How to choose the right pair of jeans, plus win a jeans consultation with a styist

August 28, 2013

Finding the right pair of jeans is about as elusive as negotiating successfully with a toddler. For me, there’s a lot of pain, irritation and cluelessness when it comes to finding denims that don’t make me look like a sausage squeezed into a casing, or someone drowning in bulky mom-type pants.

I asked Pippa Leenstra, a Twitter friend, and personal stylist who helps “normal” women find what suits them the best, for some tips on choosing jeans (I asked her mainly for my own benefit, I admit, but also because I know how many other women battle with finding the “right pair”).

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And over to the expert, Pippa:

To prefix any tips that I share with you I’m going to make an emphatic statement: JEANS NEED TO BE FITTED! Loose-fitting jeans will only make you look bigger than what you are. You have to admit that boyfriend jeans are only flattering on about 5% of the population.

The first and biggest tip I can share with you is this:

  1. Higher-waisted jeans are more flattering.

Now when I say higher-waisted I don’t mean granny-style-above-your-belly-button-nerdy vibes. I just mean that the closer your pants sit to your belly button, as opposed to your hips, the more flattering they will be; for two crucial reasons

  1. Your legs will look longer
  2. The higher waist helps to eliminate any muffin top from happening, as so many 30 – 40 something women can relate to, particularly any who have carried a baby/babies through pregnancy!

** The only time higher-waisted jeans might not suit you is if you are particularly square in shape and are also slim, hipster jeans will probably be more flattering for you then.

(Obviously if you’re 21 and your body is still supple and toned and all the bits are where they’re supposed to be then go for the hipsters as they’re super sexy, but I’m talking to a more mature woman here!)

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Higher-waisted jeans are often referred to as ‘mid-rise’.  A good go-to place for higher-waisted jeans is Country Road for their ‘Regular Straight’ range. Trenery jeans are also always higher in the waist. They’re not the most hip but they suit almost every single client of mine that has ever tried them on. They’re priced at around the R600 mark so they’re affordable too.

2. The second tip concerns embellishment, detail and the colour wash of your jeans.

If you’re trying to minimise your bum and streamline your silhouette, then oversized and contrasting stitching; fade detail; embroidery; beading; bling and pocket detail should all be kept to a minimum.

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Opt for a darker wash as this is more slimming than a light wash, and go for something as plain as possible.

If you’re not very curvy or you’ve got a great bum that you’re looking to accentuate, then feel free to go all out on the embellishment and detail.

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3 The third tip is about length

If you’re wearing boot leg, wide leg or straight leg jeans you absolutely have to make sure that they skim the floor in whatever shoes you wear i.e. you’ll need 2 pairs of the same jeans if you want to wear them with both heels and flats. Bootleg, wide leg or straight leg jeans that are too short will make you look dumpy.

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Conversely, skinny jeans will never really touch the floor as they are too skinny to sit over your ankle. So the same pair can be worn with both flats and heels.

Remember these are just guidelines, just because you may have some junk in your trunk and a darker wash is more slimming, doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with your jeans and wear an animal print pair if you want to. I’m not a big fan of rules. At the end of the day, if you’re confident enough to rock whatever you’re wearing, it will look great on you regardless of whether it actually suits you perfectly or not.

Here’s my list of fave go-to stores and websites for investment jeans:



Pippa is offering me and one other blog reader in Joburg (dor anyone who can come to Joburg) a consultation on what will suit you best, and we’ll all go shopping to find the best fit, with Pippa on hand to help us. If you’d like to join me, then comment below and you’ll be entered into the draw. Please note that you don’t have to be a mom to enter.

The competition closes on Wednesday 4 September at 9am, and the winner will be announced shortly thereafter.

To book a consult with Pippa, you can e-mail her for more information  or call on +27 82 868 4981.


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  • Cassie

    Jeans are a permanent fixture in my daily wardrobe – I have over 12 pairs of jeans of which NONE fit properly and are all too big for me now. I would love to win this prize!

    August 28, 2013 at 9:57 am Reply
  • Tina Pieterse

    2 Kids later and I have (count them) 1 (ONE whole pair) of jeans that actually fit me!!! I’m short (jeans seem to be made for tall women that wear heels permanently) and smaller than before I had my girls. Shopping for jeans is like shopping for a bra – I loathe it! Too tight around the bum but sagging at the waist, too long, too wide, too skinny, to tight UGH help me PLEEASE!!! 🙂

    August 28, 2013 at 10:06 am Reply
  • Ruth T

    Ooh, yes please!!
    That would be fab!

    August 28, 2013 at 10:09 am Reply
  • Sandra Reinbrech

    I am extremely overweight and I cannot find jeans that I feel comfortable in. Would love to find out the secrets to finding them

    August 28, 2013 at 10:16 am Reply
  • Jessica Giggles

    Oh to be able to find a perfect shop that stocks my perfect-fitting jeans…

    August 28, 2013 at 12:28 pm Reply
  • Marcelle

    Sounds awesome

    August 28, 2013 at 12:46 pm Reply
  • Beth_N

    i live in jeans so this would be perfect.

    August 28, 2013 at 1:24 pm Reply
  • Rachel

    Sounds fantastic

    August 28, 2013 at 1:40 pm Reply
  • Victoire

    Pick me please! I seriously need a new pair of jeans & have been searching for mid-rise jeans to no avail. Save me from the muffin top! xxx

    August 28, 2013 at 6:52 pm Reply
  • paula

    That would be so awesome! Holding thumbs x

    August 29, 2013 at 11:05 am Reply
  • Petro Doman

    O yes PLEASE! I am almost on the wrong side of a dreaded age … but I still enjoy wearing a pair of jeans that fit well. Only problem is where to find …. 🙁

    August 29, 2013 at 11:31 am Reply
  • Amanda

    Would be great!

    August 29, 2013 at 12:22 pm Reply
  • nadine

    Would be so awesome!!! Love jeans but don’t have the perfect pair!

    August 29, 2013 at 1:52 pm Reply
  • Syllable

    I live in jeans all year round; it’s my favourite item – so versatile. But I do struggle to get ones that fit just right. *bits crossed*

    August 29, 2013 at 3:13 pm Reply
  • Tamsin

    would love to find the perfect pair!

    August 30, 2013 at 11:03 am Reply
  • SpiritedMama1

    Would love to do this….i’ve recently discovered that my fave jeans are now truely worn thru….it takes forever to find that perfect jeans and then it sets me up for a while……before the evil process restarts again

    August 30, 2013 at 7:35 pm Reply
  • Sue stuart

    Oh how I would love to win this prize! On the wrong side of 40 (how on earth did that happen?!) with big thighs and a small waist – how I battle to find jeans that fit!

    September 3, 2013 at 8:05 am Reply
  • Chereen Strydom

    Since having my baby in January, my body has changed quite a bit and I am desperate for a new pair of jeans! I live in CT, but I’m often up in Jozi for work, so would love to fit in a consultation with Pippa between meetings if I win!

    September 3, 2013 at 9:09 am Reply
  • Jo

    I am in such desperate need of help in this regard. I have always been a jeans girl and yet after gaining weight due to PCOS and then losing some, my body shape has changed drastically. I long for the days of comfy jeans! Now all my jeans seems to grab me at the crotch! Its awful I know. With an hourglass figure and wider shoulders, I have to wear longer shirts to cover up this problem below my waist but it definitely is not flattering to my figure. I need help desperately please!

    September 3, 2013 at 6:45 pm Reply
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  • Mari-Louise Botha

    I need all the help I can get. not feeling good about my body at all.

    May 3, 2016 at 11:29 am Reply
  • Label Shop

    Thank you for this! Now I have trusted recommendations for jeans!

    March 28, 2020 at 5:37 pm Reply
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