found another pair of Mother jeans she loves. This pair has a wide, flared leg which is very flattering and elongating. We want to point out that these do have contrasting stitching so if you like the look of these but want the most flattering jeans possible, go with the Paige Genevieve jeans (#2) instead.
Another pair of Mother jeans Erin loves are these flare jeans with a frayed hem. They’re a lighter wash but the slight flared-out leg still makes them very flattering. These have a similar look and fit to #1 but they have a 30.5” inseam so they’ll be better for taller women or for wearing with heels. The 10.5” high-rise is really flattering and the denim feels like it holds you in without being uncomfortable.
If you want a pair of black jeans that are a little more elevated, a pair of coated black denim is a great addition to your closet. This pair by Good American has a 26.5” inseam, are bootcut, and have a subtle coated look. Our YouTube co-producer bought last year’s version and wore them so much that she repurchased this year’s version too! One big sizing note: They run very small, order TWO sizes up.
So, which of these tips was most helpful in your search for the perfect slimming pair of jeans? Let us know in the comments below and feel free to ask any questions you might have!
Don’t forget that you can get posts delivered directly to your inbox by subscribing to the newsletter. If you would like to receive early access, exclusive content, and more, make sure you sign up for SMS texts…we’ll send you texts to keep you in the know! Thanks for stopping by!