Fight the Frump: Denim Mistakes You May Be Making & How to Fix Them

Greetings, and happy April! I’m traveling home from Virginia today so I thought I would re-run a popular post. If you’ve seen this one before, perhaps you’re ready for a refresher, and if you missed it or you’re newer to my site, I hope it’s helpful!

By the looks of the weather, we’ll be wearing our jeans for a few more weeks here in the northeast, so I’m sharing some common mistakes women make with their jeans that can keep them looking frumpy, and how to fix them.

5 Denim Mistakes You May Be Making

(Note: my pictures are supposed to be examples of denim done right, not the mistakes I’m talking about… in case you’re wondering, lol.)

#1. Wearing jeans that are too big or too small.

This is probably the biggest mistake women make with denim. If your jeans are too big, they will sag and bag and look schlumpy. If your jeans are too small, they will create unsightly bulges that add visual weight.

As with any wardrobe item, but especially with jeans, it is super important to dress for your current size, not the size you want to be. Most women fluctuate some with their weight; I know I do. Many of us probably keep a couple of sizes in our closets. When I gain or lose more than 5 pounds, I move the jeans that are too big or too small to the back and make sure the ones that fit best are up front where they’re easy to see and grab. I don’t toss the other ones, though, because sometimes I find that I need them a few months down the road.

If you’re unsure if a new pair of jeans is the right fit, wear them around the house for a couple hours before taking the tags off and see how they look after they have some time to stretch out a bit (or to see if they will stretch out.)

Some jeans stretch out a whole size after the first hour of wear, and others never really stretch out so the only way to find out is to wear them for a while. Almost all jeans give a little, so the general rule of thumb is, if in doubt, size down. When I am getting the help of a sales associate, they almost always advise me to go with the smaller size.

#2. Ignoring the rear view.

wearing: tee*// jacket (old) // AG legging ankle jeans // similar bags // similar pumps

I used to hate my rear view in jeans, and I figured it was just my shape. Then I found the brands that work for me, and here I am posting tushy shots all over the internet. Haha!

But really, different brands fit differently, and we all have different shapes, so you just have to try a bunch until you find the ones that work best for you.

I’ve heard women say, Who cares, I can’t see it. Well, that doesn’t mean no one else can, LOL!!! Let’s face it, people are seeing us from behind probably as much as they’re seeing us from the front, so be sure to check your rear view — particularly the pocket placement.

I personally prefer smaller pockets that aren’t set too far apart, but if you have a different shape, you might find bigger pockets work best for you. Definitely avoid pockets that sit too low or too high. Try on different styles and take pictures of the rear or have a sales associate or trusted friend guide you on what looks best. Once you figure out what styles and brands work best for you, it’s fairly easy to shop for jeans from there on out.

*Use code Jolynne10 for 10 percent OFF your order from ThirtySomethingTees.

#3. Not hemming your jeans.

wearing: top options // 7FAM Kimmie bootcut jeans // shoes // bag options

When jeans are dragging on the floor, it definitely detracts from the overall appearance and creates a sloppy look, especially as we get older. But then again, if jeans are too short, they will cut off the leg at an awkward spot and look frumpy, so you definitely need to find your sweet spot with length and then hem your jeans if necessary.

With crop and ankle length jeans, this isn’t QUITE as much of an issue as it is with straight and bootcut styles, but it’s still something to consider. Even ankle length jeans can look awkward if they are too long or too short.

FIT TIP: In general, skinny jeans should come to the top of the ankle, straight-leg jeans to the mid-point of the ankle, and boot-cut jeans to a half-inch off the ground.

I know, so many factors! But as they say, the devil is in the details (and I would add, so is good style!)

Here’s a little visual for you.

skinny // straight // bootcut

#4. Wearing too much embellishment or too much distressing/whiskering.

Yes, I wear moderately distressed jeans, and I know there are some who think that whole trend is ridonkulous. We’ll have to agree to disagree on that. However, there is no doubt that wearing jeans with lots of embellishments, excessive rips and tears, dramatic whiskering on the hips, and faded spots in unfortunate areas can add to the frump factor and look like we’re trying too hard.

#5. Tucking jeans that are too wide into your boots.

wearing: sweater & scarf (old) // DL1961 Emma legging jeans // similar boots // pendant

These days with so many options for legging jeans and skinny jeans, there is absolutely no need to stuff jeans that are too wide into your boots. Not only is it unflattering, it looks incredibly frumpy-dumpy. If you’re going to tuck your jeans, be sure to have a couple pairs of super skinny styles in your closet that work well with that look. (I love legging jeans for this.)

Cropped or ankle-length skinny jeans are ideal for this because they don’t require you to roll up the hems to fit inside your boots. If you must roll your jeans to fit into boots, create one large cuff, and then pull your socks on over top to hold your pants in place and keep them from looking bulky in your boots.

And while we’re at it, let’s discuss some denim care tips. After all, if you invest in good quality denim, you want them to stay looking good for as long as possible.

How to Care for Denim

  • Don’t wash your jeans too often. If they don’t look or smell dirty, put them back in your closet.
  • Wash your jeans inside out in cold water and hang to dry to protect the wash as well as the elastin.
  • Add vinegar to the water before you wash them the first time to help lock the color in.
  • Fold rather than hang your jeans. Supposedly hanging can wear on them over time.

That last one is new to me. I always hang my jeans because I feel like I can see them better that way, and I have more hanging space than folding space. I may have to reconsider that now.

Now go forth and rock that denim!

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