Get in loser, we’re going shopping.

Words by

Alyce Cowell

Raise your hand if you would rather stick hot pins in your eyeballs than go shopping for jeans? 1…2…3… 

Yep, so that’s everyone in the entire world then. 

Let’s not beat around the bush – shopping for jeans is the absolute worst.It’s a bit like going on a really bad date: you go in with such high hopes (what will he look like? Will you be a perfect match? IS HE THE ONE?) before you get five minutes in and realise they are a complete psychopath just aren’t right. 

Don’t worry, it’s not you, it’s the jeans.

This is a mantra I have passed down to many a styling client, who think jeans shopping is as terrifying as taking a selfie without the gold crown filter, or finding out their skirt is tucked into their knickers.

Here’s eight more.

Tip 1. Make sure you’re feelin’ yourself

Unless you look in the mirror and think you look straight up fabulous that day, don’t even think about going shopping for jeans. It’s like trying on bikinis without a tan, or eating a big, juicy burger naked in front of a mirror. 

You’ll hate every pair you try on and your self-esteem will drop faster than the jeans to the floor.

Tip 2. Death to bootleg

Somewhere along the way, everyone was told bootleg jeans are the best and everyone should run and buy a pair. This is a lie. Bootleg jeans are very hard to pull off; they can make you look shorter than you are and completely overwhelm most body shapes. You don’t wear bootleg jeans, bootleg jeans wear you.

Straight and skinny leg styles, on the other hand, taper down the leg, hold everything in and suit average heights and sizes.

If you’re super tall, Jeanswest offers an extra-long jean which the brand will tailor for you and deliver to your house, so you feel spesh.

Tip 3. Wash is super important

By now we all know that black makes us look slimmer. This applies to jeans too. In fact, any dark wash will minimise the area, so it’s the best choice if you’re not your bum’s biggest fan.

Lighter washes do just the opposite, so they’re perfect for column or inverted triangle shapes that want to add some curve.

Tip 4. But not as important as sizing 

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I said to ignore the number on the tag? Well, this couldn’t be truer for jeans. 

You see, denim is a sneaky little bitch: it doesn’t care what size you think you are, it will tell you what size you are. 

If your chosen denim is stretchy, you might need to go down a size or two, and vice versa if the denim is stiff. 

Skinny jeans and jeggings should be a little tricky to get on (interpretive dance shapes encouraged) and remember, they will stretch half a size until you wash them again.

Tip 5. Whiskers, sandblasting and other embelli$hments

Just when we thought Ed Hardy was a horrible, distant memory, Topshop goes and releases a bomb-ass pair of sparkly boyfriend jeans, proving us wrong.

Embellished denim can be fabulous, but it’s also very dangerous territory. 

Take, for example, whiskers and sandblasting. All these are doing is drawing the eye to your hips and thighs, which is bad news for multiple reasons (including the fact you really love Cheese & Bacon Balls).

Same goes for our old friend the pocket. Oversized or embellished pockets can add bulk and draw the eye to those areas. So go for a dark wash with minimal detailing if you don’t want eyes burning into your butt cheeks as you walk down the street.

Tip 6. Low vs. high rise

If you’re anything like me, the only muffin top you want near you is filled with choc chips and microwaved for 30 seconds. I don’t want one as part of my outfit. 

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know the way to avoiding a muffin top is to go for a high waist, or a super high waist if you want to feel especially trim and taut. 

But I’d also suggest looking for extremely stretchy denim with at least 2% elastane (you’ll most likely have to go down a size or two). My favourites are Nobody Denim Cult and Sirens. 

If high waists ain’t your thang, try a mid-rise, which will still do the trick. 

NB: Low-rise jeans are starting to make a comeback and should be worn with caution, or when you feel like re-living Britney’s I’m A Slave 4 U film clip in the privacy of your own home. 

Tip 7. Get to know your body shape

Body shape is a fairly outdated term we stopped using when we decided it’s no longer 1890 and we can wear whatever the hell we want. But in Body Shape’s defence, it is a handy tool to use when you’re shopping for jeans.

Petite? Stick to cropped and 7/8 skinny leg styles that won’t drown you. Straight as an arrow? You can get away with lower rises and more embellishments. More A$$ than Nicki Minaj? Avoid that goddamn gaping back by wriggling into a pair specifically designed for hourglass and pear shapes, which gives you more room in the trunk but comes in at the waist. 

Illustration by Twylamae who also made this Larry David tee.

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