How to Wear Skinny Jeans (Even if You're Not a Skinny Girl)

How to Wear Skinny Jeans (Even if You're Not a Skinny Girl)

I'm a big fan of skinny jeans, but not because I am particularly skinny; I'm pear shaped, with a flat chest and very small waist and less-small hips and thighs. But I love the slim line of skinny jeans, and their cousin, the Audrey Pants; the look is sleek and classic and grown up. But I'm always hearing from women who say, "I wish I could wear skinny jeans, but I'm too curvy -- I look like an idiot." Anyone can make skinny jeans work, I promise. The key is fit and proportion.

skinny jeans and flats
Image: [ rachel ] via Flickr Creative Commons license<

Start with a pair of jeans that fits your body properly; pay particular attention to the hips and thighs -- skinny is not synonymous with tight. You should be able to walk and sit and eat in your skinny jeans. Look for a pair with a wee bit of stretch, to give you some flexibility.

If the waist on your jeans is a little big, it can be taken in; if it's a little small, you'll give yourself an unneeded (and unflattering) muffin top. Opt for a dark rinse, without any whiskering or distressing or dramatic patterning; choose a mid-rise, one that hits just below your belly button.

Pair your skinny jeans with a tunic or sweater that hits just above the widest part of your hips. Balance full hips with a full top -- wide sleeves or dramatic ruffles or a soft cowl neck will give your top half some weight. Add a belt or sash to highlight your waist.

If you're an hourglass shape -- curvy on top and bottom -- look for tops that play up your curves: A v-neck tunic or sweater with a wide belt turns your skinny jeans into sexy jeans. Trust me.

Finish the look with a pair of knee-high boots; tuck your jeans into the top for colder weather. Or pair long skinny jeans with ballet flats, or a wee peep toe heel. A slightly longer inseam will make your legs look longer and slimmer, if you're opting for flats rather than boots.

Still not sure you can pull this look off? Check out Allison Czarnecki at Petit Elefant, who is smokin' in her skinny jeans.

Looking for more tips? StyleBakery's Ultimate Guide to Dressing Slimmer has tips for pear and apple shapes, among others.

Are you a skinny jeans girl? What's your favorite brand?

Susan Wagner writes about pragmatic fashion at The Working Closet and chic suburban living at Friday Playdate.


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