Donna Ida: 20 rules for denim addicts


Natalia Vodianova in Vogue Italia May 2005 (photography: Steven Meisel)
Donna Ida is indeed the Queen of Denim and the best person to turn to with all the denim related dilemmas and her advice about choosing and wearing jeans really is like a page from the Denim Bible – absolutely worth reading and remembering.

1. Be open minded. Always visit a denim specialist and be open to the suggestions the assistant makes. Like any garment all jeans are essentially the same - two legs, five pockets, but the magic is in the individual fit.

2. If they go on easily, go down a size. Kicking your way into the legs isn't unusual.

3. The waistband should be snug, if you can fit two fingers down the back that's good, a whole hand is not.

4. A curved, or pieced waistband, is ideal. This will be slightly higher at the back than the front and will curve into your waist rather than sit straight up.

5. High waisted jeans without a yoke can make the bottom look longer. Look for styles with a yoke if this is a concern.

6. There should be no 'grab' room at the crotch when trying. The jeans should be nice and firm when you buy them, and loosen with wear.

7. When buying jeans with super stretch, look for good quality denim that has great memory. The 'memory' is how quickly the denim springs back after wear.

8. When buying jeans with super stretch buy them firm but not overly tight. If you have 'seam strain' down the legs, they are possibly too tight and this could damage the stretch.

9. Look for white jeans with faux front pockets. If the style you choose has front pockets you can ask the tailor to remove them for a neater look.

10. 'Whiskering' adds interest and depth on jeans around the crotch area and is a flatting feature. Lighter styles with no whiskering can sometimes look a bit 'blocky'.

11. When having your jeans hemmed for flares take the shoes you want to wear with them to the fitting. You should decide on the shoes and stick with those shoes for your flares.

12. When having your jeans hemmed make sure the tailor always measures them from the back of the leg, i.e. at your heel, otherwise they may come back too short.

13. Alterations can give you the perfect jeans. Think about adjusting the waistband or slimming the legs - small adjustments are not unusual.

14. Pear shaped or curvy ladies who like skinny jeans should look at high waisted styles - it elongates the leg and slims down the hip.

15. Apple shaped girls should look for plenty of stretch in a straight leg in a dark wash as they are the most flattering.

16. Boyish shapes can wear most styles. Add some shape and interest with zips and details on back pockets.

17. Long legs look best in a mid to low rise to keep the waist at the right height, whereas petite girls look great in a high rise that accentuates the waist and elongates the legs.

18. Don't be afraid to hem cropped jeans. People often think that if cropped jeans aren't the right length then they're not the jeans for them, but cropped jeans should be hemmed to fit properly, just like a bootleg or straight leg.

19. Read the care instructions. Most premium jeans are best washed COLD, that’s cold and not 30 degrees, Any warmer and you are damaging the fabric.

20. Have fun with your denim…the traditional five pocket jeans now come in a myriad of colours, patterns and fabrics. Just wear them with a simple white tee.

Photo source: Natalia Vodianova in Vogue Italia May 2005 (photography: Steven Meisel)


  1. Jeans play such an important role in my wardrobe (I have a few pairs I haven't even worn yet, although I told hubby that I did, ha ha ) that these tips are more than welcome. I neglected rule #2 a few times and that was a big mistake. I should know better next time. xoxo

  2. PS: Happy Women's Day, my dear Natalia! xo

  3. This must be one of the most thorough and good jeans advice I've ever read, or at least all the information together. Thanks for sharing :) Where would we be without jeans right?

  4. Unconvinced that I want a deep, whiskered crotch but, otherwise, good advice! x

  5. Oh i am so torn on jeans - i see soooo many bad examples and i dont agree with wearing them tight i think looser is better - they work so well when they work but they just seem to be everyones default and i dont think they suit most people but maybe it is the wrong fit - having said that i still cant find the right fit unless i wear whopping great heels?? the dilema continues xx

  6. Wonderful advice. I need new jeans. Will be taking this with me. Xxxx

  7. Getting jeans to fit is one of the hardest things in life. That's why I'm actually going to this demonstration of this new machine next week that takes all your measurements and spits out the 3 or 4 jeans that will actually fit your dimensions. I can't wait to see if it works!

    xo Mary Jo

  8. Wow, such great advice. I don't think I've ever seen so much advice given on denim - but it's important! We all love denim. I'm going to turn to this for sure, and I really want to visit a denim specialist for personalised attention. Would be amazing!! Oh and she is gorgeous...


  9. obsessed with this post. Such great advice. Thanks for sharing. I'd love if you'd check out my interview with Perez Hilton. xo

  10. Wow! These photos of Natalia are gorgeous! Though I don't really like her in platinum blond. Nice denim tips btw.



  11. All very true, thanks for sharing Donna Ida's advice! Getting the right pair of jeans can be a 'mission impossible'! Still have to find my perfect classic straight leg pair...

  12. Consider this post bookmarked!

    I've got nothing to say on the blonde post as I'm not a blonde and I've never found the need to be one. Enjoy your weekend ;-)

  13. These are awesome tips. Oh gosh, I hate the white jeans where you can see the lining of the pockets. hahaha Buying jeans can definitely be a challenge.

  14. Great tips! I think everyone finds shopping for jeans hard, so a great post indeed!

  15. Great tips. I found that when I started paying more attention to the wash directions on my denim, things lasted an awful lot longer - she is not wrong there!