Updated: Mar 8
So you want some help finding YOUR perfect denim? First thing's first, understand that there’s no such thing as “Universal Sizing”. So what may be a 28 at Madewell isn’t a 28 at Levi. So don’t look at the tag; instead we want to focus on what looks and feels best.
Here are some tips to help you do that:
1. CHECK THE FABRIC MAKE-UP
We want to pay attention to the cotton percentage and the elastane/lycra percentages.
1) The more cotton, the higher the quality the denim will be.
2) Elastane/Lycra is how much stretch you're going to get. You want at least 2% lycra or elastane.
For example: American Eagle prides themselves on designing jeans that are really comfortable without sacrificing quality— they have 90% cotton. But they also have 2% elastane to avoid over-stretching or sagging in the waist, legs or butt.
3) If you want as little stretch as possible, look for the term “Rigid” jeans. This is denim that’s high in cotton. You’re going to aim for 98% or higher. One brand that is known for their rigid denim is Levi. Some people love Levis. Some people don’t and that’s because they don’t have as much stretch or give as other denim. I find I have to size up 1-2 sizes in rigid denim.
2. ROUND DOWN IN SIZE
If you’ve pulled two pairs of the same pants and they both kind of fit you... choose the smaller size. Most denim will give throughout the day, so you want to account for that when you're buying a new pair. Also make sure there’s no gapping around your waist in the back. That's a sign of an ill-fitting, oversized jean.
3. PAY ATTENTION TO THE RISE
The rise is how high or low they sit on you. It’s the distance from your crotch to the top of the pants. There are three types of rises:
1) Low-Rise: Sits 2” or more below your navel. Think Britney and Christina back in Early 2000s. Not a good look if you're older than 18. Say no to low.
2) Mid-Rise: Sits just below your navel. It may look different on everyone, but it's typically in between your hipbones and belly button.
3) High-Rise: Oh, the glorious high rise! Women love it. Men typically hate it. This rise hits at your belly button or higher. Some pants even make a "rib-cage" rise.
Everyone’s rise is different based on their torso length. Some people have long torsos & some have short. So your preferred rise could be different than your friends I don’t buy anything under 9”. Any shorter than that, and everything is spilling over. I like to be buckled in nice and snug!
4. SNEAK A PEAK AT THE BACK
A good fitting jean will accentuate ALL your curves, especially when it comes to the pocket placement. Pocket placement has more of an impact on the shape of your butt than you've ever even thought about. Ready for some magical tips?
1) Pocket proportions and butt proportions should line up. If you have a small booty but are wearing oversized pockets, it's visually going to throw things off. Same goes for the opposite. Keep it consistent.
2) Pockets should be centered at the fullest part of the butt. Too wide or too narrow are going to appear off.
3) Pockets that angle in create curves and add an illusion of “lift” to your seat.
4) Lower pockets are typically preferable. In general, your pocket should end where your bottom meets your leg. If your pockets are too low (think: on your thighs) then it's going to shorten your leg line. If they're too high, it's going to flatten your butt.
5. DOUBLE UP
As I am sure you’ve all experienced, finding that perfect pair of denim doesn’t always come easy. In my favorite jeans, I will buy two— one to have hemmed to work with flats or tennis shoes and one kept long to work with pumps or heeled boots. Now obviously, you don’t need to do that for a cropped skinny jean. It looks the same no matter what. But for longer wide-length pants, I do. That said, if you love your cropped skinny jeans, it might be worth it to double up— you can rotate through your pants so you always have a fresh pair and it cuts down on the wear & tear each pant receives.
6. PROPERLY CARE FOR YOUR DENIM
Wash your denim as little as possible! It’ll help them last longer and avoid fading or shrinking. Of course over time, your denim will get dirty. Here are some alternate ways to clean them that doesn't include a washer or dryer:
1) Sun + Air: The combination of the sun's UV rays and fresh air are a 1-2-Punch to freshen up and deodorize your denim. We're taking a page out of grandma's playbook.
2) Spot Clean With Detergent: Using a wet rag and liquid detergent, use a little elbow grease to spot clean your pants. Just ensure you go back over with a saturated wet rag to wipe away any remaining detergent.
3) Bring out that handy dandy vinegar. It's magic when cleaning anything, and it's super easy to use! Fill a spray bottle with water & vinegar & spritz denim to neutralize and eliminate bad odors. Vinegar stinks when wet, but the scent will go away once your pants are completely dry. And they'll smell super fresh!
And then of course... sometimes our denim just needs to cycle through the wash. When this happens be sure to 1) flip your jeans inside out, 2) wash in cold water by themselves, and 3) hang dry!
For more in depth tips, be sure to check out my video! xx