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How To Wear Skinny Jeans When You’re Not Exactly Skinny

How To Wear Skinny Jeans When You’re Not Exactly Skinny
Carly Jacobs

‘Whoa! You’re wearing jeans!’ My mate said as she hugged me outside the cafe we were meeting at for lunch.

‘Show me your butt!’

I self consciously sat down and she said ‘You should seriously wear jeans more often they look great on you!’

I kind of nodded and then we started talking about something else. This isn’t the first time someone has told me this. People freak out quite hard when I wear jeans, usually in a good way. The weird thing is, I don’t actually know if I DO look good in jeans or not. I don’t care to be honest, the truth is I FEEL weird in jeans. I’m always very aware that I’m wearing them. It’s not a body image thing, it’s a comfort/emotional thing. I’ve never really liked wearing clothing directly on my waist. I’ve always had a Buddha belly, even when I was a kid and my mum said I’d always push my nappies down so they sat under my little gut. I’m the same now. My underwear has to be bikini style (well below my waist) or high waisted (well above my waist). It just doesn’t feel right have firm waistbands sitting across my stomach. That’s why I’ve always preferred dresses. They’re just easier to deal with. My super long torso is to blame. Imagine a Shetland pony wearing hot pants and that’s kind of the way jeans work on my Dachshund like physique.

I own only one pair and I’ve had them for about a year now. I whip them out every now and then in winter when I feel like I need something a little bit more robust than the pure wool tights I insist on wearing as pants all season.

Skinny Jeans


Curve Embracer Hip Hugger Jeans from Jeans West 

Wool wrap thing from Alistair Trung – I bought this years ago, it cost me a fortune and I don’t regret it for a second. You can wear it long or short and wrap it all kinds of different ways. Alistair Trung himself sold it to me by telling me I was like a ‘sensual flower’ and I was like *fumbles frantically for credit card*

Clogs from Funkis – these are pretty much the only shoes I wear. Once you break in clogs they are beyond comfortable. I’m considering getting these ones for winter… to wear with tights what do you think?

Here are my tips for wearing skinny jeans when you’re not exactly skinny…

Note: these are tips that work for me. I’m not trying to hide my muscular thighs and ample rump, just work them to their best advantage. No body shaming here, I promise. Just advice from one chunky legged lass to (maybe) another.

1. Wear boots over them

This is certainly not a style rule, it’s just a thing I do that I think evens me out. I have short, stocky but quite muscular legs so trying to make them look longer is a daily struggle for me. It’s even harder because I’m tall (178cm) people assume I have long legs so when I go into shops to try on jeans, the shop assistants will hand me long length and I have to insist on regular. It’s a whole thing. Anyway, I always feel like if you can see my ankles in skinny jeans, it makes the rest of me look chunkier. So I whack my long boots on over the top and it makes my high school dancer thighs look less like I’ve been squatting with 100kg weights for 6 months. Bonza. It also makes me look like a retired rich country lady who wears expensive vests and has several designer dogs and a forehead that doesn’t move. If I DON’T wear boots, I always wear chunkier shoes like my clogs pictured above. It’s a balance thing.

2. Get a dark colour

I love black but I’m wearing less and less of it because it makes my outfits blend together and I lose a lot of texture and shape when I wear too much black. When I find myself reaching for black, I go for navy or dark blue instead like these jeans. The dark colour covers a multitude of sins like little dimply bits, the fact that I’m wearing my most favourite ever soft cotton Muji undies that show through EVERYTHING and the extra few glasses of wine I had over the weekend. Light coloured jeans just don’t play nicely on me.

3. Wear nude or light shoes

Dark shoes just weigh my whole look down. I also survived the 90s when we all thought it was super stylish to wear chunky black shoes with jeans ALL THE TIME so now I can’t wear black shoes with jeans ever again for the rest of my life. Same with maroon knit jumpers, which is a shame because they’re everywhere this year and maroon is a great colour but if you’re an Aussie Catholic school kid, maroon knit jumpers will be ruined for you for life.

Side note – I was walking around Fitzroy the other day and I took my jumper off and tied it around my waist and quickly snuck a peak for Ms Karapanagos, my year 9 coordinator who I swear could smell a jumper tied around a waist and would promptly dart out from behind a door and give you detention. I always feel guilty for tying my jumper around my waist. As an adult though, I can’t see a logical reason why we weren’t allowed to do this. It didn’t damage the jumpers in any way. Have you ever worn a Catholic school uniform jumper? Those things could survive a nuclear bomb. Was it just that they decided it didn’t look good? I strongly debate that because we didn’t look good anyway and a jumper tied around our waists wasn’t going to change that. Isn’t it funny when you grow up and think about adult enforced rules and you have a light bulb moment and you’re like ‘YES! That rule WAS bullshit! I wasn’t imagining it’. 

Tie jumpers around your waist with gleeful abandon my petals. I won’t give you detention.

4. Get fitted properly 

Due to my aforementioned long torso, I have a hard time find skinny jeans that feel comfortable because I have miles of hip/waist/ribs to contend with. I never quite know where pants are supposed to sit. I wrote recently about this issues and I’ve come to a conclusion. You need to treat jean shopping like you treat bra shopping. Go to a professional and seek their help, they know what they’re doing. I never used to bother getting fitted for bras and now I won’t buy one unless I’ve had a bra specialist properly recommend one. Same with jeans. I would NEVER buy jeans online. Why? The jeans I’m wearing in this post are a size 11. I’m a size 14. There’s no way in HELL I would have ever ordered a size 11 but that’s the way the cookie crumbled with these jeans, which is why I always buy jeans in the store. Anything jersey is fine to buy online and tops are fine too but jeans? No and nope.

5. Get stretch 

This one seems like a no-brainer but for real, avoid jeans that don’t have stretch in them. My tip? Get three-way stretch. This means they stretch in every direction (Like the Jeans West skinny jeans I’m wearing in this post) instead of just sideways or lengthways, resulting in less sagging and bagging. It also means they’re super comfortable and you don’t have to keep adjusting them every time you stand up because they snap back into position.

This outfit was worn for a regular old day of Smaggle-ing. Writing, social-media-ing, so many emails, shooting some stuff for Crochet Coach and doing all kinds of grown-up bank type things. Mr Smaggle and I have been reading lots of finance books so we keep moving our money in and out of accounts for increased interest and that kind of thing. It makes me very tycoony.

Are you a skinny jeans wearer? Do you have any ‘rules’ for yourself when it comes to wearing them?

P.S Also you should totally sign up for my newsletter. It’s full of cool stuff.

P.P.S Don’t forget Crochet Coach has a free trial offer period at the moment so make sure you sign up!


  1. Claire 6 years ago

    I have the opposite problem, no torso, but long legs. I inherited my mothers short waisted physique. We jokingly say we have low armpits!
    I don’t like wearing anything tucked in because it makes me look weird. Maybe we should get together and share some torso and legs. 🙂

  2. Holly 6 years ago

    We had bottle green tunic dresses over green check blouses IN SUMMER IN QUEENSLAND. The horror.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs-Smaggle 6 years ago

      The uniform before my time at the school was a boiled wool maroon tunic!

    • Cindy 5 years ago

      You didn’t go to St Ita’s or St Ursula’s, did you, Holly? We had that same uniform. Then they changed it to light green dressed with brown socks and shoes. I still hate green…

  3. Sarah 6 years ago

    Love love love your wool wrap!! V stylish!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs-Smaggle 6 years ago

      Thank you! It’s a weirdly versatile piece. Think it’s one of those for life wardrobe items.

  4. Carmen 6 years ago

    Still cannot do blazers – bloody private school education haha…
    Am absolutely in love with your Alistair Trung wrap – simply divine. So, I did what any sensible person would do and went a-stalking… the man appears to have disappeared off the face of the earth!! Am I just doing it wrong???

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs-Smaggle 6 years ago

      The website should still be there and there’s still a store on Gertrude ST!

  5. Curvy Lass 6 years ago

    Levi’s do a shapely skinny in curvy woman sizing and I’ve only just discovered them. I am curvy and pale and have always hated jeans but this range has hanged my style. I wear them with a coatigan and boots and they’re warm 🙂

  6. Mary 6 years ago

    Ha, at my state girls high school our deputy (the first bloke to ever have that job) used to spell it out, on the quadrangle at morning assemblies, “Take your jumpers off from around your waist girls, it draws attention to a part of your anatomy that needs no attention drawn to it”. Our year round runic had these weird fake pocket flaps in the design – so of course various girls would take it upon themselves to announce “hold onto your flaps”, quietly at the being of the daily assemblies. All coming back to me now!!

  7. Lisa Fourman 6 years ago

    I love this article because it’s so different from the norm. I’m not skinny myself; I’m the opposite, for sure! I haven’t been able to wear a pair of skinny jeans since college because they’re so tight on my belly. It’s a shame but I’ll see if your tips can work for me. I have a pair of boots I can wear if the blasted zipper will go all the way up my calf!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs-Smaggle 6 years ago

      I’m the same! It’s belly for me. But I’m also super fussy about lines – I wear shape wear a lot because I don’t like VPL.

  8. Missy D 6 years ago

    I definitely do not do skinny jeans – I’m 5′ with a short torso, short legs, short everything… with curves. So skinny jeans do nothing to flatter my figure. I’m all about the bootleg. 🙂

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs-Smaggle 6 years ago

      Are you 5′? I have a mate who’s 5′ and she has the same issues, she’s not much of a skinny leg jean wearer either.

      • JulesG 5 years ago

        ooohh is there any chance your friend would pose for a short-ass version of this post? I’m also 5-foot-nothing and curved and can’t buy jeans without feeling like one of those hobbit extras. Smaggle save us!

  9. Lisa Fourman 6 years ago

    I have a huge belly and huge boobs. It’s so hard to find clothing for me that fits both places because I’m so misshapen. I’m less than 5 feet tall so I’m constantly getting things hemmed up. It’s maddening, y’know?

  10. Vanessa 6 years ago

    “but if you’re an Aussie catholic school kid, maroon knit jumpers will be ruined for you for life.”

    Never a truer sentence 🙂

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 6 years ago

      Totally ruined. I’ll never be able to wear one again.

  11. You look gorgeous! Can I ask I have chunky calves I don’t mean that in a self deprecating way just in a way that I simply struggle to find gorgeous boots that are big enough around the calf and look loose and baggy if you know what I mean. I just measured them and my calves are about 45cms diameter.

  12. Jess 6 years ago

    Can I just jump in here and ask for a recommendation on shape wear?! They always seem to give me the worst VPL – I’d love to know your favourites 🙂

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 6 years ago

      Yep! I don’t wear shape wear for sucking in I wear it for smoothing and I just get form fitting slips from DJs or Myer. I quite like Kayser – there’s are pretty affordable and they last a while. I also love the Nancy Ganz ones with the built in bra.

  13. Ashley Carr 5 years ago

    I need to show a little ankle so I often roll up a cuff. I think that really elongates my legs. I love the ‘Lily Loves’ black stretch jeans from Target. I’m on my second pair now because they are so perfect for my body shape. Nice high waist and enough stretch that they’re super comfy.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      Oh that’s a good tip! I’ll check them out I’m always looking for comfy jeans. These ones are pretty good though, no complaints so far!

      • LB 5 years ago

        I did the same ”buy 4 pairs” of Danni Minogue petites skinny jeans from Targét. They come in size 4-12 or 14 and are just made for different body shapes (I am shortish and have all the curves). I would definitely spend much more on jeans but haven’t found any this good.

  14. Cindy 5 years ago

    What a fun article, Carly – and yes, you do look great! I’m the opposite – also 5’10”, but all leg. When I was young (and slim), I looked a bit like a new-born colt, with legs to my armpits. Well, now there are a few bits in the way, like love handles (which I think young people refer to these days as muffin tops), and other middle-aged spread. I recently bought a pair of skinny jeans online from LTB (I think you have a store in Melbourne – we don’t have them up here), and I got them on okay, no struggling with the zipper or anything, but I wondered just how firm skinny jeans are meant to be. Mine are also a 29/11, and I wonder if I should’ve gone up to a 30. Or are they supposed to be firm?

    I’m 59, so I don’t want to look too ridiculous. These have ‘lift’ in them apparently, but I just hope my legs don’t look all squidgy like sausages in denim casing… I wish we had an LTB shop in Qld where I live, because the cut of their jeans is very flattering (I’ve had them before, but they shrunk in the wardrobe)…

    And I had a look at Alistair Trung’s website and it said Shop Coming in 2017, but there was nothing there…

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I think Alistair Trung has shut down sadly… I haven’t seen any online presence for ages. I never buy jeans online it’s just too risky for me, getting fitted in store is really the best option.

  15. Denis Mountain 5 years ago

    Your tips are really good. Using them I just bought a stretchable pair of jeans from Jeans Oasis clothing online.


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