How-To Fashion Guide – Denim Dos and Don’t s
(16 Aug 2017)

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How-To Fashion Guide – Denim Dos and Don’t s


Denim Jeans. A permanent fixture on the fashion landscape but also in our closets. Season after season, year after year, our jeans become part of our very fabric – no pun intended. Coveted as one would a partner – which holds particular resonance if you’re single like myself….cue me on my bed covered in a plethora of denim. But I digress, TMI…..

Nicholas Strelitz Fashion Editor Expresso
By Nicholas Strelitz

denim
(credit - Esquire)

As a stylist, I often wonder how many people, particularly women, get it wrong. It’s just so easy to do. We’re all in a rush, our day-to-day lives taking us from one appointment and meeting to the next without adequate time to ponder… “Wait, am I buying the right size?”, “Does this actually fit me well?”, “Does my body type suit this cut?”…..the list of questions goes on and on.

Don’t fret. Here is a simple guide to a) defining your body type and b)once done, figuring out, once and for all, what size denim you actually are!

There are generally accepted to be 5 body types most commonly found among women this day in age – the rectangle, triangle, hourglass, inverted triangle, and round. I’m going to focus on the 3 most relevant ones, in my opinion, which represent what I would think is the majority of women here in South Africa and worldwide – the pear or rectangular, hourglass, and inverted triangle.

body type
 (credit - thejeansblog.com)

The pear or triangular body type means exactly that. Like a pear, the widest part of the body starts at the base and then, generally, gets more narrow as you move upwards. More curves around the hips and butt and a smaller upper half is this body types calling card. Like most clothing, but with denim jeans in particular, the aim of the game is proportional balance. If you are more along the lines of a pear or triangular body type, then, in terms of balance, you’re looking to offset your voluptuous booty by creating more width around the calves and extending this down to your feet.

body type2
(credit - Pinterest)

What you need is a bootcut. Yes, I said it. A 70s staple that does, in fact, have a place in current fashion society and one which can flatter more than you might think. The central objective around wearing a bootcut or flare is to help balance out the hips and keep the legs in proportion. The extra fabric around the calves will do just that. My number one tip to nail the bootcut look – heels, heels, oh, and did I mention heels. Particularly if you’re short to average height, you need a heel to elevate the look.

denim2
(credit - Pinterest)

Bootcut denim

Let’s talk the hourglass aka the curvy body type. Think Kim Kardashian (after all the work). This is often prized as the ideal body type because of the natural balance of boob and booty – a hip to bust ratio of 50/50. Ladies with this body type are naturally (or cosmetically) blessed with overall balance, including a waistline to be envied. But a big booty and small waist does not necessarily equate to flawless denim looks. It’s still a question of the right cut to hug the body in all the right places.

body type3
(credit - Pinterest)

My denim of choice for the hourglass. High-waisted skinny’s. A fashion favourite more generally, but one that will be sure to provide extra support for the butt while also narrowing around the waist and resting in all the right places. Because of this body type, there is a tendency for the waist band to sit irregularly against the body. The high-rise will ensure the waistband fits well around the upper part of the hips and waist, lying as flat against the skin as possible.

denim 4
(credit - Pinterest)

High-waisted skinny’s

Lastly, we take a look at the one of the more difficult body types to denim dress – the upside down triangle, also known as the square and/or athletic body type. If you have broader shoulders and smaller hips and butt, this one’s for you. The name says it all – upside down triangle. The broadest part of the body begins at the shoulders and as you descend down the body things get narrower and narrower.

body type4
(credit - Pinterest)

 

Whether you’re predisposed to this body type or you’re working hard to perfect a sculpted and defined frame, don’t fret, there is a denim for you. While a boot cut may also work for this body type as it will help balance your squared hips by adding more broadness to the base of your body, success if very-much dependant on height. Let’s assume you’re of average height. My denim of choice to properly balance the body, while also staying chic and on trend – the mid-rise, straight leg.

A straight leg is often looked upon as the mom-jeans of choice, but I would disagree. A straight leg in a block colour – either indigo or black – is sharp, flattering, and really goes the distance in terms of wear ability. What the actual cut does, in this instance, is counter the squareness of your bottom half without overly accenting your natural form….as a skinny would. If you don’t have hips, you want to stay away from the high-rise – too much excess fabric – and don’t get me started on a low-rise (I don’t think this has ever properly been in fashion). A boot cut or boyfriend will overwhelm, while the straight leg will flatter without overly exaggerating any particular part of the body.

denim3
(credit - Pinterest)

Mid-rise straight leg denim


Once you have the cut down, the next obstacle to cross off the list is size. Too often, we get our denim jeans size wrong. This can have grave consequences as we’re forced to retire the jeans before we’ve even received an ounce of our monies worth. I have a 3-step guide to ensuring you’re buying the right size for you, which will ensure longevity and bang for your buck.

Step 1. The under-butt test. Once your jeans are on, if you can, at any point, grab and hold any excess fabric exactly where the bottom of your butt ends and the upper thigh begins, it’s not the right size. The jeans, if the correct size, should lie perfectly flat against this part of the body. Keep shifting size down until you perfect this flat-lay.

Step 2. The two finger rule. Let’s turn our attention to the waistband. Like the under-butt, the waistband should lie as flat to the skin as possible. Because we have various degrees of curvature between the top of the butt and the lower-back, it’s not always possible to create perfect flatness. The test though to ensure you’re as close to perfection as possible: if you can fit more than two of your fingers (laid flat on top of each other)between the waistband of your jeans and the top of your butt, they’re too big!! Two fingers and under, you’re on the right track! Again, keep shifting down size until you’ve accomplished the test.

Third and final rule. Always buy a size down. You might struggle to breathe at first, but always go too small to the point that you’re feeling slightly uncomfortable rather than right on the money at the off-set. Denim is notorious for its ability to lose shape and fast. Avoid this by buying jeans a size smaller than you’re used to. As long as you can get the top button up, you’re good to go. It might feel strange at first, but within a few wears, the fabric will settle and you’ll be looking fabulous and for a lot longer than if you bought, what used to be, your correct size.

My final piece of advice. Please, please invest in your denim. Buy one pair of premium denim, made of the highest grade quality. These should be either your staple black or indigo dyed jeans. Clothing, generally, loses its colouring and shape way too quickly. And if you’re going to be wearing your denim jeans consistently, as we often do, you’ll want to safeguard against this. Do your research beforehand to ensure you’re getting a beautiful quality denim that will not only stand the test of time, but also the consequences of your washing machine. Oh, before I go….please don’t over wash your jeans!! Once a month is more than enough.

Your Denim Guide done and dusted.



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