James Jeans: How to Wear Relaxed Fits Without Looking Frumpy

How do you wear a relaxed fit boyfriend jean? There’s been a bit of a dilemma when it comes to wearing this fit – the how not to look frumpy dilemma, specifically. I find the concept to be great, but the reality is that it can be hard to find a pair that looks as cute as it sounds on your particular build. I’m not a double zero so when I decide to wear excess fabric I want to make sure it’s not going to also add pounds…

It’s been the predicament… so I met up with Amy from James Jeans to put it to the test. James Jeans, as you may have already noticed if you caught the Spring Summer 2011 lookbook I posted a bit ago has some great boyfriend jean options (among other styles I could see myself donning).

Amy and I attempted 3 fits. The classic trouser for an option outside of denim and the Neo Beau in white and a medium wash denim.

From left to right: the James Icon classic trouser, James Neo Beau in white and James Neo Beau in basic denim.

What we learned:

  • Get your true size, don’t size up to accentuate the relaxed fit because that will just add more bulk and don’t size down just because your normals size feels slightly loose. That’s the point – the jean should feel less snug then your regular pair of blues. The main image above illustrates the kind of room you’d want to have in your relaxed jean.
  • Wear a fitted top. If you pair something flowy with your relaxed denim then chances are that you’ll end up looking frumpy. Pick out a fitted tee or blouse. Tuck it in and try adding a belt or make sure it sits at your waist line for a more streamlined silhouette.
  • Add a tailored jacket or trench for a more refined look. A relaxed or boyfriend jean or pant can still be dressed up.
  • Wear a heel. In this case, a wedge for daytime wears works perfectly.

In conclusion, we enjoy wearing a relaxed pair of denim every now and then and I’m glad we put it to the test because frumpy is never something I’m going for. How do you wear your boyfriend jeans?

images by Jennine Jacob



  1. May 5, 2011 / 12:48 pm

    Super helpful post, especially for a petite girl like me! I always wondered how I could pull off the boyfriend look w/o getting lost under the extra fabric but these are really great tips. Can’t wait to try for the summer!

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