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The best denim styles for your shorter legs

The best denim styles for your shorter legs

There are some items of clothing – a good pair of boots or a quality winter coat, to name a couple – that you just know will work regardless of your shape or size. But sadly, not all shopping is that simple. And when it comes to buying jeans that truly suit you, there’s certainly no one-size-fits-all approach. On the bright side, if you start by considering your body type, you can easily whittle down the various fits, styles, and washes to land on the pairs that work best for you a little quicker. Still sounds complicated? We’ve got you covered.

You told us upon signing up y that you’ve got shorter legs, but you shouldn’t look at this as limiting – there are still plenty of styles that will flatter you. To help you decide the right cut for you we’ve selected the best jeans that suit short legs – so all you have to do is pick your favourite pair (or three).  

Slim-fit jeans

Photographed: Edwin ED-80 Slim Tapered Jean ($119)

If you prefer to make your legs look longer, a simple trick to bear in mind is that slimmer cuts have an elongating effect. It’s as easy as it sounds: just look to slim-fit rather than skinny-fit jeans as the best way to pull this off in a way that is both flattering and contemporary. Slim-fit jeans are more universally flattering than skin-tight styles, and you’ll find them easier to fit into both laid-back and smart casual outfits thanks to their more refined silhouette.

Like straight-leg jeans, slim-fit jeans follow the straight-up-and-down line of your silhouette, but where straight-fits can drown out shorter legs, slim-fits run closer to the leg, which helps highlight the shape, rather than hide it. The downside of slimmer fits is that they best suit slim legs. If you’re larger or more muscular, slim-fit fabrics will pull across your leg and won’t give the elongating effect, so you’ll need something slightly wider, like tapered-leg jeans, which leads us nicely to another great style for short-legged guys.

Tapered-leg jeans

If you’ve been met with some denim deja vu, that’ll be because you’ve been seeing this style everywhere. The beauty of tapered-leg jeans is that they flatter almost all body types, thanks to the looser thigh and slimmer calf. That means they won’t make you look shorter, but they don’t actively elongate the leg too much either. If you want to make your legs look longer, then tapered-leg jeans are the widest silhouette that will truly flatter your shape. The excess fabric of relaxed- or wide-leg jeans, on the other hand, will stack up around your ankle and make you look shorter. 

Tapered jeans are also the easiest denim cut to dress up, as they don’t highlight your shape or veer into too-trendy territory. The tapered calf looks almost tailored (without the hassle of actually getting them tailored), making these jeans just as easy to pair with a shirt and blazer as a sweatshirt and trainers – ideal if you’re not into the typical straight-leg smarter trouser.

Jeans with a higher waistband

Denim trends come. Denim trends go. But a simple style fact remains constant: short trousers make your legs look shorter, and long trousers make your legs look longer. But the answer for shorter guys isn’t to buy trousers that are too long. Instead, you should look to a higher waistband which gives your trouser more length without running too long at the hem. 

Don’t worry. We’re not suggesting you start taking style notes from Simon Cowell, or even John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever” (unless, of course, you’re hitting the disco). In fact, if your waistband is too high, it will make your torso look even shorter, so aim for something in the middle. With shorter legs, you can afford to opt for a tapered or slim-fit jean with a mid-to-high-rise waist that will make your legs look longer – just avoid low-rise waistbands that will have the opposite effect. 

Cropped or turn-up jeans

As well as the different cuts that suit you, there are also a few style hacks that can be applied to any of your favourite denim cuts. Our top tip? Opt for a  cropped or turned-up ankle, which will have an elongating effect when you leave a gap between your trouser hem and your shoe. It’s really as simple as it sounds: just make sure you stick to the cuts that already suit you, and pair them with a lower shoe or trainer that leaves a gap between your ankle and the hem of your jeans. And voila: longer-looking legs, minus the growing pains.


Words: Ella White