We can all have good jeans: Six different-sized women road-test the best denim

We know buying jeans is a nightmare, which is why we tried on 1,000 styles and got six different-sized women to road-test the best. The result? A perfect pair for every shape, height and age… 

YOU Magazine denim special
Image: Eva Schwank

(from left) Olesya, 29, in THE RELAXED SLIM FIT: Jeans (waist 34in), £55, urbanoutfitters.com. Jane, 62, in THE MOM: Jeans (size 8), £35, riverisland.com. Sabine, 26, in THE SLIM-FIT: Jeans (waist 23in), £210, lagencefashion.com. Felicity, 31, in THE SKINNY: Jeans (size 22), £24, mandco.com. Ariish, 22, in THE STRAIGHT CROP: Jeans (waist 31in), £90, lee.com. Dene, 54, in THE LOOSE FIT: Jeans (waist 27in), £34.90, uniqlo.com.

‘I want jeans that fit my curves’

best jeans
Ariish wears bootleg jeans (size 16), £49, warehouse.co.uk. T-shirt, £10, asos.com. Sandals, £55, office.co.uk. Image: Eva Schwank

Ariish, 5ft 9in, waist 31in, hips 41in, leg 29in 

‘I look for styles that lift my bottom and show off my waist. I like a V-shape yolke [the area below the waistband and above your bottom] as it flatters my shape. The flared hem of these jeans contrasts with the tight fit on the thighs and waist, making my middle look smaller and my legs longer.’ 

  • Back pockets that sit high and tilt slightly outward will lift your bottom. Avoid any that sit below the curve of your bottom as these will flatten 
  • Size is just a number – go with fit and feel. These size 16 jeans are perfect on Ariiish – even though she’s usually a 14 
  • Don’t underestimate the power of a bootleg – the flare balances wider hips
  • A zip and button combo allows stretch around the tummy and firm support at the waist
  • A wide leg is chic and, cut with a high waist, will elongate your figure 

Ariish’s picks

Skinny, £25.99, newlook.com

High-rise straight, £180, boyish-jeans.com

High-rise skinny, £210, lagencefashion.com

Straight, £90, lee.com

High-rise wide, £69, cosstores.com

Girlfriend, £200, 7forallmankind.co.uk

‘I need support and comfort

best jeans
Jane wears high-rise wide-leg jeans (waist 27in), £295, jbrandjeans.com. Top, £48, michaelstars.com. Image: Eva Schwank

Jane, 5ft 7in, waist 29in, hips 36in, leg 33in

‘I go for jeans with a high waist and a button-up fly. I also want ones that will last (I’ve got Levi’s that are 30 years old!) and are sustainably made. This pair is perfect – they are expensive but I can feel the quality, plus they hold me in in all the right places.’ 

  • For denim that lasts go for less elastic content. also wash on a cold cycle, inside out and only when needed – not after each wear. Never tumble dry! 
  • Jeans with a tie-belt are a great way of cinching in your waist and creating an A-line silhouette 
  • A statement turn-up will make your waist look smaller
  • ‘Mom’ jeans – featuring a high waist and a tapered leg – create an hourglass shape

Jane’s picks

High-rise wide-leg, £265, rag-bone.com 

Slim mid-rise, £29.99, mango.com

High-rise slim-fit, £220, agolde.com 

Mom, £19.99, stradivarius.com 

‘I’m tall. I need brands that size by leg and waist’

Best jeans
Olesya wears high-rise straight jeans (waist 34in, leg 32in), £40, weekday.com. Bodysuit, £130, wolfordshop.co.uk. Image: Eva Schwank

Olesya, 5ft 11in, waist 34in, hips 45in, leg 31in

‘I like to celebrate my height, but I can be disappointed by “tall” ranges as they don’t always have enough choice. I prefer full-length rather than cropped styles as they make my legs look longer – for that reason I also like a high waist. These jeans tick both those boxes, plus the slightly tapered leg skims my curves without being too tight.’

  • Boyfriend jeans have a slouchy, relaxed fit. Baukjen’s slimmer, more tapered version skims the curves without clinging
  • If you are tall try Weekday and Urban Outfitters – their jeans go up to a 35-inch leg – and also Topshop which goes up to 36 inches. All have separately-sized waists so you can find your perfect fit
  • In jeans speak, straight doesn’t always mean straight – Jigsaw’s jeans taper in at the ankle to give a more shapely fit

Olesya’s picks

Boyfriend jeans, £99, baukjen.com

Straight jeans, £90, jigsaw- online.com

Slim jeans, £10, peacocks.co.uk

‘I hate jeans that cling’

best jeans
Dene wears wide-leg crop jeans (waist 29in), £155, lfmarkey.com. Shirt, £40, boden.co.uk. Shoes, £50, converse.com. Image: Eva Schwank

Dene, 5ft 8in, waist 29in, hips 39in, leg 31in

‘For me, skinny jeans are a no-no – a cropped wide leg is my idea of chic. I’m in love with this pair: the snug waist and hips and full leg give me an hourglass shape.’ 

  • Straight and wide-leg styles have little or no elastic and are made with a more rigid denim, meaning they will last longer and keep their shape
  • This style may look casual (it works perfectly with trainers) but can easily be smartened up with block heels or sleek ankle boots (preferably with a pointed toe)
  • French Connection’s pair’s contrast-colour detail draws eyes to the waist

Dene’s picks

High rise straight, £80, frenchconnection.com

Straight, £49.95, gap.co.uk

Wide leg, £85, lee.com

Boyfriend, £89, thewhitecompany.com

Mom, £60, levis.com

‘I size down to show off my waist’

best jeans
Sabine wears skinny jeans (size 6), £40, oasis-stores.com. Camisole, £22, kettlewellcolours.co.uk. Image: Eva Schwank

Sabine, 5ft 4in, waist 24in, hips 35in, leg 31½in

‘I live in skinny jeans and to get the right leg length for my height I shop in the petite ranges. I also size down to ensure they are a good fit on my waist. These jeans are the perfect skinny: enough stretch for a flattering fit but not so much give you end up with baggy knees.’ 

  • A mid-rise waist will elongate a short torso but sit high enough to make your legs look longer
  • Our top petite brands (catering for up to 5ft 3in) include River Island, Topshop, Levi’s and Weekday
  • A dark wash is not only slimming but a smarter option too

Sabine’s picks

Straight, £40, riverisland.com

Skinny, £13, Primark stores

Skinny mid rise, £95, reiss.com

Skinny, £240, lagencefashion.com

Skinny mid rise, £95, reiss.com

High rise straight, £89, johnlewis.com

‘Supermarket brands are great for a fuller figure’

Best jeans
Felicity wears girlfriend jeans (size 20), £16, tu.co.uk. Top, £12 for three, simplybe.co.uk. Image: Eva Schwank

Felicity, 5ft 9in, waist 38in, hips 52in, leg 32in

‘Finding jeans that fit my waist and bum is a nightmare, plus the high-street’s inconsistent sizing plays on your emotions. For me the supermarket brands are the most reliable with their sizing, which is why I chose this girlfriend pair from Tu at Sainsbury’s. They fit my waist well and the slightly looser style around the leg is really flattering.’

  • If the waist gapes at the back, go down a size
  • Girlfriend jeans are more feminine than the baggier boyfriend cut. Sitting tighter and higher on the hip, they feature a straight tapered leg
  • Bootcut styles that are slimmer at the knee even out thighs

Felicity’s picks

Skinny, £15, tu.co.uk

Wide leg, £32, very.co.uk

Bootcut, £40, simplybe.co.uk

Straight, £25, evans.co.uk

Compiled by Stephanie Sofokleous and Lucy Coghlan. Fashion assistants: Chloe Gallacher, Mia Khan. Make-up: Nicky Weir using Marc Jacobs Beauty. Hair: Sven Bayerbach at Carol Hayes Management. Models: Ariish, Felicity Hayward and Olesya at Milk; Dene at IMM ; Sabine at Leni’s, and Jane S at Grey. Production and casting: Lucy Coghlan