Jeans are a staple in every wardrobe. Unfortunately, finding the right-sized jeans isn’t always easy. We’re here to help with our ultimate guide to jean sizes. Finding the perfect fit just got much easier!
Choosing a Style
Before you worry about size, decide on a style. Whether you prefer classic denim jeans, skinny jeans, or jeans with some built-in stretch, having a clear idea of what you’re looking for will make your search much easier.
Going Out in the Yard or Going Out on the Town?
Yard work calls for jeans that protect your legs and give you room to move. But if you’re going out on the town with friends, form-fitting black jeans might be a better choice.
Low Rise and Showy or Covered and Comfy?
Low-rise jeans can be quite revealing, turning a regular T-shirt into a crop top that shows your midsection and quite a bit of your lower back.
High-rise or “mom” jeans provide full coverage so that you can be confident you’re not showing more than you want to when you bend over.
Mid-rise jeans are a good middle ground between the two extremes, providing enough coverage without sacrificing style.
There’s More to Legs Than Length
Another element of the style you choose is the cut of the leg—skinny, straight, boot-cut, flared, or wide-leg. Skinny jeans are form-fitting, and the pant legs fit tightly to your legs all the way down.
Straight legs fit closely to your figure but aren’t skin-tight, and the leg extends in a straight line from knee to foot. Boot-cut jeans widen slightly below the knee to go over boot tops.
Flared jeans, called “bell-bottoms” back in the ‘70s, are snug around the waist, hips, and thighs. However, they widen a lot starting just below the knee, creating a roomy, triangular section that flows and waves as you walk. Wide-leg jeans stay as wide as the widest part of the hip all the way to the foot.
Every leg style goes through cycles of popularity. In 2023, wide legs are back, but straight and boot cuts are classic styles that you can wear pretty much as the mood strikes you.
Which Wash Is Your Wash?
The “wash” refers to the color of denim, but it may also affect the feel of the fabric. Light wash jeans are pale blue with an almost white tint. Medium-wash jeans offer a little more color saturation while still having a light hue, while acid-washed jeans feature a bleached look with various textures that give them an edgy vibe.
Stone-washed jeans have a worn, faded look and can be softer when you first put them on. Indigo jeans have the darkest wash, and you can dress them up or down, depending on the occasion.
A Word About Color
Colors may not look quite exact online, depending on your screen and device settings. There can be slight differences in hue when compared with the real thing. If you’re worried about a certain shade or tone, it’s best to double-check in the store or ask for a swatch before you buy.
Measure Accurately Every Time
Measurements will make the difference between jeans that fit and jeans that disappoint. Use a flexible measuring tape against your skin, but don’t pull it too tight to make it say what you want. The only person who has to know your true measurements is you!
Most jean manufacturers will size them based on waist and length or inseam. Some brands may also include measurements for the hips and thighs and for the rise, which is the distance between the crotch and the waistband.
How To Measure Your Waist Depending on Your Preferred Rise
For low-rise jeans, wrap the measuring tape around your hipbones and take the circumference. For mid-rise jeans, measure just below your belly button. And for high-rise or mom jeans, measure at or a few inches above your navel. You measure where the jeans will sit on your body depending on the rise. Low-rise jeans don’t care where your natural waist is—sit below it.
What’s an Inseam?
The inseam is the distance between your crotch and the bottom of your ankle. It determines how long or short the legs of your jeans will be. To measure your inseam correctly, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and measure from the base of your crotch down to the floor. This measurement will help you find jeans that fit your leg length without being too short or too long.
When Standard Sizes Aren’t Standard
Just because one pair of jeans is size 12 doesn’t mean that it will fit like all other size-12 jeans. Different brands, styles, and cuts can have different sizing standards, so always double-check the measurements before you buy.
It’s also important to consider the stretchiness of the fabric: some denim has no give at all, while other types contain stretchy fibers to give you more comfort as you move.
Size Charts Are Your Friend
While it’s best to try on jeans before you buy, online shopping is more convenient. When shopping online, check the size chart every time. You’ll discover how different one brand’s idea of a size 10 is from another brand’s definition. Match your measurements as closely as you can to the size chart for the brand and style you’re considering.
Even jeans with a fabulous reputation for comfort, stretch, and fit, like KanCan jeans, have their own sizing standards, so consider them before buying.
Before and After You Buy
Before you make a purchase, there are a few additional steps to take. These extra steps help you avoid disappointment and make sure you spend wisely.
Check the Return Policy
Knowing the return policy ensures that you can receive store credit or make an exchange should the jeans not fit right.
Save Packaging and Receipts
When you return an item, many stores require that it come back to them with all its original packaging. You may also have to include the packing slip or receipt.
Don’t Remove Tags Until You’re Sure
Keep the tags on your purchase until you’re positive that you’ve made the right choice. If you decide to return your jeans, the tags must go with them.
With this ultimate guide to jean sizes, finding the perfect fit should be less stressful. Take your time with that measuring tape and choose a style you find comfortable and flattering. Then, read the item description, size chart, and reviews carefully to get the best idea of whether your choice will work for you.