Why we love them, hate them, want them, can’t find them and how to shop for them.

First of all, I like jeans. But jeans don’t always like me and I know that to be true of many of my clients and friends. It’s not just the fit or the look of them, it’s the tortuous journey of finding the right pair for you.

Secondly, I think a woman can wear anything she likes, but jeans aren’t necessarily the must-have item we’ve been led to believe. They can’t solve all style dilemmas and they don’t always make you look and feel great.

Finally, you should know I can be highly contradictory when it comes to jeans.

So, jeans. A woman’s best friend OR psychological enemy, something to endure. Or both?

Why we love, hate & want them

So why do we insist on finding that ‘perfect pair’, when really if you find a great pair, they’re just that, a great pair, not perfect, just good jeans? Like a great pair of shoes or top.

Well I think Levi’s and Wrangler have a lot to answer for, so does the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s that popularised them. We got sold that jeans would give us pert butts and long legs and a misogynistic fashion industry told us that denim jeans were the perfect must-have piece of clothing and would look like that on everyone.

Well. They don’t. No other item of clothing tends to sell us that line and we don’t go out of our way to find that perfect shirt or that perfect pair of culottes or that perfect cardigan. Nope, just jeans and we’ve built up this need to ensure they are PERFECT.

But constantly they disappoint us. They have saggy knees, they’re too long, thigh cutting, tummy pinching, hip hugging, butt squelching, ill-fitting, too short or they gape at the back.

So here’s my wee rant – sometimes, whatever the reason, whatever the problem, sometimes, jeans just aren’t meant to be in your wardrobe. There I said it.

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with jeans since ages ago. I never achieved “BROS ‘I owe you nothing’ cool” with my baggie looking jeans and black shoes with white socks. I never had a pair of 501’s, just like I never had a proper Barbie doll. I just never found “that” pair. Onward into my twenties and thirties and my body morphed and changed and gave birth to two kids. Jeans were a sometimes-food for me. Until, they weren’t.

Things started to change when stretch was introduced. You will NEVER find me in a jean without stretch. No way, no-how, nada. Not ever. Stretch opened up options to a wider section of the market.

Since becoming a stylist, one of my most frequently asked questions from clients is to help them find the perfect jean. I will try, but also steer them toward prioritising our session for more than just jeans.

And how many times have you heard that cry – that you need to find the ‘perfect pair’.

Let me tell you a story. After becoming a stylist I thought I had better do some research so I set aside a day (YES A WHOLE DAY OF MY LIFE) to find a pair of jeans I liked. I went to Jeans West, Just Jeans, Route 66, Workshop, all the denim specialists I could think of, to find me that ‘perfect pair’.

I tried on butt lifting jeans, tummy pulling in jeans, classic, straight cut, boot cut, baggy, mom, boyfriend, flared and skinny jeans. I. Tried. Them. All.

I found nothing that was a ‘perfect fit’. Was it all a lie I asked myself?

Until I walked into Glassons and lifted a pair off their denim pile, tried them on, liked what I saw and hey presto, I had a pair of jeans. They are by no means perfect though, but I figured that was never gonna happen because they are not fucking magic. They won’t make my flaws fade away or become invisible. I will still have the same flaws but these jeans help my legs look great, so for me, they were great. And then it hit me. Like any piece of clothing, you buy a piece because it’s the right cut and fit and style on you. They are not magic but they might have magical qualities and that’s why they are right for you.

Universally jeans cannot be right for everyone. No matter how many times we’ve been told to buy them, how good our butts and legs will look in them. If you don’t suit a skinny pant, you are not going to suit a skinny jean and if you suit a wide-legged pant, likely thing is, you’ll suit a wide-legged jean. So look for those. DON’T GO LOOKING FOR THE OPPOSITE, EXPECTING MAGIC!

They are still in my wardrobe and I like them. Lucky Me. But this isn’t the case for everyone. BECAUSE NOT EVERYONE HAS EIGHT HOURS TO SHOP FOR JEANS.

Fast Forward two years and few cheap pairs of jeans in between and I’m in Zara last week, I see two pairs I want to try on, hey presto, they fit, look good and I buy them.

Moral of the story – I tried, I liked, I brought two pairs of pants, that happen to be jeans. Not jeans that happen to be perfect.

Jeans are so polarising for women. I preach ‘wear anything you like’ and of course you should. But don’t buy into the BS that you must have a pair of jeans in your closet and your wardrobe isn’t complete without them. It’s just not true. If and when you find some jeans that work for you – go girl go, but only buy them if they make you feel great and look fabulous on. Don’t buy them because you think they are the staple you need. There are plenty of other options for relaxed pants out there that can work just as well. If you’d like help with that, then perhaps you’re ready for my styling services.

How to shop for jeans

  • Take the time looking for jeans and do your research first on where to go. There is a HUGE range of places to go and try them on. Too many to list here.
  • Give yourself time and don’t get disheartened if you can’t find them.
  • Know what you’re looking for – what style you want, this will help cut down the time you spend looking.
  • Know the hue of denim you’re after – light or dark and what colour you want – black, white and grey may also take your fancy. Blue denim isn’t imperative. I know many clients get really put off when there are rips or cuts or fading on the thighs. Figure out what you like and go for that first.
  • Try on different sizings, don’t assume if one doesn’t fit that another size won’t.
  • When you find a pair and you look in the mirror and think “damn girl”, grab them and cherish them. This often means NOT washing them endlessly. Another tip – pop them in the freezer to kill off any bacteria lurking when they need a freshen up!

Some of the most successful places I have found jeans for myself or for clients are; Stolen Girlfriends Club, Country Road, Zara, Glassons, Workshop, Decjuba, Max. So you see the variation is HUGE. They were all different shapes and sizes and some of my clients are men.

My hope for this blog is that you takeaway this one thing: Jeans are great but they’re not a must have. x

Love EJ, the Mother of the Sisterhood of Style x

Find out more about Sisterhood of Style by visiting my website www.sisterhoodofstyle.com

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