Denim Do’s and Don’ts: A Guide for Jeans Shopping


Last night I was strolling around my local mall and decided to pop into the Diesel store and try a pair on. Now normally I am a fan of Joe’s Jeans, Rock & Republics, and 7’s. I’d not tried on many Diesels in the past and thought, what the heck, I had some time to kill. Now bear in mind, normally I refuse to pay full priced for my designer denim. I like the finer things like designer jeans, but I know I can find them cheaper on or Ebay. But I tried on several styles of Diesel and loved nearly all of them. I ended up buying (at full retail price!) a pair of these Louvely’s – but after wearing them out last night they feel a bit more stretched and I think I may have to try to get them in one size smaller. I should have read this guide first and bought them a bit too tight. Here are some more tips for your next denim shopping trip!

How short should you hem your work/going-out jeans?
Always hem your jeans on the long side. Make sure that they are almost touching the ground with the highest pair of shoes you will wear with the jeans. This is because there is a shrink-factor over time. It is very subtle but one day you will look down and your going-out jeans will become your sneaker jeans. This is a natural progression, because the dark wash of a typical going-out jean fades over time and the hem comes up.

What about “sneaker” or “flip flop” jeans?
They should come close to the ground. Make sure you have one fold in the jean – the jean will fold up around your lower leg. This will help with long-term shrinkage and prevent the jean from dragging on the ground. Many of the denim manufacturers, like Diesels, Joe’s, Paige, Citizens and Seven, are offering a petite jean with a 30 or 31 inch inseam – perfect on a shorter girl with a heel and for a girl that is 5’4″-5’6″ it is a great sneaker jean.

What are jean trends that should be set aside now but will come around again?
I think the only thing we are seeing less and less of (thankfully) is the super low-rise. I am sure there will be some Britney-like pop star that will bring back the super-sexy low rise jean. This jean makes your butt look smaller, but sitting down is not an option.

What’s the key to hot modern jean?
Just the right amount of washing, not too many whiskers, but just enough to flatter you in all the right places. Women need not be afraid of whiskers; they can be extremely flattering when in the right place.

Talk to us about butts.
Not every butt is created equal, which is why we need so many alternatives. A larger butt will need a larger pocket size, but placement must be in the center of the butt not too high, not too low. A smaller butt needs pockets on the smaller size and set a little higher to create roundness. A flap pocket is also helpful to add some extra padding.

What’s the best pair of work-appropriate jeans?
Dark sleek trouser Jeans with a mid rise.

What’s the best pair of date jeans and why?
This is dependent on a woman’s shape but the Citizens of Humanity Ingrid style is a great go-to jean. In a dark rinse these jeans will perk up your butt and show some healthy curves. After-all men do love curves! For the girl with enough natural curve go for the Paige Hollywood Hills.

What are the three top denim no-nos?
1. Get your jeans hemmed; don’t let drag on the ground. Please don’t hem them too short because that is much worse than too long. 2. Don’t show your crack no matter what your age; if your jeans are low wear a long top. 3. Jeans will stretch a half size to a full size so be sure they are tight when you buy them, just make sure that you don’t need assistance putting them on everyday.

What is a great lightweight jean for warmer months?
Wide-Legs look great with a flip flop or a wedge. Fidelity’s wide leg Blue Belle and J Brand’s Monroe Trouser and Kasil light weight trouser.

Adapted from If’s And’s or Butt’s from the Boston who interviewed a denim boutique owner in the Boston area.


  1. You say super-low rise are disappearing “thankfully”. I think it’s a shame that an option for some has been taken away because of pressure from people that would have never worn super-low. Most Brands wont even list the rise on their jeans anymore either from shame of caving into puritanical conservatism or fear that may be ostracized for not “Toeing the Line”. Many brands stopped making low rise jeans completely. They may call their jeans low-rise but a 8 to 11 inch front rise isn’t low. On shorter girls they fit like mom jeans. Like you said wrong size was the problem, it wasn’t the pants or the designers fault. Covering our belly buttons with pants and doubling the perceived size of our abdomen and posteriors isn’t fashion-forward, it’s gross.

    Zena and GV jeans were from the 1980’s. The era of “Three’s Company”, Nike Cortez, Members Only, Miami Vice I-Magnet Jacket and the Chrysler K Car. Let put that Reaganite conservative junk in a museum and look at it with the same amazement of the stone tools cavemen used to use and the medieval torture devices from the dark ages.