TYPES OF JEANS FOR WOMEN:
STYLE & FIT GUIDE
Jeans are a wardrobe mainstay, but the number of options to consider when buying a new pair can be overwhelming. Check out our guide below, where we cover jeans fits, washes, lengths and more, and you'll be shopping like a pro in no time.
How to Measure Your Jeans Size
First things first: before you start shopping for your new favorite pair of denim, you need to know your jeans size. Our favorite tip for buying jeans online? Grab a pair of pants from your closet and use its measurements as a reference. Measure the inseam, leg opening, hip size and rise, and then find the perfect jeans from the comfort of your home. If you prefer to shop in person, stop by your nearest Nordstrom—our salespeople are happy to help.
Measure from the bottom of the crotch seam to the bottom of the hem along the inside seam.
Measure the circumference of the opening at the hem of the leg.
Wrap the measuring tape around the fullest part of your hips and rear.
For the front rise, place your tape at the top of the inseam and measure the distance to the top of the waistband via the front of the jeans. For the back rise, place your tape at the top of the inseam again, but this time, measure the distance to the top of the waistband via the back of the jeans.
The rises of your jeans (front and back) have a big effect on their fit and overall look.
Women's low-rise jeans feature a 5"-8" rise and typically land a few inches below your bellybutton. With less fabric, this rise is ideal for those with shorter torsos.
With their 8"-9" rise, women's mid-rise jeans will hit right at your hips, about an inch below your bellybutton.
The most flattering rise! Depending on your torso, women's high-rise jeans sit right at your bellybutton or just below. The higher rise (9.5"-10.5") defines your waist and gives the illusion of longer legs.
Ultra High Rise
This rise delivers the same benefits as a high rise but measures just a touch higher at 11" and up, and hits above your bellybutton.
Skinny, straight, boyfriend and much more—there are so many types of fits and cuts for women.
We love women's skinny jeans for their universal appeal—anyone can wear them. Plus, the sleek silhouette pairs effortlessly with a range of styles and can be worn for both work and play. If you're looking for a slimming effect, go for a dark wash. Interested in a more fashion-forward look? A deconstructed style adds a little edge.
Think relaxed jeans are too casual to wear regularly? We're here to convince you otherwise. Pair them with heels or flats, a blouse or a tee—the possibilities are endless! Relaxed jeans have that broken-in feeling built right in, so stick to your size for the best fit. Once you've found a pair of boyfriend jeans you like, cuff or roll the hems to show off your ankles and keep your look polished and feminine.
Bootcut jeans have a subtly flared hem that looks great with—you guessed it—boots. This fit especially flatters full figures, like apple or pear silhouettes, since the flared bottom balances out wider hips.
The iconic '70s silhouette is back. This boho style can be paired with a variety of pieces like basic tees, blazers and even crop tops. Plus, the flared legs create great balance for hourglass, rectangle and inverted-triangle body shapes.
This dramatic style adds volume to the lower half, making them a great option for rectangle and inverted-triangle frames. When cropped, they can visually lengthen the leg line of those with petite figures.
Finding your ideal length can be tricky. Whether you've got legs for days or a more petite frame, we've got the right length for you. Plus, you can add a fresh spin to denim in any length with distressed hems, which give jeans a lived-in vibe, or cuffed hems, which offer a polished yet relaxed look.
Women's cropped jeans feature an inseam of 26" or shorter and typically stop about 1"-2" above your ankle. Wear a pair with heeled booties to show off your shoes and give your look a lift.
Women's ankle jeans feature an inseam that measures 27"-29" and typically fall right at the ankle or just above. They're super versatile and easy to pair with nearly any style of shoe, but we love them with a strappy sandal.
Women's regular-length jeans feature an inseam that measures 30"-31" and, depending on your height, fall between your ankle and the ground when you're barefoot. This is the length to wear if you prefer your jeans to cover your ankles and part of your shoes.
Women's tall jeans feature an inseam of 32" or longer. The length is perfect for tall women—of course—and for women looking to elongate their legs and add a little height. To achieve the latter, pair them with a towering heel or high wedge.
The finish on your denim can do just about anything, from elevating a look for work to accentuating your body shape.
Contrary to popular belief, white denim isn't just for the summer. Wear this wash with a white top for a monochromatic look, or pair it with cool patterns and prints any time of year.
Popular in the '80s, this finish is created by adding sponges or pumice stones soaked in a chlorine solution to the washing process.
This wash lends a casual vibe to any look. Reserve your light denim for weekends and warm weather.
A true classic. Although a medium wash goes with everything, we love it with a light-wash denim top for a denim-on-denim look.
The least processed denim, dark-wash jeans create a smooth shape and a slimming effect. Be sure to launder these versatile jeans on their own a few times to prevent dye transfer.
Sleek and classic, black jeans can be dressed up or down. Always wash black jeans inside out in cold water with dark garments on a gentle cycle to keep the color from fading.
Jeans Fabric Blends
Not all denim is created equal. Combining different fibers with cotton affects your jeans' lifespan and durability—and determines how comfortable they'll be.
Also known as spandex or Lycra, elastane allows for a stretchy, comfortable fit and greater range of movement. This blend is especially ideal for skinny jeans.
This synthetic fabric is strong and wrinkle resistant. When it's blended with cotton and elastane, the result is denim that's durable and soft against the skin.
Rayon or Nylon
The former is also known as viscose, while the latter might be listed as polyamide. Either helps with abrasion resistance and softness.
Tip: Cotton blended with stretchy materials yields denim that's flexible and hugs the body. A fabric composition with 1%-4% stretchy material is the sweet spot—your jeans will have some give but won't stretch out during a day of wear.