CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Denim is everywhere this season. In fact, if you do it right, it can even take the place of your LBD for an upscale night out. But first, you have to have the right pair of jeans.
What exactly should you be looking for?
Dark. The darker the better, but stick with a dark indigo. No need to actually buy black denim (unless you just covet it) because it cycles in and out of style too quickly. A good dark indigo will stay in style season after season.
Your size. I cannot stress this enough. Just because you can squeeze into the next size down does not mean you should. You should never ever have a muffin top. If you have an excess roll of flesh above you're pants, they do not fit. Go up a size. If that doesn't work, try a different cut or brand.
Fit. Buy pants to fit the largest part of your body. Have the rest tailored to fit. If your hips are the biggest part, buy a pair that fits your hips and pay someone a few dollars to nip in the waist. These are an investment wardrobe piece, just like a nice suit or a pair of black pumps. You want to be able to wear these for years. Chances are you are spending at least $70 on them, so throw in the extra few dollars for tailoring.
Pocket placement. Ideally the pocket should be minimally embellished, medium-size and centered (one on each cheek). Don't get pockets that are tiny; they'll make your hind end look huge. And don't get oversize pockets; they'll make your booty look flatter than a pancake. If you can find a set of pockets that gently curve up toward the outside, even better! That is a super-flattering optical illusion that gives even the flattest backside a lift.
Spandex. To stretch or not to stretch? This is tricky. You want a touch of spandex because it keeps the garment's shape, helps prevent saggy bottoms and knees and is just generally flattering. What you don't want is for your jeans to border on leggings or, heaven forbid, those hideous jeggings that should only be worn by elementary schoolchildren or as pajamas. If I can read your underwear label through your pants or trace your panty line, they shouldn't be worn without another layer.
Skinny jeans. Denim manufacturers have finally realized that women of all shapes and sizes are buying skinny jeans and they've begun to cut accordingly. They've lengthened the ankle so, in effect, you get a longer, leaner look.
You can deal with this extra fabric in a few different ways. If you're wearing them casually with flats, you can scrunch them like leggings. If you are wearing them with heels (which is what you should be doing for a glam look), then the extra fabric can drape over the foot and the top part of the shoe, lengthening the look of your leg. Or, if you want a polished look with flats, for the office or an evening involving a lot of walking, you can have them hemmed to just below the anklebone and brushing the top of the foot.