Shopping for jeans can get very frustrating. Who hasn't experienced that sense of disappointment after walking jubilantly into a store, determined to find the perfect pair of denim, only to discover that every brand looks worse and worse? We've all been plagued with similar uncertainty, wondering, do these fit right? How does my butt look? What about that annoying bagging at the knees? After spending months at work trying on copious amounts of denim and meticulously studying different styles and fits, I'm here to tell you what I've learned.
Let's start with the don'ts.
1. Most importantly, DO NOT try to fit into a pair of jeans that are just too small. Squeezing into a size 27 is not going to make you look like a 27. Even if its a stretchy pair, too-tight jeans will only make you look bulgy and uncomfortable. Also, no one is going to see the size listed on inside tag, so really, don't worry about the number, just concentrate on looking good!
2. Don't try to glam up your look with sequined or overly pattered jeans. We all want to feel sparkly and fun, especially on a night out, but I promise you that a multitude of swirling rhinestones detailing your pockets are not going to do the trick. Instead, stick to solid colored simple denim, and accessorize with a glittery top or jewelry.
Now let's find the perfect fit:
The designer who undoubtedly worked best for most women was J Brand. This label offers a plethora of solid colored jeans in straight leg, bootcut, and stretchy leggings. Because of their simple and understated look, many of J Brand's jeans can be worn to work (if your workplace allows that kind of thing), to a casual coffee with friends, or can be dressed up for a night out on the town. I found that the leggings offered that extra bit of stretch that flattered most women of any size or shape, and (bonus) made them as comfortable as wearing a pair of sweats. Other designers that offer similar cuts are Citizens of Humanity and Paper Denim and Cloth.
For the More Conservative Woman:
At the store, we had many women come in who were uncomfortable with the idea of wearing slim-fitting designer jeans, desperate not to dress like their sixteen-year-old daughters. For those of you who share that fear, don't worry! Paige Denim became a go-to for more conservative mothers, athletes who wanted a bit of a looser fit, and women who wanted to slowly break into the whole skin-tight-jeans phenomenon. If you're looking for an easy, every-day jean, this could be the brand for you.
Labels to Avoid:
Denim is meant to be both comfortable and versatile, but also flattering. Jeans should subtly enhance a woman's outfit, not grab all the attention, and as such, there are a few brands that I tend to stay away from. True Religion jeans often have loud, obtrusive back pockets, and fit too tightly to look sophisticated. AG Jeans, on the other hand, often fit very well, but, in my experience, wear down quite quickly. If you're in the market for a fun pair to wear every once in a while, and they fit you well, then go for it! Rock and Republic I view in much the same way as True Religion - you'll find that many of their styles are a tad too tight, and are often covered in rhinestones/embroidery. Let your personality sparkle, rather than your jeans!
This may sound crazy, but it really is essential to take proper care of your denim. The first rule of thumb is to NEVER put your jeans in the dryer. Not only will a constant drying cycle add to the natural wear and tear of the fabric, it will also shrink your precious pants to the point of looking quite different than they did in the store. (Don't you hate when that happens)? Secondly, if you buy a pair of jeans that are too long, make sure to get them hemmed. You can either do this in store, or, if that isn't offered, go to your favorite local dry cleaner. The last thing you want is to invest in a great pair of jeans only to step on the hem constantly, creating grungy holes. Let's keep it classy. Lastly, avoid washing as much as possible. Of course you should throw your pants in the wash when needed, but try to limit it to whenever truly necessary - and keep them on the gentle cycle. The dye tends to bleed quite quickly, and you don't want to lose the color.
Hope this helps you on your quest!