How to Wear Skinny Jeans if You're Plus Size

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The Skinny Jeans Trend

Plus size skinny jeans
Style skinny jeans to look great on a curvier figure. Forever 21

Skinny jeans have been one of the hottest denim styles for what feels like forever now. But if you’re not a stick figure, they might feel like a challenge to pull off. However, plus size women can look fantastic and fashionable in skinny jeans. You just need to find the perfect-fitting pair, and then style your jeans the right way to balance your proportions, so you can flaunt your style and confidently show off your body. We've got your fashion tips here on how your can find your curvy body’s best plus size skinny jeans, and how to style skinny jeans to flatter your womanly body shape. Plus, you'll find links to shop the best brands and styles for your shape.

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Choose a Dark Wash Skinny Jean

NYDJ Sheri Skinny Plus Size Jeans
NYDJ Sheri Skinny Plus Size Jeans. NYDJ

A dark wash skinny jean, such as the NYDJ style pictured here, is definitely the most slimming option for plus size women. You probably already know that wearing dark colored clothing can visually minimize body areas, while lighter colors can make things look bigger. Skinny jeans in a dark indigo wash are the most versatile type of jeans in our wardrobe, too, as they can be worn with casual outfits or dressed up for fancier occasions. Or, instead of dark blue jeans, you could shop for a great-fitting, inky black skinny jean, which can be styled in your wardrobe just like you'd wear a black pant.

While the most sophisticated skinny jean you can buy is a dark, solid-colored pair, that doesn't mean you can't wear colored jeans. In fact, doing so can add fun and variety to your wardrobe, for a confident look that's always flattering. If you're looking to streamline your figure, just skip past the pastel shades and shop for colored denim in rich, saturated hues, such as deep burgundy, forest green or charcoal grey, to create a more slenderizing effect. 

Also keep in mind, when you're shopping for skinny jeans, you may want to look for a pair without too much distressing or whiskering, which can visually enlarge heavier legs. If you love the distressed jeans trend, though, you can totally wear them — just shop for a pair with fraying that's focused around the knee area, rather than jeans with heavy shredding on the thighs.

Shop for Dark Wash Skinny Jeans for Plus Sizes:

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Shop for a Perfect Fit

Woman trying on jeans in store change room
Road test jeans in the change room before you buy. Monalyn Gracia/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images

If you’re plus size, you’ll want to pay special attention to getting the right fit in skinny jeans. This may mean trying on a lot of pairs of jeans, so be prepared and give yourself enough time when you go jean shopping. What you're looking for is a skinny jean that fits snugly through the waist and hips, without feeling overly tight when you're standing or sitting, or creating the dreaded "muffin top" effect. Jeans should also flow smoothly over your legs, without squeezing so much that they create unwanted lumps or bumps. The right skinny jean can lengthen your legs in a way that's super flattering, so try on as many pairs as needed to find the jean that works best for you.

If you have a belly, you'll probably want to look for a mid-rise style of skinny jean, which can help to conceal and contain your middle, but try on different styles until you find your favorite. Avoid both high-waisted styles, which visually widen your middle, and too-low jeans that don’t contain your tummy.

Do be sure to bend over, sit and stand in the change room, to get an idea how the jeans look and feel through a full range of motion. Make sure there's no underwear-revealing gapping in the waist when you sit down, or conversely that you don't feel cut in half when you bend down to tie your sneakers. If you're uncomfortable in the dressing room, you can be sure that you won't be comfy in the real world — which means you haven't found the right jean yet.

So what if you find a jean that fits you beautifully around the waistline and in the seat, but the legs are too long? No problem — you can always have your jeans hems altered to hit your legs at the right length, which is an easy fix by a seamstress or tailor.

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Shop for Stretchy Jeans

Silver Jeans Suki Mid-Rise Plus Size Skinny Jean
Silver Jeans Suki Mid-Rise Plus Size Skinny Jean. Silver Jeans

Skinny jeans that incorporate a decent amount of elastane (aka Spandex or Lycra) in the denim fabric – aka "jeggings", or stretch jeans in a skinny fit — can be very flattering to plus-size women, when they're crafted in a heavier weight denim. High-quality stretch jeans are generally more comfortable and flexible to walk, stand and sit in than regular blue jeans, which may make these your favorite new jean. Best of all, many premium denim brands now make stretch skinny jean styles specifically designed to lift, shape and smooth the figures of curvier women, such as these Silver Jeans in the brand's Suki Style.

How much stretch is enough stretch for a plus size jean? That's up to you — but typically, a jean with 2 percent or more elastane (that's the generic term for Spandex or Lycra) will offer better figure-shaping benefits, and be less prone to bagging out with wear.

Shop for Plus Size Jeans With 2 Percent or More Spandex:

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Choose the Right Top to Balance Skinny Bottoms

Forever 21 Plus Size Skinny Jeans
Look sexy in a billowy tank top worn over plus size skinny jeans. Forever 21

In real life, almost nobody — except maybe off-duty supermodels — completely avoids the muffin-top dilemma when wearing skinny jeans. That's one of the reasons wearing a trapeze-style tank top, a pretty, billowy blouse or a long, loose tunic with your skinny jeans is such a great idea for plus-size gals. Wearing a top with volume also balances out your body's proportions, by drawing attention to your upper half, making your lower half appear slimmer. You can always choose a shirt that’s long enough to cover your backside, if that gives you more confidence.

Here are more tricks for choosing a top to wear with skinny jeans, that flatters your figure:

  • To flaunt an hourglass figure, layer a thin, colorful belt over a long tunic top, to cinch in your waist.
  • Wear a regular, button-down shirt (untucked) and layer a tailored blazer on top, to create a feminine, hourglass body shape. Add a necklace to create more visual interest on your upper body. This is a great ensemble for the office.
  • Go ahead and wear a sweatshirt for casual style! The volume will balance your skinny bottoms. Just pay attention to your accessories — adding high heels and a statement necklace will keep this simple outfit looking stylish, rather than sloppy.
  • Slim your torso — and camouflage a tummy — by pairing a peplum top with your skinny jeans.
  • Belt a long, colorful cardigan over your skinny jeans for a confident, figure-flattering effect.

Shop for pretty peplum tops for plus sizes on Amazon 

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Wear a Jean Jacket With Skinny Jeans

Forever 21 Plus Size Skinny Jeans in Grey
A jean jacket goes with skinny grey eans like PB&J. Forever 21

For a trendy outfit you can wear shopping with friends or picking up the kids from school, try pairing your favorite dark wash skinny jeans with a classic jean jacket. Choose a jacket in a lighter or bluer wash than your dark wash jeans, or pair a blue jean jacket confidently with charcoal grey jeans, as pictured here.

You can also pop the color of your jacket, or add a beautiful printed scarf, to draw attention upward toward your face, and away from your lower half. This is a great trick for curvy women wanting to try skinny jeans, as it adds volume and interest up top, while keeping you looking classic and stylish.

Shop for Cute Plus Size Denim Jackets:

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Wear a Dark Blazer With Black Skinny Jeans

Mango black plus size jeans and blazer
Wear a dark blazer to slim your shape in skinny jeans. Mango

Slimming black jeans and a black blazer are a sophisticated fashion combination for work or social occasions. You could easily wear a traditional blazer, but consider how confident and edgy you'll look in a (real or faux) leather blazer, such as this Mango style, that you can also layer over all your dresses for instant polish. Choose a jacket that hits your body at the lowest point of the hip, to extend your torso and give you some coverage in the back when you're wearing skinny jeans.

Shop for Black Skinny Jeans for Plus Sizes:

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Play With the Double Denim Trend

Mango plus size skinny jeans
Double denim is a great trend for plus size figures. Mango

Plus size women can wear the fashionable head-to-toe denim look. The key to flattering your curvy figure in this trend is choosing denim separates in different washes, and keeping the slimming darker wash on the bottom. When shopping for a chambray shirt, look for one that skims over your curves — avoid tent-like tops that make you look boxy. You can wear a lighter denim-look shirt over your favorite dark wash skinny jean, or choose a patterned top to create interest above your waist, and distract from a heavier lower body.

Shop for Cute Denim Shirts for Plus Sizes:

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Wear the Right Shoes With Skinny Jeans

Madden Girl Women's Ohnice Dress Pump
Madden Girl Women's Ohnice Dress Pump.

Skinny jeans are great for elongating your legs. Keep that long, lean line going by wearing nude-colored heels, such as this Madden Girl Women's Ohnice Dress Pump. Or choose shoes that closely match the shade of your jeans, in black or navy. You will look best in high heels with skinny jeans, but you can also wear flats if that's more your style. Whether your shoes are heels or flats, you'll want to choose a pointed toe style (rather than rounded toe shoes), to create the most slimming visual effect for legs.

Check out two of our other favorite nude-colored heels available on