Girl with cell phone

Did you hear about the woman who spent days in the hospital because skinny jeans cut off her circulation and caused numbness and temporary paralysis? Skintight jeans might make a girl feel sexy, but apparently it can be a health concern. Skinny jeans are designed to hug your body, and it's common practice to buy them a little snug since they stretch as you wear them. But there's a difference between snug and too tight.

Muffin Top

If your waist or hips protrude over the waist band—an issue affectionately referred to as muffin top—it's a sign to go up one or two sizes. On the other hand, sometimes the waist is a little bit loose, but the fit is great in the legs and bum; those jeans can work but may just need a little tailoring for a perfect waist fit.

Bursting at the Seams

If you feel the side seams of your skinnies dig into your flesh, they're probably too tight. A snug fit shows your curves—a too-tight fit carves the seams into your skin. If, when you peel off the jeans, there are indentations in your waist or on the sides of your legs, size up next time you go shopping.

The Fitting-Room Test

The woman who was sent to the hospital for too-tight jeans had spent much of her day squatting, which increased the negative effects of her pants on her nerves. When you try on a pair of skinny jeans, move in all the directions you would throughout the day: squat, sit, climb stairs and bend over. If your movement is limited in any way or you find you have to hold your breath to function, your jeans are potentially dangerously tight. Another sign: if you sit on a dressing room bench and can't even grasp a tiny pinch of fabric from around your thighs, size up.

Reality Check

Jeans that are too tight are often unflattering; they can actually make you look larger than you are. Not all body types are enhanced by skinny or super-tight jeans. For example, pear-shaped physiques—small on top and larger on the bottom—benefit from a more straight-leg shape to add balance.

Jeans should hug you in the right places, not show the outline of your cell phone in your back pocket. When all else fails, ask a brutally honest friend or family member—if an eyebrow raises, a lip curls or the answer is "yes," trust their reaction.