Finding the right pair of jeans can feel impossible at times, but here are the two rules I followed to find my favorite pair.
I own three pairs of jeans: one pair of blue skinnies, one pair of high-waisted black skinnies, and one pair of distressed boyfriend-style jeans. While I got lucky and found my blue jeans a while back (I ended up in a pair of Levi’s Made and Crafted), I was struggling to find the right pair of black denim until only a few weeks ago.
I had a old pair of black skinnies, but I didn’t like the wash (it was a faded rather than deep black) and the mid-stomach rise wasn’t particularly figure-flattering.
As a result, I didn’t wear them very much. I didn’t like the way I looked in them, even though they were good quality and had held up well in the two years or so that I had owned them.
Even though I didn’t like them, I brought them along on my trip – I figured I wouldn’t care if they got ruined. They showed up in this post:
See how the fit isn’t great? With the resolve to only own what I loved (and because I threw those jeans out in a fit of frustration in Malaysia), I decided to replace them.
I shopped everywhere and scouted recommendations from friends, bloggers, the internet – you name it, I probably tried it on. I had decided ahead of time that I didn’t want to spend very much money, so I was shopping pretty cheaply… and it showed in the jeans that I was trying on.
Lesson learned #1:
When it comes to quality, you get what you pay for.
There are a lot of things you can skimp on when it comes to your closet, but jeans are not one of them. Cheap jeans are made from lower quality denim, which will stretch and fall apart upon wearing. Oftentimes, they also aren’t cut as well – so they won’t fit you as nicely, either.
The difference in high quality denim is unparalleled. High quality jeans will stretch to fit you, but not stretch out – no more of the “I need to put my jeans in the dryer so they tighten back up again” thing that I know so many of us are guilty of (I was!). Your jeans look the same after a week of wearing them as they do when you first put them on, which was something I didn’t realize was even possible.
Good jeans are worth the investment, so spend what you’re able to (within reason) to get a pair that will last you.
I found a pair that I loved, so I decided to re-shoot that same outfit to show the difference.
That said, not all quality jeans are perfect, and the good-quality denim that works for me won’t necessarily work for you. Why?
Lesson learned #2:
It’s not your body, it’s the jeans. Fit is subjective, so try on as many as possible.
After realizing that quality was key (and upping my price point a bit to accommodate), I did another round of try-ons.
What I noticed immediately was that these jeans tended to feel better and show their quality, but not all of them looked great on me. Companies use fit models for sizing, so it’s understandable that jeans would all fit a bit differently – it’s important to keep in mind when shopping.
As with most quality investments, it’s best to shop for your perfect pair of jeans when you aren’t in a rush. Give yourself a few weeks to try different pairs and find what you love: you’ll appreciate the time you spent later when you don’t need to buy new jeans for years.
And when all else fails, look for a pair that’s a bit long or a bit wide in the waistband, and find a good tailor – they can work wonders.
When you go, keep an eye to quality and an open mind for fit, and you’ll be just fine. Good luck, and happy hunting!