Dress Form: The denim guide


In the beginning, it was simple: we had the Original. Fast forward to 2008 and we’re faced with Brazilians, skinnies, wide-legs, low-rises and bell-bottoms - oh my.

Designer jeans are one of the few trends that translate from the runway to real life. But after choosing from one of hundreds of designers, a shopper still faces dozens of style, cut, color and wash decisions. Here are some surefire tips for finding the perfect pair.

Imitation is NOT the sincerest form of flattery

Take a deep breath, stare in the mirror and no matter how heartbreaking the ensuing revelation may be, repeat this mantra: “I am not Kate Moss. Just because Kate can pull off super-skinny, mud-stained drainpipe jeans tucked into rubber boots, it doesn’t mean I can.” According to local denim expert Jessica Carsey, the lead “bartender” at LA Fairchild Denim Bar in Cardiff by the Sea, choosing a denim style because a celebrity wore it is a big mistake. Stress not, though. There is a perfect pair of denim out there for your exact body type. In fact, at the Denim Bar, bartenders classify shoppers into body type and measure them in the four key denim areas: butt, back of the leg, inseam and waist. Generally, jeans with some stretch look good on everyone, as do straight-cut, medium-rises in darker washes. Curvy types: Try Citizens of Humanity jeans, which run at around $190 a pair.

Fit is key

Many people look at jeans as an unalterable purchase. Wrong! Make sure they fit you properly. When worn with heels, the perfect pair of denim should be tailored to sit about an inch from the ground. With flats, jeans should just skim the middle of the foot. According to Sinisa Ristic, owner of denim haven Let’s Go Clothing in La Jolla, jeans should make you feel comfortable. And comfort is not constantly adjusting a spilling muffin-top or an exposed thong. “My favorite style is high-waisted,” Ristic said, “because they usually hide problem areas and people aren’t tugging all the time.” Skinny jeans usually don’t need length alterations because they are so tight fitting near the ankle. High-waisted styles sit nicely above the navel. But if you’re not willing to try either of these super trendy styles, befriend your tailor.

Get colorful

This is going to be alarming for those of you who are stuck in a, well, blue period. Just remember: Picasso broke out of it and so can you. The biggest trend for denim this fall is color. According to Ristic, burgundy, brown and darker gray can work on everyone because darker colors generally have a slimming effect. For a night out, why not pair a slinky tank top with bright yellow jeans and a pair of stilettos? For daytime, try a plain tee and flats with red or burgundy jeans. For bright colored denim, try Ksubi/Tsubi (approximately $250) or for more muted colors, try J Brand (approximately $200).

Buy age appropriate denim

If you’re not 19, avoid rips and embellishments. If you’re worried about looking too trendy, try trouser jeans. Keep it simple and neat, and toss any jeans you haven’t worn in two years or more. And remember: try as those designers might, acid washed denim will not and should not ever come back into style.