There are so many perils when it comes to shopping for the right pair of jeans. You don’t want them to be so loose that you have the dreaded plumber’s butt, or, if the jeans are high-waisted mom jeans, you also don’t want a big pocket of air padding your hips and thighs, making you look heavier than you are.
But jeans that are too tight aren’t a great look, either. And so many of us fall victim to this particular wardrobe malfunction because we shop based on clothing size, not on fit. “So many shoppers get tunnel vision, and will write off a product if it’s in their ‘size’ and it doesn’t look right or feel right,” explained Corey Epstein, Co-CEO and Creative Director of DSTLD Jeans (via Bustle). No one can see what size your pants are, so stop worrying about the number, and instead think about “how you feel when you’re wearing something that fits well,” he said. The tricky thing about the skinny jean trend, though, is that it’s hard to tell when jeans are “good tight” or “too tight” because they are made from a stretchy material rather than traditional cotton denim that simply won’t give if you’re wearing the wrong size (per Elle). So, here are some clues that you need to level up a size.
How to tell whether you need to go up a size in your jeans
The most obvious way to tell that your jeans are too tight is to inspect your body after you take them off. If your skin is all red and welted, that’s a dead giveaway that you need to go up a size or try a different cut. Another clue is the dreaded “muffin top,” where your hips and belly spill over the waistband, kind of like the top of a muffin expands over the paper wrapper (via Land’s End). Other obvious signs: you can’t get the zipper up, or it keeps falling down throughout the day. Even if you don’t have these particular issues, never discount how you feel while you’re wearing your jeans — this is a wardrobe item designed for comfort, not torture! “If you feel like you want to unbutton your jeans every time you sit down because you’re uncomfortable, that’s not a good sign!” Epstein said.
Finally, take a peek in the mirror and see if your jeans are “smiling.” This phrase refers to the horizontal drag lines that extend across the hips of jeans. An improperly fitting pair will curve up like a smile, according to the Petite Pear Project. “Therefore it’s important to find jeans with sufficient room in the hip area and ones that don’t dig into your crotch,” explains the outlet.
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