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The Different Types of Denim Silhouettes

Dissect the jean pool.
The Different Types of Denim Silhouettes
ILLUSTRATOR Gab Gutierrez
Dissect the jean pool.

When it comes to denim, miscommunications are pretty common. Imagine this scenario: You could be shopping for a new pair of slim-cut pants, and a saleslady directs you to a rack of skinny jeans. What's the difference, you ask? Does it even matter?

For a true fashion girl, the devil is in the details. Below, a quick and easy guide to telling your denim silhouettes apart. Get educated in jean-ology!

DAD vs. MOM

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We're not referring to marital feuds. The dad jeans' waist hits below the belly button, while the crotch is long (no bubble butt here). Its legs drop straight, hitting just under the ankle, and the knee area bags in such a way that the limbs always appear slightly curved. Mom jeans, on the other hand, sit high on the small of your waist, accentuating your butt. The legs taper in a carrot shape, ending just above the ankle bone.

WIDE LEG vs. FLARE

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Sooo '70s! Though both silhouettes have seen a huge comeback in recent seasons, note that they're two distinct styles. The wide-leg pants fall in the same volumized width from the thighs all the way down the hem, resulting in an altogether loose, often floor-skirting piece. Flared jeans come in more of an hourglass shape, its upper legs close-cut, then billowing outwards below the knee.

SLIM vs. SKINNY

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Admit it, this has confused you countless times. To clear the record once and for all, a slim cut skims the thighs, then falls straight from the knee down, the ends resting comfortably around the tops of your feet. Skinny jeans, distinctively skintight from hip to hem, usually have more of a stretch to it and taper snugly around the ankles in peg-legged fashion.

CAPRI vs. CROPPED

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Newsflash: One doesn't mean the other! Capri pants, called 'pedal pushers' back in the 1950s, hit just below the knee and were originally designed for comfortable, leisurely bike-riding. Meanwhile, cropped jeans end right above your ankle or low on your mid-shins—its latest permutation, as seen on both runway models and street-style stars, comes fringed and slightly bell-bottomed.

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