Jean Guide: How to Find Best Jeans for Your Body Type

By Kaia Saunders / October 11, 2016
Beautiful legs with perfectly matching jeans

There is no such thing as a bad body, only bad jeans! Trust us – with the right pair of denims tailored to suit your body type, and your days of saying “I have nothing to wear” are over.

Intro: understanding your body shape

It all comes down to the shape of your body. It’s true that no two women have exactly the same curves in all the same places. What they do all share, however, are five basic silhouettes that fall into specific categories, i.e. definitive body shapes that resemble five distinctly shaped fruit: apple, banana, strawberry, pear, and hourglass. What fruit are you?

Woman body shape graphic containing strawberry, banana, apple, pear and hourglass body types

Five most common woman body shapes

Jeans for Apple shaped body

You’re an apple shape if:

  • You have medium-sized to large breasts.
  • The upper part of your body is in proportion with the lower half, but your waist is quite short and is where you carry most of your extra weight.
  • You have slim legs and a flat bum.

With this body type, your aim should be to elongate the figure. As most of your weight is concentrated around your midsection, it is important to divert the eye away from this area whichever way you can. Achieve this by creating the image of curves and shapes with tops and belts that define the waist. A great trick is to focus the attention either up to your curvaceous chest or down to your slimmer legs.

Say Yes to:

  • Jeans with an elasticized waist
  • Denims with a mid-rise waistband (especially if they come with built-in stomach support)
  • Bootcut jeans
  • Any top with a nipped-in waist detail
  • Necklines that are wide or come to a deep V on your chest
  • Tops that end between your hips and upper thighs. Tunics and empire style tops beautifully skim the body to create a slimmed-down effect.

Stay away from:

  • High-waisted jeans which will draw attention to your full stomach area.
  • Low-rise jeans as these will only give you a “muffin top” effect.
  • Any sort of ruffles or embellishments around your bust or waistline. Remember, the trick is to focus the attention everywhere else but your fuller midsection.
  • Tops that end in your midriff area – these will make your body look stout and boxy. The same goes for tucking tops into your jeans. Your stomach will end up looking round and heavy. Rather go for longer length tops in soft fabrics that gently graze the body.

Celebrity examples:

Jennifer Hudson, Drew Barrymore, Kate Winslet, Jessica Simpson, Catherine Zeta Jones, Tyra Banks.

Create the Illusion of Curves

Jennifer Hudson wearing white top and blue jeans

The Power of Peplum: The beautifully feminine shape of a peplum top is the perfect way to create a slim, defined waist (photo: looklive.at)

Jennifer Hudson’s body has the classic apple shape. Here she shows us how to create curves using color and careful contouring. With a nipped-in waist, her peplum top instantly draws the eye to the slimmest part of her body – right below her breasts. The flared bottom of the top falls right on the widest part of her hips to give off a gentle hourglass effect. Combined with slim-fitting straight-cut jeans, her frame is elongated and slimmed down beautifully.

In general, an apple shape benefits best from loose-fitting men’s style shirts in a longer length. You can inject a bit of fun, playful personality by varying with shirt colors or details. Be sure to pick a pair of denims that shows off your shapely legs.

Layering Basics

Kate Winslet in solid neutral color outfit

Getting the Basics Right: Kate Winslet combines solid neutral colors to highlight her legs and play up her natural curves (photo: claudiabartelle.com.br)

Kate Winslet does well to focus the attention to the shapeliness of her legs. Her dark skinny jeans elongate the length of her body, especially as it is in a shade close to the dark color of her jacket. Her white T-shirt falls just under her hips with the loose fabric perfectly concealing any extra weight around her midsection. Notice the long necklace which points downwards – this makes the eye move downwards, giving the illusion of a longer torso. Clever trick!

Jeans for Pear Shaped body

You’re a pear shape if:

  • You have small shoulders with small to medium-sized breasts
  • Your hips are the widest part of your body and this is where you carry most of your weight
  • Your torso is smaller than your hips and lower body
  • Your waist is the slimmest part of your body

If you’re a pear shape, you’re not alone – most women in the world have this type of body. As your waist is so small and defined, highlighting this area should be your number one priority when getting dressed. By drawing attention upwards to this petite part, you’re effectively downplaying the extra weight you’re carrying around your hips. It’s a good idea to try to bulk up your bust by wearing a padded bra to create more balance and add proportion to your shape. Unlike apple shapes who want to divert attention away from heavy breasts, your aim is to add embellishments and ruffles to your neckline to create the illusion of a fuller chest.

Say Yes to:

  • Jeans that sit low or just below your waist.
  • Wrap tops that fold at the waist, drawing attention to this slim part.
  • Jeans with tapered legs and bootcut styles which lengthen the look of the legs.
  • Boyfriend jeans and other relaxed-fit styles which provide some extra room in the thigh and bum area. Just don’t go for too loose as these could make you appear bigger than what you actually are.
  • Denim in a dark-wash color. Darker shades on your lower half are an excellent way to slim the legs and make them appear longer, especially when worn with pointy heels.
  • Flare legs, which help to balance the body.
  • Structured, fitted blazers which add the perfect balance to wider hips.

Stay away from:

  • Jeans with small pockets on the bum. The smaller the pocket, the larger your bum will seem.
  • Any kind of details on the front pocket area. Look for styles that are flat and fuss-free across the hips and without front pockets, if possible.
  • Tops that end where your hips are at their widest – this will only make them look wider.
  • Belts that are draped right on the hips.

Celebrity examples:

Kim Kardashian, Beyoncé, Rachel Bilson, Alicia Keys, Claire Danes, Jennifer Lopez.

Shades of Gray

Kim Kardashian wearing gray skinny jeans with a draped gray T-shirt and black leather jacket

Layers over Skinny Jeans: Kim Kardashian perfectly pairs gray skinny jeans with a draped gray T-shirt and black leather jacket (photo: cosmopolitan.co.za)

Thought skinny jeans were not an option for pear-shaped girls? Think again! This outfit on Kim Kardashian shows us how to do it just right. She cleverly creates a base of one solid color from top to toe. The gray of her T-shirt is carried all the way down her body leading the eye downwards. This makes her frame appear taller and her silhouette seem slimmer. She finishes off the look by wearing a structured jacket with boxy sleeves which makes her top half appear larger, and so balancing out her proportions. Also, notice where her T-shirt stops just under the widest part of her hips. Perfect!

High-waisted to Streamline Curves

Beyonce with a pair of high-waisted skinny jeans

Tucked-in and Trim: Beyonce tucks a button-down shirt into a pair of high-waisted skinny jeans for a sleek effect (photo: trace.tv)

This look proves that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to dressing – it’s all about how you combine your clothing that makes all the difference. Beyoncé is known for her curves, and here she accentuates them to their fullest. Her jeans feature only two small pockets high up on her waist which creates a sleek, streamlined look. All of the bright patterns in this outfit are kept to her top half, focusing the attention upwards. As her waist is so tiny, the fastening of her jeans right at this point highlights her curves to perfection.

Balance It Out with a Blazer

Rachel Bilson wearing a boxy blazer

Balancing Basics: Rachel Bilson creates more weight on her upper body by wearing a boxy blazer (photo: casamastudios.com)

Rachel Bilson has a gorgeous petite figure that is noticeably more pronounced at the hips. Her outfit here works perfectly to even out these proportions and balance her curves out evenly. Her jeans are loose and slightly relaxed, providing more room for her wider hips. This is made up for with the structured fit of her blazer – pointy and precise at the shoulders in comparison to the casual easiness of her lower half.

Jeans for Hourglass Shape body

You’re an hourglass shape if:

  • You have the classic Coke bottle shape. Think Marilyn Monroe – full bust, small waist and round hips.
  • Your body is in proportion, with your shoulders and hips being the same width apart.
  • When you pick up weight, it’s generally spread out quite evenly across your body, although you may be prone to larger hips, thighs, and bum.

The classic hourglass shape… this is considered to be the quintessential female silhouette. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t come without any style pitfalls, though. This body type usually has large breasts accompanied by rounded hips and thighs. The key here is to find a pair of jeans that really fit you well in all of these areas. As a general rule, baggy clothing will only make you appear heavier, and clothing that is too tight will only draw more attention to your problem areas. Aim to find jeans that skim the body instead of molding to it.

Say Yes to:

  • Jeans with wider legs and a slight flare. Just make sure that the flares don’t exceed the width of your shoulders.
  • Low-rise jeans in a bootcut style. Wear them simply with a deep V-neck top for a simple, classic look.
  • Skinny jeans, just keep your figure in mind. If you carry a little extra weight in your thighs, rather steer clear of super-tight denim. Straight-leg jeans will look just as elegant and still show off your curves.
  • Black or very dark denim. Instantly elegant and slimming, your hourglass curves will look stunning.

Stay away from:

  • Jeans with too much stretch in them as these can make your thighs and hips appear larger.
  • Baggy clothing, both on your upper and lower half, as they can make you look bigger than you naturally are. Rather choose softer, breathable fabrics in styles that lightly skim your body if you’re after a more relaxed fit.
  • A-line or empire style tops. Your waist needs to be cinched at its smallest part and these styles will only make you look larger.

Celebrity examples:

Sofia Vergara, Jennifer Aniston, Selena Gomez, Christina Hendricks, Scarlett Johansson, Salma Hayek.

Bootleg is Best

Sofia Vergara wearing bootleg cut jeans

Balancing Act: Bootleg cut jeans are the best cut for hourglass shapes like Sofia Vergara – perfect for balancing out round hips (photo: denimology.com)

Jeans that feature a slight bell-bottom are the perfect fit for the classic hourglass shape. Here’s why: they’re a great way to hide platform heels so you get that added height without anyone even realizing. Plus, the wider leg balances out broader hips for a slimming, streamlined effect. Be sure to pick a style that fits snugly from the waist all the way down to the knee, as well as an ankle width not any wider than your hips. This is a great easy daytime look that is comfortable and still really flattering.

Slight Bootleg for Petite Figures

Jennifer Aniston in a gentle bootleg cut jeans slung low on the hips

Slight Flares for Slight Figures: Petite hourglass shapes like Jennifer Aniston can pull off just about any look, but look best in a gentle bootleg cut slung low on the hips (photo: coolspotters.com)

Jennifer Aniston is a prime example of an hourglass shape that is more on the petite side. Although her frame is smaller than most, she still keeps that classic number 8 shape. With slimmer hips and thighs like hers, a solid leather belt can draw attention to this shapely part. We also often see her dressed in baggy boyfriend jeans – a look only recommended to hourglass shapes as small as hers. On slightly larger hips and thighs, boyfriend jeans could make you seem larger.

Sleek, Straight Lines

Selena Gomez in slightly high-waisted jeans with ripped detailing

Distressed and Skinny: Selena Gomez’s hourglass shape is perfect for slightly high-waisted jeans with ripped detailing (photo: vavavogue.com)

Selena Gomez is sleek and elegant in high-waisted jeans fitted neatly at the waist. Paired with the simplicity of a basic black tank top and an oversized cardigan, she looks chic yet comfortable. Her jeans are ripped at the knees while being fitted at the hips and thighs – a trendy twist to a sophisticated city look.

Jeans for Strawberry Shape body

You’re a strawberry shape if:

  • The widest part of your body is your shoulders which are straight and quite square.
  • Your shape narrows as it moves downwards (think of an inverted triangle).
  • Your breasts are medium-sized to large.
  • Your hips are slim and you carry little to no weight around your thighs and bum.

Strawberry-shaped girls get the cream of the crop when it comes to jeans – just about any style suits you! Your extra weight is carried on your upper body, meaning smaller hips, slim thighs and a barely-there bump. The key to looking great is finding the perfect accompaniment to your jeans, particularly ones that downplay (or accentuate) your broad shoulders while still giving you sexy and shapely curves.

Say Yes to:

  • Simple, uncomplicated tops, especially those with a flattering V-neckline.
  • Basically any type of jeans – lucky you! As your weight is concentrated above your waist, you most likely have slim, toned thighs and small hips. This leaves you free to experiment with whichever style of jeans you fancy most. Bootleg, flared, straight leg and skinny jeans – they all look great on your frame.
  • Strapless and empire-waist tops which highlight the elegance of your décolletage and play up your shapely breasts.

Stay away from:

  • Tops with ruffles, puffed sleeves and shoulder pads – basically anything that could add even more volume to your upper body.
  • Tops that feature horizontal stripes as well as small prints of any kind. These will only make you look broader.
  • Any clothing without any shape. Not only will they hide your feminine silhouette, they could make you seem larger than you are.
  • Too many accessories (necklaces, scarves or embellishments) on your upper torso. The key is to draw the eye downwards and focus attention on the slimmest part of your body – your small hips and fabulous legs!

Celebrity examples:

Charlize Theron, Kate Upton, Elle MacPherson, Renee Zellweger, Jennifer Garner, Angelina Jolie.

Keep It Straight

Charlize Theron in simple clean lines outfit

Straight cut: Charlize Theron is blessed with a lithe ballerina frame, which she celebrates in simple clean lines (photo: dailymail.co.uk)

When in doubt, keep it simple. Here Charlize Theron looks classic and elegant dressed simply in a straight cut, slim-fitting dark wash denim paired with a body-skimming white top. Her slim legs are the star of the show, further emphasized by statement pointy stilettos. A classic white top is a perfect choice for a strawberry shape, particularly one that highlights beautifully toned shoulders like hers.

Stay Simple on Top

Kate Upton in classic white and blue denim

No Fuss Above the Waist: Kate Upton is bright and breezy in classic white and blue denim (photo: dailymail.co.uk)

Decide what is going to be the hero of your outfit. In Kate Upton’s case, it’s definitely her distressed ripped skinny jeans. The eye is instantly drawn down to the slivers of skin showing on her knees. All that’s needed is a basic top in brilliant white that gently drapes over the body. This look is effortless yet stylishly sexy.

One Uniform Color

Elle MacPherson looking glamorous in one solid color

A Solid Block of Color: Elle MacPherson knows the key to looking glamorous – top to toe in one solid color (photo: stylebistro.com)

Strawberry shapes are generally advised against clothing that shows off the torso too much. Here Elle MacPherson shows us how to do it tastefully. Her outfit is made up of basic items all in natural dark shades, from her top all the way to her shoes. She breaks the color by drawing the eye to the slimmest part of her body – her hips, by choosing a belt with an interesting detail. Her pointy heels further help to lengthen the body and draw the eye downwards.

Jeans for Banana Shape body

You’re a banana shaped if:

  • Your body has very few curves.
  • You have square shoulders and your shape goes straight down to your hips and legs.
  • You have no real waist definition; your bust, waist and hips are nearly the same sizes.

The main idea here is to add a more rounded, womanly shape to your hips. Look for jeans that sit either low on your hips or high on your waist. Low-riding hipsters and high-waisted jeans are perfect to achieve this look. Jeans that fall right on your hips will only make them look more square. On the plus side, banana shapes are usually endowed with long, slim legs meaning jeans probably look amazing on your athletic frame!

Say Yes to:

  • Pretty feminine styles and fabrics like lace, ruffles and bows which will help to add a soft femininity to your appearance.
  • Blazers that are boxy and structured at the shoulders adversely offer a sexy, menswear-inspired look. They will also help to give you a defined waist, creating that womanly figure.
  • Jeans that fit right above the hips or low on your waist. These will help to create some shape in this area.

Stay away from:

  • Baggy, boyfriend styles which could make you look too tomboyish.
  • Tops with vertical stripes which can make your body look even straighter and emphasize your lean shape.
  • Flares that are too wide at the bottom. These may swallow up your whole appearance and appear clumsy.

Celebrity examples:

Zoe Saldana, Katie Holmes, Kate Hudson, Cameron Diaz, Gwyneth Paltrow, Keira Knightley.

Go for Volume on Top

Zoe Saldana in a top with big billowing sleeves

Soft, Flowing Sleeves: Big, billowing sleeves give Zoe Saldana’s slim frame a rounder, more curvaceous shape (photo: marieclaire.com)

Tall, statuesque women like Zoe Saldana appear regal and sophisticated in just about anything they wear, and jeans are no different. Her choice of a floaty voluminous top adds shape to her athletic frame and a softness to her overall demeanor. By tucking the shirt into her jeans, she creates a defined waist. Her jeans are not too slim-fitting but the distressed effect on the thighs add some shape and dimension to her long legs.

Ruffles and Capped Sleeves

Katie Holmes in delicately structured top with a ruffled neck tie and capped sleeves

Delicate Fabrics: Katie Holmes looks curvier than normal in this delicately structured top complete with a ruffled neck tie and capped sleeves (photo: justjared.com)

Katie Holmes is another tall woman with a lean, athletic frame. She plays up these features in relaxed fit jeans that are slightly baggy around the thighs and gently skim her body. Her top is the highlight of this look, with a large bow around her neck and dainty capped sleeves adding a touch of whimsy to her ensemble. The top cleverly falls at the widest part of her hips, giving off the illusion of a shapely feminine physique.

Mastering the Midriff

Kate Hudson with flared jeans

Caught in the Middle: Kate Hudson’s choice of flared jeans fits perfectly right above her hips to give the illusion of a more curved shape (photo: dailymail.co.uk)

Kate Hudson is known for her fierce figure and healthy lifestyle, and her body shows the results! She accentuates her toned midriff in a cropped white lace top that falls above her navel. Her jeans are high-waisted to just above her hips, leading all the way down to a slightly flared bottom. While the aim is normally to give the illusion of more curves, this look proves that gentle curves are beautiful too.

Jeans fit guide

Finally, here is a simple illustration to help you understand the different jeans fitting options that we’ve discussed previously.

Generally, it comes down to two factors: leg style options and rise options. Look at the jean fitting guide bellow to see the available variations.

Jeans fit guide including leg style options and rise options

Jeans fitting guide showing variations of leg style and rise options

Alright, now when you’re armed with this information, you must be ready for a nice pair of jeans that matches your body perfectly.