Yes, you can wear jeans after 50.
Jeans. They’re the ubiquitous fashion staple because of their versatility. From classic shapes to ultra-trendy, jeans have helped define eras and delineate generations. (Don’t even ask a Gen Zer about skinny jeans; it’ll ruin your whole day.) Jean styles range from the super comfy boyfriend cut to sausage-casing jeggings, with all ranges of elasticity, lengths, and rises in between.
Indeed, the many options out there can make it easy to feel a bit lost on how to pick the best jeans for yourself. While we believe fashion is for every age, some pant styles will flatter a mature body type better than others.
Use these tips to find the best jeans for your body:
The rise of a pair of jeans is determined by the vertical distance between crotch and waistband, and can really make or break how a pair fits. We can all thank the fashion gods that the low-rising hiphuggers of the ‘90s are gone because those flattered exactly one body type (the one without any fat.) Today’s various options mean you can select a rise that is both comfortable and flattering.
High rises (which are typically about 11” from the crotch to waistband, and hit at or above the navel) are “in,” which benefits those who might need a little more tummy control. If you do opt for a higher rise, don’t choose a waistband that goes above your waist as it’ll shorten your torso visually and can be uncomfortable to sit down in. Also, you will want to select denim with less stretch to avoid the dreaded “mom jeans” look where the lower abdomen is unfortunately highlighted in some fairly unflattering ways.
If you are a bit top-heavy or have a short torso, consider choosing a mid-rise jean, which is usually about 9” from the crotch to waistband, and would ideally sit right below your belly button. If you’re not sure what jeans look best on you, take a friend with you and put on a fashion show.
To find the best cut for your shape, it’s helpful to do a little non-judgemental assessment. Do you have long legs? A petite frame? Do you have thicker thighs or a high booty-to-waist ratio? All of these things will come into play, although they won’t make or break a certain style.
Those with a curvier body type can really pull off styles that tend to visually elongate the body, particularly bootcut jeans or flares. And if you’re really looking to lengthen your look, you could try the “kick flares” with a pair of high heels.
If you prefer a relaxed fit, go for a boyfriend or girlfriend style (the latter being a slimmer fit than the former), which sit below the waist and look great with a rolled hem to show off some ankle or a cute pair of shoes. The trick to making these look stylish and not slumpy is to buy a pair that isn’t too stretchy or relaxed because those can end up sagging in the wrong places (avoid the dreaded droopy butt look!).
If you are into a tighter fit, you can’t go wrong with a pair of skinny jeans. They tend to have a bit more stretch (or else you couldn’t sit down!), and look good on just about all body types. And if you worry about thick thighs, balance them out by tucking skinny jeans into a pair of great boots; it will draw the eyes downwards and make your legs look longer.
If you have a judgmental teen in your life, she will inform you that the skinny look is out, and it’s time to graduate to a straight leg cut instead. This look is a bit more relaxed but slim through the knees to ankles, and has been a classic since Audrey Hepburn’s time. That said, not every pair of straight-leg jeans is created equal, so you may have to try several different brands before you find one that fits you well.
Color can be just as important as the cut when it comes to flattering different body types. Jeans with a fade down the middle will make legs appear rounder (aka: bigger) and emphasize width rather than length. If you are worried about generous thighs, go for a solid wash color. Also, darker hues tend to be more slimming, but you probably already knew that.
Light color washes tend to be more casual, while darker denim lends itself better to more dressed-up looks, although there isn’t a solid rule about either. And black jeans… well, they go with just about anything. Rock on.
Where do I find the perfect pair?
This is the million-dollar question. Finding the best jeans for you can feel like winning the lottery, and it happens almost as frequently. There are ways to make it more likely, however, if you start looking in the right place.
If you have a pair of jeans that you already like, you’re halfway there. Many people find that one brand fits them better than others, and that has to do with the stretch, thickness, and specific cut a brand will favor. But for those of you who are starting from scratch, you have two options: You can look online for brands that allow reviews with photos, or shop in person at department stores or other large chains that carry different brands so you can get a better comparison. The photo reviews online allow you to see jeans on people with un-Photoshopped, realistic bodies, and can give you a better idea of how the pants feel. Just make sure the site you’re shopping from allows free returns, and you’ll eventually find a pair that you love.