The Straight Leg Jean Buying Guide

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The Straight Leg Jean Buying Guide

As the name suggests, straight leg jeans have straight legs that do not taper or flare towards the bottom of the legs. This is the traditional cut first made and sold by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss in the late 1800s. Although these jeans were developed as practical trousers for miners during the gold rush in the United States, their practicality has spread to the fashion world. Straight leg jeans look good on most people, and they can be worn with nearly any kind of top. These jeans can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion, making them a versatile wardrobe essential.

When shopping for straight leg jeans, consider factors such as the colour, wash, and rise. Even though straight leg jeans suit most body types, this cut can be used to flatter different builds and minimise problem areas. A size and measurement guide can be used to find the perfect fit for every wearer. Straight leg jeans are available from clothing and department stores, and online from sources such as eBay.

Choosing the Right Colour and Wash for Straight Leg Jeans

While jeans are available in a range of colours, traditional jeans usually come in shades of blue. Dark blue jeans generally look smarter than their lighter counterparts. Additionally, darker colours have a slimming effect and dark blue or black jeans are flattering on all body shapes. Medium-blue jeans have evolved from the colour of the original American workwear. Straight leg jeans in this colour are versatile, allowing them to be worn with just about anything. Light blue jeans are mostly suited for casual wear as the light tone gives the fabric a faded, worn-in look.

When referring to jeans, the wash describes the dyeing process and any additional colouring techniques used on the garments. Dark or indigo wash refers to the most common colouring where the entire garment is one colour. Dark wash jeans are generally the smartest option. The colour and wash of straight leg jeans are closely related. Some of the techniques that are used to deliberately degrade the fabric of the jeans and make them look worn or faded also have a significant effect on the colour.

Washes and colouring options include sandblasted jeans that are artificially faded around the thighs; stone washed jeans that have been treated chemically or washed with stones to give the clothing a worn-in look and softer feel; vintage wash jeans that are pre-washed, pre-shrunk, and softened, and feature fading at the thighs and bottom; distressed or dirty jeans have been pre-washed repeatedly and feature broken fibres, making them appropriate only for casual wear; whisker jeans that feature lighter coloured creases around the front and back pockets; and acid wash jeans, popular in the 1980s, that are treated like stone washed jeans, but chlorine bleach is added to the wash to bleach these jeans almost white.

Choosing the Best Straight Leg Jean Rise

The rise of a pair of straight leg jeans refers to where the waistband sits on the body. The rise is measured from the crotch of the jeans to the waistband.

High Rise Straight Leg Jeans

High rise straight leg jeans sit at or above the navel, often as high as the natural waistline. As they cover the tummy, jeans with this rise smooth the silhouette and prevent the "muffin top" look: the look created by a soft belly popping over the top of the waistband of a pair of trousers, like a muffin rising from the pan. Covering this area adds control and holds the tummy in. In addition, a higher waist makes legs look longer and can be used to draw the emphasis away from a long torso.

Mid Rise Straight Leg Jeans

Mid rise straight leg jeans sit on the hip bone, below the navel. As they are generally the most flattering and comfortable option, they are the most popular. This rise height adds tummy control without sitting uncomfortably high.

Low Rise Straight Leg Jeans

Low rise straight leg jeans sit on the hips, lower than mid rise jeans. They can elongate a short torso, but can be too revealing on women with longer torsos. This style is most suited to women with flat stomachs and the waistband should be cut to follow the body’s natural contours. Ultra low rise jeans tend to show the wearer’s underwear and those who do not intend for this to happen should avoid this cut.

How to Look Good in Straight Leg Jeans

Although straight leg jeans look good on just about everyone, some builds and body shapes may benefit more from this style than others. The straight cut legs emphasise long legs, have a slimming effect when worn by curvy women, and make shorter women look taller and leaner. To add even more length to long legs, pair straight leg jeans with high heels. Plus-sized and curvy women benefit from higher rises and darker colours. Aside from looking great in straight leg jeans, shorter women should also consider them because they are the easiest to shorten.

Back pocket details can be used to create the illusion of a smaller or perkier bottom. Opt for jeans without back pockets to minimise curves, or for added shape choose a pair with a yoke: a fabric strip across the back of the jeans, just below the waistband. Small or high-set pockets make the bottom look larger and can be used to add curves. Large, centred pockets do not draw attention to the bottom and are flattering on most women.

Straight Leg Jean Measurement and Size Guide

In order to find the right straight leg jean fit, the wearer’s measurements should be obtained before shopping. UK clothing sizes are not standardised. This means that the actual size of clothing can differ across brands. To ensure that clothing fits, it is best to try garments on before buying. Where this is not possible, for example, when buying online, the seller should be asked for the jeans’ dimensions. The wearer’s waist and hip measurements are essential when shopping for straight leg jeans. The waist measurement is taken at the natural waist, which is the narrowest point between the navel and ribcage. The hip measurement is taken below the hip bones, around the broadest part of the seat.

The measurements required for jeans also include inside leg or inseam measurement, measured from the crotch to the ankle or desired hem length; the rise measurement, measured from the crotch to the waistband; and the leg opening measurement relating to the circumference of the hem

These measurements can be taken when the jeans cannot be tried on. The table below can be used to convert hip and waist measurement into UK sizes.












Waist (cm)











Hips (cm)











These sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. However, the table can be used as an indication of the approximate straight leg jean size required.

Jeans are generally available in short, regular, long, or extra long. Use the table below to match the inside leg measurement to the most appropriate jean length.

Jean Length

Inside Leg Measurement (cm)







Extra Long


These measurements may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Where it is not possible to try the jeans on, ask the seller for an inside leg measurement.

Buying Straight Leg Jeans on eBay

Finding straight leg jeans on eBay is easy. Type a keyword or search phrase (for example "ladies straight leg jeans") into the search bar displayed on every page to see the listings available. Choose the most appropriate category and the desired characteristics to narrow your search. If you would like to refine your search, use the advanced search function. When buying clothing online, look out for sellers with returns policies to allow you to return items that are unsuitable.

Before You Buy on eBay

eBay features allow you to get to know the seller and the item before you buy. Use the seller feedback and item listing page to learn about them.

Check the Seller’s Feedback

eBay’s seller feedback feature allows buyers to leave feedback for sellers about their products and customer service once transactions have been completed. Detailed seller ratings give additional information about aspects of the transaction such as the seller’s communication, the accuracy of the item’s description, the reasonableness of postage and packaging fees, and how long the seller took to dispatch the item. To see a seller’s detailed seller rating, click on the number next to his or her username.

Check the Item Listing Page

All the information that you need about a product and seller can be found on the item listing page. This includes information such as the item description, the seller’s feedback and contact details, and the terms and conditions of the seller’s returns policy. If you want to ask the seller a question about the listing, use the "Ask a question" link.


The straight leg jean is a style that suits most body types. It is not as tight as the skinny jean, nor as loose as the wide leg jean. Straight leg jeans conform to the contours of the body without clinging to them, so they have a slimming effect and make legs look longer.

Skinny jeans can be worn either with a T-shirt and trainers or with a blouse and heels, and look equally good. However, some colours and washes are considered more formal than others. Dark, plain jeans are seen as smart, while faded or distressed light coloured jeans are more suitable for casual wear. Other washes include the ultra bleached 1980s acid washed look and vintage washes designed to artificially age the garment. The wash usually affects the feel and degree of softness of the denim, so stone washed and distressed jeans are generally very soft.

The rise of the jeans should be suited to the wearer’s body shape; fuller figured women should consider higher rises. The type of pocket chosen affects the look of the wearer’s bottom, and the right type of pocket can add to or minimise what is there. Finally, to look their best, straight leg jeans should fit well. eBay sellers offer a wide variety of straight leg jeans for every woman of every shape.

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