Style 101: Your Plus Size Jeans Guide- The Fit and Style Guide

Plus size jeans shopping is a tricky thing… this is one of the most challenging and scariest things to shop for. Constantly topping the polls, charts, and reports, denim is the hardest thing to shop for! Coming up second to only bathing suits, they are the most frustrating and scariest things to shop for regardless of size!

Many times, you will find yourself shopping 10-20 pairs of jeans that never fit quite right and it is pure insanity! Where do you begin? Which designers do you check for? What cuts are on trend?

There is hope and there are designers and retailers who have it locked on the denim market. It all depends on your personal style, budget, and looks desired! Looking for a high rise? Care for a specific wash? Want fashion forward cuts? Looking for denim that won’t sag?

However, equipping yourself with the right tools when shopping will only ease the angst and at times instill confidence, allowing you to feel more confident in shopping your shape and personal style!

No Worries! I am here to help. Keep on reading for

Your Plus Size Jeans Guide

Let’s first start with the anatomy of the Jean:

Plus Size Denim Terms

  1. ACTUAL WAIST – As the labeled waist size usually differs from the actual size. This will give you the idea of general sizing.
  2. INSEAM – This is the distance from the crotch to the bottom of the leg at the inside.
  3. OUTSEAM – This measurement is the measurement from the bottom of the leg to the waistband.
  4. LEG OPENING – This is the base measurement from one side of the leg to the other.  This measurement can give an idea of tapering, the literal opening, or the style differentiator of style.
  5. FRONT RISE – How low do you want your jeans to sit? This is a measurement from the top of the waistband, to the crossing seams at the crotch.
  6. BACK RISE – Want to know how covered your bum will be? This is the measurement from the top of the waistband at the back, straight down to the crossing seams at the crotch.



Plus Size Denim Cuts

Denim featured here from Embody Denim

Learn the different shaped of denim. Overall, there are generally five styles, with variances to those, depending on what is trending at the moment. They are:

Boot Cut- this universal cut skims the thigh, with a slight opening, breaking at the knee

Skinny- this fashion forward denim skims the thigh, and remains fitted through the calf and ankle

Straight Leg- Similar to a boot cut and a skinny, this style is wider than a skinny leg opening and relaxed yet not as flared as a boot cut.

Wide leg- oftentimes referred to as a trouser jean, this denim is fitted at the waist and through the seat, and starts to flare at the top of your thigh, and continues to flare throughout

Flare leg- this denim usually is extremely fitted through the thigh and significantly flared out, more so than a boot cut.


This refers to where the denim hits on your waist. This is the length of the fabric from the crotch seam to the top of the waistband. Knowing the rise of your denim will help deter plumbers crack or muffin top, can elongate the legs, and enhance the rear.

High Rise- At over eleven inches these jeans traditionally cover the belly button. You will find this at or above the waistline.

Natural Rise- Regular rise jeans sit between nine to eleven inches. The waistband sits right at or below the belly button.

Low Rise- Can vary around eight inches, but vary an inch up or down. Expect this jean to sit around two-three inches below the belly button.

Super Low Rise- No more than a seven inch rise and varies from there. The rise can go as low as three inches above the crotch


The wash of denim refers to the texture and color of the jeans, affecting the look of them. Washes can affect the wear, fabrication, and lifespan of the denim, in addition to completing an overall look. My Textile Notes shares the four main processes in the Denim washing process:

  • Pretreatment
  • Stone or Enzyme Wash- To adjust the surface effect
  • Bleaching- To adjust the color
  • Finishing- To adjust the hand and feel of the garment

Here are the basic washes as shared by Sears:

The Types of Denim Washes

Spandex and Lycra

The magic of denim and its ability to hug to your curves is the blending of both Spandex and Lycra. The use of either one of these is what gives the denim its stretch.

Know that:

  • The optimal level of spandex should range 1 to 4 percent
  • 100% cotton denim takes less time to wear in than stretch denim
  • The higher the percentage of spandex or Lycra, the more likely the denim will lose its shape
  • Regular denim lasts much longer as the elastic fibers are more prone to breakage

Plus Size Denim Designers

Plus Size Denim Designers

Happy Shopping!

Did I miss anything? Does this help you? Let me know!!!

Marie Denee
I am the owner of the Curvy Fashionista, sharing the latest trends and designers in plus size fashion, beauty, and accessories to keep you Curvy.Confident.Chic.! I am goofy, silly, playful, and a handful... but it is all in the name of fashion!
Marie Denee
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  1. cinco says

    I have a few pairs of PZI Jeans which are my favorites, by far. Big selection, usually a sale going on, and their curvy style really does come back in at my waist – no gaps!

  2. Megan says

    I wanted to add that Lands End makes the perfect jeans for me, but their regular length fit my short body perfectly, so taller curvy fashionistas might not fare as well.

  3. Bre says

    I have two major problems: 1. Inseam never seems to reach my crotch. and 2. If it does my jeans seem to fit too loose… Jeans are a horror story for me. Buying them too tight with not enough spandex and lycra means that I’m going to have a super muffin top and buying them with tons of stretch means that by the end of the day, I’m going to be pulling them up every couple of seconds. =(

    • says

      Make sure you check out the spandex content and the cut! Different designers cut based on different silhouettes, it may take a little bit, but you will find one. :)

  4. paaaaaaants says

    I cannot more highly recommend Eddie Bauer Outlet curvy jeans. It’s literally the only kind of jeans I own. For some reason it’s only the jeans at the outlet stores– love them.

  5. jlt0102 says

    LA Idol jeans have become my favorite, no saggy butt and the legs are a little slimmer and long enough for heels :)

  6. Catrina says

    As a size 14 (sometimes, and only in pants), 5’2″ girl with a waist over 10 inches smaller than my hips, jeans shopping is almost always a horrible and depressing experience, especially since I love skinny jeans but hemming them takes away the entire effect around the ankles. Any suggestions on *petite* plus size jeans that actually fit a tapered waist?

  7. Whitney says

    I get all my best fitting jeans from Old Navy — I usually wear the Sweetheart style, and they go up to a lot of sizes too.

  8. Adela says

    All I want are some old fashioned, straight legged and high waisted stonewashed jeans with that great solid denim fabric that has real heft. I’m VERY short (under 4’11) with a 20-22W size range. I thought I had found the perfect solution in the Land’s End “Fit 3″ jean they carried, but of course, they discontinued it. I cannot STAND the fabric stores like Lane Bryant and Torrid carry–they’re cheap, thin, and offer absolutely no support. I have the same issue with spandex/lyrcra kind of fabrics. Can anyone recommend a brand that will actually hold up to wear and washings and are made along traditional lines that you can still find in regular sizes (Levis, Lees, etc.)? So far, other than the old Land’s End pair that is now dying a slow death, pockmarked as it is with multiple wear holes, I have been really unhappy with what I’ve found. Thanks so much for the help!

  9. Stephanie says

    So I got a pair of Se7en brand jeans at Lane Bryant that i adore! Honestly the best jeans I’ve bought in years. Somewhat pricey but worth it, plus I only bought them because the entire store was 50% off and it didnt hurt my wallet too badly! Now that I have discovered this brand in my size i dont want any other brand lol!

  10. Lindsey says

    Try L.A.Idol jeans…SUPER cute and cheap, but you have to buy them online unless you can find a boutique that sells them by you ( is one of the least expensive, plus sizes are 15-21) I have a problem with jeans being too tight in the waist therefore unflattering my lower tummy area…and these jeans are perfect! And really cute too with all sorts of fun blinged out back pocket designs if you’re into that sort of Jean :)

  11. Danielle says

    My problem is that I am plus size but I’m not really curvy. I’m bigger in the stomache, straight through the hip with not much booty. I think girls like me get left out, even in the plus size world. Can anyone recommend a brand or company that makes clothes that would fit me?

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