Denim Fit and Find Guide: Plus Size

Plus Fit

A good pair of jeans will lengthen your legs and hug your curves.
A good pair of jeans will lengthen your legs and hug your curves.
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A great pair of jeans should do two main things: fit and flatter. If your jeans are killing you, they don't fit -- and they probably don't flatter, either.

There is such a thing as too comfortable, though, when it comes to denim. Denim isn't loungewear; it leaves the house. A perfect pair of jeans hugs your curves, holds you in and makes your legs look longer, butt higher and thighs leaner. Ideally, good jeans make you want to strut.

Specifically, plus-size jeans fit and flatter if they:

  • Sit at the waist; low-rise jeans tend to muffin-top everyone above a fashion-model size.
  • Are snug in the waist so they don't gape in the back or slide halfway down your butt when you sit down. But they're not tight. If you ooze out over the waistline, size up. Taking in is easier than taking out.
  • Are comfy in the butt and thighs, so you can move and sit easily. But they're not baggy -- baggy jeans make curvy women look larger than they really are. Jeans should skim your curves, not squeeze them or hide them.

These straightforward fit guidelines, while fairly essential in a plus-size fit, are really just the foundation. As most women know, there are some handy tricks that can lengthen and slim. Some of the most effective ones are:

  • Color: The simplest way to slim is to go dark. The darker the jeans, the thinner I'll look in them. Black is your friend. So is dark wash.
  • Fading: Some strategic fading, specifically a light, vertical fade down the center of the thighs, can make your legs looks longer. Avoid "whiskering" at the hips or any horizontal fading, which makes people look wider.
  • Contouring: Well-placed seams between the waist and the hips can accentuate curves and make the waist look smaller. Curving or diagonal seams work best.
  • Balance: For real women, the final word in looking great has to be "balance." In jeans, that typically centers on the leg opening, which should balance out the hips, thighs and butt. The wider the bottom of the leg, the smaller you look at the top. Bootcut is good for balancing; flared or wide is even better.

Knowing what to look for is a necessary first step in finding some jeans that don't make you cry. The next step is knowing where to look for these denim antidepressants.