Some of the types of jeans for women suit some body shapes better than others. Terms frequently used to describe the diverse horizontal body shapes that women can have are hourglass, pear, rectangle/ruler, inverted triangle/athletic, apple/oval and diamond. There’s no “one-size fits all” and most of us can’t have our jeans custom made. But you can arm yourself with style tips that flatter your unique and beautiful figure. Just as with horizontal body types, specific jean styles and jean fits can flatter specific vertical body types or weights best. Whether you are tall, petite, plus-size, short-torsoed or long-torsoed you can find the jean styles and fits that flatter your figure.
all body types
Just like any other height, petite women can have any horizontal body type or vertical body type. Styling tips according to body shape have similarities for petite women and taller women but there are some adjustments for the height difference.
The most obvious requirement for a good jean fit for petites is length. The inseam for most petites are 29-31 inches in length. If jeans bunch up at the bottom, it can break up the line of your legs and make you appear shorter or if flared jeans are too long they drown your small frame.
Shop brands geared toward petite women. But just in case you find a pair of jeans that are a good fit except for the length, skinny jeans and straight leg jeans are easiest to hem. It’s preferable to find flared jeans in petite sizes because they are more difficult to hem.
looser fit jeans designed for petites is an option
If you want to wear cuffed jeans, opt for a small/narrow cuff. Wide, deep cuffs break up the leg-line and shorten the appearance of your legs more so than a narrow cuff. (For more tips – see the section on how to elongate your legs under cuffed, cropped and capri jeans in the Types of Jeans for Women article.)
narrow cuff boyfriend jeans
Too many details like very large pockets, buttons or busy embellishments can be overwhelming for a smaller frame. Simpler, finer embellishments or a dark wash denim with simple lines can help you look longer and leaner.
dark wash, plain jeans
jeans with minimal embellishment
Skinny and straight-leg silhouettes look good on all petite body types. They slim the hips and legs and make you appear taller.
super high rise skinny jeans
mid rise straight leg jeans
proportional hem width
For those petite women who want the look of a wide-leg jean, choose a slimmed down version with a narrower hem and pair them with a more fitted top. This sleeker silhouette won’t overwhelm a small frame. Wearing heels with wide-leg jeans that are long enough to skim the floor create a leg lengthening effect.
A narrow flare or bootcut jean is best suited for petite frames (the slim fit around the the thigh makes you look taller). Very wide flared jeans can look out of proportion for shorter women.
A short girl can rock cropped jeans – it’s just a matter of styling and confidence. (SheFinds).
petite wide leg cropped jeans
Petite Rectangle/Ruler Body Shape
(See style advice for a rectangle body shape and tailor this advice for petite women with the following style tips)
Add Curves and Elongate
The ruler body type looks great in low-rise, bootcut, and straight leg jeans. jeans with a narrow flare will lengthen the legs and add the illusions of curves.
Pick a jean with a smaller flare that is narrower than your hips. Make sure the inseam is long enough that the hem hits the bottom of your shoe to make your legs look longer
Relaxed-fit boyfriend jeans generally aren’t recommended for petite figures because the volume and bagginess of the silhouette can drown a petite frame. But if you want to try the boyfriend jeans style, opt for slim-fitting boyfriend jeans or girlfriend jeans. (Girlfriend jeans are more form-fitting, less baggy than boyfriend jeans.)
Straight leg jeans will elongate your legs by preserving the leg line.
Pick a flared style jean with a smaller flared leg that is narrower than your hips. Make sure the inseam is long enough so that the hem hits the bottom of your shoe. This will make your legs look longer.
A frequent problem encountered in finding good fitting jeans for the apple/oval body shape is finding jeans that have a good fit in the waist without bagginess everywhere else. Pick jeans made from stretch denim so that they fit a larger waist but won’t have too much volume in the thigh and butt area.
Pair dark wash jeans with heels that are the same tone as the denim to lengthen your frame. Avoid strappy shoes – an uncomplicated line works best.
Stomach and Waistline
If you have a rounded tummy, these tips will help you create a smooth line and de-emphasize your stomach.
A mid-rise jean that falls below the belly button can cover and help control your stomach.
Avoid too much detail such as pleats on the front of jeans. This will add bulk to the stomach area. Opt for a flat front instead.
Tops to wear
Super tapered or skinny jeans worn with a fitted top can draw attention to your mid-section. But the tops you wear with these jeans can create a waist for the apple/oval shape or add balance for the diamond shape:
Apple/Oval – Pair skinny jeans or slim-fitting jeans with a wrap top that wraps at your waistline and flare at the hip (creates a waist).
Diamond – Pairing skinny or fitted jeans with an empire tunic or a wrap top that wrap at the bust will enhance a small or medium bust. Princess or puffy sleeves can add width to narrow shoulders to balance a diamond body shape’s proportions.
(See style advice for plus-size figures and tailor this advice for petite women with the following style tips)
If you are short and heavier and have a rectangle, pear or hourglass shape, boocut or flare leg jean can make your legs appear shorter.
If you have an inverted triangle plus-size figure, skinny jeans or clingy tapered leg jeans will make you appear top heavy. Opt for a straight leg jean for a more balanced look.
Wide-leg jeans or trouser jeans that have a straight, loose silhouette which falls straight from the hip to the floor create a lean line. To adapt the wide leg jean style to a plus-size petite frame, choose a mid-width hem. (Too narrow and the elongating effect will be lost – too wide and it will be overwhelming for your height). Pair wide-leg jeans with an inseam long enough that they skim the floor with heels to add to the leg lengthening effect.
And just as it is with petite women, there are clothing brands that cater to tall women. Alloy Apparel is one such brand that “strives to empower all Tall Women across the world to love their height and feel confident in their own skin.” They “offer the latest trends in extended sizes, long inseams, and plus size options”
Body shape and torso length need to be considered but there are some general tips geared towards tall women:
Skinny jeans can look amazing on tall women because they show off your long legs.
Tall and lean women can easily wear cuffed, cropped and capri jeans. You have the height to counter how these jean types can shorten the legs. If you wanted to break up your height, you can even use the disruption of the line of your leg to make you appear a bit shorter.
With your long frame you can pair jeans with bright colored and patterned tops.
If you wish to break up your height, try a waist length jacket .
Wear heels. There’s no reason a tall woman can’t wear a fabulous pair of heels. If you feel a bit shy, try kitten heels. As you become more comfortable you may want to try a higher heel.
Most of all stand tall and be confident. Tall women can sometimes slouch if they aren’t fully comfortable with their height. Slouching just makes you appear less confident.Your height is a great plus so show it off with fabulous style!
If you are tall and lean – wide-flare jeans, capris, cropped and deep-cuffed jeans are styles that your height enables you to wear with ease.
Jeans with some stretch will accommodate your curves
An option is to shop jeans with special features such as slimming panels which hold you in and shape areas that you want to smooth and slim.
Well-fitting, dark wash jeans create a sleeker line and elongate your figure (The ill-fitting jeans can make you appear frumpy). For added elongation, pair your jeans with nude color shoes or shoes in the same/similar color as your jeans, whether they are heels or flats,.
dark wash jeans with a good fit enhance plus size figures
Here short-waisted/longwaisted and short torso/long torso have a distinction. Many get confused by body shape information but take all of it – including what is on this site – as only general guidelines and suggestions. The best way to find the style you are comfortable with is by adapting styling tips to your unique figure.
Waist or mid-body length
Whether you are short, long or balance waisted is dependent on where your waistline falls on your torso. For example, you can have balanced proportions (torso and legs are about equal) and have a short waist. This means you would have a relatively short section from your bust line to hip and longer section from your chin to bust line. This is a consideration for belts and wrapped tops. Where your waist falls on your torso can also be a factor in the rise and fit of jeans. For example, a high-rise jean may fit above the natural waistline for a short-waisted person while the same pair of jeans will fit at the waistline for someone who has a longer bust line-to-hip section. In this instance, a short-waisted person may find a mid-rise jean a better fit.
Another variation in body proportions is the “body-rise”. This is the measurement from the waist to where your legs begin. Your body-rise measurement will effect how far up the waist jeans rises will fit on you. If you have a long rise, low-rise jeans may not cover your rear as they would on a person with a shorter rise. If you have a short rise measurement, a low-rise jean will fit further up on your waist.
Torso & Leg Proportions
Torso length and leg length are used to determine the proportion of the top and lower half of the body.
vertical body type
A balanced body has proportions that are equal from the the top of the head to the hips and from the hips to the floor.
A simple line created by pairing jeans with shoes the same color or pairing jeans with shoes in a nude color will elongate your legs.
Heels worn with jeans will make your legs look longer, especially if the hem mostly covers your shoe.
straight leg jeans worn with-nude shoes
bootcut jeans with same color shoes, covers much of the heel
Tucked tops, Print tops
Tuck in your top to shorten your torso or do a half-tuck if you want the back hem out. If you wear an untucked top, make sure that it ends no lower than your hip. Print tops can break up the area of a longer torso and de-emphasize length.
light top with tucked in hem, mid rise jeans
top with a half tuck
Short top, Print top
hem of untucked top ends higher on torso
printed top with tucked in hem, mid/high rise jeans
Wide belts can also shorten your torso.
a wide belt worn with jeans shortens a long torso
Best Jeans for Long Legs, Short Torso
“Legs for days” is a body feature much lauded. Whatever your body shape, embrace your look and just consider clothing as a way to enhance you. Depending on how short your torso is and your own preference, you can play around with the following techniques to style your look.
Untuck your top if you want to make your torso appear longer. Tops, jackets and sweaters that end at the hip or lower will elongate your torso.
top that ends at the hip
jacket that ends below the hip
Vertical print tops
Tops, jackets and sweaters with a vertical print motif will elongate your torso.
striped top with bell sleeves
sleeveless striped top
Vertical Print tops
vertical print sleeveless top
jacket with vertical stripes
Taking everything into account: Torso/Legs, Waist Length and Body Rise
The proportionality of your legs and torso (vertical body type), where your waist starts to narrow (waist length) and the distance between your waist and leg break (body rise) can effect how jeans will fit. Any combination of these variations can be found on the human body. For this reason any style advice that isn’t personalized just for you (that comes from a personal stylist for example), has to be viewed as only very general guidelines. These are guidelines that equip you with information to know how jeans may fit and help you find the right jeans to achieve the look you want. Whether buying jeans online or in a brick-and-mortar store, it often takes trying on a few pair of jeans but with time and experience you can get a good idea how a brand may fit and find your favorite go-to, best fitting jeans.