What We Bought: Our Favorite Jeans
What are your favorite pair of jeans and why?
I haven’t been wearing a lot of real pants for the last 9 months if we are being honest. But on the rare occasion I venture out I love a good pair of jeans. Mother is my favorite brand, they are definitely on the pricier side but the fit and quality are exceptional so I usually save up for a few pairs from them each fall - knowing that my cost per wear always evens out. They have a very large selection of ankle length options (and since I’m 5’3 these lengths work much better on me) - and plus then I don’t need to pay to get them shortened. Their Hustler Ankle Fray is a great dark denim option to one of my favorite recent styles that’s currently sold out, the Insider Crop Step Fray Jeans. Although typically I don’t like synthetics - a little bit of stretch helps with comfort and fit. I tend to only buy 2 pairs a season and wear them A LOT, denim is one of the least environmentally friendly categories of clothing (due to water usage, chemicals, and dye processes) - so I try to be deliberate in my shopping for them.
Built by Wendy were my all-time favorites back when she used to make menswear - we used to drive to Brooklyn to buy them twice a year. These days Buck Mason are my go to's - we drop by the nolita or brooklyn store whenever we are in NYC visiting friends. They offer hemming which is great to get them to be just the perfect length. Their jeans are simple and go with just about anything. In the summer I like to wear the lighter wash. The Maverick Slim Fit is the style I usually wear.
I basically live in jeans, so I always have a few favorite pairs. Currently, it's my Madewell petite high-rise skinny (they fit my hips but also hit at my ankle, whereas many brands make jeans way too tall for me), BDG twig grazer high rise (super skinny even at the knees and ankle), and BDG girlfriend jeans (slim leg but not skinny for days when I want a more relaxed fit).
Being on the cusp between straight and plus sizes, it's hard to find good jean options that actually fit properly and look cool. My favorites at the moment are the Curvy Cheeky Straight jeans from Everlane - they aren't super stretchy so look more relaxed, but still have a bit of give. I don't understand how people can wear non-stretch denim and still sit down comfortably.
My closet is filled with basics – including a lot of denim. Even now, I prefer to WFH in jeans over loungewear... Something about putting on jeans feels casual, but still ready for the day. (Plus it makes getting into my pjs at night feel so much more luxurious)! Recently, I've been on the hunt for a looser-fitting style that is more comfortable for hanging around the house. I'm curvy and only 5'4", so most of my denim either needs to be hemmed or tailored at the waist. Right now, my favorite jeans are from AGolde and Mother – which I find fit the best off the rack – and certain styles of Levi's.
On days when the monotony of quarantine was really getting to me, getting dressed as if I was going to an office was a way to feel more normal, so I actually wore jeans quite a lot this year. Last year I started using the clothing subscription service called Nuuly (an Urban Outfitters brand). You get six items to rent each month and can then buy anything you rent at a discounted rate. For a few months, I chose jeans for all six of my selections - figuring I'd find at least one amazing pair of jeans to keep. Over the course of a few months, I got to try 10 different pairs of jeans, and found that the brand that fits me best is Agolde. I purchased three different styles, but my favorite has been the Remy High-Rise Straight Jeans in the Denim Dark Wash. I love the vintage look, the super high waist and the slight stretch they have in them. I feel like a cool mom from the 1970's when I wear them.
Only recently have I taken a deep dive into the world of denim and discovered the wonders that a good pair of jeans can do for my wardrobe. Though I don’t wear jeans much these days (I am a loungewear girl at heart), my must-have denim includes a high-rise cropped wide-leg pair like this one surprisingly from Target! This is from their fair trade denim label, Universal Thread. Another favorite are Madewell’s Curvy Classic Straight Jeans that are currently sold out, so I’m going to try their Slim Demi-Boot Jeans next!
Where do you shop for jeans?
Shopbop has an extremely well curated selection of jeans. They are by far my favorite and do a good job of having something at every price point, and put together helpful trend sections to navigate the season’s new looks. Everlane, Levi’s, and Madewell have made big improvements in reducing water usage, making fair trade collections, and using less chemicals and energy in their production. Universal Standard, Good American, and Warp+Weft all offer the the most sustainable options I know of, with the best size ranges.
Shopping for jeans online can be annoying, and usually involves trying on and returning until I find the right look and fit. I'm a 16/33 with a pear/hourglass build, so plus jeans are often too big and gap at the waist, and standard sizes are often too small around my thigh/butt. I usually only try jeans from places that offer free returns for this reason, and order a few options at once to make the process faster and easier. Madewell usually has good options in my size range. I occasionally order from aggregate sites like ShopBop, but do find them more difficult to navigate since they really only show very thin models. It's hard to picture how the jeans will actually look on someone larger-bodied.
I prefer to buy jeans in person so I can try on without the hassle of returns. I'm a big fan of Nordstrom – they have a large denim selection and, if you are a cardholder, you get credit for alterations which they do in store.
For a while, I loved clothing subscriptions like Nuuly, to test different brands and styles in denim without the commitment. I also love to shop secondhand and find that there are some really great Levi’s dad jeans hanging on the racks in Goodwill that just beg to be repurposed!