What is “sexy,” anyways? Victoria’s Secret always seems to have a pretty good idea (for 2016: Kerry Washington, Paris, France, and the cast of “Quantico,” among others). For the rest of us, though, it’s less concrete. We might feel our sexiest wearing a slinky dress, a pair of sweats, or nothing at all—or, of course, our favorite pair of jeans.
Personally, I don’t think anything compares to a pair of brand-new, super-tight black skinnies—with some high-heel boots and a leather jacket, it’s the closet I’ll ever some to feeling like the archetypal movie bad-girl—you know, the type that’ll kick your ass at pool and steal your girl on the way out.
Rag & Bones are a perennial favorite—they’ve got tons of stretch, but don’t veer into legging territory—though lately I’ve been rocking some DL1961s that are so flattering I can almost get over the whole fake-front-pockets thing (usually a dealbreaker for me for reasons both political and practical—as in, they will result in me dropping my phone in the toilet).
Not everyone feels quite the same way about skinny jeans, though—some prefer slouchy boyfriend fits, others like the skin-baring benefits of ripped denim.
So, to find out what’s actually sexy—to those of us wearing the jeans, that is, not whoever’s looking on—we quizzed real women of all shapes and sizes about what they wear when they want to feel like the hottest person in the room. Some of their answers might surprise you.
Click through the slideshow below to find out what they said, and who knows? Maybe you’ll find your next foolproof pair.
“As a curvier woman, I have a hard time finding the right fitting jeans. My go to jeans are the Rachel Comey ‘Legion’ Jean, and her new fall style called the ‘Trigger’ Pant. These two styles are both high waisted with a wide opening leg (a style that Rachel Comey has perfected). I find that since I have a smaller waist and bigger bottom, these types of fits feel the sexiest. Both are pricey pairs, but SO worth it--I live in them.”—Michelle U.
Rachel Comey Legion Jeans, $345; at Shopbop
“Another brand I've recently become obsessed with is the Re/Done denim line, which specializes vintage Levi's. I particularly like their high-waisted crop style. They're also a little bit on the pricier side, but I've worn my fair share of cheap vintage Levi’s jeans, and for some reason, the vintage Levi’s jeans i've tried from this Re/done label fit perfectly. I think they alter the fit a little bit, which is why you're paying a little extra.”—Michelle U.
Re/Done High-Rise Jeans, $345; at Barneys New York
“I have a pair of vintage 501’s that I bought in the little boys’ section at a thrift store in Richmond for $25, and they make my butt look amazing. I instantly feel great as soon as I put them on.”—Lauren C.
Vintage Levi’s by What Goes Around Comes Around Vintage Boyfriend Jeans, $150; at The Line
“I always have to work up the courage (and pennies) to purchase a new pair of AG Jeans. As soon as I do though, I remember: I literally become them. WE become one. I become one bad-mama-jamma in one heck of a skinny jean walking down the street.”—Cristina P.
AG Prima Mid-Rise Skinny Jeans in Jetsetter, $141 (was $188); at Nordstrom
“I've tried to do the skinny jeans thing, but it's not really me. I like anything slouchy and boyish—I’ll buy these holey One Teaspoon jeans a size or two up for the right fit."—Sarah S.
One Teaspoon Awesome Destroyed Baggies, $158; at Free People
“I feel the best in high-rise jeans that sit on my natural waist. My favorite skinny black jean is the Farrah from AG.”—Elle T.
The Farrah Skinny, $178; at AG
“And the only pair of vintage-y distressed denim that has ever fit my curvy body is the Liya from Citizens of Humanity. I have them in five different washes—they hug my body just right while also being a little relaxed and cool.”—Elle T.
Citizens of Humanity Liya High-Rise Jean, $258; at Urban Outfitters
“My favorite jeans used to be skinny J Brands, until my thick-and-luscious thighs ripped through one too many pairs (not on a seam, either, just in the middle of my thigh). Now I usually buy Gap skinny jeans with a dark wash and a high waist … but I’m still about to order another pair of J Brands. They look that good.”—Rebecca B.
811 Mid-Rise Skinny in Ink, $158; at J Brand
“Everything about these skinnies is insanely flattering. Since they’re made with four percent elastane, the super-stretchy denim hugs every contour and curve, creating a slim-looking silhouette. The mid-rise cut sucks me in on days when I’m feeling bloated but also creates the illusion that my legs are miles long. I basically wear them like a second skin, which is to say constantly.”—Cristina V.
Alexa Skinny in Deep Gold Feather, $148 ; at Mavi
“I’m terminally loyal to Rag & Bone’s skinny jeans—I must have them in six different washes and lengths by now (which is good because I’ve already worn through one or two others over the years). I definitely strut down the street when I’m wearing them.”—Liz M.
Rag & Bone/JEAN Slim Fit Skinny Jeans, $195; at Saks Fifth Avenue
“My two favorite features for jeans to have are plenty of rips and lots of stretch, and Topshop is great for both (plus, not crazy expensive). They take some squeezing to get into, but, unlike many brands, their skinny jeans actually fit my curves.”—Thalia C.
Moto Blue Super Rip Jamie Jean, $80; at Topshop