Ask the Stylist Casual Style

WHAT LEG SHAPE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

by Lani Kim


Options are a good thing—especially when it comes to denim. Whether you want something soft to snuggle into on a cozy Sunday, or sculpted denim that flatters your every curve, you can find jeans that make you look and feel fabulous every day of the week. 

The recent explosion in trending denim leg shapes, however, may have presented us with too many options—or at least, it’s tougher today to decide which jeans to wear than it had been in the past. For decades, one type of jean would dominate the runway—look no further than the 1970s iconic bellbottom, or flip the history book one decade forward and recall those taper-legged jeans we all lived in. 

What’s different in the year 2021? Now, flare legs, straight legs and boot cut legs all have a legitimate place in your closet. And while skinny jeans might have been at the height of denim fashion a few seasons ago, they rightly remain power players in a fashionable woman’s wardrobe.  

Really, there’s no wrong leg shape to choose—the only question is, which ones are best for you? Here’s a guide to help you find the perfect jeans for your body type and the occasion you’re dressing for.

SHOULD YOU WEAR FLARE JEANS?  

Yes, it’s true—flare jeans are making a comeback, and have even overtaken the ever-popular skinny jean in stylish closets everywhere. If the idea of jeans with wide legs makes you a little uncertain, we have great news: White House Black Market flare jeans are as figure-flattering as the skinniest skinny jeans you’ve ever owned.  

That’s because the width of the leg itself draws attention away from your hips, while the higher waistline cinches your middle. The end result of this clever design? You’ll look sleek and perfectly proportioned in our flare jeans.  

Not only will you look good–you’ll feel great, too. Flare jeans have come a long way since their popularity in the 1960s and 1970s—we now use a soft, sumptuous fabric that that’s as comfy as athleisure, even when you’re dressed to the nines. 

What body types look best in flare denim? It’s an especially flattering leg shape for those with a curvy shape, or anyone seeking to add volume at the bottom to balance out narrow shoulders. That being said, this silhouette is great for many body shapes, sizes and heights, thanks to the sculpting technology and luxurious fabric. 

Styling tip: Because flare jeans are an eye-catching, fashion forward look, how you style this denim leg shape is especially important. You don’t want a baggy top to overwhelm your frame, and you also don’t want to wear any shoes or accessories that seem overly “busy.” Your best bet is to choose a tee or blouse that can be tucked in, while opting for a dainty heel, simple flat or, to keep it casual, a comfy tennis shoe.  

ARE SKINNY JEANS RIGHT FOR YOU? 

skinny jeans hug your every curve

Flare jeans have their place, but if you love your skinny jeans, you’re in great company. Those rumors from Gen Z fashionistas that this look, along with the side part, is “out,” are patently false, and in fact, the skinny denim leg shape is more popular than it’s ever been. And with good reason: this style looks good on everyone, and easily can be dressed up or down.  

Skinny jeans come in a variety of different waist lengths and ankle lengths. Some are embellished, some are designed with shapewear features to contour your curves, and you’ll find some skinny jeans that are as comfortable as yoga pants. Want it all? White House Black Market skinny jeans are available in both soft stretch denim and with slimming Ultimate Sculpt™ technology.  

Styling tip: Skinny jeans are your best bet for tunics, long-over-lean sweaters and loose-fitting tops. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t wear skinny jeans with a fitted blouse, blazer and heels, for a look that’s perfectly polished. 

STRAIGHT LEG JEANS: A STRAIGHTFORWARD STYLE CHOICE 

WHBM straight leg jeans

Flare denim is a fashion-forward statement, and skinny jeans are an everyday favorite. Want something in between? Straight leg denim is as timeless as a strand of pearls. This is a versatile, universally flattering denim leg shape that will never go out of style. Plus, all body types look fabulous in a premium pair of straight leg jeans. So how do you find the right straight leg denim for you?  

Made with Ultimate Sculpt™ shapewear-inspired technology, White House Black Market Straight Leg Jeans are more figure-flattering than other straight leg jeans you may have worn before. The relaxed fit throughout the legs makes these jeans the “Goldilocks” of denim—not too tight, not too loose. In straight leg jeans, you’ll feel absolutely just right.  

Styling tip: The slimming panels make it easy to look great with a tucked in top or even a cropped sweater. As for shoes, you can choose a crisp pair of white sneakers, sandals or flats, or dress things up with a cute heel.

ARE BOOTCUT JEANS IN STYLE? 

WHBM flare jeans flatter your body

As we think about various trends in denim leg shapes that have defined style over the past handful of decades, it’s easy to forget the early 2000s bootcut denim style; it hardly has the glitz of a hippie-era flare leg, or the sleek 80s aesthetic of an ankle taper.  

But the bootcut should not be overlooked; if anything, we should pause to pay homage to a style that offered the same figure-balancing impact of a flare, the simplicity of the straight leg jeans, and the streamlined silhouette of the skinny jeans. Yes, the bootcut jean is the leg shape that offers it all. Fortunately for us all, bootcut jeans are back and bigger than ever.  

Should you wear bootcut denim? Absolutely—you just need to find the right fit and length for your frame. If you’re petite or curvy, it’s especially important to find a pair that’s tailored to your unique proportions, as this isn’t a style that should be rolled up or belted loosely. White House Black Market bootcut jeans comes in extended sizes for most body shapes (like all of our denim.) Our bootcut jeans are designed to be extra slimming, with the trendy high waist contouring your silhouette. 

Styling tip: Own your contradictions by pairing bootcut denim with a soft, flowy tie-front blouse, or play up the jeans’ Western influence with some studs and embellishment. As the name implies, bootcut jeans are perfect for a boot, but a pointed toe flat or stylish heel is always a safe bet with denim. If it’s chilly outside, toss on a moto jacket and a flowy scarf to rev up the glam factor. 

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