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Ask Luke Reichle: The best jeans for your body shape

As costume designer for the hit ABC television series Castle, as well as top ten shows Without a Trace and CSI Miami, Luke Reichle's work is viewed by over 20 million people a week. Luke has dressed an enviable number of Oscar, Emmy, Gol...

Secrets from the red carpet

You've got questions, and we've got answers! SheKnows' contributing beauty and style expert Luke Reichle is taking your submissions and dishing out no-fuss answers! Today, we're talking about how to find the perfect jeans for your body type in three simple steps!
Luke Reichle
Ask Luke Reichle

Secrets of the red carpet

You've got questions, and we've got answers! SheKnows' contributing beauty and style expert, Luke Reichle, is taking your submissions and dishing out no-fuss answers! Today, we're talking about how to find the perfect jeans for your body type in three simple steps!

Dear Luke,

I get a lot of mixed messages about which jeans I should wear. I’ve been told for a short woman I should wear skinny jeans or boot cut jeans to lengthen my legs, but as a larger woman I should wear a more flared jean to make me look slimmer. But as a short woman I should not wear flares because they make you look shorter! Ah! What are the real rules?

- Dazed and Confused

Luke responds

Dear Dazed,

Buying jeans is like learning English. There are rules, but it’s the exceptions that will get you. I’m a fan of dressing your shape as a priority. For a petite, full-figured woman, this is how I’d order your choices: 

  • 1st Length
  • 2nd Shape
  • 3rd Trend

Woman wearing jeansLength: The almighty vertical

Your first consideration in any garment, top or bottom, should be establishing a strong vertical line. You want to keep the eye that’s observing you moving up from stems to stern. Strong horizontals are to be avoided, like the abrupt hem of a skinny jean. They stop the eye. For this reason, I prefer boot cut jeans over skinny. The flare of the boot cut keeps drawing the eye down onto what should be a similar tone of shoe or boot.

Exception: (I warned you, didn’t I?) There is something very sexy about a curvy, petite woman in well-fitted skinny jeans tucked into a tall boot with a towering heel.

Shape: Contour where it counts

When it comes to well-fitting jeans for a woman with your shape, remember to avoid extra fabric that will add bulk. In short, the cut should give you the best possible, well, butt. Look for a medium weight of denim with a healthy amount of stretch. You’ll want them to fit close to the leg without adding bulk. Ones that flare from just below the knee are best. Wide legs are not your friend, so you can give a pass to the baggy and oversized.

Trend: The unvarnished truth

I’m going to say this even though it might make me unpopular. Just because they’re selling it, doesn’t mean you should buy it. Not everyone is built for skinny jeans. I’m all for freedom of expression but not at the cost of proportion. I know it can get pretty desperate when you’re plowing through the denim department of a major retailer only to pick up pair after pair that end in what looks like a pin point.

And then there’s peer pressure. You want to keep up with your girlfriends. Or emulate what you see in the magazines. Not always the best choice. I wanted to wear hot pants in high school. The board of education had other ideas. As irritated as I was at the time, I see now that they were saving me from myself.

So soldier on. The thing about fashion is, new styles are only one delivery period away.

 *Petite or not, always wash and dry your jeans a couple of times before you hem them. This will keep the shrinkage down. If they have a printed surface or a finish that will be compromised by the W/D, dry clean them once before hemming and then as infrequently as possible.

more red carpet secrets

Hey! I'm really excited about my new show, Secrets of the Red Carpet, streaming live on emPOWERme.tv Saturdays starting May 19 at noon PST, 3 p.m. EST, with video on demand May 5. See a sneak peek now here.

Watch: What's your style DNA?

Today on The Daily Dish, Fawn Cheng gives tips for finding out your own style DNA.

More style advice

How to fall in love with your look
Dressing for your body type
Swimsuits for a petite body shape

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