Jeans - how to choose the right ones for your shape

We chatted to mum and leading image consultant, Cosimina Nesci ( about how to find the perfect pair of jeans in a world where floral frocks and aprons have been given the boot and replaced with a hot pair of jeans!

As a mother of two boys my uniform is a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.

I wear jeans to a mothers club meeting, soccer games, out to lunch with the girls, and for a night out on the town. They are easy to wear and just as easy to dress up with a great jacket and a pair of heels.

Jeans evolved from a garment associated exclusively with hard work. What began as miner's uniform has transformed into one of the hottest items available on the consumer market. For this reason it is important to know what to look for in a good pair of jeans. Price does not necessarily mean great jeans. The cut and the fit are essential.

The most difficult thing to shop for is a pair of jeans. When shopping for a pair of jeans it is vital you find a pair that suits your body type. Elements of a perfect pair of jeans are:

  • Size
  • Style
  • Cut & fit
  • Rise
  • Pockets
  • Embellishments


Different brands and the amount of elasticity in a pair of jeans will determine the sizing. The manufacturing industry is not consistent with sizing, so don't depend on this when buying jeans. The best way to buy jeans is grab several pair and try all.

Manufacturers today will mostly preshrink jeans. I like buying my jeans an inch longer, they can always be taken up if needed. Keep in mind that if you take off too much of the hem you may lose the shape or the knee break will end up too low and look out of proportion. This is especially true for boot leg and flared jeans.

With some brands you may not have a choice. Some manufacturers, especially designers, are making them as long as 34 inches. They are going on the assumption that it's always possible to have a tailor shorten a pair, and so they cover a wider market with less inventory.

If length is an issue try looking for longer designed jeans. A great website for this is Talljeans cater for the extra tall woman in all cuts and fits. Even better they ship around the world.

Cut & fit

When buying jeans you will notice words such as "cut" and "fit" mentioned. The cut simply refers to the actual shape of the jean. The fit is the "looseness" or "tightness" of the jean. There are generally five standard cuts:

  • Tight/Skinny: A close fit throughout the leg
  • Straight Leg Jeans: Traditional cut with a straight narrow leg that does not flare at the ankles
  • Boot Cut Jeans: Cut to skim the thigh with a slightly flared lower leg
  • Flared Leg: Jeans Narrow at the knee, and an extra wide flare at the leg. Most common leg type on low rise jeans.
  • Trousers: This cut has a fuller leg from the hip down with a wider hem.


The "rise" defines how far below the belly button the jeans, will sit. It is measured from the crotch to the waist. Standards are:

  • High Rise: Sits above the waist line.
  • Regular or Mid Rise: Waistband is located precisely on the waist
  • Low Rise: Waistband is located typically 2-3 inches below the belly button. The most popular rise in most denim brands, especially for women.
  • Super Low: Dangerously low, 3-5 inches below the belly button.

Click here to download the Guide to the Perfect Fit (PDF file).


The pockets size shape and intricacy should be determined by your body shape and size. Here are some of the variations in pockets and what to look out for.

  • 4-pocket: No change pocket
  • 5-pocket: This is the most widely used pocket configuration, with the fifth pocket being the small coin pocket. Be careful if you are bulky around the waist as too many pockets means extra fabric and extra bulk.
  • Fashion Pocket: These are usually covered in embroidery and are eye catchers. If you do not want attention drawn to your bottom and hip area then do not wear jeans with pockets detailed.
  • Flap Pocket: Great for the woman who needs extra padding around the bottom. The flaps will give the illusion of a bigger bottom.
  • Front Patch Pocket: Attached to the exterior of the pants
  • Multi-pocket: These are generally used in cargo style jeans. Again they are adding bulk to areas such as the thighs and legs.
  • Rear Patch Pocket: Attached to exterior of pants
  • Seamed Pocket: Pocket in inside pants, opening finished with a seam

Other factors to look out for when buying jeans are; colour, length and weave.


When talking about blue jeans the darker the jean the dressier. Dark jeans absorb light and so are great if you have a little excess weight. Light jeans reflect light and so can add a few pounds to your weight or shape.

If you are carrying weight then an overall colour jean is better. Jeans with lighter shades will add emphasis to those areas. If you have heavy thighs then light shades on the thighs draws attention and reflects light. This is the same for the buttocks area.


Whether you are choosing boots or shoes, your jeans should always fall to the bottom of the heel. If they are flat the same applies, just to the bottom of the heel.

If your jeans sit mid way on your heels or above the flat of the shoe you will make your legs appear shorter. The overall look will appear odd because the hem of the leg stops before the shoe heel does.


During the different seasons the weight of denim changes. In winter the thread count on jeans is more and so jeans are heavier.

Maternity Jeans

Long gone are the days when maternity clothes were sailor dresses and elastic pyjama trousers.

Today designers have embraced the pregnant woman and are conscious of making her look sexy and comfortable at the same time.

The uniform for pregnant women also starts with a great pair of jeans.

The pregnant woman needs to find jeans that are flattering to her. Consider the overbelly, midbelly or underbelly fit.

When looking at leg cut and pockets it is also essential you take into account the rules when buying pre-pregnancy. As you get bigger, select an overall colour with minimal lighter patches.

The best thing about jeans is you could be wearing a great pair to playgroup in the morning. Then team then up with boots and a great knit for lunch. Jeans have been designed to show off the leg and butt. When buying your next pair of jeans think of your best qualities' and then go for it. Jeans should be sexy, versatile and above all comfortable.