Fit & Flatter: The Denim Guide

My Personal Styling clients often ask me ‘can I still wear skinny jeans or are they out?‘ or while at their house doing a wardrobe edit, working through mountains of denim in their closet we pull out the flares which haven’t seen the light of day for 10 years from amongst the pre-kids, maternity and post-baby denim.

Wear what feels good

My response to clients with either of these styles (and any others for that matter): wear what you feel good in; there are so many options out there, you don’t need to limit yourself to only wearing what’s the most fashion-forward at that time. Get the right cut, fit, and length for you.  Of all my clients over the years, not one has ever said ‘find me the most fashionable jeans’. But they do ask for the best denim for their shape and lifestyle (smart to get away with for work? Or stretchy and suitable for crawling around with tots?)


So much choice

Girlfriend, boyfriend, straight leg, slim leg, skinny leg, flared, wide leg, cropped flare, wide leg crop, distressed, dark rinse, coated, coloured… you will find all of these styles on the high street and more so there are no shortage of options.

It’s easy for me to say wear what you want, but if you don’t know what you want, or don’t feel good in what you thought you wanted, these tips may help you when looking for jeans to work out why some may not be working for you and find the ones that do…



Hemlines create a visual full stop for the eye, so ensuring this is at the right point on you is the difference between looking in the mirror and feeling like jeans work for you, or not.

A good general rule for the length of anything from skirts to dresses and trousers to jeans is for it to fall at the narrowest point, drawing the eye in.  The most flattering length for skinny or slim trousers or jeans is stopping at the narrowest point of your ankle to show a little bit of ankle or at least the top of the foot. With these styles, my clients will often find them too long as many ‘regular’ length jeans are long on anyone under 5’6″ and bunch up at the ankle, which does nothing for your legs.

Find the right length for you

Skinny or slim jeans: If too long, turn up inside à la Olivia Palermo (and me!) rather than having them altered, this way you can adjust the length to suit whatever shoes you’re wearing.

Do the inside turn-up like O.P.

[Images: Pinterest]

Wide leg jeans: If you want them full length, have them taken up (or DIY if you can), otherwise, the deep cuff is very current so you could embrace a turn-up now and let down again later.

Be inspired by Celebrity Stylist Nicky Hambleton-Jones’ deep turn up on high waist jeans for weekend with trainers and for work with heels.

[Images: @nhjstyle / Instagram]

Relaxed or boyfriend jeans: Give it a rough roll-up just above the ankle for a relaxed feel.

Turn-up like you mean it…


The position and size of pockets makes a huge difference in how your bottom appears, whether you want to show off what you’ve got, give the appearance of more or less volume or you’re simply wondering why you prefer your reflection from behind in the mirror in some jeans more than others.

A simple guide is to think:

  • Large pockets low down will flatten your behind.
  • Small pockets high up will high make it appear rounder.

Does my bum look good in these…?

Rise – how low (or high) will you go?

High waist jeans are often favoured for their tummy-pulling-in properties but don’t work for everyone.

Hate the gape? Try a slightly lower rise to avoid needing one size to match your hips and waistline.

Want to smooth your tummy? High waist pull-on or side-zip jeggings give a bump-free look under fitted tops.

Petite or shorter in the body? Look for a lower rise which will sit more in proportion with your hips to waist.


One brand’s ‘high waist’ is another’s ‘regular’ and a skinny fit in one store may be more like a slim leg in another. This is a tough one though, because while I’d love to suggest the best brands and cuts for each body shape, we’d be here all day! So all I’ll say on this one is try and try… and ask friends what they’ve tried and tested, or if you’re really struggling, book a personal stylist or drop me a line via instagram.

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