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8 Tips to Find Your Perfect-Fitting Jeans

How many times have you bought a cute pair of jeans online, only to end up at the post office for a return when you realize that "your size" is way too big or snug? With fall clothing making its way into stores, we talked to some sizing experts to help you navigate the racks and help you find your perfect fit.

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Woman shopping for jeans
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Try Them On

It might seem like it can save you time to try something on at home or order it from the convenience of your phone, but with more brands having conflicting sizing, the best way to find the right fit is to try them on. "When you try on jeans with stretch in them or that are lighter-weight denim, it's best to go for tighter sizes," says celebrity stylist Annie Ladino, whose clients include Brooklyn Decker and Jaime King. "With heavier denim, it's better to try on your normal size, to a size up."

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Know the Store Sizing Scale

"Many mass retailers tend to use larger-than-average sizes so their entire sizing scale will run bigger than designer denim," says Ladino. "Higher-quality denim will usually run on the smaller end (since the weight of the fabric will be heavier) and they are usually one hundred percent cotton." That means that they will need to be broken in, but as they are, they will conform to your body better. Tip alert: According to Ladino, higher-end designer jeans will run small because they make their fit similar to European sizes. So if you prefer a pair with more stretch, it's best to buy some that fit tighter.

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Ignore the Tag

There are no industry standards for sizing, so it can be difficult to shop for the right size if you aren't familiar with a particular brand. "You should always go by fit and ignore the number on the waistband," says Jill Guenza, Vice President of Women's Design for Levi's. Think of it as the same rule as ignoring what the scale says. Instead, pay attention to how you feel and how your clothes fit, not the number.

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Ask the Right Questions

Guenza recommends asking these questions when trying on jeans: 1. Are they comfortable? (Can I wear them all day long without feeling like my spleen is about to explode out of my waistband?) 2. Are they smooth on my thighs with no draglines in the back? (Your answer to both of these should be yes!) 3. Is the backside snug but the waist is gaping? If so, that's a sign they don't fit properly.

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Hemming Is Key

"When taking up your jeans, make sure you wear the shoes you intend to wear them with," advises celebrity stylist Jeanne Williams, whose clients include Naomi Watts and Emily Mortimer. If you are hemming pants and plan on wearing them with flats, you should alter them wearing flats. Walk around in them, try sitting, and make sure they are flattering from every angle, she adds.

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When You're Between Sizes

Since every brand runs differently, it's possible that you could fall into the "in between" category. "When buying jeans, stretch denim allows for some flexibility so everyone can still experience a great fit no matter what size or shape," says Guenza. Another common issue that comes up when trying on jeans, is that you can have a tiny waist, but are a little curvier on bottom, so you end up buying a size larger. "In this case, it's best to take them to a tailor so they can add darts to keep the top waistband flat to your body," advises Ladino.

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Take Photos for Proof

Snapping a few pictures (both front and back) will ensure that even your backside is looking its best. "Make sure the jeans don't pull around the thighs, and if you see a little ripple, it is too tight," Williams says.

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Confidence Is Key

Guenza says it best, "You feel good if you look good, and you look good if you feel good." Go with what is most comfortable and helps you achieve the look and feel you're aiming for. Happy shopping!

Originally published on, September 2013.

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karolyn.atoi wrote:

Thanks for the fitting tips. I recently lost 60 lbs and am having a hard time finding the right fit.

11/20/2013 03:35:56 PM Report Abuse
celinetansen9 wrote:

Love my job, since I've been bringing in $82h┐ I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online┐

9/23/2013 12:08:50 PM Report Abuse

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