Perfect Jeans: The Ultimate Buying Guide (by Body Type)

The Jeans-Buying Guide for Every Body TypeOh, how we women LOVE that perfect pair of jeans -- if only we could find them. It's just so darn difficult to find the right pair, the perfect pair that fits our body to a tee and hugs and releases in all the right places.

Of course, we were dying to get the denim-buying dish over tea with Stacy London of What Not to Wear. Instead, we got the next best person -- a stylist trained and certified by Stacy London.

Rosana Vollmerhausen has over a decade of styling and retail experience and now owns her own personal shopping/styling business. Her most recent venture is joining Stacy London's new Style for Hire network. Today, she provides us with the ultimate guide to buying jeans by body type.

A guide to finding the perfect pair of jeans -- this is something dreams are made of!


The Ultimate Jeans-Buying Guide by Body Type

In the perfect pair of jeans, a woman should look and feel her best. With a little knowledge about which styles of jeans look best by body type, you can finally find your own perfect pair -- or two! To use this guide, find your body type and see the jean style Rosana has picked for you. Take note of the wash, the height of the rise, and the cut of the legs. All of these factors can help you choose the best jeans for your figure and to look your very best!


We always want to create balance between the top half of the body and the bottom. Avoid narrower jeans that will make your top look larger in comparison (i.e., a dark super-skinny jean). For example, try a trouser with a wider leg.


Look for a wider leg or straight-leg jean; nothing too skinny toward the ankle, which will only make your top half look disproportionately larger. Try to choose a denim wash that isn't much darker than what you are wearing for a top; if it is too dark by comparison, it will make you look narrower on the bottom, and draw more attention upwards.

banana republic dark resin trouser denim

Banana Republic Trouser Jean in Dark Wash ($69.50)

lucky sweet straight denim jeans

Lucky Sweet N Straight Jeans in Ol Dragon Alley Wash ($99)

levi's demi curve straight jeans

Levi's Demi Curve Straight Jeans in Night Streak ($59.50) 

Average Height to Tall

You also opt for a bootcut since you have a longer leg line.These AG bootcut jeans have a lighter wash and whiskering, which draws attention down, providing balance to someone who has more on top.

AG Adriano Goldschmied jeans

AG Adriano Goldschmied "Angel" Bootcut Jeans in Howl Wash ($168)

paige skyline straight jeans

Paige USA Skyline Drive Straight Leg in Cottonwood Creek ($189) 


In general, choose denim that sits at the top of the hip. Look for stretch in your jeans that will give you that "corset" effect, holding and slimming the leg and backside.


Look for straight leg jeans, darker wash. A rule of thumb when you're petite: no cutting that line from your waist to the bottom of your foot!  Avoid bootcut - where the flare interrupts that line. A tailored trouser denim is flattering as long as it doesn't flare, but instead goes straight down to where your shoe meets the floor.

downtown denim trouser j. crew

J. Crew Downtown Denim Trouser in Clean Rinse Wash ($108)

straight jean banana republic

Banana Republic Jeans in Dark Wash ($49.50)

curvy denim slim jean

Ann Taylor Curvy Denim Slim Jean in Mineral Wash ($88)

lucky brand sweet straight denim jeans

Lucky Brand Sweet N Straight Jeans in Tiebreaker Wash ($79.50)

Average Height to Tall

Look for higher-waist denim with a slight flare or straight leg. Avoid wide-leg denim, which can easily look sloppy.

7 for all mankind jeans

7 for All Mankind High-Waisted Bootcut Jean in Rinse Wash ($165)

If you want to experiment with skinnier denim, try Gap Real Straight Jeans in Dark Wash. They have great stretch that will hold and slim your bottom half. They also aren't a true "skinny" (i.e., not tapered), which means they you won't get that exaggerated proportion (i.e., skinny ankles making hips look wider).

gap skinny

Gap Real Straight Jeans in Dark Wash ($69.50)


In general, a trouser denim with a mid-rise is what you want to look for. Low-rise jeans can squeeze and create tummies.


We want to lengthen the leg line for petites that have extra around the middle. To achieve this, look for dark denim with a mid-rise waist; low rise will only serve to pinch the midsection, creating tummies. 

j brand jeans

J Brand Midrise Basic 16" Straight Leg Jeans in Dark Vintage Wash ($158)

Average Height to Tall

You can also do a thicker waist band (such as the two-button below) on your jeans to provide a higher rise, and more a makeshift "tummy tuck."

not your daughter's jeansNot Your Daughter's Lightweight Denim Wide Waist Jeans ($108)


In general, avoid super low-rise denim; it will accentuate hips and can create love handles.


Choose a trouser style to create balance. However, be careful not to select denim that has too wide of a leg, which can easily look oversize and sloppy on a petite frame.

banana republic dark resin trouser denim

Banana Republic Trouser Jean in Dark Wash ($69.50)

curvy trouser jeans

Ann Taylor LOFT Curvy Trouser Jeans in Dark Rinse ($69.50)

If you want to do a slim-fit, "skinny" denim, go for one that is more of a straight-leg, rather than tapered at the ankle.

j brand bombshell

J Brand Bombshell Cigarette Leg in Pure Wash ($172)

Curvy straight jeans ann taylor

Ann Taylor LOFT Curvy Straight Jeans in Antiqued Indigo Wash ($59.50)

Average Height to Tall

Trouser denim works well for medium height to tall. You can also opt for a bootcut that will play up curves. Try jeans with a minimal flare bootcut for a more modern look.

j brand jeans bootcut

J Brand High Rise Bootcut Jeans ($168)

curvy bootcute jeans gap

Gap Curvy Bootcut Jeans in Saturated Wash ($69.50)



The idea is to simply wear clothing that fits.Don't do baggy, and tailoring is key. When you are petite and non-curvy, it is easy to be overwhelmed by jeans that don't fit correctly, making you look like you're playing dress up. On the upside, you can do a good variety of styles: skinny, a minimal bootcut, straight, trouser. Try to avoid anything overly wide or flared, which, again, can overwhelm.

skinny jeans banana republci

Banana Republic Ultimate Skinny Jeans in Dark Wash ($89.50)

joe's jeans bootcut icon muse

Joe's Jeans Icon Muse Bootcut in Baicy ($167)

ann taylor slim leg jeans sage wash

Ann Taylor LOFT Modern Slim Leg Jeans in Sage Wash ($69.50)

Average Height to Tall 

joe's jeans bootcut icon muse

Joe's Jeans Icon Muse Bootcut in Baicy ($167)

modern skinny jeans

Ann Taylor Modern Denim Skinny Jeans in Dark Rinse ($88)

With some height, you can also play around with boyfriend-style jeans.

relaxed boyfriend

Ann Taylor LOFT Relaxed Boyfriend Jeans in Sycamore Wash ($98)

jimmy skinny jeans Paige USA

Paige USA Jimmy Jimmy Skinny Jeans in Rebel Without a Cause Wash ($)



A wider leg will offer you the ideal balance by not going too skinny on the bottom. However, I am all for petite plus-size women who want to try some of the more of-the-moment silhouettes (i.e., a slimmer-fit denim). Try a straighter leg, instead of one that is super-narrow toward the bottom.

not your daughter's jeans tummy tuck

Not Your Daughter's Jeans Tummy Tuck Straight Leg Stretch Jeans ($108)

tommy hilfiger skinny jeans

Tommy Hilfiger Hope Skinny Jeans in Black Wash  ($59.50)

michael kors jeans

MICHAEL Michael Kors Skinny Jeans in Premiere Indigo Wash ($79.50)

levi's shaping straight jeans

 Levi's Perfectly Shaping 512 Straight Jeans in Blue Rinse ($43)

Average Height to Tall

Go for bootcut, which plays up sexy curves.

michael kors jeans plus size

MICHAEL Michael Kors Sausalito Jeans in Premiere Indigo Wash ($79.50)

levi's shaping boot 512

Levi's Perfectly Shaping Boot 512 Jeans in Black ($42)

Other Proportions:

Long Waist, Shorter Legs

Try denim that is a higher rise, which will shorten your torso and give you a longer leg line.

Short Waist, Longer Legs

Low-rise denim can work for you.

Ready to shop for jeans now? On your mark, get set, GO! And, thanks so much to Rosana for these marvelous tips. Jeans, jeans, here we come!

What are the best jeans you've found for your body type?


Disclosure: Ann Taylor is a retail partner of Style for Hire.The writer was not compensated for these particular recommendations.

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