Jeans 101: The Five Basic Styles of Jeans

February 16, 2009 by Anna   | Filed under Style & Trends


Thank you Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss for inventing the jeans in 1873. They took some thread and a little bit of metal and BAM! Jeans are something you cannot live without. Unlike jeans in the late 1800s, they now come in many different cuts and styles. On one hand, it's great to have so much variety, but sometimes it can be little bit difficult to find the right pair for you. I will have many many future post on my break down of the jeans. But for now, I want to define the 5 basic cuts of jeans to help you in your next jeans mission. This one is for the girls!

Classic Cut Jeans
classic mom jeansOriginally meant to cover up bigger hips and waists, these "mom" jeans do the exact opposite. They are usually high rise at the waist and continue to taper down your leg. Does that sound like a recipe for success? Of course not. Classic jeans rarely look good on anyone. In fact, I will say they don't look good on anyone and should be banished. Forever. When you have wider hips, it's important to first go for a mid rise waisted pair of jeans. That way, it cuts your hips in half and it doesn't look like your hips start at your waist. If you go for these mom jeans, not only will it end up drawing much attention to your waist, you will look like you're wearing parachute pants. Just don't even try a classic fit on please.

Boot Cut Jeans
Unlike the classic cut, boot cut jeans looks good on everyone. It works with all shapes and sizes and the way it slightly flares out at the bottom is very figure flattering. The only thing to consider is the rise of the waist. If you're thinner, you can go for any rise, but make sure the cut at the waist doesn't give you a muffin top. If you're medium sized at the waist, go for a mid or low rise. And if you're thicker at the waist, go for a mid rise. Do not shoot yourself in the foot by giving yourself a muffin top -- anyone can get it, including the skinny people. So don't obsess over the numbers and go for what's comfortable and flattering.

Some bootcut recommendations:

Flare Jeans
With flare jeans, the flare at the bottom is a bigger than a boot cut, but not as big as bell bottoms. This look generally looks better on taller girls because of the wider flare at the bottom. I am very short and I have to hem all of my jeans. If I were to rock the flare, it would start at my knees and cut off my leg even more. So stay away from flares if you're short like me. For taller girls however, the flare gives your legs more dimension and depth so it doesn't look like one continuous long line. Very flattering! In you're in the market, Charlotte Russe has some flare jeans for 15%off.

Some flare recommendations:

Straight Cut Jeans
A straight cut is basically straight up and down. No tapering or flaring at the bottom. I love a straight cut when I want to tuck my jeans into my boots. It's less stuffing and more comfortable. This cut looks better with heels if your jeans are slightly longer. However, I think these jeans look best with boots (tucked in), walking shoes or flip flops. I recommend a straight cut for average height girls to shorter girls because it elongates your legs. As I mentioned, if you've got longer legs, a straight cut might end up looking like you have giraffe legs. No offense, I wish I had that problem.

Some straight cut recommendations:

Skinny Jeans
Skinny jeans are very fitting all the way through and tapers at the bottom. These look great on taller girls. However, you can still rock it if you're short, but I think they look better when the short girls wear heels with them. I know some girls wear sneakers or ballet flats with skinny jeans and the results are stunting. If you're short and you want comfortable footwear, go for straight or boot cut jeans. Leave the skinny jeans for a funkier/trendier occasion where you can break out those heels because that look is hot.

Some skinny jeans recommendations:

Well I hope this clears things up when you are staring at the wall of jeans at the Gap and wondering where you should start. There are so many other factors and tricks that you need to know about jeans and I will continue to write more about it later. Happy jean shopping!


8 Responses to “Jeans 101: The Five Basic Styles of Jeans”
  1. MizzJ says:

    Great post, I to agree with the skinny jeans evaluation. Why do people always try to make themselves look shorter than they are??

    MizzJ’s lastest blog post: DuJour Magazine and New York Fashion week!

  2. Jules says:

    When I was looking for skinny jeans I literally thought they would go out of style before finding a pair that fit well. The front was always all wrong. Finally I tried on a pair of Paige Blue Heights skinny jeans and I can’t sing them enough praises :) No creases, they are a totally perfect fit.

  3. Ali says:

    Great post! I have found that Guess jeans work really well for me. The low rise cut and the pockets in the back give me some extra booty oompf. When you’re not doing enough squats to get a real booty, make sure you find a jean that will highlight what your mama kept all to herself…

  4. Jackson says:

    Who are these people who think they can tell us what to wear!!!! I’ll wear what I want, thank you very much! And if I want to wear a friggin’ toga, I WILL! Mind your own business and leave people the frig alone!

  5. Cheryl says:

    What do you do if you physically cannot wear the lower rise pants? They’re cute and in all the stores, trust me – I know, because I can’t find anything BUT those pants. I have an ileostomy and can’t wear the lower rise pants that hit right at my stoma. I’m not alone in this dilema!! It really doesn’t help when people say, “I will say they don’t look good on anyone and should be banished.” Boy, thanks for making everyone feel bad.

  6. Lil fashionista says:

    I must disagree I am short and I look amazing in flare jeans mabey you should try a less sever flair it took me a couple tries to find the perfect flair but I look great in the pair I own

  7. Anna says:

    everyone has such a hard time finding the right jeans, so I found it necessary to write about it again. Thanks for reading!

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