Many women find that shopping for pants is one of life’s necessary evils. They can try on 200 various brands, styles, and sizes and will come away with one option that works... sort of. It’s an exercise in frustration that many of us would like to avoid, especially when retailers refuse to keep to any sizing standard, even within the same brand! I was shopping with a client once who fit in a size 6, 8, 10, 12, & 14 all on the same day. Madness! (PS- that’s why I always say not to get too hung up on what size you are 😉).
I find this is particularly common for women with a yin hip shape. A yin hip shelf starts up high, usually right after the waist, and curves out from there. See the picture below for an example of a high hip vs a low hip:
Usually this woman has a greater hip to waist ratio than what the average pant is cut for. Meaning, if a pair of pants fits her in the hips, they’ll be too big in the waist. This can cause what I like to call “crotch whiskers”, an unpleasant bulkiness in the crotch.
Sometimes this woman has given up on pants altogether and opts to wear mainly dresses & skirts. I’m all for that, but fortunately this fit problem isn’t too difficult to fix with today’s modern fabrics. I’m pretty sure the curvy girls of yesteryear like Marilyn Monroe would have loved access to the miracle of spandex. With this hip shape, one needs a fair amount of stretch in the fabric to fit the waist, and then have enough give to go over the hips. This hip shape will also need a medium to high rise in a pant. A low rise will dig across where the hip is wider and result in “love handles” (which are almost always a result of poor-fitting pants). This hip shape will also be most flattered in a tapered or “skinny” leg cut. Pants that widen at the lower leg can make this shape look shorter and wider.
Denim is naturally a stiffer fabric, but the very firm denim is less common in women’s jeans today. Still, it’s best to look for a more moldable and stretchy option. Even Marilyn struggled with getting stiff jeans to fit properly.
Women with a more moderate hip, or even a low, yang hip tend to not have these issues with fit when it comes to pants, and are able to wear a wider variety of styles. The exception would be those with a wider, low hip, who can have issues with a gaping waistband (another case of the hips fitting but the waist being too large).
Now whatever hip shape you may have, I’ve found that one of the universal fabrics for flattering all shapes is a ponte knit, usually a polyester/rayon/nylon blend. Fortunately it’s grown in popularity and it’s easy to find these days. It’s a fabric that’s very soft with four-way stretch, and a decent amount of give. It’s also thick enough that it’s often used in five-pocket pant styles so it doesn’t look like you’re wearing leggings. Win-win!!
It’s always good to remember that when something doesn’t fit properly, it’s the cut of the garment that’s the problem, NOT YOU! We shouldn’t let our experiences in the fitting room bring us down or make us feel bad about ourselves. Every woman is a unique collection of features and not every clothing article will work on every figure. And that’s ok. We just need to know the options that work best for us.