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Let’s get this out of the way: I’m not putting down anyone who has thigh gap. I have friends who have thin, svelte legs and I celebrate them just the way they are. (If you have thigh gap, congratulations you willowy-model-leg-thing you. This post may not interest you as much as some of the others on Salt Lake Pretty, though…)
I wrote this post because many of us, myself included, have thighs that are well-acquainted with each other. Our thighs are like those neighbors in Boston townhouses that share a wall and always know what the other is doing: their close proximity means they have no choice but to make the best of things and learn to live alongside each other.
If you’ve ever spent your Saturday afternoon yanking on a pair of skinny jeans that are somehow stuck around your ankles and will not come off, this post is for you. No more terrified visions of having to holler for a sales girl who will then cut you out of said jeans while you cower in the corner of the dressing room trying not to make eye contact. (Good thing you wore those cute undies today, though…)
These are the thighs we’ve been given, so let’s learn to dress them well. And let’s definitely not have any of those dressing room incidents. Here we go.
The Hippie Favorite: Flare Jeans
My current favorite jeans are American Eagle’s Boho Artist Flare. I wish they would tone down the whiskering and make them available in a dark-as-night wash, but these jeans meet all my requirements for achieving Go-To Pair of Jeans status:
- the rise is higher in the back so I can bend and move around without any fear of my rear end being exposed
- these jeans hold their shape all day; the fabric doesn’t bag out
- the flare cut flatters figures with some curve to them
- they’re available in multiple lengths
- they’re budget-friendly: the basic pair (which I prefer) is $39.95
I’ve been yearning for flare jeans to come into style for, oh, about a decade. Now that they’re here, rejoice. Because flare jeans are especially flattering on women with hips and thighs and rear ends. The wider cut of the fabric from the knee down makes your body look proportionate and creates a slimming effect on the hip and thigh area.
Plus, if you hem your flare jeans to wear with heels or wedges, that extra few inches will make your legs look a mile long. I wholeheartedly believe in the power of a longer hem and taller shoes to make a woman feel tall and slender. Plus, it must be true because this Vogue article said it a few months ago.
The standard length is too long for my 5’4″ so I opt to wear them wedges or boots, which plays well with the hippie vibe of the flares anyway. If you’re my height or shorter and you plan on wearing these jeans with flats, opt for the Short length.
And here’s a tip for saving some cash: American Eagle often has a “Buy One, Get One 50% Off” promotion on their jeans, so you can score yours for cheap if you time your purchase well.
The Versatile Pair: Bootcut Jeans
I started wearing GAP jeans in my early twenties when a yuppie friend of mine introduced me. On my first visit, I bought a pair that was at least three sizes too big and wore them to all my college classes with a variety of colorful wifebeater-style tank tops (remember that sad trend?). Because yuppie I was not. Clearly. But I eventually realized that grownup clothes have their perks – like, you know, flattering your rear end and not falling off all day if you forget a belt. So I retired those baggy jeans and started wearing my actual size.
The winner? The Perfect Boot (formerly called the Sexy Boot. It’s a toss-up as to which name I like better). The silhouette of these jeans works for just about any activity or look, especially if you get them in a dark wash to wear for more of a dressed-up look. The standard length is perfect on my 5’4″ frame – no hemming needed. At $69.95, GAP jeans will cost you more than American Eagle, but they aren’t priced high enough to put you into debt.
A store manager at GAP once told me that the jeans fit so well because they’re strategically cut based on the grain of the cloth – meaning, for example, that they’re cut to stretch lengthwise rather than widthwise on the legs. I poked around the GAP website and couldn’t find any confirmation for this, but it sound genius, right?
GAP jeans also hold up well over the years. I have three pairs of the Perfect Boot that are four or five years old and have been worn incessantly, and they all still look new.
The Designer Splurge: Hudson Jeans
Ah, designer jeans. I know a few ladies who will drop upwards of $200 on jeans without breaking a sweat. I, however, would sweat at that kind of price tag, and definitely for an item that is typically worn casually. If I’m spending that kind of money, it’s usually on a more elegant piece like a cashmere sweater.
So my most expensive pair of jeans, the Signature Ballet Bootcut by Hudson, came in at just under $100. They’re regularly priced at $119, but Nordstrom Rack carries them for $80-90.
If you’re on the shorter side, you’ll need to get your Hudsons hemmed. The standard inseam is 32″. Mine are the perfect length for wearing with heels or boots, but the 8″ or so that drapes over my foot when I’m standing flat makes wearing them with sandals totally out of the question.
The best thing about these jeans? They make your butt look fantastic. For real. Oh, and the rest of them isn’t so bad either.
(Hey, I just realized I’m wearing them right now while I write this. Hellooo, Hudson Jeans.)
The Harder-to-Wear Look: Skinny Jeans
Skinny jeans were a difficult reality for me. In California, I just avoided them. I don’t have the ideal body for skinny jeans and I wasn’t going to fuss with trying to adopt the trend when I already had so many other pairs of jeans that suited my figure better. But then I moved to Utah and figured out I couldn’t rock cute riding boots throughout fall and winter unless I invested in some skinny jeans. (If you’re saying “oh, but you could just wear them with a dress and tights,” you’re wrong. Yes, I could wear riding boots with dresses and tights. But it gets cold here in the smack-dab-middle of winter. Really cold. Some days call for pants. So stop it.)
Anyway, I spent about two months last fall dragging my apprehensive feet through the mall and grumbling to myself in dressing rooms while I tried on (and got stuck in) countless pairs of skinny jeans. (Yes, that palpitation-inducing fear of being cut out out of the World’s Skinniest Pair of Skinny Jeans is real. #thestruggleisreal) But I had a brand new pair of Ralph Lauren Riding Boots and I was determined to show them off, so I did what any woman who has just dropped some cash at DSW does: I persisted until I found a way to Wear. The. Shoes. Because priorities…
Salvation came in the form of another pair of jeans from American Eagle. The aptly-named Skinny Jean is the only skinny style I’ve tried that fits both my thigh and my athletic calf. And it looks skinny without being so tight that it’s painful to wear (ever tried to sit down and had your skinny jeans slice into that crease where your thigh meets your hip? Ouch.)
Like the Boho Artist Flares, these jeans are available in different washes and lengths. I opt for the standard length because I like the look of the cuff when I wear them with sandals (yep, I have converted to year-round skinny jeans-wearing) or booties. Also like my favorite flares, these have a higher rise in the back so there’s no risk of your skinny jeans baring too much of your skin. Or, if you want a high rise all around, you can try the Hi-Rise Skinny…
And the price is $39.95-49.95, so these won’t dent your wallet.
Oh, success story: I just bought my second pair of riding boots – cognac-colored Steve Maddens. They’re divine and I have plenty of jeans to wear them with. Life is good.
Now go forth, fellow Women With Thighs, and dress well. Instagram me your new favorite pair so we can share all the good stuff with each other (#saltlakepretty)…
P.S. American Eagle and Hudson don’t airbrush their models’ bodies. Yes, their models are gorgeous and look stunning without editing – but it’s cool that these brands are choosing to show the women as they are instead of editing them into caricature-like images. In addition to moving away from unrealistic standards, it’s helpful to see what women really look like in the clothes.
Dark Washes: they make you feel slimmer, like wearing black does. But make sure you always wash them once separately before wearing them – otherwise, you’ll end up ruining your other clothes or whatever you sit on. Trust me on this.
Jeans that don’t have whiskering. Some whiskered pairs are flattering, but take the time to look at the whiskers. Lots of horizontal lines around the thickest part of your leg are not likely to flatter your figure.
The American Eagle Boho Artist Flare in red. Because cute!