The Right Jeans for Your Shape and Size

Meet Cookie Johnson, the new all-star of premium denim for women with curvaceous figures. The wife of NBA basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson is the latest celebrity turned designer.
ESSENCE.COM Apr, 17, 2009

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Meet Cookie Johnson, the new all-star of premium denim for women with curvaceous figures. The wife of NBA basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson is the latest celebrity turned designer. CJ by Cookie Johnson was created to give women the ability to find body-flattering jeans that fit more than just a size 2.

As told to Qianna Smith

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“I couldn’t find jeans to fit my body type,” says Johnson, who works out daily, eats healthy, but isn’t a size 2. “It frustrated me to try on every pair of jeans in the store and leave with nothing.”

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“These new premium denim lines on the market are made for a certain body type. Yet there are so many women that don’t fit that mode and I’m one of them and it’s not fair," says Johnson. "I decided to create a jean that does fit and we call it a versatile fit for women with real bodies. It’s a jean that has a little more room in the thigh, more room in the back and it tapers in at the waist.”

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“I’m very involved in this line. Not finding jeans that worked for me was a major problem, and during the design process I wanted to make sure every fitting issue was addressed. I worked with the designer, I did take part in the design like, ’lower that pocket, bring that waist in’,” says Johnson, who’s celebrity friends like Cedric “The Entertainer” and his wife, Lorna Kyles, are already major supporters and fans of the collection.

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“There was definitely a missing market for the woman who wanted a contemporary and designer look but couldn’t fit into the slim, low-cut jeans. CJ by Cookie Johnson answers that demand,” says Michael Glasser, cocreator of CJ and the mastermind behind Rich & Skinny, Seven for all Mankind and Citizen of Humanity.

Pauletta Washington, actress and wife to Denzel Washington, show off just how great this line really fits.

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“Jeans are very important in a modern woman’s lifestyle. Nowadays, jeans are a part of your everyday wardrobe. Women are wearing jeans to work and out to dinner because you can dress them up or down,” says designer Cookie Johnson, who seen here pictured with Academy Award-nominated actress Angela Bassett at her launch party for CJ Denim last February.

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Rap artist MC Lyte shows her support for Johnson at the CJ Denim launch party at Nordstrom in Phoenix. Nordstrom stores and Nordstrom.com are exclusively carrying the line, which ranges in sizes from 2 to 18.

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“I consider myself to be stylish and I like the fashion world. I always had a background in this. When I went to Michigan State University my major was retailing of clothing and textiles. I worked in retail and also as a buyer. Retail is fun for me and fashion has always been a passion of mine,” says Johnson, who’s pictured here with Tony Award-nominated actress Sheryl Lee Ralph. The look like they deserve a fashion MVP award.

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Make sure when you put your jeans on they feel comfortable, advises Johnson. “Your jeans should come up easy over your thighs and not stop midway.”

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“I remember those days when I had to have a popular jean, and I would squeeze myself into them and my thighs would be so restricted I thought I lost blood supply,” says Johnson with a laugh. “I would wear longer tops to cover up the parts that did not fit. Make sure there is ample room in the thighs and your jeans come up over the butt area."

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Finding the right fit is not always easy for women with hips and shape. Let us help you get that perfect fit with a few denim do’s and don’ts for every body type. Get expert denim tips from our fashionista Bridgette Bartlett.

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Denim DNA: Your body type is full hips and thighs with a small waist.
Denim Do: Opt for a waistband that curves slightly higher in the back than in the front. Trouser-cut or wide-leg jean is ideal because it has a streamlining effect. Consider a high-waist style for a trendy, sexier look.

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Denim DNA: Your body type is petite and curvy.
Denim Do: Darker denim in indigo and black offer a slimming effect. To preserve the deep hue, add a capful of vinegar to the water when washing. Stay away from tiny back pockets; they make your rear appear bigger. And to elongate your figure, opt for high heels.

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Denim DNA: Your body type is petite and slim.
Denim Do: Avoid cropped pants or cuffing, as both will only make your legs appear shorter. When you have your jeans hemmed, suggest that your tailor cut off the extra fabric and then reattach it to the original hemline. This ensures a professional and polished finish.

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Denim DNA: Your body type is slim with no hips.
Denim Do: Cigarette or skinny legs complement a lean frame. Steer clear of jeans with stretch—they’ll only draw attention to your nonexistent waist and hips.

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Denim DNA: Your body type is tall and curvy.
Denim Do: Look for an inseam of at least 36 inches to accommodate your long frame. Visit Searchbyinseam.com for suggestions. Be sure that your pants break slightly at the top of your shoe and angle a bit downward in the back. This will streamline your silhouette and keep you from looking as if you’re prepared for a flood. Don’t be afraid to let the hem out. The frayed detail will instantly give you a funkier look.

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Denim DNA: Your body type is tall with long legs.
Denim Do: Look for at least a 36-inch inseam and a high rise to accommodate your long torso. Skinny jeans should become your new best friend because this style of jean works well to show of your towering legs.

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Denim DNA: Your body type has fuller midsection.
Denim Do: Stay away from pants with decorative details and designs around the waistline because this will bring attention to your largest part. Boot-cut and bell-bottom styles work great for women with a thicker waist because it adds balance to your figure.

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Denim DNA: Your body type has fuller and thick thighs.
Denim Do: Check that your jeans contain at least 2 percent Lycra or spandex for optimum fit. Hippier sisters can strike a balance with a boot-cut silhouette. Visit Jean-o-type.com to receive custom recommendations with the help of interactive technology that considers your height, rear shape and body type.

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There are boutiques popping up across the country that cater specifically to women looking for that prefect denim fit and one such hot shopping spot is True Boutique in New York City. You can have your jeans tailored for free by a professional in house tailor on site. “Whether you are a willowy size 0 or a curvy size 18, every woman can benefit from wearing garments that truly fit and therefore flatter her figure,” says boutique owner Katie Campbell.

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