Question: What’s an alternative to skinny jeans?

Here’s a totally awesome inquiry from a reader. Honestly, I love this question.

Say I want to break out of the mom jeans. What’s the alternative to skinny jeans for us athletic women with thighs and calves that prove it?

A lot of fun tops benefit from a skinny-leg silhouette, especially tunic styles or those that are more voluminous. (Remember that rule: volume in one place, and slimmer in the other). That said, it can be tricky to achieve the skinny style if you’re not a skinny jeans kind of gal. And not everybody is. Speaking from a style perspective, skinny jeans can be really versatile. However, they just don’t look good on everybody. Plain and simple.

But you can achieve the slim look without having to go skinny.  It’s all in the style of jean you pick. First, let’s examine the DON’T.

You need to avoid this:

See how the style is so skinny that it hugs the leg all the way down from the thigh to the ankle? It’s not a flattering look. Also, the bunching at the ankles looks messy. The key is to find a style that has a narrow leg, but doesn’t taper or become too suction-ey at the calf and ankle. By having room at the ankle, this balances out athletic thighs, as it creates the illusion of an evenly slim leg, as opposed to one that goes in a V shape from the thigh down. Make sense?

The good slim shape has many names in the stores: straight leg, slim leg, cigarette, matchstick, stilt. They all basically mean the same thing. Narrow but not skinny or tight. And avoid that bunching at the ankle, as that will also disturb the even, narrow line.

For spring and summer, a cropped or ankle cut can also be flattering, as long as they aren’t tight around the ankles.

When searching, always look at the ankle of the jean to see if it goes in too much. You want a narrow, straight line from the top to the bottom. You don’t want it to taper in (that’s too jegging-like) or out (too bootcut or flared).

Some good brands to try:  AGJ.CrewCalvin Klein, and Not Your Daughter’s Jeans.

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[tweetmeme] 2 Responses to Question: What’s an alternative to skinny jeans?
  1. Steph @ Stiletto Jungle
    May 2, 2012 | 4:17 am

    So glad to see someone address this — I had to figure it out through trial and error. Although I’m a size 2, I have HUGE calves (thanks to nearly a decade of cheerleading in my younger days). I literally can’t wear skinny jeans, but love the look.

    I’ve found that True Religion’s Billy straight leg appears to be a properly fitting skinny jean if you have bigger than average calves. It was a great find.

    • bryntaylor
      May 2, 2012 | 10:11 pm

      Stephanie, thank you for sharing this other great find!!

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