the perfect pair – how to find the best jeans


illustration: chloe proffitt

“How can you wear jeans every day? I could never. They are just so uncomfortable and they never fit right. I’d take a pair of sweatpants over some restricting jeans any day.” I have heard iterations of this conversation more times than I can count, whether it be among my friends or from people around campus. My answer is this: everyone has their perfect pair of jeans, whether they know it or not, it might just take some searching. There is nothing like finding a pair of jeans that fit so perfectly you never want to take them off.  If your jeans do not feel like this, there is a good chance you need to continue your search for “The Perfect Pair.”  


If I am having a “blah” day I do not reach for my sweatpants, but I throw on a pair of my favorite jeans so that I can have an extra boost of confidence to get me through the day. I honestly think that the trick to feeling good is looking good, so that is why it is so important to find a pair of jeans that makes you feel like you can conquer anything. No two pairs of jeans are made equal, so that is why it is important to find the right pair. I myself am a denim-lover and I have an extensive collection of jeans in different washes, styles and embellishments. I have a few pairs of jeans that stand out to me and seem to complete any outfit, but I also have a few pairs that rarely get worn because they are lacking in a few areas or do not fit just right. I always get so excited when I find a pair of jeans that fit just right, and there are definitely certain brands that I can always rely on to find good jeans. 


There is something so special about feeling confident in an outfit, and I am a firm believer that jeans have the power to make or break that confidence. It can be difficult to know how to find a pair of jeans that are not only worth the money but fit right. So here is a step-by-step guide to finding your perfect pair, so you can rock them with confidence.


1. Find Your Style: This all comes down to personal preference, but the main goal here is to find jeans that you feel comfortable and confident in. Whether it be baggy boyfriend jeans or flare-leg jeans, you should smile the second you slip into them. Experiment with different types of jeans to see which ones compliment you the best. Different styles of denim serve different purposes, and that can determine whether or not they are a good fit for you.  A good rule of thumb, in my opinion, is to have at least one pair of light-wash jeans, medium-wash jeans, dark-wash jeans, and black jeans. This way you have a variety in your wardrobe. Figure out if you like rips in your jeans or not, and if so, where you like the placement of the rips. I have tried so many different styles of jeans and my favorites are ones that hug the waist and hips but become baggier as they go down the leg. This type of jean, often referred to as dad jeans, makes the legs appear longer and personally gives me the most confidence. Here is a breakdown of some of the different types of jeans on the market:  

  • Mom Jeans: A high-waisted style of denim that is loose around the legs and was very popular in the ‘80s and ‘90s. They also have more of a tapered cut. Mom jeans sit at the waist, rather than the hips, so they accentuate curves and make your waist look smaller. Mom jeans are fantastic for hourglass figures. 
  • Boyfriend Jeans: These are usually fitted on top, but have more of a relaxed fit in the leg. Boyfriend jeans are normally a straight cut.  
  • Straight Leg Jeans: This style of jeans are straight all the way down the leg. They can be more baggy, or tighter fitting. Some mom jeans or boyfriend jeans have a straight-leg fit. 
  • Wide Leg Jeans: Wide-leg jeans begin to flare out at the mid-thigh and have a wide cut throughout the whole leg. 
  • Flare Jeans: This style is fitted through the thigh and they begin to gradually flare out at the knee. Legs are accentuated in this style because the flare makes them appear longer. 
  • Skinny Jeans: This style is tight-fitting and hugs the legs. 
  • Baggy Jeans: These are very loose throughout the whole leg and hip. 

2. The Fit: Now that you have found what kind of jeans you like, it is time to make sure they fit. Jeans should feel comfortable, and if they do not, you will rarely want to wear them. Fit is more than just a number, and sizes vary from brand to brand. It is best to ignore the numerical size and focus on which jeans are comfortable. A size four in one brand might be a size six in another, and vice versa. Your jeans should not gap too much at the waist or when you sit down. Jeans should even out your proportions and complement your figure. This is what leads to finding “The Perfect Pair” and feeling like your best self. To achieve this, one simple way is to figure out which rise of denim fits you best. High-rise, mid-rise, and low-rise are the three different rises that jeans come in. Depending on torso length, the best rise of denim may vary. If you are looking for a quality pair of high-rise denim, Levi’s is known for their ribcage jeans, which are extra high rise and they have become a cult favorite. This is because the high-rise style helps to contour the body in a way that is very flattering. Some people just despise trying on jeans, and that is understandable because the process can be both exhausting and frustrating. However, to ease some worry, a trick that I learned from a sales associate while I was shopping is that if the waist of the jeans can fit around your neck and not overlap (jeans will be too big) or with room in between (jeans will be too small), then the jeans should fit your waist. Now, this is not a fool-proof method, but it is certainly something you can utilize in a quick pinch. If the waist of the jeans is too big, an option is to buy snap-on buttons to adjust the waist. These buttons are so easy to use and they work like a pin. Just simply push the backing through the waist in the desired spot and screw the front piece on.  


Link to Buy: Snap-On Buttons 


3. The Price: We’ve all been there. You are in a dressing room staring at your reflection and you see how amazing you look in those jeans. Then the dark clouds roll in and you wonder just how much they cost.  You take a deep breath and look at the price tag. The number staring back at you is intimidating and all you can do is look away. You look back at your reflection and a wave of sadness emerges. It’s a game of contemplation. Thoughts running through your head of whether it will be a smart purchase or not. “But they look so good,” you think to yourself. 


Just when is it worth it to splurge the extra amount on a pair of jeans? That is completely up to you because you need to think about the wear that you are going to get out of the jeans. If you think you are going to wear them multiple times a month, it may just be worth it to splurge. However, if you can only see yourself wearing them once every other month, it may be time to reconsider. Before you jump into purchasing jeans that may be out of your price range, think about the factors I mentioned. Are they comfortable? Did you smile when you put them on? Most importantly, will you wear them enough that it was worth your money? Times like these can be tough, but with the right ideas in mind, you will be able to spend your money wisely. 


Here are some contenders for “The Perfect Pair”

Jean: PacSun Eco Light Blue Distressed Dad Jeans

Brand: PacSun

Price: $59.95  

Why?: If you like a more relaxed, comfortable look when it comes to jeans, these jeans could be a top contender. The wash contains just the perfect amount of blue, so it will not overpower your outfit. These jeans are super flattering because they are a bit baggier on the bottom and tighter on top. The placement of the rips at the knee creates an illusion of longer legs, which is always a plus. PacSun jeans are of good quality and have the right amount of stretch. When looking for a quality pair of denim, it is important to pay attention to the stretch of the material. Most jeans that are too stretchy can stretch throughout the day and that can be inconvenient. Jeans that are too stiff may be uncomfortable and you may not reach for them often. However, PacSun has you covered when it comes to the stretch of the denim. PacSun is also very size-inclusive, with sizes ranging from 23 to 32. 


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JeanFlare Low Jeans 

Brand: H&M 

Price: $34.99

Why?: These flare leg pants give off a retro vibe, but the unique snap fasteners give them a modern-day twist. Jeans like this are bound to elicit compliments because they are so different. Dress these jeans up with heels and a satin top, or dress them down with platform sneakers and a sweater. H&M has quality denim without breaking the bank, and that is always a plus. 


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Jean: Bootcut Daisy Pant

Brand: Garage Clothing

Price: $69.95 

Why?: These jeans are definitely a wildcard. However, they are so groovy and fun that they can be just the right addition to your wardrobe. Sometimes you just want to spice up your wardrobe and these pants will do just that. These jeans are perfect for the springtime and the green color is so fresh. I could envision them with platform white shoes, a baby tee, and a mini bag. Get ready for the compliments! Garage denim is more of stiffer denim, but that doesn’t mean they are not comfortable. Stiffer jeans have more structure and hold their shape with movement. They also will not stretch throughout the day and they will not need constant adjustments. 


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Jean: Ribcage Straight Ankle Women’s Jeans

Brand: Levi’s 

Price: $48.97 (On sale!) 

Why?: They are a medium wash, so they are super versatile and can be worn with a variety of different outfits. The high-rise style sits at 12 inches, so these jeans are perfect for those who love their jeans to sit high on the waist. They slim the hip and define the waist, which will make you smile as soon as you put them on. The straight-leg look gives off a “cool-girl” vibe and lengthens the legs. Levi’s, a classic brand of jeans, and a favorite brand of so many people never fail to create quality denim.  The stretch of Levi’s denim is just the perfect amount, just like PacSun’s. 


Jeans: Curve Love Low Rise 90s Straight Jeans

Brand: Abercrombie & Fitch 

Price: $89

Why?: These jeans are ideal for more curvy body types and they will hug all the right places. The low-rise style is a good change, as most jeans nowadays are high-rise. This line of denim went viral on TikTok earlier this year, and it is clear why. They capture that ‘90s look that has been sought after for the last year or so. These jeans seem to be on the stiffer side when it comes to the stretch factor. However, this is perfect if you are going for more of a vintage look, as stiff denim was the norm back then. 


Jeans: The Olvera Cropped Skinny Jean

Brand: Just USA Jeans 

Price: $54

Why?: Although skinny jeans are looked down upon by Gen Z these days, I personally think that black jeans will never go out of style. They are so sleek and slimming. Black jeans with a strappy black heel can create a very chic look. There really is little difference (looks-wise) between a dark pair of black jeans and black leggings, except for the button, so why not take the extra step and put on those black skinnies. The mid-rise style on these is exceptional for rocking an outfit where you want to show off a little more skin. Just USA, a brand normally sold in boutiques, is probably one of my favorite brands of denim. I have a pair of black skinny jeans that I bought about four years ago from this brand and they have held up exceptionally well. 


I know the process of finding jeans can be difficult, but just remember that the most important thing is to feel confident in your new jeans. Finding “The Perfect Pair” is possible for everyone, regardless of body type or height. Although there are many factors to consider when choosing a new pair of jeans, it is important to choose what you feel the most comfortable in. Whether it be a pair of high-rise boyfriend jeans or low-rise flares, you should be walking out of the store with so much excitement about your purchase. 


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Hi, I’m Grace Avery, the Editor In Chief of A Magazine. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.