Shopping for jeans

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Knowing the different styles will help when shopping
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Jeans are the foundation of any wardrobe so shopping for the right pair is key

Let's face it. Shopping for jeans can be a nightmare. Sizes are all over the board depending on what brand you're trying on. Jeans from the Gap may run too big. Lucky Brand jeans might be too snug. You just never know from brand to brand. Before you know it you've spent an entire afternoon trying on and shopping for jeans - and oftentimes you go home frustrated, and worse, empty-handed.

Jeans are the foundation of any wardrobe, so finding the right pair is important. More important is that you buy more than one pair of jeans when you do find the right style and fit. I learned the hard way on that one. Once my favorite pair of Gap jeans wore out, I went back for more, only to find out they had discontinued that particular style.

Learning the different styles will help you when shopping for jeans. While it may seem overwhelming - classic fit, curvy, boy fit, distressed, bootleg, skinny, etc. - it's actually a blessing that we have so many choices given all our various body types.

Before we get into descriptions of different styles, it's imperative to keep these key elements in mind before you begin shopping for jeans.

**Know your body type. Do you have a small waist and larger hips? Or are you slender throughout? Maybe you have longer legs and shorter torso. Having a grip on your body shape will help to eliminate the need to try on certain cuts. I fall into the curvy category, which means skinny and straight-leg jeans do not compliment my shape at all. Trying on those jeans only depresses me!

**Are these jeans for casual wear or are they "going out" jeans? This makes a difference when you're shopping for jeans. Do you want a darker denim or lighter denim, a snug fit or a comfortable fit? Know before you go.

Jean styles

Classic fit: "Classic fit" jeans at Eddie Bauer are not the same as classic fit jeans at American Eagle. It's important to keep this in mind. The one thing all classic fit jeans have in common is that they are the original fit to a particular brand. The classic fit leans more toward straight-leg style, so if you've got curves, you might need to go up a size.

Slim fit
: Just what it sounds like - this cut is for a slender or petite body type. Slim fit jeans usually have a boot-cut or tapered leg and are tight in the butt and thighs.

Low-rise: Low-rise jeans are more of a modern-day cut and sit lower on the hips. Forget about jeans that top out at your navel! This popular style makes your torso look longer, which in turn makes you look thinner.

Boot-cut: Boot-cut jeans gained in popularity in the 1990s. They are basically a cross between the flare leg of the '60s (which has returned) and the tapered leg of the '80s. Boot-cut jeans are widespread among brands and generally have a tapered knee and slightly flared ankle suitable for boots.

Relaxed fit: I often refer to this style of jeans as "Mom jeans" because they are ample in both the seat and thighs and often accompanied by a tapered ankle for a slimming effect.

Flared: The hippies of the 60s brought this style of jeans to light. You weren't truly a hippie unless you owned (or borrowed) a pair of flared jeans. This fit is back in full force today. Flared jeans hug the hips and spread out at the ankle to accommodate boots or high heels. Pair with a tight-fitting top for a slender look.

Curvy: If you have an hourglass figure, curvy jeans are a must. They are roomier in the seat and legs, but generally are offered in boot-cut and low-rise fits.

When you're shopping for jeans, there are a few don'ts to consider:

**No jeans without pockets on the rear. It looks dated, and unless you truly have the best derriere in town, it just doesn't work.

**Super low-rise jeans are a major don't. Bottom line? They just don't fit. Anytime you sit down or bend over, your plumber's crack is there for the viewing.

**Acid-washed is out. Hopefully forever.

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