When shopping for new clothes, there is one thing that rivals bathing suits for causing terror and frustration: jeans. Getting the right cut and fit for your figure can be an absolute nightmare and for many women, hours in dressing rooms trying to figure out which style works best. This is even worse for women with a big booty. Sir Mix-a-Lot may be singing the praises of big butts, but he never tried to fit one into a pair of jeans.

So, where does a frustrated fashionista begin?  I talked to Felix Mercado, celebrity stylist turned tech entrepreneur. Mercado has styled icons including music stars ranging from Nicki Minaj to Wilson Philips as well as news personalities Joan Lunden, Megyn Kelly, and Judge Jeanine Pirro, and actress Jennifer Landon.

Balance Your Proportions

“Just like you and me,” says Mercado, “not all denim is created equal.” He advises that the key for women with larger derrieres is choosing the right “rise” to flatter and skim over your hips. Then balance your proportion with a bootcut or slim flare for the most slimming effect.

In case you are wondering, the “rise” refers to the distance between the waistband of a pair of jeans and the crotch seam.

The best rise, according to Mercado, rests below your belly button and completely covers your “assets” and hips. He suggests that a medium rise of 7.5 inches should be the maximum, and you should make sure the waistband is curved. “Plumbers crack is only attractive on hot plumbers!” he quips.

Know Your Body Type

“It’s shocking how many women don’t know their body type,” says Mercado “know before you go!” he urges. When you know your body type you can move on to features to look for that best flatter your figure. He gave us the skinny on how to determine it:


These body shapes have a wide bust, narrow waist, and wide hips with a measurement similar to the bust.

Pear Shaped

This body type has a wider hip and backside area than the upper body.


“Most people still think petite means skinny, when in fact it has nothing to do with weight,” says Mercado. Petite is best described as women who are 5’3” and under. Petite size women come in all shapes and sizes too.


Apple-shaped women tend to have thinner arms, legs, and hips and gain weight at their waistlines.

Focus on the Waist

Hourglass figure, pear shaped and petite plus size shapes are the most common body types for women with large derrieres. When shopping for these types of figures, Mercado emphasizes it is essential to highlight your waistline.

Don’t Look for Loose Fits

In general, Mercado advises looking for jeans that hug your curves without sagging or gapping anywhere.

“Consider a slim-to-the-knee fit in a deep indigo or solid rinse with minimum distress or whiskers for a streamlining effect on hips and thighs. The wider leg opening, and longer hemline create the illusion of narrow calves,” says Mercado.

“Take my advice and you will find the go-to jeans of your dreams,” he assures. Mercado’s specific recommendations for his favorites include:

  • Joe’s Jeans, the Honey High Rise Curvy Bootcut
  • Rikki Lane Bryant Power Pockets Super Stretch Skinny Ankle Jean
  • Dark Wash AYR The One Love Jeans
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About Laura Keyes Ellsworth

Laura has been writing and editing for more than 25 years, a fact which more than a source of pride, sends her running to the wrinkle cream aisle of CVS. She has worked for CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, The Economist Intelligence Unit, and CBS radio. She has three children, and you will either find her thoroughly enjoying their company or yelling at them to clean up after themselves and turn off the lights.

View all posts by Laura Keyes Ellsworth

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