Jeans are the work horse of my wardrobe. I live in them. I work in them. I wear them year round. Most days you will find me wearing jeans.
Maybe you do too?
However, for most of my life, good jeans have been one of the most difficult articles of clothing for me to find. Too tight here. Too loose there. Too high. Too low. My closet became a graveyard of denim, dying on the hangers, never delivering a drop of joy.
Maybe you can relate?
My formative jeans memories involved trying on jeans in the Gap dressing room, expecting to pull on a pair and look as comfortable and cute as the model, only to discover I could fit both of my arms into the waist band despite the legs and hips feeling snug. Instead of assuming I needed a different fit or style (which, honestly did not exist in my middle school years) I assumed my body was the problem.
I felt confused. And I continued to feel confused for about thirty years, convinced jeans would never be a source of joy for me, yet hopefully continuing to try on pair after pair, searching for good jeans.
Then one day several years ago, I walked into a store and saw something I had never seen on a jeans label.
I looked closer, intrigued.
Smaller in the waist, easy through the hips.
Could curvy be the missing piece to my jeans puzzle? It seemed so obvious once I saw it, and I felt foolish for not recognizing sooner that I had been trying on jeans that were not cut to fit my body.
I tentatively tried on the curvy jeans. I held my breath, nervous, not expecting much, but curious and cautiously hopeful. They slipped right on, buttoned perfectly, didn’t gap or pull or pinch. My jaw dropped.
They fit! They were comfortable! They felt good! I felt good! I called my best friend. I FOUND MY GOOD JEANS! She rejoiced with me, as only a best friend can. Curvy jeans redeemed my past dressing room disasters, and I finally was the proud owner of good jeans.
My point in sharing this story with you is to let you know that good jeans are out there. Yes, you can feel comfortable and confident in jeans that fit your body. You can fill your closet with good jeans and never look back. The secret to finding good jeans is to discover your unique magical combination of three factors: brand, fit, and size.
Brand. Fit. Size.
That’s it. Those three factors are the keys to finding your good jeans. Knowing this combination cracks the fashion code and delivers a closet full of happy. It’s not about what works for someone else. It’s about discovering what works for you.
My magical good jeans combination is J. Crew (brand), Curvy (fit), 31 (size). With this powerful information in hand, I can wear a variety of styles as long as they fall inside my unique brand, fit, and size parameters.
It takes some time to discover your magical combination, and you are going to have to try on a lot of pairs, but it is time well spent in my opinion. There is nothing better than walking into your closet and discovering a place of joy instead of frustration. In my experience, good jeans can contribute to good mental health.
A few notes.
Brands are abundant. There is not a right or wrong brand. There are plenty out there. Gap. Old Navy. J. Crew. Made Well. Ann Taylor. Loft. Target. Find one you like at a price point that works, and dive in. Keep in mind, you get what you pay for when it comes to denim. Quality fabric makes a difference in the longevity and wearability of denim.
Fit is going to refer to the way the waist and hip are cut. Different brands use different words. Vintage. Boyfriend. Girlfriend. Curvy. Straight. Relaxed. These can mean different things from brand to brand. The only way to know what works on your body is to try them on.
Size is obvious, but not easy. First, you are not defined by a number, so let that garbage go. Second, different brands use different size models, so don’t expect to wear the same size across all brands. Third, jeans should be snug but comfortable. No pulling or puckering. No gaping. Don’t forget to try sitting, bending, reaching, and walking in a pair. Comfort is key.
Once you pick your brand, fit, and size, it’s time to have fun with style. Style typically refer to the cut of the leg, not the cut of the waist and hips. Trends usually revolve around style. Skinny jeans are a style. Bootcut jeans are a style. Straight jeans are a style when referring to the cut of the leg, but straight can also refer to a fit, so watch carefully. Styles will include different colors as well (white, black, grey) and maybe even different fabrics (corduroy, twill, velvet). Styles are endless.
Ever since I figured out my combination, my closet has been stocked with jeans I love. Every pair fits. Every pair sparks joy. Every pair makes me feel comfortable and confident.
To illustrate this point, I recorded a short video of five different styles of jeans. All five are the same brand, fit, and size, but as you will see, they offer a wide variety of options and details. I hope you enjoy this real-life example of how good jeans can create confidence and comfort in your closet!