Finding the right pairing of jeans with boots

Chicago TribuneDecember 18, 2013 

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I have recently made the move to a more modern straight-leg jean, but I’m still finding it hard to wear that style with my tall boots (with all the spandex in jeans now, I have so much bunching at the knees that I end up looking like a pirate by noon). Also, I am not sure whether it’s OK to wear straight leg with ankle boots. I tried rolling them up with my “booties” but it seems like a denim doughnut. Right now I am sort of stuck in a rut where all I wear with the straight leg – besides the unsuccessful tucking of them in my tall boots – are flats. Do I have to make the move to skinny jeans in order to wear ankle booties these days or is there another option (besides boot cut or trouser, which I love but get sort of tired of)? I am relatively thin but definitely have more going on in the thigh area than the models in most ads and in catalogs. – Jen

Dear Jen: Ever since you brought it up, I’ve been eyeballing women with their jeans tucked into their boots, and here’s what I’ve learned: All of them have baggy knees to one degree or another. It goes with the territory. You can buy clip-on elastic things that create stirrups beneath your feet to help hold your jeans in place starting at around $10 ( jeanstraps.com; amazon.com). But I’ve found them to be uncomfortable and not that effective. If you’ve got really baggy knees, it’s possible that the boots are too loose in the calf to help hold the jeans in place. Or, it could be the fabric. You seem to be blaming the spandex, but stretchy is your friend in this case, reducing the bunching, not adding to it. Try thicker, higher-quality denim with more stretch. But no matter what you do, you will still have some bagging. Take comfort: Everybody else does too.

No, you don’t need to go to skinnies to wear with your ankle boots. Rolled jeans are the style of the moment, so try again with your straight legs. I bet you’ll get used to the “denim doughnut.” One cautionary note: Just like wearing those abominable capri pants (there I go again on my anti-capri campaign), rolling up jeans to mid-calf cuts off your legs and makes them look stumpy. Roll ’em to the top of the booties.

I should mention that another option with those booties is “jeggings” – denim-ish leggings. I’m not a fan for the very reason you cite. Most women “have more going on in the thigh area” than the glamazons in the ads, and these unforgiving jeggings are not flattering. If you do go the jeggings route, be sure to wear a long tunic over them. They are not pants! One final thought: The most flattering jeans are dark wash with a no-cling fit on the thighs and a straight vertical line from hip to hem.

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