The Trick To Looking Taller Is In Your Jeans

Louise Roe is the kind of friend you want to have on speed dial when you’re about to give a big presentation or need to attend an awards ceremony. Where you might freak out in the face of such a fancy affair, they're kind of her thing. And, she tackles the ins and outs of getting ready for one in her debut tome, Front Roe. What really spoke to us in the book, though, was her practical styling tips applicable to day-to-day dressing. Specifically, her insights on everyday denim.

According to Roe, a simple ironed pleat can make all the difference between petite limbs and Gisele-length legs. Creating that line down the front, like the elongating ones you'll find on a tailored trouser, could be a subtle change to how you style your jeans for good. No shame, though: We know plenty of people who'd never think to iron their jeans. If that's you, there's surely more wisdom to behold, ahead. 

In an exclusive look at her chapter entitled “How to Find Your Perfect Jeans,” Roe walks us through the basics of denim — what kind of pockets flatter your butt, how to pick white jeans, and how to know when a pair fits properly. Take a peek at the full chapter below, and pick up Roe's book of sartorial gems, available now on Amazon.
Reprinted with permission from Front Roe © 2015 Louise Roe, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.
 
How To Find Your Perfect Jeans

Quite honestly, I could write a whole book just about jeans. This item that most of us wear more than any other can be an absolute nightmare to get right. I’ve stood in changing rooms trying over 20 pairs on before, and left with nothing. The right pair of jeans should be like a best mate — they’ll accompany you to a casual day outing or to a glitzy party. They support you, hug you, and compliment you.
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Shopping for Jeans

Most denim brands have a signature fit. The only way to find which suits you, is to try, try, try, and then try on some more.

Getting into the right pair should be a bit of a struggle. If they go on too fast, they’re probably too loose. The waistband should feel snug, but not dig in. If you can fit two fingers down the back: perfect. If you can fit a whole hand: Go down a size.

Low-rise jeans mean the waistband is a couple of inches below your belly button. They are sexy, but look best on athletic and boyish figures, or those blessed with a flat stomach. Earl Jeans makes great low-rise jeans.

A midrise waistband suits most people, particularly if you’re pear-shaped. Look at the brand Paper Denim Cloth. Try sitting and bending over. Do you feel comfortable or are you showing off your knickers to the world?

High-rise jeans hark back to the days of Farrah Fawcett riding a skateboard, and whether skinny or flared, I love this cut. The waistband comes up to or just above your belly button. The shape can really suck you in, and elongates your legs like crazy. MIH, Wrangler, and DL1961 are my faves.

Baggy boyfriend jeans really suit a variety of body types. They look edgy on sporty and slender frames, but also great on pear-shape and hourglass figures. They shouldn’t cling. They need to be loose, low-slung with a belt, and I like mine ripped up, with a turn up at the bottom. Gap, Levi’s, and Mango make my favorite boyfriend jeans.

Boot-cut jeans are a little outdated, but a wider flare looks awesome. The bell-bottom shape also balances out your silhouette, making your thighs and waist look smaller. I have a great pair of flares from Topshop, and I love MIH for this style.

Skinny jeans are great to create more curves, especially if they’re high-waisted. I love Lee skinny jeans.To flatten your tummy, go for a smooth-closing zip fly, or look for a pair that zips up at the back. Avoid front pockets, as this adds bulk. Look for jeans with a tapered outside seam. This creates the illusion of slimmer thighs. Some denim washes are faded or distressed down the center, and darker at the edges. This is a very slimming technique. Try 7 For All Mankind.
Photo: Courtesy of Louise Roe.
Buy dark jeans snug; they’re very slimming. White and bright jeans should be a smidge looser, because they’ll reveal every lump and bump, and you’ll wash them more. Uniqlo and AG make killer white jeans.

To look taller, iron a crease down the front of stiff, dark blue jeans. Check out J Brand and True Religion. Avoid hems that drag on the floor. They remind me of going to high school in the 199Os and seeing bedraggled, filthy denim hemlines everywhere. If you do invest in a pair too long for you, reserve them for wearing with high heels. It’s a great trick to elongate your legs. Look at the way Victoria Beckham and Rachel Zoe sport bell-bottoms with platforms to make their legs look sky-high.

Pocket positioning makes all the difference to how your butt looks. Large pockets situated low on your behind will minimize your rear. Small pockets slanting down and outward will lift and accentuate a flat butt. If you’ve got a bootie like Kim Kardashian and want to show it off, small, centered pockets on high-waisted jeans will draw major attention to your bottom.

Denim has a varying degree of “give” in it, everything from jeggings (the mega-stretchy lovechild of leggings and jeans) to structured and rigid. Contrary to what you might think, the more stretch, the less flattering on curves. The stretch will allow bulges here and there, whereas a rigid denim that is the correct size will hold you in and flatter a more voluptuous figure. Skinny or cropped jeans with 1% stretch are the most formal variety, suitable for most workplaces and going out to a formal evening event. I like James Jeans and Genetic Denim to hold me in.
Photo: Courtesy of Gap.
Styling Your Jeans

Think of your jeans as the neutral foundation for the rest of your outfit. Not to say they won’t take center stage, but they’re a springboard from which to build up the rest of your style. There’s no look you can’t create with the right jeans.

For low-key, weekend cool, pair your slouchy boyfriend jeans or ripped skinnies with a simple white button-down, a plaid lumberjack, a tomboy sweatshirt, or a denim jacket with the sleeves rolled up. Brightly colored, printed, or white jeans are great for a punchy look. Let the jeans be the star and keep the rest of your vibe minimal: a gray tee, baggy knitted beanie, and leather biker jacket will pull everything together. For work, cropped, dark jeans without any distressing look elegant and preppy paired with stiletto pumps. Adding a bright, structured bag and a neutral blazer is spot-on for a meeting.

Faded blue jeans in any shape look cozy and seductive with a thick-knit sweater. That’s a timeless look I absolutely adore.

Last but not least, for a glamorous evening look, pair skinnies, flares, high-waisted, or boyfriend jeans with strappy high-heeled sandals and a sparkly top. Each of the cuts I mentioned will give the look a completely different feel. My personal favorite for a girls’ night out? Ripped boyfriend jeans, white patent stilettoes, and a roll-neck crop top. It’s so ’90s it could have come straight from Clueless. I’m obsessed.
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