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Jeans Terms Defined

The world of jeans gets more and more complicated every year. Here are some basic definitions of terms used to describe jeans. These are general definitions and each jeans manufacturer may differ in their definition and use.

Common Denim Jeans terms:

  • Straight Leg- The width of the leg stays the same from the knee to the hem.

  • Tapered Leg- The width of the leg decreases from the knee to the hem.

  • Bootcut- The width of the leg increases by about one inch from the knee to the hem.

  • Flare- The width of the leg increases by more than one inch from the knee to the hem.

  • Rise- The measurement from the midpoint of the crotch - where all the seams come together - to the waistband on the front side of the jeans.  This measurement determines where on your body the waistband will sit.

  • Inseam- The length from the crotch to the hem - measured along the inside leg seam.

  • Destroyed- The jeans manufacturer places holes in the jeans in various locations to give a worn look.

  • Distressed- The jeans have some nicking and grinding and commonly have a pinched look waistband for the broken in look.

  • Frayed- Hems are frayed to give a worn look.

  • Whiskered- Faux streaking and fading at the hip and knee - creases look like actual wear.

  • Light Medium and Dark wash or rinse- Refers to the depth of color for the jeans material.  Often prewashed with a stone or enzyme.

Common Denim Jeans Styles: These are sometimes referred to the Fit of a pair of jeans:

  • Carpenter pants or jeans- These have a loose fit through the seat and thigh.  They have a side pocket tools. Usually used for cell phones and cash. These can have the painters hammer loop sometimes as well.

  • Cargo pants or jeans- Two large gear pockets with flap closure situated just above and to the side of the knees. Loose fit through the seat and thigh.

  • Painters pant or jeans- These have a loose fit through the seat and thigh.  They have a loop for a hammer on the side just below the hip.

  • Loose fit- Made to be worn low on the hips or size down for a slimmer look- loose through seat and thigh.

  • Relaxed fit- Has an easy fit through the seat and thigh- roomy but not baggy.

  • Original or Regular fit- Sits at the waist and has a straight fit through the seat and thigh.

  • Skinny fit- Sits below the waist and is very narrow and has a slim leg.

  • Slim fit- Slightly narrower at the seat and thigh than original fit.

  • Slouch jeans- An eased fit that sitslow on the hips.

  • Boy cut jeans- Relaxed fit for women.

Common Denim Jeans Rise types:

  • At Waist- Waistband sits at the waist or approximately 1/2" below the natural waistline.

  • Below Waist- Waistband sits approximately 1 1/2" - 2" below the natural waistline.

  • Low Rise- Waistband sits approximately 2" or more below the natural waistline.

  • Ultra - Super - Extreme Low Rise- Lowest of Rises available.

Denim Jeans Sizes for Women:

  • Juniors- Size range from 1 - 15 (Often; but not always youthful trends)

  • Petites- Designed for women under 5'4 inches in height. Petite sizes are not only cut shorter; the cut is adjusted a bit to fit a smaller frame. Size range from 00 - 16

  • Misses- Designed for a slightly more rounded and mature figure than a junior.  Sized evenly from 00 - 16

  • Plus- Designed for the most voluptuous figure. Size range from 16 - 26 W


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