Denim Mistakes You May Be Making & How To Fix Them

Here are some of the common denim mistakes women make that can make them look frumpy, and how to fix them!

10/25/2022 NOTE: This post was written in 2018. As we all know, fashion and style evolves and some of this advice may be dated, although I do believe the main points are all still valid. More current articles you might like are:

Jeans are one of the most common wardrobe items in a woman’s closet, and these days there are soooo many styles and options available. It seems like it should be simple, but finding jeans that fit right and don’t make you look frumpy can be quite a challenge. If you’re worried that your jeans are making you look frumpy, this post is for you!

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

Denim Mistakes You May Be Making

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

turtleneck // similar vest // slim straight jeans // boots // bag

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, and that’s okay. Just make sure the ones that fit best at the present time are up front where they’re easy to see and grab.

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 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.

Denim Mistakes You May Be Making: ignoring the rear view

white tee // jacket (old) // AG jeans // similar bag // 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!!! 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. Some sit high, some sit low, some are wide apart, some are close together… and depending on your shape, some will look better than others.

This is why I always show rear-view pictures when I do my Try On Hauls. It’s not that I relish having those pictures circulating the Internet for all eternity, but it is so important to take all angles into consideration when purchasing jeans.

#3. Not hemming your jeans.

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. Mind you, styles change, and right now wearing jeans a bit shorter is trending, but these are your more traditional full-length cuts shown here.

skinny // straight // bootcut

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

sweater // jeans // boots // tote

I wear moderately distressed jeans, and I know there are some who think that whole trend is ridonkulous, but 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.

Denim Mistakes You May Be Making: tucking jeans that are too wide into your boots.

sweater // Paige Verdugo crop skinny jeans // similar cognac boots // similar bag // plaid scarves

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-dump.

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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108 thoughts on “Denim Mistakes You May Be Making & How To Fix Them

  1. I always grab a rear view!! For my clothes and my hair! Want to be sure I’m happy with the
    way I look coming, as well as going! lol Great post!

  2. Great reminders and on the bra topic, if you do one. I have trouble with my bra showing when I wear sleeveless tops and dresses. The straps aren’t the problem, under the arms mostly. 

  3. Great post!
    I’d add, if you’re short, it helps to buy jeans that are designated as Short or Petite (they’re different, with Petites being the shortest). These jeans are proportionate to a shorter body in every way, including the rise. Hemming long jeans won’t achieve the same effect.

  4. I am thankful I came across your blog, I am so clothed challenged. I wish there was a Geranimal, LOL, way to mix and match clothes; that would really be helpful for me.

  5. i also love the fight the frump series and this post on denim is a timely one for me… my body has really changed in the last couple of years. I am still trying to fit into the same style of denim and think I need to try some other styles (and sizes!)… SIGH.

  6. Love this! Thank you! Looking forward to your new white jeans post. I saw your instagram story with the different new white jeans but I didn’t have time to follow the links.

  7. This is the second article I’ve read of yours. The first was about shorts. The shorts article caught my eye due to my own views on what looks appropriate. Both articles were aligned with my views. I am older than the age group you seem to target but I feel they can still apply to me. Thank you.

  8. I heard on The Today Show that you’re not supposed to wash your jeans. You are supposed to put them in a zip lock bag, and put them in the freezer. True story.

    This topic came up at our Thanksgiving table, and everyone agreed that they will continue to wash their jeans.

    Happy holidays!

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