Reader Question – Jeans That Fit

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jeans 533Hi Allie,
I wanted to ask your opinion on something. I have a really difficult time buying pants, especially jeans. I have the flattest butt you will ever see in your life, however, my stomach is far from flat. I also have pretty skinny thighs. Most pants hang off my butt awkwardly and have lots of room in the thighs, and if I go a size smaller, they're too tight across my stomach and I get major rolls. Since sit-ups and squats aren't exactly my favorite, I'm not seeing my body shape change too much in the near future…Do you have any suggestions for brands that aren't made for girls with big booties? By the way, I'm 21 and attend a university.


Hey Anna:
Jeans seem to be harder for women to buy than bras – they are a wardrobe staple, yet often times look horrible on a woman’s figure. They were originally sported by cowboys, but even a century of modifications haven’t quite made jeans a garment that always works with a feminine shape. However in the past couple of years, many breakthroughs have taken place in the denim industry and there is more selection for those who aren’t necessarily built like a mannequin or a cowboy.

First things first I recommend a style of jeans that has some lycra in it. The stretch will help fit across the stomach and keep the style fitting around curves and your thighs. As for your rear, your denim should always have back pockets to add definition – flap pockets will make a rear look larger and rounder. Steer away from slash or on-seam pockets – a tummy will usually make these pockets gape and cause you to look larger than you actually are. Also steer clear of skinny or stovepipe jeans – these will make your rear look flatter, your tummy larger and in general you will look like a walking lollypop. A straight or slight boot-cut leg will be far more flattering and balance out your frame. Dark denim hides far more flaws and tricks the eye better than lighter hues, add a crease down the front and it will dress up your denim and make your legs look longer (and detract from the tummy). As for rise, you want something near the natural hip which will provide proper coverage for your tummy and also make your rear look curvy.

Another great option are trouser jeans. The lighter-weight denim hangs better so you have a cleaner silhouette, and patch pockets look appropriate. Again, steer clear of front slash pockets, and consider a wider waistband to reduce the chance of the dreaded Muffin Top. As for places to find jeans for your figure:

Custom-Fit Jeans
Many stores sell custom-fit jeans, and for reasonable prices. JC Penney will custom-create a pair of their St. Johns Bay denim for only $44.00. When filling out your information (have a friend with a tape measure ready), you are asked the shape of your tummy, rear and thigh. This is from the custom denim questionnaire:

JC Penney Custom Jeans
Custom-fit jeans can also be found at Make Your Own Jeans.com and Lands End. There are many other custom jean companies out there, but few others deal with body specifics and measurements of waist, rear, and thigh.

Find Your Fit
A lot of sites now offer a program where you enter information about your figure and they suggest styles or brands that will possibly work. Zafu is one of the best sites for this, they ask questions such as, “do your jeans usually gape at the waist?” and “When a jean/pant fits well on your hip, how does it typically fit on your waist?” as well as asking a bit about your personal style and denim needs.

Zafu Jeans Finder

Once all the questions are answered, you are given many different styles to choose from, where to purchase and their current purchase price. You also have the ability to adjust your answers to change the results.

Other Jean-finder Sites:
I Love Jeans
Oprah’s Best Jeans for Every Body

Brands for Your Shape
There are many brands out there that are made to work with a woman’s curves. The Tummy Tuck brand comes to mind – they create jeans that help you be a size smaller and often have styles that help lift and define the rear. Tummy Tuck and Not Your Daughter’s Jeans (created by Tummy Tuck ®) can be found at Nordstrom and many other retailers.

And finally… if all else fails, hit the men’s section. As a fellow woman with a tummy, I often find that men’s jeans fit well because they are geared for a smaller bum, smaller thighs, and weight to be carried in the stomach. In a classic cut (think Levi’s 501s) and a dark color, they will look chic on a female frame.

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. Allie,

    I also have a hard time with women’s jeans. Every once in awhile I try them again, but so far haven’t had much success. I have an especially bad time with the rise on women’s jeans. The rise is always too short. For many years I have been successful with men’s jeans, both for the inseam length and the rise.

    Men’s jeans are measured my their waist size and inseam. I just have to remember that I need a men’s waist size that will fit my hips, which is a  considerably larger number than my waist size. What than means is that the guys’ jeans are too big for me in the waist but fit everywhere else. Works for me! I don’t mind jeans being a bit loose in the waist if the rise, inseam and everyplace else fits well.

    I have also found that men’s inexpensive jeans are much better made and last longer than inexpensive women’s jeans. I never pay more than $20 a pair. Often I pay under $15 and sometimes under $10. I am talking about the generic store brand of men’s jeans such as Sears, Penny’s, K-Mart.

    If  nothing else works, Ladies, give the men’s section a try, especially if you can buy them on sale for under $15.

    Nevertheless Allie, I will take a look at the websites you have listed.


  2. Great article, I just would like to add a hot new Denim line out of South Florida designed for the curvy/plus size ladies. The brand is Little in the Middle, and this jeans line caters to all sizes of women that have a curvy shape. One of the most interesting thing that it does; is that it is sized one size smaller in the waist than in the hips, so it eliminates that awful gap in the back of your jeans that let your rear end hang out while seated while offering a great fit. I think that this would be a great addition to your listing of jeans brands for future articles. http://www.Littleinthemiddle.com

  3. Hi Allie!

    I’m a little late to the party here but I’m quickly catching up in the archives and I’m so glad I found this site!

    This particular post caught my eye because I have finally managed to find jeans that really fit and are comfortable – and I wanted to share!

    I’m definitely petite (only 5′) but I’m also quite curvy.

    I’ve found that Eddie Bauer curvy fit jeans (and cords) work really really well on me. There is enough fabric through the hips, butt and thighs that I’m not smooshed but the waist comes in enough that it neither gaps (my usual problem in pants when they fit my hips…) nor muffin-tops. And most amazingly, I didn’t have to shorten them (I got them in petite, obviously).

    Anyway, just wanted to put that style/brand out there for others who are searching…


  4. Hey Allie,
    I just wanted to tell you that I really appreciate all that you do with this blog. As a full-figured young woman I struggle with many of the same fashion issues that you do – jeans that don’t fit right,boots that don’t fit my wide calves etc. I’m a college student graduating this May and am currently trying to navigate the job market. I’m convinced that looking polished and professional are just as important as the quality of your resume. Reading your blog has really made a big difference for me and I wanted to tell you how much you are appreciated.
    Thank you!
    -Adina, NY

  5. I’m pretty short and it was always a pain to find jeans that fit. I took a day off of work and went to the mall when it was quiet and tried on pretty much every brand there. Once I found one that consistently fit I started buying new pairs off of eBay as needed.
    Even with the various jeans fit websites out there, I think you’d probably be better off just going and trying on a boatload until you find one where the basic pattern they use suits you. Have you tried Zara? Their suits are usually cut for someone without a lot of curves, so perhaps the jeans would be worth a try.

  6. I also have the same problem and I find that Gap’s “Long and Lean” jeans fit me really really well. They also make my legs look longer and slimmer, which I personally like.

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