Reader Request: Jeans for Apple-shaped Figures

jeans for apple shape

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Several readers have reached out to request recommendations for jeans that suit a figure with a fuller midsection, slim legs and a small butt. And I know exactly why these gals are frustrated and seeking help: Designers and manufacturers of women’s jeans are yet to fully acknowledge the “apple” figure. They’ve always offered styles that suit slim figures with minimal curves. They heard us when we complained about waistband gapping – something that happens when your hips and butt are fuller than your midsection – and created “curvy” styles that nip at the waist. But women with full midsections and slim legs are offered relatively few viable options. Jeans that fit in the waist billow around the legs, and jeans that fit in the legs are too tight in the waist. BOO.

So I’ll start out with the news no one wants to hear: It’s possible that tailoring is your best bet. Buy pants that fit comfortably in the waist and have them taken in at the thighs/rear. (Always easier to take something in than let it out, so buy to fit your largest area.) This is an especially important option if you live in denim and want to have a variety of colors or washes at your disposal. Since jeans can be tough to fit off the rack, you may be unable to find pairs in specialty cuts and washes. If you track down pairs that work in the waist, see about getting them tailored to fit you everywhere else.

Now. In terms of what to look for on the racks, my main tips would be to tinker with mid- and maybe a few high-rises. Mid rises tend to be best since high rises can poof out below the tummy area, but it all depends on how you’re built. Go-to brands for mid-rise jeans include Kut from the Kloth, Lucky Brand, and CJ by Cookie Johnson, all of which offer plus sizes and a few petite lengths. (Also check Amazon for more variety.)

Bootcut jeans often have too much volume in the butt, but skinnies and straight legs may work better. Karen Kane jeans tend to be quite slim in the leg, especially the jeggings if you’re open to those. They also come in a pull-on style with a wide waistband, which adds less bulk to your midsection. Levi’s has some skinny mid-rise styles cut slim in the hips that might work, too. Kut, Lucky, and CJ all have great straight designs.

You can also choose to balance the volume in your top half with a little volume in your bottom – flat-front trouser jeans are an expert favorite since they’re wide but structured.

If you’d like to add volume and shape to your rear, try jeans with flap pockets, curved yokes, or pockets set on a diagonal which create the look of curves.

Another option that makes some women uneasy but might be worth exploring – especially if you’ve tried most of the above options and/or have reached your wit’s end searching for styles that work: Maternity jeans. They’ll have comfortable, non-pinching waistbands and if you go for slim/skinny maternity styles they may fit better in the rear and thighs than standard pairs do. And without tailoring. This Old Navy pair has side panels instead of front, Nordstrom and ASOS also have options.

Want more input? Here’s Angie’s post on dressing the apple shape, and Imogen’s series on O-shapes is super helpful!

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details. Sustainable options are either used, handmade, made in the U.S., artisan made in non-sweatshop conditions, or made using sustainable/fair trade practices.

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6 Responses to “Reader Request: Jeans for Apple-shaped Figures”

  1. janejetson

    Apple here who will attest to having problems with jeans. I love denim too. I have the problem of relatively good fit with a baggy butt. What would I tell my tailor needed to be done or would a good tailor already be familiar with the problem? Pull on jeans work fairly well for me. They look like maternity jeans which took me aback at first. I was sold when I realized I don’t tuck my tops in so they would still look like regular jeans. Mid-rise works well for me too. High rise jeans crush my wide waist. I hope to hear about other suggestions and brand ideas from your audience.

    • Sally McGraw

      Hi Jane! If you take jeans to a tailor and show them a saggy seat, she/he should know how to alter them to fit better. Seat alterations are tricky, to be honest, but getting your jeans taken in there can still help with fit issues. Whenever possible, shop for pairs that aren’t super loose in the seat. The closer to your figure they are off the rack, the easier they’ll be to alter. (In most cases.)

      I’m also a HUGE fan of pull-on jeans – so much comfier than fly-front, in my opinion. 😉

  2. what not

    I’m more pearish (since we’re doing the fruit thing) but with medical issues that make my belly stick out and hate being squeezed, and my favorite jeans are Kut from the Kloth Dianas.

    While we’re at it, Betabrand makes good pull-on business casual bottoms called Dress Pant Yoga Pants, which they have in several leg widths and a bunch of colors; I have two pairs and can wear them all day without discomfort.

  3. calmwave

    Plus sized apple shape here. I swear by old navy rock stars… their pull on bootcuts, sized down, are also extremely flattering.

  4. TheLibrarian28

    So glad to see this post. I sometimes feel like I’m the only apple-shaped person on the planet! I have been very happy with Wit and Wisdom jeans from Nordstrom. They’re not expensive and have a nice amount of stretch. I usually have about four pairs in rotation. They’re not heavy-weight which I like, but it also means they don”t last forever. They also run large so I go down a size when ordering.