On just about every Instagram account of young celebrities you’ll find images of them wearing jeans: super skinnies, boot-cuts, flares (a new take on our beloved bottoms), boyfriends, etc. One might get the impression that jeans were the exclusive domain of the young.

But since we’re smashing old ideas and thinking patterns, we might as well put that one to rest: everyone can wear jeans.

The tide began to turn in our favor in 2005 when fashion entrepreneur Lisa Rudes-Sandel came up against the same frustrations many of us face – finding clothing to fit her womanly-sized body.

Since she still loved wearing jeans, she set out to re-invent the entire industry by founding Not Your Daughter’s Jeans, a brand designed to flatter a ‘lived-in’ body.

It became an instant hit. A few years later, the company polled their customers to ask about the brand name, thinking it might be a little limiting. Thus the name morphed into NYDJ – a hipper, less ageist moniker.

Why We Love Them

Marketing aside, this opened up the entire industry to recognize that simply being over 50 was not the end of the buying public’s love of this quintessential wardrobe staple. Today, you will see women from their 20s to their 80s wearing jeans and looking smashing in them.

Why is that? Well, jeans have humble roots, but have withstood the test of time. They are the fashion element that unites people of all ages, all cultures and all economic backgrounds.

You could say that, in many ways, they are the uniform of the world’s population. They make us feel young because we first wore them when we were young. And they make us feel part of the fashion culture because you will see them on couture runways as well as at H&M.

How to Shop for Jeans

The first consideration when buying jeans is where you will wear them and what you will wear with them. The first part is important because some types of jeans are now considered acceptable for ‘casual dressy’ occasions and events.

If the occasion is more dressy, you want to go with a darker rinse, which serves almost like a more casual version of your basic black pants. Worn with a simple blouse and blazer or a cashmere sweater, they have a more elegant or conservative flair.

With more artsy or casual flowing top layers, you can go with lighter rinses or colors. White jeans are trending this year.

Secondly, fit is important in all garments, but in jeans it is absolutely crucial. High-waisted jeans are just fine, and, in fact, are very popular right now. But those that are loose through the hips and thighs and also high-waisted say: “mom jeans.” They are not flattering on bigger hips and wider bums.

Just about everyone looks good in two styles: straight leg and boot-cut. The really skinnies and the wide leg flares, and the boyfriend jeans take a little more finesse to avoid looking as if you’re trying too hard or just being lazy, respectively.

What to Look For

Pay attention to the size and placement of the pockets. Side seam pockets will flare out and make wide hips look even bigger. Horizontal tab front pockets are more flattering if you’re carrying a little more weight around your hips.

Back pockets that are very low placed will drag your bum down visually. Very widely spaced pockets will make your bum look very wide. The size of the pockets should be reasonable: too big and your behind shouts: “Hey, look at my big bum!” Too small pockets on a larger derriere can do the same.

Then there is the all-important waistband. If you have anything that resembles an hourglass or pear-shaped body, you must have a contour waistband or you will find yourself exposing your ‘goods’ every time you bend over.

It’s very important to check out how well the waist stays close to your own waist as you move, sit, bend over and crouch down. Always check yourself in a mirror.

Accessorizing Jeans After 40

A few well-chosen accessories can elevate your entire jeans outfit. If you are wearing ankle length or longer jeans, you can wear heels, espadrilles, flats or chunky sandals. If you are wearing shorter versions, like a capris length, avoid wearing heels because shorter jeans say ‘casual’ and heels say, ‘dressy.’

For evening occasions, you certainly can carry a sparkly bag or clutch with your jeans. For most daytime events, keep it tasteful or playful with slouchy leather bags or straw totes in the summer. Add a simple, tasteful or colorful necklace, earrings or an arm full of bangles – and voila! You can be the star of your own Instagram feed.

Do you still wear jeans? Which ones and where? Do you have a favorite cut? Please join the conversation below!

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