Five tips to find the perfect pair of jeans

Jeans are lazy and unstylish. That’s what someone once told me. Well I’m afraid I beg to differ. Once relegated to heavy-duty work and casual dressing, they are now a wardrobe staple, and are always firmly in style.

woman in jeans

Thanks to a myriad of styles now available, they can be appropriate for all sorts of occasions, and they provide the perfect blank canvas to build an outfit around. They go with pretty much anything, and look just as good with heels as they do with trainers.

Another somewhat dubious view is that you can’t wear jeans as you get older. A study in 2016 found that the majority of the 2,000 people surveyed believed they shouldn’t be worn by anyone over 53. One argument is that jeans aren’t structured enough as they lose their shape – but that just means you aren’t wearing the right ones!

The perfect, modern pair will instantly inject a dose of contemporary effortlessness into your look. So much so that leading fashion stylist Claire Ginzler – who styles the likes of Prue Leith – says her first style tip to anyone over 40 is to buy a pair of skinny dark blue jeans.

But as we all know, finding said perfect pair of jeans can be a nightmare. And when there are so many styles to choose from, it becomes almost impossible to know where to start.

So here are my top tips to help make the experience a little more bearable:

1. Styles

As Claire Ginzler recommends, a skinny pair of jeans is your best friend as you get older. This does not mean spray on jeans though! These will slim your figure and pull you in at all the right places.

Look for jeans that include a small percentage of elastane which will make them far more comfortable to wear, especially when you’re feeling bloated.

Also opt for a darker colour – they’re more versatile and slimming. Light skinny jeans are less forgiving.

Another style I’m a big fan of is boyfriend jeans,  particularly flattering for those with larger thighs. They’re cool, easy and comfortable to wear, and can look particularly stylish with heels. They can be a little over baggy though, so instead look out for ‘girlfriend’ jeans – an updated version that are slimmer and more flattering but still have the same overall style.

Straight jeans are ones to be more wary of as they can end up looking a bit ‘mumsy’ due to having no particular shape. Equally, flared jeans are tricky to pull off unless you’re tall and slim as they can be overwhelming and accentuate your hips and thighs.

Finally, when buying a pair of jeans make sure they are super tight around the waist – almost too tight. Because they will stretch, and it’s often jeans that are too big that makes women look larger.

2. Low, mid or high rise?

Getting this right is equally important as the overall style as the right ‘rise’ can make a huge difference to your figure as it will balance out your proportions.

If you have fuller hips and/or want to hide a tummy, go for mid or high-rise. The same goes  if you have a long waist but shorter legs.

If you have small hips, go for low-rise to show them off. If you have a short body with a larger bust, go for mid-rise. And if you have a shorter waist and longer legs, go for high waisted.

3. Statement jeans

Statement jeans have become increasingly popular and there are lots of options to choose from: embroidered, studded, ripped, patchwork… the list goes on. A statement pair can really elevate your outfit, but you are going to find them less versatile. So these shouldn’t be the first pair of jeans you invest in, unless you know you’ll get huge use out of them.

4. Where to buy?

Generally, I recommend buying in store so that you can try on a variety and really get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. If you go to a store that has a ‘denim bar’, make good use of it and ask for help from one of the specialists, even if you have a general idea of what you’re looking for. They will be able to offer suggestions and different styles so you can narrow down your selection to the perfect pair.

Alternatively, if the thought of denim shopping makes you break out in a sweat, buy online from brands that offer free returns and shipping. That way,  you can buy a bunch and try them on in the comfort of your own home to find the right pair.

5. How much to spend?

You don’t have to spend a fortune for great jeans, but if you wear them regularly they are a worthwhile investment as they should be more durable. Overall I recommend buying from a brand that is particularly well known for them as they’ll have invested more time in the cut and fit.

Finally, if you fancy trying a ‘trend’, don’t spend too much on them because they’ll soon look dated. Save your money for the more classic jeans.

Oh and one final tip – if you’re short like me, save money and time on getting jeans turned up by just buying cropped ones, because they’ll come up full length on you!

Jacynth Bassett

About Jacynth Bassett

I'm the founder of the-Bias-Cut - Shopping With Attitude Where Ageism Is Never In Style. Swiftly becoming recognised as one of the UK’s leading pioneers of style at every age, I have written on the topic for The Guardian online, The Huffington Post and have contributed to an internationally published book. I also regularly speak on panels and podcasts, am a ViewVo accredited business mentor, and the weekly ‘Style Advisor’ for The Menopause Room. In my spare time, I love to dance, specialising in hip-hop, and to dine out with family and friends.