Shop The 7 Best Jeans for Curvy Figures of 2022 That Won't Gap

Universal Thread’s Curvy High-Rise Vintage Straight Jeans are the ones to add to your shopping cart this season.

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Jeans for Curvy Figures

Good American /Levi / Madewell

As much as we wish the magical jeans from Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants existed, we know that not all jeans fit every body type the same. And no one knows it as well as those with curvy frames. While you might think you’ll forever need to wrap a belt around your waist to keep your far-too-big-in-the-waist jeans from gapping, we’d like to introduce you to curvy jeans. For the uninitiated, curvy jeans were created for those who need some extra room in the hips yet often wear a smaller waist size; this means that both straight and plus-sizes can benefit from a curvy jean cut. (We feature both.)

So you are no longer doomed to a life of ill-fitting jeans (or avoiding them altogether), we found a bunch cut just for you. We were particularly thrilled with the fit, style, and price of Universal Thread’s Curvy Fit High-Rise Vintage Straight Jeans, but we also spoke with different curvy influencers and models, as well as design experts, to find the absolute best jeans to buy.

Read on for the best curvy jeans to shop for:

Best Overall: Universal Thread Women's High-Rise Boyfriend Jeans

Universal Thread Curvy Fit High-Rise Vintage Straight Jeans

Target

What We Love: The style and design are carried in straight and plus-size sizes.

What We Don’t Love: It takes several wears to break in.

Universal Thread keeps things truly inclusive with this high-waisted fit offered in sizes 00 to 26W. Because the style fits tightly in the waist yet features ample room in the hips, curvy folks won’t struggle with any awkward gaps in the waistband, and the button fly, a welcomed style feature, will also ensure a snug (but still comfortable) fit. And the jeans feature a knee rip for a little more flare.

The added bit of spandex makes them easier to slip on over wider hips. But regardless, they still felt stiff the first few times I wore them. I squat test all new jeans to ensure a comfortable fit, and these took a few rinse cycles to loosen up. After washing and some lunges, they eventually molded to my body comfortably — an easy fix that only proved the durability of the cotton blend.

Size: 00-26W |  Rise: High-Waisted | Wash: Light, medium, dark Fabric: Cotton, spandex

Best Splurge: Good American Good Curve Straight Crossover Waist

 Good American Good Curve Straight Crossover Waist

Good American

What We Love: The crossover waistband adds extra support to the waist.

What We Don't Love: The largest sizes are rarely in stock.

If there's one thing that Good American accomplishes, it's interweaving new trends into classic styles. As part of their Good Curve denim collection, these Straight Crossover Waist jeans hug curves without creating extra space in the waistband or compressing too tightly. The high-rise cut is ideal for curvy figures to fit wide hips or stomachs that might need extra room. With the smaller waist cut, these pants lay on the body without falling down or tightening to the point of leaving marks. Staff writer Tessa Petak can’t recommend these jeans enough, praising the comfortable and cute style, as well as the “overall good quality,” of the brand founded by Khloé Kardashian and Emma Grede. Plus-size model Rubeiri Cornelio loves a curvy cut like these bottoms, with the gap-proof method that keeps her coming back for more. “They know what they are doing in the jeans department right now,” she praises and continues, “You look snatched at all times without trying.” Good American states on their website that they cater to sizes 00-32, but it’s important to note that their own size guide stops at a plus-size 24. 

Size: 00-26 |  Rise: High-Rise | Wash: Medium | Fabric: Cotton, Pre Consumer Cotton, and elastane

Best Straight-Leg: Abercrombie & Fitch Curve Love Ultra 90s High Rise Straight Jeans

Abercrombie & Fitch Curve Love Ultra 90s High Rise Straight Jeans

Abercrombie & Fitch

What We Love: The style is available in 16 different denim washes for a customized look.

What We Don't Love: Their sizing is a little confusing.

Abercrombie & Fitch has come a long way since its infamous early aughts days with shirtless models out front stores, dark lighting, and purposefully limited size ranges. Today, the brand has become a surprising favorite for plus-size and curvy folk. Fashion digital creator Sandra Palomino recommends these jeans for their variety and comfort. “They have the perfect stretch and compression and  love that they offer them in short, regular, and long lengths for all sizes,” she shares with InStyle. Tall and short shoppers will appreciate the inseam varieties in these jeans that offer a custom fit without concern of excessive bagginess or tightness in the groin area. When you pick up these jeans you’ll notice the top of the jeans curving in to allow a cinched look for hourglass figures and wide hips. “They contour my curves perfectly from my waist to my ankle,” says Palomino. Their jeans are slimmer at the top to account for the curvy fit needed for those with hip measurements larger than their waist. 

While brands like Universal Thread, Good American, and Old Navy use standard charts that go from a 00-26, Abercrombie & Fitch base their size guide off your approximate waist measurement. Basically, this means their 23W is the smallest size that equate to a 000, while the largest size (a 37W) converts to a 24 plus-size. It’s a good practice to have your waist measurements on hand when buying jeans, especially when every brand has a different size guide. Once you have the right size, you can pick from 16 different denim washes, including traditional light, medium and dark colors. But with the fun addition of brown, white, and distressed options too.

Size: 23W-37W |  Rise: Super High-Waisted | Wash: Light, Medium, and Dark |Fabric: Cotton and elastane

Best Bootcut: Levi's 725 High Rise Bootcut Jeans

Levi’s 725 High Rise Bootcut Jeans

Levi's

What We Love: The style is tapered in the legs, creating a snug silhouette.

What We Don't Love: This size chart is very confusing.

A classic denim brand, Levi’s has options for everyone, especially curvy folks, like these bootcut jeans. I never loved bootcut jeans — the fitted top, yet flared bottom looked unflattering on my body shape. But because the jeans feature a subtle flare, instead of an ultra-wide one, these jeans offer me the best of both worlds: a taste of the trend, while still giving a high-waist fit with a snug feel over my hips. 

Similar to the Madewell Curvy High-Rise Skinny Jeans, Levi’s offers this bootcut style in two different size groups: straight size (23-34) and plus size (14-26). Each size comes in three different inseams, too — 30 inches, 32 inches, and 34 inches — allowing you to further customize your pair of jeans. Now, all you need is a good pair of boots.

Size:14S-26L |  Rise: High-Waisted | Wash: Medium, Dark, and Black | Fabric: Cotton, Viscose, Polyester, and elastane

Best Skinny Jean: Madewell Curvy High-Rise Skinny Jeans in Lanette Wash

 Madewell Curvy High-Rise Skinny Jeans in Lanette Wash

Madewell

What We Love: Larger sizes have a higher rise measurement to offer more room and support for bigger bodies.

What We Don't Love: The pockets are too small.

Madewell took their time when making these skinny high-rise jeans that my friends are constantly talking about. I purchased these during a sale, expecting a very tight fit that made me feel bloated like other skinny jeans I own. Instead of hiding my stomach, these jeans create a smooth look thanks to the high waist. These skinny jeans mold to my body, emphasizing my butt and hips without excess compression that usually causes my stomach to spill over my waist. Even with a little bit of stretch, the durable denim holds its shape over time. Since the jean cut is made for curvy bodies, the narrow waist will guarantee a gap-free fit, even through various wash cycles. 

Madewell offers the style in straight, petite, tall, and plus sizes. The additional two inches at the inseam for plus sizes provide more support for larger stomachs, thicks, and butts. Unfortunately, the downfall of these jeans is the downfall of skinny jeans everywhere; the pockets are too small to carry anything other than a few credit cards and a metro pass.

Size: 23-28W |  Rise: High-Waisted | Wash: Medium | Fabric: Cotton and elastane Candiani denim

Best High Waisted: Shiny by Nature Solving the Jeans Problem Jeans - Medium Wash

Shiny by Nature Solving the Jeans Problem Jeans - Medium Wash

Shiny by Nature

What We Love: The elastic band in the waist keeps a tight fit without discomfort.

What We Don't Love: There is no stretch in these jeans.

Curvy folks often deal with excessive gapping in the waist because of pants that can’t keep up with hourglass figures. An elastic waistband creates slight bunching at the top to fit snugly and without any digging into the skin. The cut reminds me of relaxed mom jeans that emphasize your backside and stomach but with more leg room. 

I was hesitant at first to try these pants because I spent way too many years wearing elastic pull-on jeans because that’s all Walmart had in my size. But I was pleasantly surprised by the sturdy denim feel and the button and zipper addition that made me think, “Oh, this is how jeans are supposed to look.” And that look was a slight curve over my non-existent ass that created the illusion of something going on there. Because the founder Alex Ochoa designed these jeans with smaller waists in mind, you won’t experience any awkward fabric clusters in the groin or annoying camel toes. Pair the jeans with an oversized sweater and blazer á la Princess Diana for a throwback look. 

Size: XS-5X | Rise: High-Waisted | Wash: Light and Medium | Fabric: Cotton

Best Distressed: Old Navy High-Waisted Distressed Rockstar Super Skinny Jeans

Old Navy High-Waisted Distressed Rockstar Super Skinny Jeans

Old Navy

What We Love: The inclusive sizing of this brand features straight, plus, petite, and tall sizes for these jeans.

What We Don't Love: The pants can leave marks on the skin from tightness.

A pair of jeans don’t need to be labeled specifically as “curvy” to properly fit shapely bodies. Take these Old Navy high-waisted skinny jeans. “I know, Gen Z hates them, but skinny jeans always had my back and hugged my curves in ways no other jeans could,” Cornelio says. Steadily becoming a haven for inclusive sizing, Old Navy considers petite, plus, and tall sizes in a majority of their styles. The waist runs small on this pair to eliminate gapping at the waist, yet the hips still feel roomy enough to accommodate curvy shapes. They might feel too tight at first, but thanks to the added stretch, they will loosen over time, becoming more comfortable. 

They come in multiple washes from dark to medium, including distressed and non-frayed pairs, so there’s sure to be a style for everyone. Seriously, one search of “rockstar skinny jeans” on Old Navy will field 162 options including men and women options. We’re partial to this black distressed pair that will make you feel ready to headbang at a random rock concert. Wear it with a leather jacket and band tee for a casual look or dress it up a touch with a white button-down and a cardigan as you head to the office.

Size: 00-30 |  Rise: High-Waisted | Wash: Light, Medium, Dark, and Black | Fabric: Cotton, Polyester, Rayon, and spandex

What to Keep in Mind

Size

The shopping process can be complex, depending on your size. If you're already pre-exhausted thinking about the experience, make it easier on yourself by having your basic measurements on hand. For curvy jeans and pants generally, you'll want at least your hip, waist, and inseam measurements. 

Shiny by Nature designer, Alex Ochoa suggests measuring jeans from the crotch to the waistband to determine the rise measurement. This will determine whether jeans are low-rise, mid-rise, or high-waisted. Breaking down these numbers, Ochoa explains that jeans with a rise measurement of seven to eight inches are considered low-rise, with nine to ten inches considered mid-rise, and 10+ inches considered high-waisted. 

Material

Not all denim is made the same way. If you take a look at the fabric blend of your favorite pair of jeans you might notice materials such as cotton, spandex, and polyester on the label. These materials will equate to a different denim feel. Most traditionally worn are pants with spandex to add stretch, pants made from 100% cotton for a rigid feel, and styles in between changing the way your jeans might feel and how they might wash. 

Palomino looks for at least a 2 percent spandex stretch in the material blend to ensure a "stretchy, waist gap-free, and comfortable" fit. The addition of spandex will also help pants stretch over curvy stomachs, hips, and thighs without losing too much shape. Rigid denim are jeans that come straight from the factory without any excess washing, bleaching, or de-stressing. What results is a fresh pair of jeans that can mold to your body with each wear. This will guarantee a custom fit that’ll work with your specific body type. As a heads up, It might take a few long walks and washes to get them “worn in” properly.

Friction

Another common issue for curvy bodies and jeans is the friction that seems almost inevitable between the thighs of pants. This is why it’s important to pick denim that is made from durable material and as much cotton as possible. While rigid jeans might feel like they’re rubbing against each other more they’re still holding up compared to pants that have a lot of spandex. The friction from jeans rubbing against themselves can create holes and general wear and tear after extended use, so durability is essential to keep this from happening.

Your Questions, Answered

What are curvy-fit jeans?

Jackson tells InStyle that curvy jeans are categorized as pants with a smaller waist and a slightly fuller hip. These designs are necessary to eliminate extensive gaping in the waist with those with an hourglass figure. Cornelio takes the fit of her jeans very seriously and wants to ensure they always fit like a glove. She notes that the best curvy-fit jeans have "a bit more stretching or a wider cut in the hips, and they'll include things like an elastic waist, comfy materials, etc., to make options more appealing." Styles like the Fashion to Figure Black Curvy-Fit Skinny Jeans have elastic banding added at the top to fit smaller waists, making them ideal curvy-fit jeans.

Is curvy in jeans a plus-size?

It's very common for designers, brands, and retailers to market curvy jeans specifically to plus-size folks, in fact, most sites will list their plus-size products as curvy. However, one thing most stores get wrong is that not all plus-size people are curvy, and not all curvy people are plus-size. Both plus-size and straight-size individuals can benefit from a curvy jean cut. For example, the Abercrombie & Fitch Curve Love Ultra High Rise 90s Straight Jean are available in both straight- and plus-sizes, however, the brand can still benefit from extending its sizes. In reality, those with wider hips who need more space in their jeans should consider shopping for a curvy jean style. 

Why Trust InStyle

Alexis Gaskin is the former commerce writer for InStyle covering beauty and fashion, with the latter focused on fat-fashion and inclusive styles. She knows first-hand the difficulties of shopping for jeans and focuses on curvy-jean types for sizes, from straight to plus-size, for this story. To get more insight into sizing for curvy jeans, Alexis spoke to Shiny by Nature founder Alex Ochoa. Additionally, she asked curvy influencers and models Rubeiri Cornelio and Sandra Palomino for their favorite brands of jeans and which denim styles are worth wiggling your thighs into.

Want more product recommendations? From best-in-class concealer to the black pants you need for work, check out all of our InStyle Picks content.

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