How Long Should My Jeans Be?

Jeans should cover your ankles when you're lounging around.

Photo: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Guys have it easy. While men's stores sport pants with giant stickers trumpeting what leg length they're buying, ladies have to deal with vague numbers like 5s and 6s, not to mention the onslaught of terms like "bootcut," "flare" and "skinny." Don't let that wall of denim overwhelm you! Knowing the right length for every pair of pants you buy will let you enjoy your shopping spree with the peace of mind that your jeans won't leave you wanting more -- length that is.

The Skinny on Skinny Jeans

Born from the desire for instantly slimming fashions and the ability to tuck in your pants legs without looking lumpy, the skinny jean is a love 'em or hate 'em trend. If you're a tried-and-true skinny jean fan, choose jean lengths that cover your ankles; otherwise you'll have that bony, awkward look going on. To find your expert fit, wear a pair of ankle boots or high heels into the dressing room and make sure you can tuck the tops of your pants into them. Then stand barefoot and double-check that your jeans don't touch the floor.

Fashion Flare-Up

Monstrously huge bell-bottoms went the way of the '70s, but a subtle flare has managed to creep back into style. This look can add more oomph and width to your curves. Flared pants can also drag around dirt when you wear the wrong size, so try them on first. Opt for a flare that covers your shoes but barely brushes the floor. If you want to wear them with flats, try a shorter size. If you're more of a high-heel or wedge girl, let your pants go longer so they cover part of your shoes when you walk.

Dare to Be Normal

The official definition of a "normal" pair of jeans is anyone's guess, but typically it encompasses pants that aren't particularly skinny but don't kick up the flare too much. Finding jeans is a challenge for daring divas of all sizes. Too long and they scrape the sidewalk; too short and your ankles peep out when you sit. What's a girl to do? When trying on jeans, aim for a length that hits just below the top of your foot. Sit down in the dressing room and check in the mirror to see if you've still got ankle coverage.

Decisions, Decisions

Though each style of jean has a certain length it works best at, fashion is all about breaking the rules. When you're picking your pants, consider where you're going to wear them and your favorite shoe types. Skinny jeans can run longer than normal if you're pairing them with high heels, and flared or normal jeans can run shorter when you're sporting a casual pair of flip-flops. Still unsure? Try buying both a shorter and a longer pair to cover all occasions. Not only will your jeans always be the right length, but you'll always have an extra pair of your best booty-hugging beauties ready to throw on when you want to feel extra sexy.

Related Videos




"How Not to Look Old: Fast and Effortless Ways to Look 10 Years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter, 10 Times Better"; Charla Krupp; 2008 "That Extra Half an Inch: Hair, Heels and Everything in Between"; Victoria Beckham, et al.; 2007

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