Jean Class 101: Find denim that flatters YOU!
by Holly WIlensky
Jul 09, 2010 | 17710 views | 0 0 comments | 842 842 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Denim comes in all kinds of cuts, fits, styles and washes.
In the fashion universe, the first day of fall is considered July 5th. What does this mean for you? End-of-summer sales and fall, fall fall! Since it’s fall in the world of fashion, what time better time to talk about jeans than the present?

These days, jeans are like cars; you can spend $39.99 for the economy model or $199.99 for the high- performance model. With more brands than ever before, it’s important to know what you’re getting when choosing the appropriate pair for your budget. Knowledge of wash, fit, and style are just a few components you should arm yourself with when venturing into the land of denim. Whether you are thin or curvy, the possibilities seem endless with the selection of rinses, cuts, waist styles and brands.

Considering your body shape will determine the amount of RISE that you need in a pair of jeans. The rise, which is measured on the front and back of the pant, determines how high the jeans sit on your waist. The rise in the back is measured from the middle of the lower back to the adjoining seam between the legs. The front rise is measured from right below the belly button down to the middle of the adjoining seam between the legs.

If you’re shapely, a higher rise is best. Most jeans have a standard rise of 11 to 13 inches. A low rise is about 9 inches or less. If you have more of a straight figure than a curvy one, a low-rise might be to your liking. The low-rise waist will sit lower on the hips, therefore giving the illusion of more curves.

STYLE TIP: Make sure to wear the appropriate undergarments according to the rise of your jean to avoid “undergarment leakage.” You don’t want your high-rise underwear spilling over the of your low-rise jeans!

The RINSE of the fabric determines the color. There are hundreds of shades of denim ranging from white wash bleach to midnight black. In the past 20 years denim companies have gotten very creative with different rinses. The market is now saturated with vintage wash, stone wash, sandblasting, whiskering and of course, the infamous acid wash of the 1980s. These particular rinses give a more distinct, worn effect of the denim fabric, in turn making them look distressed and worn prior to purchasing.

STYLE TIP: Consider your body shape when choosing the appropriate color rinse. The darker the rinse, the slimmer the overall look.

The LEG and LENGTH determine the style of the jean from the knee down to the ankle seam. A variety of widths change the overall look ranging from flare to skinny. Skinny leg jeans have the smallest opening around the ankle while wide leg jeans have the largest opening. Play with the different lengths that are available. Crop, cigarette, or regular length are the ones most prevalent on the market.

Cropped lengths are usually worn in spring or summer, as part of the leg is exposed, and hit 1 to 8 inches below the knee Cigarette lengths usually skim right across the top of the ankle bone, creating a sleek 1950s look. A wide leg creates the illusion of a longer, leaner leg because it draws the eye downward.

STYLE TIP: Curvy women look leanest in a wide leg pair of jeans in a full length. Shorter women look taller and leaner when wearing a full length jean that hits the shoe.

Brooklyn hotspots for great jeans:

* Redberi: 319 Flatbush Ave, Park Slope

* Blueberi: 143 Front St, DUMBO

* Vice Versa Vintage: 244 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg

* Buffalo Exchange: 504 Driggs Avenue, Williamsburg

* Pieces: 671 Vanderbilt Avenue, Prospect Heights

* Lucky Jeans: 135 Smith Street, Cobble Hill

For more styling tips, fashion education and bargain inspiration, please visit

“Your bargain fashion superhero!”
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