Think your jeans utter nary a word about you? We beg to differ.
Take bell bottom jeans, for example. These pants -- with their iconic bell-shaped hems -- were introduced innocently enough (sailors in the U.S. Navy first wore them in the 19th century). By the late 1960s, however, these exaggerated flares had been adapted by fashion-forward teenagers, not only as adolescent garb, but also to show a generation's counterculture sensibilities. Even today bell bottoms speak so symbolically they've become a key emblem of the 1970s, as much as a tie-dye headband.
Sporting bell bottoms in modern times is either retro-chic or simply out of date, depending on your overall sense of style. Luckily, you've got plenty of other denim options -- from skinny jeans to boyfriend jeans -- that speak volumes, too.
So what are the new fashion rules for wearing denim? Just one: Denim rules!
Jeans, in all their body-contouring comfort, can be worn everywhere -- from the office to girlfriend luncheons to after-work cocktail parties. Whether you want to live in denim at work or play, the key is adapting jean-altering trends to suit your own style.
What do your jeans say about you? From revealing classical leanings to trend-spotting clues, we'll tell you how your jeans are spilling the beans. But first, we'll look at the different types of jeans out there.
What Are the Different Types of Jeans?
No matter what your age, body shape or budget, it's OK to vow to wear a current style of jeans. Why so vigilant? Even if you aren't always on-trend, there's no reason to risk frump-inspired fashion -- like high-waisted jeans.
Jeans with a high waist devote a lot of real estate to the tush and tummy -- two areas most of us don't want to accentuate. Plus, most high-waisted jeans have tapered legs that elicit an exaggerated pear shape.
Not that we're advocating going too far in the other direction. Sure, low-waisted jeans are trendy, but they're also a dead giveaway that you probably still shop in the junior section. And, because most moms do a lot of stooping and bending in the course of a day, low-rise jeans can be problematic -- especially if they show so much of your backside that the phrase "crack is wack" starts running through the minds of passersby.
Your best bet is to find a body-flattering middle ground: Jeans with a wide waistband that hits just below the navel. Whether you opt for a baggy boyfriend fit or stretchy jean-like leggings known as "jeggings," pay attention to fit.
Even if they're baggy, jeans should fit around the waist and backside. Jeggings, on the other hand, should fit to perfection -- everywhere. If there's a little extra "you" hefting over the waistband or straining the seams, jeggings might not be the most flattering choice.
Keep in mind that jeans with a price tag of less than $50 are made for the masses; you'll have to try many pairs to find just the right fit. But thanks to a simple, bling-free finish, these jeans are budget-friendly and versatile. If you need each article of clothing to serve multiple roles in your wardrobe, stick with a classic indigo wash rather than trendy enzyme or acid washes.
Once you enter the $100-plus range, manufacturers start piling on the details. If you're not careful, your jeans could say a little too much about you, thanks to ornate stitching and flashy rhinestones. If you're willing to spend more than $200 on your denim, it's a safe bet you'll pair jeans with a Coach purse or Fendi scarf, so watch for labels you'll be proud to tote. If you're spending several hundred dollars, accept nothing less than a custom, shape retaining fit. Top-tier manufacturer Borelli, for example, adds a touch of bi-directional stretch to its denim.
So now that we've looked at some basic styles of jeans, let's look at what the different trends reveal about your personality.
What the Different Types of Jeans Say About You
If your go-to denim is a five-pocket boot cut jean, your tastes trend toward the classic. Like your jeans, you prefer quality clothes that wear well, season after season. Although you don't mind dropping a few Franklins for jeans that fit to perfection, it makes you feel better when the style lasts long enough to get your money's worth. That's why you always make sure there aren't any attention-grabbing details that scream "last year's trend," like glitter rinses or rhinestone-studded pockets.
Plus, a boot cut -- with its slight flare on the leg from the knee downward-- minimizes hips and offers balance. Any exaggeration in shape is trendy, so if your favorite jeans sport a lot of flare, it's probably safe to say you spend some of your free time flipping through the pages of "US Weekly."
Whatever your style, a dark indigo denim will age well, looking better with each wash. Stay away from artificial or obvious variations, like the aforementioned glitter coatings, acid-washes or all-over distressing (even expensive jeans will begin to fall apart at the seams).
If you swear by trouser jeans that offer a pleasing play on menswear, we're willing to bet you carry your overall style like a sophisticate. Trouser jeans have a relaxed fit that glides over curves without looking boxy. The leg of a trouser jean creates an A-line from the knee downward, a versatile shape that looks great with flats or heels -- which is just one reason this jean lends itself to a variety of looks. You can dress it up for work or rock it out for Friday night.
If you're a fan of casual chic, there should be a pair of faded, distressed boyfriend jeans in your closet. These jeans have a relaxed, lived-in fit through the hips and leg, and are either cropped or cuffed to hit mid-shin. They're trendy, but much more forgiving than their form-fitted counterpart: skinny jeans.
Most experts advise skinny jeans are best for women with stick-straight figures, but a casual excursion to the local shopping mall offers plenty of evidence to the contrary. If you're a trend-spotter who gravitates to skinny jeans, pair them with flowing tops that hit at the hips and a wedge heel that offers height.
Finding that elusive, yet perfect jean for your body type and personality can take a lot of time. But if your best jeans are flattering, odds are you wear them well. Really well.
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