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10 Tips For Buying Jeans Online That Fit (The First Time)

Online shopping for that perfect pair of jeans shouldn’t be so hard.

Buying jeans online that actually fit shouldn’t be so hard. I mean, it’s 2021. Why are women STILL expected to force their bodies to mold to traditional size structures when brands aren’t even doing it themselves? Why are we STILL dealing with the frustrating inconsistencies in sizing? And why is the fashion industry STILL ignoring the true complexity of women and their bodies?  

Needless to say, we have a lot of thoughts on this. Over the years, we’ve bought many different sizes from many different denim brands…and returned most of ’em. That’s why we created Revelle…because it should be about so much more than numbers. Your dimensions won’t tell you how you’ll feel in the jeans, or whether you’ll like the way they fit your body. That being said, if you have your heart set on a particular pair and want to avoid buying three sizes in the hope that ONE will fit (which, let’s be honest, also requires a lot of time and money), here are some tips for navigating the brand’s size chart.

01 Measure your waist and hips

For your waist…

First things first, find your waist at the very top of your hip bone (between your hip and lowest rib). Then, go ahead and wrap the tape measure around, doing your best to keep it level with your belly button. Be sure to breathe normally — no holding your breath! This’ll give you the most accurate waist size

For your hips…

The same general process goes for your hips, but a bit lower. This is the widest part of your torso. In the front, the tape measure should hit right around where your zipper is, and in the back it’ll just hit the top of your butt. 

02 While you’re at it, measure your inseam

An inseam is a fancy way to say the distance from your crotch all the way down to the leg’s opening, which may be at your ankle or a higher depending on the cut. 

03 Once you’ve got all your measurements, refer to the brand’s online size chart

Yes, most brands have it. And yes, most of the time we breeze over it. But it’s important!! The Levi’s chart, for example, has four columns: non-jean size (think OO, 4, 5, 6, etc), jean size (24, 25, 26, 27, etc), waist in inches, and hips in inches. They also have charts for inseam and plus-size bottoms. Other online stores with size charts include Nordstrom, Madewell, ASOS, Good American, and Wrangler.

04 Look to see what size the model is wearing

And how tall she is! This way, you’ll have a visual base to work off of when gauging your size along with how the jeans fall (i.e. relaxed fit, baggy, high-waist, etc).   

05 Take note of the fabric

Every woman has her own unique perspective for how she wants her clothes to fit her body — and fabric plays such an important role in that. If you’re looking for some stretch (something between denim jeans and leggings), you’ll want jeans made with a higher percentage of spandex or elastane since 100% cotton tends to be more rigid.

06 Look for the type of jeans that are ideal for your beautiful body shape

With so many types of jeans out there, it can be difficult to navigate. We have a full run-down of the seven most common, but TL;DR, here’s a Sparknotes version:

  • Straight leg jeans: a particularly fab option for those of us with strong, athletic thighs and calves because of the extra lower leg space  
  • Slim fit/bootcut jeans: best for those looking to one-up skinny jeans with an extra dose of comfort and breathability — especially when moving around a lot
  • Skinny jeans: all body shapes can rock skinny jeans, but if you’re worried about *just* how form-fitting they are, start off with a darker wash made of heftier fabric, which tends to be more forgiving 
  • Boyfriend jeans: if you have strong, broad shoulders and are looking to add balance on your lower half, go for a baggier cut here
  • Flared/bell bottoms: if you’re on the petite side and worried about the hefty amount of fabric in a flared cut, just ditch the dramatic flare for a smaller one 
  • Wide leg: due to their shape, wide leg tend to divert attention away from the hips, so if that’s something you’re looking for, this cut may be for you. And for all our petite friends who fear getting swallowed up in all that fabric, go for a narrower letter A. 
  • Mom jeans: if you’re looking to create the illusion of curves, mom jeans are for you — although TBH, as long as you’re comfortable with jeans that sit higher up on the waistline rather than the hips, no one’ll stop you

07 Consider look and fit, too

For the most part, here’s what you’ll be choosing between when it comes to women’s jeans

  • Distressed: a vintage style that gives the denim a worn-in look
  • Dark wash: when jeans are dark in color 
  • Light wash: when jeans are lighter in color 
  • Low-rise: jeans that rest along the hip bones 
  • Mid-rise: jeans that rest somewhere between the belly button and the hips
  • High-rise/high-waisted: jeans that rest above your belly button (like these high-waisted ripped jeans we LOVE)

08 Always read the reviews!

The retailer can tell you allllllll they want, but there’s nothing like hearing it from customers themselves — especially when it comes to sizing up or down. So be sure to scroll down and read the reviews.

09 Don’t be married to a specific number

Easier said than done, we know. But remember that sizing is so (read: SO) subjective. If you’re a 29 in one brand, that 100% doesn’t mean you’re a 29 in every brand.

10 Shop with Revelle!

Shameless plug, but we couldn’t NOT mention it. After all, Revelle was created to solve this very problem of shopping for jeans online. When you join — which, BTW, doesn’t cost you anything — we’ll ask you a few questions about your beautiful body. From there, we work our magic (and by magic, we mean technology) to build your personal store. As you like (heart) and dislike (broken heart) jeans, we’ll get to know your tastes, preferences, and style even better.

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