Your initial reaction, when you see the words “plus-size elastic waist jeans”, might be a negative one.
You might be picturing denim, which is already a fairly heavy fabric, thickly gathered around the waist, creating an unflattering “bubble” situation around the hip, seat, and belly areas.
While the jeans you are imagining are still available, of course, I’d like to show you several stylish, flattering options to consider instead. I’m going to go over some tips for selecting plus size elastic waist jeans that both fit and look good along with everything you need to know about picking out the perfect pair but if you’d like to skip right ahead to the shopping you can do so here:
- Best Elastic Waist Jeans That Don’t Look Elastic: Lee Women’s Plus-Size Flex Motion Regular Fit Bootcut Jean
- Best Size Options: Woman Within Plus Size Elastic Straight Leg Jean
- Most Stylish Color Choices: PajamaJeans Women’s Bootcut Stretch Knit Denim Jeans
- Best High Rise: Gloria Vanderbilt’s Elastic Waist Pull-On High Rise Jean
- Best Relaxed Fit: Lee Women’s Plus Size Relaxed-fit Elastic-Waist Jean
- Best Skinny Sculping Elastic Jeans: Lee Plus Size Skinny Sculpting Pull On Jeans
- Most Fun Prints: Woman Within Women’s Plus Size Straight Leg Stretch Jean
Now let’s get into it!
Why Should Plus Size Women Choose Elastic Waist Jeans In The First Place?
There are several reasons a plus-size woman might want an elastic waistband on her jeans. Comfort for one. Unlike a standard denim waistband, an elastic waistband gives when you move, rather than digging in and binding.
Depending on your body shape, an elastic waistband might help your jeans fit better. For example, if your waist is significantly narrower than your hips, jeans with a standard waistband might gap in the back, whereas an elastic waistband will fit more snugly around the waist.
Also, it’s not a good look to constantly be hiking up your jeans, and an elastic waistband can help hold your jeans in place.
Another instance where elastic waistband jeans will come in handy is for people that are temporarily or permanently dealing with some sort of disability or impairment. Obviously, this is not exclusive to plus-sized women, and there are many reasons why someone might struggle with the zippers and buttons commonly used to secure jeans. Elastic waist jeans solve this problem since they’re simply pull-on instead of zip up.
Severe arthritis in the wrists and hand can make the fly of traditional jeans impossible to manage. If a person can’t put their jeans on and off, they will need assistance with everyday activities like getting dressed and using the restroom.
If choosing jeans with an elastic waistband can literally help you maintain your independence, why wouldn’t you choose them?
How To Find The Perfect Pair Of Elastic Waist Jeans
As a plus-sized woman, there are a few things you will want to consider when shopping for elastic waist jeans, to ensure maximum comfort and to achieve the most stylish look possible.
It doesn’t matter how expensive an outfit is, or what designer name is on the label, if it doesn’t fit well it’s not going to look good, or feel comfortable. When purchasing jeans you want to first fit the widest part of your body. It’s much easier to take clothing in than it is to let it out.
But fit isn’t just about the label so let’s take a look at a few things to consider so you can choose elastic waist plus size jeans that fit well and look great.
With non-elastic waistband jeans, you want to be able to comfortably fit two or three fingers between your body and the denim. Obviously, that will be a bit different with an elastic waistband because it is stretchy; the entire point is greater flexibility.
Stretchy or not, you want the waistband of your jeans to fit neatly around your waist without gaping open or binding into your skin. While this is not difficult to achieve with an elastic waistband, but you still want to look for the right blend of style and function.
We’ve already discussed the reasons someone might forgo the traditional zipper and button fly for a pair of jeans that can simply be pulled on. You want to make sure elastic fits easily over your hips and lies smoothly at your waist.
Depending on how the elastic is sewn into the waistband, you potentially run the risk of adding unwanted bulk around your midsection. You can click here to see an example of this on Amazon and immediately see how much extra bulk is present in the waistband. The function is fine, the form… isn’t great.
The model in that photo isn’t plus-size by any means, but as soon as she sits down all that extra fabric is going to pooch out in front, giving her a pot belly. Even just standing there, the gathers are creating the illusion of curves where there really aren’t any. As a plus-sized woman, I am absolutely on board with enhancing existing curves, but adding additional ones?
I don’t think any of us want that.
Instead, consider this pair on Amazon that’s also a pull-on, no-fly pair of jeans, but without the added bulk around the waist. The fabric has a higher polyester and spandex content than the gathered waist jeans, making it a bit lighter and stretchier.
Personally, I would wear a sweater, or an untucked elbow sleeve blouse with this pair, but the tucked-in look in the photo shows how much more smoothly this pair of jeans hugs the model’s hips. This is the sort of style you will find on this list.
The hips of your jeans should fit close to your body. If there are wrinkles radiating out from the crotch area like cat whiskers, your jeans are too tight and you need to size up.
We are all unique in how we are shaped, but it is not uncommon for the hips to be the widest part of your body. If this is true for you and your waist is narrower than your hips, you have likely had the experience of wearing jeans that fit perfectly around your hips only to gape around the waist.
A bit of elastic in the waistband can help with this. A small section in the back, or perhaps a bit on each side. This is also a great option if you like the look and feel of a traditional zipper/button fly, but want the flexibility of an elastic waist. Your plus size jeans will gently hug your curves without any unsightly gaping or painful binding.
When it comes to low-rise or high-rise jeans, standards and styles have varied wildly for the last few decades. In the early 90’s, a high, “paper bag” waist for jeans was popular for a hot minute. They weren’t particularly flattering on many people, and if you were short, forget it. Having the waistband of your jeans reach the band of your bra is not a good look.
Conversely, about ten years later, extremely low-rise jeans were everywhere, often with a “whale tail” of a thong visible in the back. Also not a great look on most people, regardless of body type.
Just as with standard waist jeans, when choosing the correct rise for your plus-size elastic waist jeans, you need to consider your own shape, size and comfort. If you sit down and the waistband pokes you in the ribs, the rise is too high and you should choose something lower.
On the other hand, if you sit down and feel your belly hanging out, or if you sit down and look from behind like a plumber (this is a situation that can happen to anyone, why do plumbers get all the blame?), the rise is too low and you should choose something higher.
Technically jeans come in low, mid, and high rise options (unlike plus size dress pants that are more often high rise), but as I’m sure you know one manufacturer’s mid is someone else’s low. You will want to try different styles to see what works for you. This list includes a mix of styles and rises to choose from.
Exactly how long your jeans should depend on the style you select and there’s no big difference here between elastic and a traditional waist. Wide-leg, flare, boot-cut – these should all be full-length jeans. Full-length jeans should cover most of the heel of your shoe or boot (if you are wearing heels) without dragging on the ground. If you opt for flats, the jeans should mostly cover the back of the shoe.
These guidelines are just as true for elastic waist jeans as they are for jeans with a traditional waistband. Be aware, though, that an elastic waistband might sit slightly higher or lower than a non-elastic waistband, depending on the particular design, and this will affect the length of your jeans. You will definitely want to try them on with whatever shoes you plan to wear with them.
Even though these are all jeans there is some variation in fabric so let’s break down your options.
Traditional denim is a durable fabric made of 100% cotton. It was developed in the late 19th century for miners and other laborers,and it was effective. If you’ve ever had a favorite pair of jeans, or perhaps a jean jacket, that lasted for years you know how tough denim is. In fact, a 100 year old pair of Levi’s was recently discovered in an abandoned mine in California.
Obviously they weren’t in a wearable condition, but they were recognizable as jeans, and the Levi’s logo was clearly visible on the buttons. That kind of durability is great, even necessary, if you are, say, riding a horse, but if you are looking for a stylish outfit that is flattering to your curvy body, heavy weight industrial strength fabric might not be your best option.
As little as one or two percent spandex blended with the cotton can do wonders for how plus size jeans will fit. It adds a lot of stretch to the fabric while at the same time helping the denim maintain its shape. If you stand up after sitting for a while, and the seat and knees of your jeans look baggy, it’s not a good look. Spandex infused denim will return to its original shape, keeping your jeans looking smooth and curve-hugging.
Polyester and rayon are also sometimes blended into elastic waist jeans. They don’t add much in the way of stretch but do lighten the weight of the fabric.
The almost-criminal lack of useful pockets in women’s clothing is a subject for another article, which I will likely title No Pockets: The Fashion Industry’s Plot To Sell More Handbags. While many of the elastic waist, plus size jeans on this list do have what the manufacturers call “functional pockets,” you won’t be storing much in them.
Even if the pockets are mostly decorative, you will want to pay attention to their placement on your jeans. Oddly placed or sized pockets can make your jeans look, well, weird.
Jeans, both traditional and elastic waist, often have patch pockets on the back. Sometimes these are plain, sometimes they are embellished, sometimes they advertise the brand that created the jeans (looking at you, Calvin Klein).
When considering rear pockets on plus size jeans, size and placement are important. Very small pockets can make your rear end look larger, as can pockets with a flap. However, if you have a flat butt, pockets with flaps might be a flattering option for you. If the pockets are too large or sit too low, your butt will look saggy, and pockets that sit too high can make your butt look weirdly long.
Front pockets on jeans are usually a slash-style pocket, although occasionally jeans will have patch pockets in the front. Be wary of these, as they can visually add bulk to your hips and thighs. They also give a certain 70’s vibe, which may or may not be what you are going for.
Slash pockets on jeans are also sometimes embellished, and this can draw attention to your hips, so be aware of that. You should definitely try sitting down in your jeans, to make sure the side pockets don’t gape open. This draws the eye to your hips, might make them look wider, and if you risked using the pocket, your change might fall out.
Are Jeggings Considered Elastic Waisted Jeans…?
No article on plus size elastic waist jeans would be complete without talking about jeggings. As someone who is firmly in the camp that “leggings aren’t pants”, I hated jeggings from the get-go. However, I’m not sure if the design has improved or if my taste has evolved, but there are some jeggings on the market now that I definitely don’t hate. I don’t own any yet, but some of these I have to admit look really cute!
They legit look like jeans, have the convenience of pull-on pants, are comfortable (so I hear) and can provide the foundation to a very stylish outfit! So I amend my original opinion. A dark wash pair of jeggings with a long sweater and cute boots would make a great look for fall .
Or a pair with a t-shirt and some sneakers, for a casual warm weather look.
When you are shopping for plus size elastic waist jeans, you should definitely at least consider jeggings.
Our 7 Favorite Pairs Of Elastic Waist Jeans for Plus Size Women!
With the background information out of the way, it’s time to shop!
Best Elastic Waist Jeans That Don’t Look Elastic: Lee Women’s Plus-Size Flex Motion Regular Fit Bootcut Jean
- Available up to size 30 with long options
- More than 2,000 five star reviews
- These really do look like regular jeans- especially when you're wearing them
- 5 colors to pick from
These are some very cute jeans and they’re my clear favorite…not just because the waistband doesn’t look elastic at all, either!
The size range is fairly extensive, including 16 – 30, available in three lengths. Made from a soft-sounding blend of cotton, rayon, polyester, and spandex, you can expect these jeans to be sturdy enough to hold their shape while not being too stiff or heavy feeling.
Lee has been making quality jeans for more than a century, and this elastic waist pair is no exception. While to my knowledge none of their jeans have turned up in abandoned mines out west, they do offer a one-year warranty on their products. It’s less than 100 years, but one year is more than what most manufacturers offer. And you weren’t planning to spend the next year in a mine anyway.
Follow this link and see how cute these jeans are (and check out today’s price). Zoom in on that photo of the inside of the waistband of these jeans. Nicely done, Lee!
Best Size Options: Woman Within Plus Size Elastic Straight Leg Jean
- Available from size 12 to 44
- Elastic is only in the back you get the flexibility of an elastic band with the look of traditional jeans
- These really do look like regular jeans- especially when you're wearing them
- 5 colors to pick from
These plus size elastic waist jeans only have elastic in the back, and feature a traditional zipper/button fly. If you are shopping for elastic waist jeans because zippers are a problem for you, you will want to skip this pair.
I admit I’m not crazy about the way the fabric puckers around the elastic in the back, and have some concerns about the size and placement of the pockets. That said, those details are subjective. The puckery elastic might not bother you and is easily covered with a sweater or untucked blouse. Depending on your unique shape, the pockets might be placed perfectly and look amazing on your rear end.
If you like the look of these, there are several good reasons to consider them.
First, they come in a wide range of colors. If they fit well, you can get several pairs, and it won’t look like you are wearing the same thing every day. Like Steve Jobs but more interesting.
The 12 – 44 size range is one of the biggest I’ve seen on any plus size jean, with our without an elastic waist. They are also available in three lengths: petite, regular and tall. Let’s hear it for inclusivity!
Given this selection, you are bound to find a size that fits and a color you love. At such a reasonable price-point, there is no reason not to consider a pair or three.
Click here to check out all the great colors, the impressive size range and today’s price on Amazon.
Most Stylish Color Choices: PajamaJeans Women’s Bootcut Stretch Knit Denim Jeans
- Size options range from XXS to 3XL
- More than 2,000 five star reviews on Amazon
- Fake fly gives you the best of everything
- 13 bright and funky colors to pick from
If a traditional pair of jeans and a pair of jeggings had a love child, it would be pajama jeans.
And that’s a good thing.
The waistband is elastic with a hidden drawstring. These easy to pull on jeans fit close without being as tight as jeggings. The “fly” on the front is not real, but the pockets are! Pajama Jeans are available in an exciting array of colors, and in sizes from XXS to 3XL.
They are constructed of something called Dormisoft Denim. While I know there’s some marketing hype mixed in there, this material does seem to be the real deal and looks like a patented blend of cotton and spandex.
Based on many (2400 and counting) five-star reviews, the fabric is soft, comfortable, and holds its shape quite well. (Yay Dormisoft!)
You might be hesitant to order jeans that were once sold via infomercial, with good reason. “As Seen On TV” isn’t always a ringing endorsement. However, given the number of people who claim that “these look like real jeans but are comfortable like pajamas,” they might be worth checking out.
And the infomercial isn’t bad either (at least for an infomercial).
You can check out all 13 color options along with today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best High Rise: Gloria Vanderbilt’s Elastic Waist Pull-On High Rise Jean
- Available in sizes ranging from 4 to 24
- High-rise cut can be extra flattering and super comfortable when sitting
- 5 classic colors to pick from
These pull-on elastic waist jeans from fashion icon Gloria Vanderbilt (Sidenote: Did you know she’s Anderson Cooper’s mother? It’s true!) feature functioning pockets and are available in sizes from 4 – 24. Available colors, some of which are oddly named for states (Kansas isn’t a color!) include gray/black and several shades of blue.
In addition to revising the color naming system (okay, maybe the state colors are kinda fun) an area where Gloria could improve is to offer a longer length. The standard inseam length is 29 inches and the petite sizes are available with an inseam of 27 inches. Those two options will work for most ladies, especially since the high rise gives you some extra flexibility but it may be too limiting for taller gals.
But I still had to add these to the list because I wanted to make sure we included a high-rise option. If you carry a little extra weight on your lower tummy, high-rise jeans can help tighten that up and give your tummy a more flattering look. If you’re sitting down a lot, high-rise jeans (especially ones with an elastic waist like these) can be more comfortable since they don’t work against quite so much.
If the inseam works for you, these are worth checking out. You can read more reviews, check out all the “state” colors and see today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Relaxed Fit: Lee Women’s Plus Size Relaxed-fit Elastic-Waist Jean
- Plus size choices ranging from 14 to 30
- Relaxed fit and capri-style options available
- No back pockets give theses jeans a sleek look
These are similar to the first pair on this list but are a relaxed fit rather than being a bootcut, and the elastic is visible at either side of the waistband. It’s well done and doesn’t add a gathered, bulky appearance to these jeans.
The stretch denim is a cotton poly blend and is fairly lightweight. As previously mentioned, Lee knows what they are doing when it comes to jeans, and like the other Lee Jeans on this list, the size range is quite extensive. Plus size women can select from sizes 14 – 30, and choose from multiple lengths including some capri-style cuts. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you already know that I’m a big fan of capri pants for plus size women!
Another detail that sets these plus-size jeans apart from the other elastic waist jeans on this list is the lack of back pockets. The size and placement of rear pockets is not an issue when the designer eliminates them entirely. This feature might make these jeans seem a bit dressier (or at least less casual) than the classic five-pocket jeans style, potentially adding variety to your jean wardrobe.
It also gives them a sort of retro feel which I absolutely love!
You can take a closer look at all your options and see today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Skinny Sculping Elastic Jeans: Lee Plus Size Skinny Sculpting Pull On Jeans
- Available up to size 30 with petite and long options
- Carefully crafted to accentuate all your best assets
- Comfortable mid-rise and super comfy fabric
At this point, it should not be a surprise that our pick for sculpting skinny jeans comes from our friends at Lee Jeans. They are available in the same large array of sizes we have come to expect from Lee. In addition to the usual cotton and polyester, this blended denim also includes four percent spandex, which is where the shaping capabilities of these jeans come from.
Now, we’re not trying to present something we’re not but instead, we want to maximize all our assets if you know what I mean. These comfortable elastic waist jeans will help you do just that and there are more than 2,000 five-star reviews backing this pair up.
Even with their power to smooth and tone, these jeans simply pull on, no zipper or button fly to fuss with. A selection of lengths is available, ensuring that they will hit at the proper spot (just above your ankle, remember?) regardless of your height.
Some people say that skinny jeans are for skinny people but you can click here to show those people how a curvy woman can rock skinny jeans!
Most Fun Prints: Woman Within Women’s Plus Size Straight Leg Stretch Jean
- 27 colors and patterns to pick from so you can find the perfect style
- Sizes available up to 44 with petite and plus options too
- Straight leg cut is a timeless and classically stylish look
These stretchy jeans are a bit different from the other entries on this list in that the waist isn’t elastic per se. There is a zipper and button fly like traditional jeans, but the entire pair of jeans is stretchy! This may or may not meet your needs, depending on why you are looking for elastic waist jeans in the first place. If the zipper isn’t a deal-breaker these are worth checking out.
With more than 27 fun colors and patterns, these jeans definitely top the list for selection. And with sizes ranging from 12 to 44 available in multiple lengths, they’re doing well with inclusion, too.
Where the manufacturer of these jeans, Woman Within, could improve is in the area of representation. All of the models featured in their photos are slender. While they absolutely don’t state or even imply that these jeans will make a woman look skinny, the implication comes through that this is how these jeans “should” look. I’ll get off my soap box now because I’m likely preaching to the choir.
But come on, Woman Within. You manufacture and sell plus-size clothing. Hire some plus-size models already!
If you can get past that, you’re sure to find a funky style that you like and my personal favorite is the pink orchid rose bouquet embroidery. The embroidery is subtle but stylish and super cute!
It’s worth at least skimming the more than 2 dozen color choices and seeing if anything catches your eye! You peek at all the colors and check today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
You can set aside the idea that plus size elastic waist jeans are “grandma jeans”!
In reality, these jeans are comfortable, easy to put on and off and look very stylish. Watching out for several details (and probably trying on a lot of different pairs!) will ensure you get everything you are looking for when you add these elastic waisted jeans to your plus-size wardrobe.