While it would be lovely if every pair of jeans we acquired were the perfect inseam length, it's hardly the case, as we know from experience. Most jeans made for women come in one inseam length, which adds to the unlikelihood that they'll work for women of any height, especially when we add different shoe styles into the equation. That said, there are different things we can keep in mind when both shopping for denim and when visiting the tailor, and we found just the professional to do it.
Katya Torres is the owner of Denim Surgeon, the New York City–based denim tailoring experts that distress, repair, and perfect the fit of any pair of jeans that come their way. We consulted Torres on the subject of the most flattering length to wear your jeans for both shorter women and taller women, and her tips are sure to clear up any questions you may have about denim inseams.
Read on to see what Torres recommends when it comes to flattering denim lengths, styles, and tailoring advice and to shop the best jeans for shorter and taller women.
"For shorter-than-average women such as myself (I'm 5'2"), avoid very baggy and boxy-cut jeans," Torres suggests. "Bell-bottoms are okay only if you plan on wearing them with (very) high heels or wedges that are completely covered by the jeans' hem. It's a great optical illusion. Slim-fitting (tapered) or straight-leg jeans are flattering for shorter women, whether they're cropped, ankle, or standard length. We recommend an inseam no less than 21 inches. Avoid jeans that are too long, as they create a huge break (also known as stacking) and look sloppy. A proper hem on jeans is crucial to a shorter or petite woman. Raw-edge hems also look great, but always keeping in mind that proper length is key."
For taller women, Torres says, "Anything goes, really! High-waisted jeans look great, whether they're slim and long or relaxed and cropped. From personal experience when fitting tall women, jean length is typically personal preference and varies on the type of footwear that you plan to wear. But the rule of thumb is if the client seeks a longer-looking leg, we go with the longest possible inseam. A shorter inseam (e.g., cropped or ankle length) will break up the vertical denim flow, and legs don't appear to be as long."