Jean Dos and Don'ts
Before: When jeans fit Veronica's hips, they usually squeeze her waist—which is why she took scissors to her old pair and wore shirts untucked to hide the damage. But what her boyish figure needs is more waist definition, not less, as well as a bit of abdominal camouflage.
After: Subtle control via a stretch-fabric panel in front and a midrange waistband give Veronica instant sophistication. Add a little sparkle, and she's set for the evening.
Before: The deep-dipping waistband gives her lousy coverage, and droopy hems look sloppy. "Most jeans are too long for me," says 5'4" Alysia. And about that visible thong: Underthings should always match the cut of your jeans. (Try a no-show version like Jeanious by Barely There low-rise panties, $9).
After: Hitting just below the waist, sleek denims easily accommodate Alysia's curves. Higher pockets with subtle tone-on-tone stitching improve her back view; in front, vertical whiskering (simulated creases) adds length to her legs.
Before: "I have a flat butt—most of my weight is in my upper body," Sheena says. These sag-prone jeans, with their low-lying pockets and excess fabric, just accentuate the imbalance between top and bottom.
After: Shapely stretch denim with rear-end detail—back yoke, horizontal stitching on pockets—produces a higher, rounder-looking derriere. Before the shoot, Sheena's price limit for jeans was $40; now she'd go up to $200: "It makes more sense to have two pairs that fit than eight that don't."
Before: "If my jeans fit right, I feel sexier, happier, livelier," Debby says. But here she is hiding a terrific body under a pair that's at least a size too large. You want comfortable, not baggy (most denim "gives" over time, so it's okay if jeans feel slightly tight at first).
After: Slim enough to tuck into boots, the hip new skinnies—narrow, tapered jeans that can be "scrunched" at the bottom—aren't for everyone (you definitely need good legs), but on Debby, they're smashing.
Before: Julie has an 18-month-old son—but that's no reason to settle for frumpy denim. The passé light acid wash makes her lean thighs seem bulkier, and the high-rise style emphasizes the tummy (not that she has much postpartum bulge). She looks older and heavier than she is.
After: The slim, clean lines of these dark jeans are modern and elongating but not overly trendy (Julie isn't wild about ultralow rises). A slightly dropped waist and narrow belt slide right over any stomach trouble.
Before: "Ooh, these are hurting me!" Although Tamara says having too-small jeans in her closet motivates her to shape up ("I'm trying to fight my way back into them"), this skimpy pair clings to the widest part of her body, then narrows at the ankle for an unflattering inverted-triangle effect.
After: Get jeans you can wear today, not someday. Crisp stretch denim—tailored specifically for bigger hips and butts—fits smoothly but not tightly. Boot-cut legs with slight fullness at the bottom help to balance broad hips.