Let’s Talk About Jeans, Baby

Best Jeans for Apple Shaped Women, Part 1

Jeans. We all own them and we all wear them. Jeans are the universal casual pants, but they’ve become more than that. There are SO many different styles, cuts, and fabrics for jeans, it can be a bit perplexing to know what goes into a good pair of jeans if you have an apple shape. Or even what counts as “jeans”!

My goal is that you will will be less perplexed after this article, and confident in shopping for the most flattering jeans for apple shaped women.

I’ve previously described general principles for pants shopping, but now it’s time to get specific. Get read, it’s time to think about jeans hard. Here are some apple-friendly tips.

Rise Up!

Rise is the measurement between the bottom of the crotch of the jeans and the top of the waistband. This matters because it determines where on your midsection the jeans will stop. 

High rise jeans are sometimes referred to as “mom” jeans – the ones that go up, at or above the belly button. They were the shiznit in the 1980s, for those of us old enough to remember the 1980s. Anyway, high rise pants almost always have waistbands that are too tight and too unflattering on apple shaped bodies, even if the jeans fit perfectly everywhere else. AVOID.

Medium rise is usually the way to go for apples (except for apple-teenies, who can also sometimes wear high-rise jeans, which, for them, create an illusion of a silhouette).  Medium rise jeans will land about and inch and a half to two inches below your belly button. Their waist measurement won’t be nearly as right as the same exact jeans with a higher rise. This means we can get them on and around us with minimum squishage.

And low-rise jeans … don’t get me started. Low rise jeans won’t BEGIN to provide the tummy coverage we need. Low rise jeans usually start two and a half to four inches below your belly button – think belly dancer if you’re not seeing it yet. And, if you still don’t believe me…Google-image “low rise jeans muffin top“. I’m not linking that- you were warned. Low rise jeans ARE NOT FOR APPLES.

ON the other hand, if any of my apple shaped readers have had positive experiences with either low or high rise jeans, I’d love to hear about it (and have my mind blown). Please, definitely leave a comment if this applies to you at all.

Who Wants Some Apple Slices?

So yeah, the long and short of all that is NOT US! Apples know the feeling of too-tight waistbands on jeans slicing into our tummies. I say “slice” because jeans are made of denim, which is a much heavier material than most slacks and pants, so when they’re too tight it can be a cutting sensation.

On a related note, what this means is we should prefer jeans with “give” in the fabric. This will result from a blend of some kind of stretchy fabric with the denim, and it helps keep them from digging in, even when we sit down and our weight redistributes. Aim for at least a 1-2% Lycra mix.

No junk in this trunk

Although jeans are usually thought to showcase the all-important booty, in our world, we don’t want that. Apples have flat tushies, and jeans aren’t gonna give us bigger ones.  The best we can do is go with jeans that have large, full back pockets, which give the illusion of a larger one. And this illusion will in turn help balance out the belly. Pocket flaps? Even better.

The Skinny

Apples usually have thin legs, which means we can wear skinny jeans! However, it can be hard to find ones that also fit appropriately around the middle.

Skinny jeans will need to have a larger percentage of stretchy material, especially for plus-sized Apple shaped women. Both of the linked pictured recommendations are by James Jeans, which is a brand I recommend for fit as well as quality – the company has really high environmental standards as well as a commitment to quality most clothesmakers long abandoned. James Jeans are among the most well-made jeans you can buy today.

Here’s another plus-sized option from Lucky Jeans. Lucky brand is another jeans maker that produces consistently good quality for the price point, and I’ve had luck with their fit in the past.

The Straight Leg

Apple shaped women can also wear straight leg jeans (and trousers). Adding some width to our legs and lower body brings them in balance with the midsection. Straight leg jeans are a way to provide this balance without looking sloppy.

Straight leg jeans are versatile and comfortable, without looking quite as casual and frumpy as relaxed fit. Straight leg jeans are fitted enough ti still create a nice lengthening visual line without showing every detail of our leg anatomy. For women who are concerned with texture (again, lumps, bumps, cellulite), straight leg (vs skinny) is the way to go.

Here’s a good straight leg option for slim through average-sized apples, from Levi’s: Levi’s Women’s 518 Straight Jean, Celestial View.

Here’s another option from James Jeans for Plus-Sized apple shapes: James Jeans Women’s Plus Size Hunter Curvy Straight Leg Jean, Western Blues .

There are a zillion variations for types, styles, and fits of jeans. Bellbottoms, flares, the “boyfriend” jean, crops and capris come to mind immediately, just to name a few.

Jeans with sequins and beads, jeans with studs and spikes, jeans with pre-assembled rips and holes around the knee and thigh, jeans with image prints and embossments, jeans in every color of the rainbow, leopard print jeans, zebra print jeans, overalls … yeah. You get the point.

There will be a sequel to this article in the future specifically about crops and capris, because these jeans also tend to be quite flattering for apple shapes.

But, let’s keep the conversation going. Do you have a favorite pair of jeans? Of course you do. Or you did. What makes them great?

Or maybe you’ve never quite found “the one”, and perhaps the suggestions on this page will lead you there.  In any case, definitely let me know, and thanks for reading!

-Penelope

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17 comments / Add your comment below

  1. So cool! Love the principle of this site! I would say I’m definitely am apple, lol. And I love my skinny jeans!!! When the style first came about I was a little shy about it, but now it is my go-to style. I enjoy wearing them with virtually anything! Great post. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for the feedback! I love the skinny jeans too, as long as they’ve got stretch they’re pretty flattering 🙂

  2. Haha, this is so great! I LOVE your site title “Stylish Apples”. Very clever! The more I read, the more I think I totally am an apple LOL.
    I agree that mid rise jeans are the “go to”, but since having kids, I am finding that I’m having trouble with “muffin tops” with pretty much every pair of jeans I buy! Any tips on how to deal with this, other than going high rise and having it pinch my stomach a bit?
    And yes, like the other commenter, I too was hesitant about skinny jeans, but now I just love them! I’m still a bit uncertain as to which shoe styles to wear with them (I need a quality shoe that fits orthotics, yay… so no cute little ballet slipper). Any tips?
    Super fun site – keep up the great work!

    1. Hi Marlaine, I’m glad you’re enjoying the site! It is challenging to find good apple jeans, with waistbands that don’t pinch. I do stand by the James Jeans recommendations on my page, and here are a couple additional ideas:
      1) Splurge on a pair of custom-made jeans. I have a couple pairs from an old online company that’s since folded, and they have served me extremely well. When mine are finally dead I’m going to try these guys: you can get out of there for under $100, which is way less than I paid for mine! 2) The other suggestion I have is for a specific awesome model is by DKNY, the Mercer Skinny jean, but NO ONE appears to be selling it any longer. Amazon.com has one listing for petites only (so if you’re petite you might be in luck). The waistband is very generous on these. If not there, try finding them on Ebay in your size (I actually had to do that for my most recent pair) 3) The third suggestion is to take a pair of jeans you otherwise love and get the waistband altered. You can get alterations at pretty much any dry cleaners, and they’re inexpensive. They’ll measure you first, and have you try them on after to make sure it works. Let me know if you have any luck with these ideas, thanks!!

    2. One other thought, you might want to try some “casual” shapewear, ideally something you can wear through the day and not feel too constricted in. For jeans, I’d say something as constricting as SPANX or a corset is a bit much, and more uncomfortable than we deserve. I have reviewed one model of casual shapewear so far, and more to come!

  3. Hi,
    I don’t know how I get here, but I glad I did.
    I’m looking for a gift for my girlfriend but really didn’t know which jeans she will like.
    So I sent her the link to this page and asked her which Jeans she thought my sister will love and she said she will love The Skinny.
    And since they both wearing the same wardrobe and even sometimes changing cloth between them, I know what to buy for her.
    Thanks for the info.

  4. Great article! Finding a good, fitting pair of jeans is like a holy grail for a woman! It’s almost impossible if you are not a perfect shape. My hips and thighs are so much bigger than my waist. I was so desperate that I ended up getting special Levi’s jeans made for me according to the measure.

    1. Hi Liz, yeah we apples are not the only ones with challenges. For pears and hourglasses and there’s usually a big “waist gap” with jeans. You can focus on high-rise jeans (which will have a smaller waist band) and also jeans with a good deal of stretch. Bell bottom and bootcut jeans flatter you and bring balance to the lower part of the body. Getting custom jeans is a great choice and I had no idea Levi’s offered that, how cool!

  5. Hey there.

    I’m not sure if you get many comments from guys, but every guy knows a girl, so why not?

    My sister is definitely an apple and has often complained about not finding things that look right on her, jeans in particular… As a guy, my style of shopping is “yeah, it’s jeans. Good enough,” but I will be sending my sister a link to this page to help her out. You’ve clearly done your research, and this page has a peel. (I’m a dad, so I get to make groan-worthy dad jokes.)

    1. Thank you so much for the post, and I hope your sister likes the site. It’s a bit of a wasteland out there for us apples…and thank you for joining in on the stupid puns! I was deeply hopeful that my site had a peel 🙂

  6. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL OF MY LIFE?????????? Thank you thank you thank you for this website! It’s going on my favorite places and I’m never shopping without it again!

    1. Hi Amy, I’m SUPER glad to see this response! It’s exactly what I was hoping from my apple brethren, especially if this turns out to be helpful and relevant advice for you!

  7. Straight leg jeans were in fashion when I was young. However, they have been made famous recently y the Kardashian sisters.
    I really loved them since they are really comfortable. The skinny jeans look beautiful on a few figures and not all and that is the reason I try avoiding it. It does give that slimming effect.

    1. Hi Shrey, thanks for the feedback! Yeah, it’s amazing how much power the Kardashians have had over our fashion and culture, right? I’m glad you enjoyed the article!

  8. Ok so I Googled the apple muffins that you mentioned…that’s really not a good look. I can’t imagine it being too comfortable, either and I’m all about comfort. I’ve been looking for the perfect jeans for my entire life. I came close a few years ago with a pair of Levi’s but there’s something just not quite right about them. I might give those James Jeans a try, they look pretty comfy!

    1. Hi Shirley! Hahaha, you google imaged at your own risk! Yeah, James Jeans are terrific. It’s really hard to find the perfect jeans, and once you do have them, it’s so sad when they’re finally toast…like losing a part of yourself! I hope you have some luck, come back and let us know how they work for you 🙂

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