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Different jean cuts - which one is right for you?

From flare to skinny, we cover them all

Author: Charlotte Kuchinsky February 21 2010

topless girl in blue jeans

There are classic, skinny, boot cut, flare, bell-bottom, trouser cut, and straight cut. There are high waist, modern waist, hipsters, classic and more. There are hundreds of designs and designers to choose from. Have all these different types and styles of jeans left you wondering which one is right for you? You are not alone.

Nearly every woman wants to own at least one pair of jeans because they are popular, classic, and trendy, all at the same time. However, finding the right pair of jeans often makes shopping for them more of a chore than a pleasure. Throw into the mixture the hundreds of different denim brands out there all claiming to make the "perfect" jean and you just might throw up your hands and give up the search altogether.

There is nothing worse than a pair of jeans that doesn't fit properly. Women run in fear of the dreaded "muffin top" and few want their already ample backsides to be accented in the wrong way. Jeans that are too tight across the thighs make women quake in their boots and, of course, being able to breathe while wearing them is a must.

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So where does one even start looking for the right pair of jeans? Perhaps deciphering a bit of jeanology - the language of jeans - will help. Let's start with the five basic cuts for jeans.

1. Boot cut jeans

While a lot of women don't like them, a good boot cut jean looks the best on the widest variety of female forms, particularly when the proper "rise" is also chosen. (Note: We will cover rise in a separate article). Boot cut jeans generally skim or slightly hug the hips and the thighs, flaring slightly at the foot. They are not as relaxed in cut as flare cut jeans and they are not as wide at the bottom as bell-bottoms. Women of all ages, sizes, and shapes can wear this cut. It simply becomes a matter of finding the right rise and design.

2. Classic cut jeans

Classic cut jeans have a high waist and usually either bulge unattractively or pinch across the hips, neither of which is a good look. To add insult to injury, they then taper down the leg, effectively drawing attention upward to the mid-section, which is often undesirable. Unfortunately, most women are familiar with the classic cut and it is the one that many gravitate towards. Known best today as the "mom" jean, the fact that the classic cut continues to exist is a question that no one can seem to answer. However, until women stop buying and wearing them we have to leave them on the list, which is really sad.

3. Flare jeans

Flare jeans are an updated version of the old 70's bell-bottom, but they are distinctly different. Bell-bottoms usually hugged the hip and thigh and then flare widely at the foot. Flare jeans, on the other hand, tend to flare out down the entire length of the leg, sometimes growing even larger as it reaches the foot. This cut may work for tall, statuesque women with perfect figures but it certainly isn't recommended for anyone who is more petite. It cuts the leg significantly, actually making a woman look shorter rather than taller. Many of today's so-called "trouser" cut jeans are actually a mild variation of the flare. Let's hope the older bell styles stay away and that flares are about as wide-legged as jeans ever get, since they simply aren't flattering for every woman.

4. Straight cut jeans

The straight cut jean is self-explanatory. The cut is straight from the bottom of the hip down to the foot. This cut does the best job of elongating a woman's leg. It is a perfect choice for petite women and for any other woman who wants to appear taller. While extremely tall women may shy away from this jean cut, I don't because I'm of the belief that a woman's legs can never be too long. This cut is good for women of almost any shape or size.

5. Skinny jeans

Skinny jeans become all the rage in fashion every once in awhile and a lot of women yearn to own them. The problem is that this cut simply isn't made for every woman's figure. Skinny jeans hug every curve from the hip down the top of the thigh all the way to the ankle. Women with perfect legs should most certainly give them a try - they haven't got anything to lose. And if one happens to be both tall and thin, then she will have the best of all worlds going for her. Unfortunately, few women are perfectly constructed. Many of us tend to carry weight right where we don't want it, in our hips, thighs and calves. Having something plastered against those flaws, displaying them for the world, to see is hardly what we want.

We have completed our first step on the journey toward finding the right type, style, and design of jean for your figure. We still have a more work to do; in a future article we will cover jean "rise."

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Posted on 15/09/11 13:08 by: Greta Lee

Please advise on best kind of jeans for woman with very thin thighs but tummy not really flat. Jeans that fit around the waist are always too baggy, but those tight enough around legs are too tight at the waist to close! I wear a 6 petite. Do I have to get them altered every time? Can't afford that :-( Thanks!
Posted on 16/09/11 12:34 by: Charlie

Try a pair of jeggings. They aren't all super snug, second skin legging style jeans, they now come in straight leg, bootcut, flare and more. The advantage is they have spandex for comfort and to ensure fit. Also, no zipper waist BUT you can still get a flat front if you don't want a total elastic look. The best I've found come from Diane Gilman on Home Shopping Network. Her jeans are the only ones I ever wear, including her jeggings.

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