Jeans are a staple item in most wardrobes. For years, I wore jeans practically every day, because they were so comfortable and easy to accessorize. I owned loads of jeans at this time, and I had managed to perfect my method for choosing jeans. Although I don’t wear jeans as often as I used to, I still take care when choosing a new pair. Denim is quite different from other fabrics, and there are a few specific rules to follow when buying and caring for denim. Also, with the multitude of styles, cuts and washes available, it can be really hard to decide which pair of jeans is best for you.
The first piece of advice that I would give you when you set out on your jean-quest is to try on every pair of jeans before you buy them. Don’t purchase anything without trying it on first. This will prevent any ill-advised purchases. It can be very hard to tell if a pair of jeans will fit just by looking at them on the hanger. Even if they look about right, you can never be quite sure exactly how they will hang on your body. When I try on a new pair of jeans, there are a few tests that I like to put them through:
– First of all, I put the jeans on and then bend over. Then I crouch on the floor. It’s tricky to do in those tiny change rooms, but this is essential. While you are bending and crouching, check to see how the jeans move. This will give you an idea whether they are likely to ride down and expose your backside whenever you sit down, or if they’ll feel like they’re cutting you in half when you bend.
– Stand up straight, and then take a few big steps, lifting your knees to your chest. This will allow you to check whether or not the jeans have a lot of ‘give’ in them. If your jeans are as stiff as cardboard, they will be very uncomfortable and they won’t look flattering either. The best jeans are flexible yet firm.
When you are trying on your jeans, remember to look closely at how they fit. A well-fitting pair of jeans:
– hugs your thighs snugly without feeling like you’re being squeezed out of a toothpaste tube.
– has a waistband that sits comfortably around your middle, without gaping at the back or cutting into your waist.
– Doesn’t bag at the front of your thighs.
– Aren’t saggy around your bottom.
– zip up without you having to suck in your tummy, lie on the floor and do them up with a coat hanger.
When you try on your jeans, don’t panic if they feel a little on the tight side. Denim stretches after a few wears, so if you buy a pair that feel comfortable on the first wear, they are likely to become too big and saggy in time. A pair of jeans that feel slightly on the snug side will stretch after three or four wears to be perfectly comfortable and flattering. The perfect pair will feel a little snug, but not uncomfortably tight.
When selecting jeans, it’s important to choose a pair that suits your body type. Bootcut jeans flatter most body types. If you have larger hips, select a pair with a slight flare, to will balance out your hips. Wide legged jeans also look great on hourglass figures. If you are of a more athletic build, high waisted jeans can be very flattering. Skinny leg jeans are best for tall girls with narrow hips and thighs.
It can be really hard to find jeans that are the right length, especially if you are short, like me. There are a couple of tricks that I have found that can combat this problem. The first is to choose a pair that you like, that fit well, and take them to a tailor to have them hemmed at the correct length. While this is a good option, it can be expensive if you are doing this often. Also, some styles of jeans, such as flares or jeans with detailing on the cuffs, can’t be easily hemmed. If, like me, you are of a rather petite build, try shopping in the girls or teen section of department stores for jeans. I find that a large girls’ size in jeans is a perfect fit for me. Many department stores stock a wide range of styles for teens, so you should be able to find something plain, or a pair that is a bit more outrageous. They also tend to be cheaper. If you are on the short side, but have a curvier figure, try buying cropped jeans. They are often a better length for us short lasses than the full-length pairs. I once owned a pair of jeans that were an ideal length for me, that were actually intended to be pedal pushers.
It’s important to shop around until you find exactly the right pair. It’s pretty unlikely that the first pair of jeans you try on will be a perfect fit. Be patient and do the leg-work, and you will be rewarded. If you do find a pair that fits you well and is flattering, it might be worthwhile buying a few pairs in a couple of different washes. If you have the money to do this, it will give you a couple of flattering pairs to mix and match with the rest of your wardrobe.
Once you have chosen your jeans, purchased them and bought them home, you need to take good care of them. I find that it’s best to wash jeans as little as hygienically possible. Frequent washing will fade the dye faster and deteriorate the fabric. To extend the life of your jeans, wash them only after every third wear (unless you spill something on yourself or wade through a puddle). When you do wash your jeans, launder them inside out on a cold cycle. Let your jeans drip-dry in the shade. Don’t put your jeans in the dryer, because they are liable to shrink.
Do you guys have any jean buying tips? Are there any denim-related questions that you would like answered? If so, I would love to hear from you.