Should Plus-size Women Wear Skinny Jeans?

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Is there a more versatile wardrobe staple than a pair of jeans? We didn’t think so. Yet as a plus-size woman, you tend to stick to just a few jean styles because you feel like you can’t rock them all. Skinny jeans especially give you anxiety, but should they? Can you wear them?

Plus-size women can wear skinny jeans just as straight-sized women can. The key is finding a pair of skinny jeans that fit your body by measuring your full hips and waist. Skinny jeans shouldn’t create lumps from squeezing your midsection, nor have any gaps around the back. 

If you’ve always wanted to wear skinny jeans as a plus-size woman but you’ve been too afraid, this is the article for you. Ahead, we’ll talk further about whether plus-size women should wear skinny jeans (hint, yes, they should). We’ll also recommend some of our favorite skinny jeans and provide tips on how to fit into yours and style them.  

Are Skinny Jeans Only for Skinny Women?

Skinny jeans are one of at least a dozen different denim fits. Some denim styles include distressed, mom, flared, a bootcut, wide, boyfriend, slim, and straight. Although straight and skinny styles might sound the same, they’re anything but.

Let’s get clear on what skinny jeans are. Skinny jeans are not flared nor tapered at the leg. Straight jeans, by comparison, are wider at the hem between the ankle and hip. A pair of skinny jeans has a tighter fit that enwraps the calves and thighs, while straight jeans might fit a bit looser. That’s especially true at the ankles and knees, which are roomy. In those areas, skinny jeans are still as tight as ever.

Yet skinny jeans can–when they fit right, anyway–accentuate and flatter your lower half. 

Is that a perk only straight-sized women can enjoy? After all, isn’t that why they’re called skinny jeans?

Actually, no! Skinny jeans are named that since the leg openings are smaller and tighter compared to other jean styles. If you don’t like the term skinny jeans, you can always call them pencil pants, cigarette pants, or stovepipes, which are other nicknames. The name of these pants has nothing to do with the weight of the wearer.

That said, a few characteristics of skinny jeans can make women of all sizes reluctant to wear them, especially bigger women. Since skinny jeans are designed to have a closer fit, there’s nowhere to hide, so to speak. A pair of boyfriend jeans can mask bigger thighs, a large rear, or shapely hips, whereas skinnies put those areas on display. 

The tightness of skinny jeans can be unflattering on the stomach, but this can be easily overcome with the correct jeans fit. As we’ll talk about later, you can also buy a higher-waisted pair of skinnies to avoid a muffin top or other unflattering lumps. 

If you recall our article about plus-size women wearing crop tops, we said that there’s no reason not to go for it if you like this style. The same applies to skinny jeans. You don’t have to wear skinnies at any size if they’re just not your style. Some women like looser-fitting jeans, and that’s fine.

Yet if you’ve secretly dreamed of pulling off skinny jeans as a plus-size woman, you absolutely can. We’re here to tell you how. 

8 Pairs of Plus-Size Skinny Jeans We Love

It’s good to know you could wear skinny jeans if you wanted to, but where can you shop for them? You need only visit your favorite plus-size retailers or hop on any of their websites and get shopping. 

Here are a few great pairs of plus-size skinny jeans from brands like Ashley Stewart, Torrid, Dia & Co., and Lane Bryant.

Lane Essentials Venezia Skinny Jean

These Lane Bryant jeans in the Lane Essentials collection come in cheery light denim with a 29-inch inseam and mid-rise fit. The skinnies feature a bit of destruction at the thigh as well as ripping at the ankles. Their no-gap waistband promotes a greater fit that you’ll surely appreciate.

Molly & Isadora Leroy Perfect Skinny Jean

At Dia & Co., the Molly & Isadora Leroy skinnies are some of their best sellers. It’s no wonder that Dia & Co. calls these jeans perfect! They’re more flexible than most pants, thanks to their cotton-stretch construction. They also come in all sorts of colors and washes, including brick red, black, olive green, medium wash, or dark wash.

FYI, the Molly & Isadora Leroy skinnies are tall, so petite women might want to pick up a different pair of jeans from Dia & Co.

Ashley Stewart Fearless Skinny Jean

You’ll feel no fear when you wear these Ashley Stewart skinny jeans. Made of a mix of spandex (2 percent), rayon (6 percent), polyester (22 percent), and cotton (70 percent), these high-rise jeans cover your stomach for a flattering fit. The skinnies also feature a dual logo button with a front hidden zip closure and five pockets. 

You can buy the Fearless skinny jeans in tall, regular, or short lengths starting at a size 10.

Torrid Midfit Super Skinny Jean

Super skinny jeans may sound super intimidating, but not in these Torrid trousers. Their skinny jeans are made for women with an apple or pear shape, aka your legs are slimmer, but your midsection is wider and rounder. 

With the trademark skinny shape but plenty of extra waist space, Torrid’s jeans are made of Super Soft fabric that stretches but still feels like real denim. These mid-rise jeans feature some whiskering and five pockets. 

Curve Appeal Bergen Stretch Skinny Jean

We also quite like the Curve Appeal Bergen stretch skinny jeans from Dia & Co., and we think you will too! These mid-rise jeans are a combination of spandex (2 percent), polyester (20 percent), rayon (21 percent), and cotton (57 percent).

You can fill up your whole closet with these Dia & Co. jeans as you shop colors and washes such as light teal, coral pink, light gray, royal blue, brick red, medium wash, or dark wash. 

Torrid Bombshell Skinny Jean

Can plus-size women pull off distressed skinnies as well? You betcha! These Torrid Bombshell skinny jeans are very distressed for a fashionable feel. The back yoke is stitched to make your butt even shapelier, while the front features flattering compression mesh paneling. With five pockets, an elasticized waistband, and a high-rise fit, you’ll look great!

Lane Bryant Signature Fit Skinny Jean

The cute detailing on these Lane Bryant Signature Fit skinny jeans will surely win you over. Their mid-rise fit, inseam of 26 to 29 inches (depending on petite sizing), and Signature Fit are comfortable, especially if your lower half is proportionate. 

The scalloped hemming with lovely floral embroidery dresses up these medium-wash pants enough that you could even wear them to work depending on your office’s dress code. 

Ashley Stewart Distressed Animal Print Skinny

We saved the boldest option for last. These distressed animal print skinny jeans from Ashley Stewart are spandex (2 percent), polyester (28 percent), and cotton (70 percent). They feature fun and funky leopard print for those days when you feel like turning heads. Distressing throughout adds even more appeal. 

Skinny Jean Sizing: How to Measure Yourself

It doesn’t matter whether you wear a size 10 in skinny jeans or a size 12, 14, or up; without measuring yourself, your skinny jeans will not fit you correctly. You can avoid that heartache with the information in this section. 

First, let’s talk about how to measure yourself for wearing skinny jeans, then we’ll go over jean fit issues to avoid. 

Measuring Your Hips

We recommend wearing bottoms that aren’t very bulky when measuring your hips. Invite over a girlfriend or ask your partner to measure you with a flexible measuring tape. Stand straight with your feet pressed together, but don’t squeeze your feet or legs.

Have your friend wrap the measuring tape at the fullest area of your hips, including your rear. Make sure the tape is straight and flat to get an accurate measurement. 

Measuring Your Waist 

Next, it’s time to measure your waist. Again, light clothing will allow for a more accurate measurement. If you’d rather get measured in just a bra, that’s another option. Start like you did when measuring your hips, standing up straight with your feet together. 

Then, lean yourself slightly to the right or left. Don’t bend; just lean. Where does your waste come in when you bend? This is the narrowest part of your waist, which is what you need to measure. 

Like before, wrap the measuring tape around that narrow area of your waist and then take down the measurements. 

How Should Skinny Jeans Fit on a Plus-Size Woman? 

With those two measurements, we recommend looking at the size chart of your favorite plus-size retailer to see what jeans size you’ll be. When you visit the store, try a size down and a size up as well as the size you measured for. Between the three of them, one jeans size should fit you. If you have to go up two sizes, that’s okay too. Clothes are meant to fit you, not the other way around!

As you try on pair after pair of skinny jeans, make sure you do more than spin around in the mirror in them. Most dressing rooms have a booth, so use it. Sit down in the skinnies and look at yourself in the mirror when you do. Are the jeans gapping in the back, showing off your underwear? That’s no good. You need slightly smaller skinnies.

Besides sitting, trying bending over too. Can you not breathe when you sit or bend because the jeans are way too tight? Then you’ll have to size up. 

Look for bumps and lumps while you do these various activities in the skinny jeans you’re trying on. A tight fit is a norm for skinny jeans, but you don’t want them to be too tight. If your jeans are causing a muffin top or creating any other unwanted lumps, you again need a bigger pair. 

Tips for Rocking Skinny Jeans as a Plus-Size Woman

You’ve bought a few pairs of plus-size skinny jeans from the earlier section, and you’re ready to go out in them. These tips will help you wear skinnies with confidence! 

Wear Mid-Rise or High-Rise Skinnies

Skinny jeans come in all sorts of lengths, as we mentioned before, but you can also get them in low-rise, mid-rise, or high-rise styles. Of the three, mid-rise is best for plus-size women. This style will contain your stomach but not squeeze it. High-rise skinny jeans sometimes have a widening effect, which can make body shapes look even larger. 

Darker Washes or Colors Hide Trouble Spots

If you’re still having difficulty feeling good about wearing skinny jeans as a plus-size woman, try shimmying into a pair of skinnies in a dark wash or color. The hue will mask those lower-body trouble spots.

Try Big Earrings or a Scarf

To bring your outfit’s focus to your face rather than your lower half, wear accessories that guide the eye up. Large hoop earrings will definitely do that, as the circular shape and big size will elongate your face (in a good way!). Ascots, in their fun colors and patterns, also lead the eye upward.

Choose Your Shoes Carefully

Since there’s no leftover jean material to cover them, the footwear you choose when wearing skinnies is a big deal. We recommend a shoe that makes your feet and calves look awesome such as stilettos, wedge sandals, or booties. Yes, you can shop all these shoe styles as a plus-size woman. Check out our post on plus-size shoes!


Skinny jeans can be a plus-size woman’s worst nightmare, but they don’t have to be. Sizing your jeans correctly is the biggest obstacle to finding a flattering fit. Then it’s all about playing with the shirts, shoes, and accessories in your wardrobe to wear skinny jeans of all colors and styles. You’ve got this!

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