The Ultimate Plus Size Jeans Fit and Style Guide

Plus size jeans shopping is a tricky thing… this is one of the most challenging and scariest things to shop for. Constantly topping the polls, charts, and reports, denim is the hardest thing to shop for! Coming up second to only bathing suits, they are the most frustrating and scariest things to shop for regardless of size!

Many times, you will find yourself shopping for 10-20 pairs of jeans that never fit quite right and it is pure insanity! Where do you begin? Which plus-size designers do you check for? What cuts are on-trend?

There is hope and there are designers and retailers who have it locked on the denim market. It all depends on your personal style, budget, and looks desired!

Looking for a high rise? Care for a specific wash? Want fashion-forward cuts? Looking for denim that won’t sag?

However, equipping yourself with the right tools when shopping will only ease the angst and at times instill confidence, allowing you to feel more confident in shopping your shape and personal style!

No Worries! I am here to help. Keep on reading for all of your denim needs…

Your Plus Size Jeans Guide

Let’s first start with the anatomy of the Jean:

Plus Size Denim Terms
  1. ACTUAL WAIST – As the labeled waist size usually differs from the actual size. This will give you the idea of general sizing.
  2. INSEAM – This is the distance from the crotch to the bottom of the leg at the inside.
  3. OUTSEAM – This measurement is the measurement from the bottom of the leg to the waistband.
  4. LEG OPENING – This is the base measurement from one side of the leg to the other.  This measurement can give an idea of tapering, the literal opening, or the style differentiator of style.
  5. FRONT RISE – How low do you want your jeans to sit? This is a measurement from the top of the waistband, to the crossing seams at the crotch.
  6. BACK RISE – Want to know how covered your bum will be? This is the measurement from the top of the waistband at the back, straight down to the crossing seams at the crotch.

Cuts of Plus Size Jeans

Plus Size Denim Cuts
Denim featured here from Embody Denim

Learn the different shapes of denim. Overall, there are generally five styles, with variances to those, depending on what is trending at the moment. They are:

Boot Cut– this universal cut skims the thigh, with a slight opening, breaking at the knee

Skinny– this fashion-forward denim skims the thigh, and remains fitted through the calf and ankle

Straight Leg- Similar to a boot cut and a skinny, this style is wider than a skinny leg opening and relaxed yet not as flared as a boot cut.

Wide leg– oftentimes referred to as a trouser jean, this denim is fitted at the waist and through the seat, and starts to flare at the top of your thigh, and continues to flare throughout

Flare leg– this denim usually is extremely fitted through the thigh and significantly flared out, more so than a boot cut.


This refers to where the denim hits on your waist. This is the length of the fabric from the crotch seam to the top of the waistband. Knowing the rise of your plus-size jeans will help deter plumbers crack or muffin top, can elongate the legs, and enhance the rear.

High Rise– At over eleven inches these jeans traditionally cover the belly button. You will find this at or above the waistline.

Natural Rise– Regular rise jeans sit between nine to eleven inches. The waistband sits right at or below the belly button.

Low Rise– Can vary around eight inches, but vary an inch up or down. Expect this jean to sit around two-three inches below the belly button.

Super Low Rise– No more than a seven-inch rise and varies from there. The rise can go as low as three inches above the crotch


The wash of denim refers to the texture and color of the jeans, affecting the look of them. Washes can affect the wear, fabrication, and lifespan of the denim, in addition to completing an overall look. My Textile Notes shares the four main processes in the Denim washing process:

  • Pretreatment
  • Stone or Enzyme Wash- To adjust the surface effect
  • Bleaching- To adjust the color
  • Finishing- To adjust the hand and feel of the garment

Here are the basic washes as shared by Sears:

The Types of Denim Washes

Spandex and Lycra

The magic of plus-size denim and its ability to hug to your curves is the blending of both Spandex and Lycra. The use of either one of these is what gives the denim its stretch.

Know that:

  • The optimal level of spandex should range 1 to 4 percent
  • 100% cotton denim takes less time to wear in than stretch denim
  • The higher the percentage of spandex or Lycra, the more likely the denim will lose its shape
  • Regular denim lasts much longer as the elastic fibers are more prone to breakage

Plus Size Denim Designers and Brands Selling IT!

Plus Size Denim Designers

Happy Shopping!

There are more than a few plus-size denim options to play in. Knowing these elements will hopefully help you make a confident choice with your plus-size jeans!

Did I miss anything? Does this help you? Let me know!!!


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