Where do you stand? Are you a jeans addict, never out of them, know your size, know the rules, whip up the zip without a second thought? Or, like me, and I suspect so many other women, rather out of my depth, a jeans avoider, believing that they really aren’t for ‘my shape’ as I throw yet another pair of circulation killers into the corner, wailing “SEE….I knew it”.
The thing is, I know where I am with skirts, dresses, trousers, they all (bar spaghetti straps, anything on the bias and hipsters *shudder*) - give me little woe and are my default, my happy place, balancing me out a treat. Jeans on the other hand scare the heebee geebees out of me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve dabbled and in the process wasted heaps of cash:
A full price pair of Hudson low rise jeans - I'm weeping at such a bad buy. A pair so low fitting that my hip flesh spillage was quite extraordinary, even though the well meaning assistant said it wasn't noticeable. It was. Handles of the stuff and no flouncy top could save the day.
Maternity jeans were probably my only real happy-jeans-moment. They came up to my chin and I wore them out and about until my youngest was walking himself to school. WHAT?
A pair of button-fly, white Levi's. I really did think I'd cracked it but they required hours and hours of shallow breathing. "Would you like a seat Caroline you look a little flustered?", "No thanks, I'm happy to stand" was the biggest LIE ever. Of course I wanted a seat, I just couldn't achieve the 90 degree descent or ascent.
A preloved pair of Chloe kick-flares, so ridiculously long on me that they required platform sandals and walking on tip toes. Consequently I fell over. Needless to say they got moved on.
Comfortable, stretch jean leggings, oh how we all loved this new phenomenon: jeggings. I purchased in bulk quantity, thinking they were the solution to everything. Wrong, I bought cheap, they sagged, making my bottom look like the size of Wales and pointing a Vegas-style illuminating arrow to my c-section roll.
These are just a few of my horrors. “I don’t need any of you!”. And yet, YES I DO. I so dearly want to look good in jeans. I want to rise from a chair and not have to re-adjust escaping flesh; to breathe (surely not too much to ask?) and to see jeans as a style option rather than my ‘working-from-home-who-cares’ default. I want to love jeans and I want them to love me back.
I mentioned my jeans phobia to my pals at award winning independent boutique The Dressing Room, where they know their fashion stuff inside out. I didn’t mean my woes to slip out - I’d prefer to keep schtum - but I found myself standing next to the trestle table of flat-lay denim beauties, blurting out “I can’t wear jeans, I wouldn’t even know where to start with this little lot. And as for deciphering the sizing and styles….”. Rather than laugh me out of the shop, Laura smiled and said, "d’you know what Caroline, why don’t you let us help find you a pair”. Lost for words and a tad emotional I simply nodded.
The day arrived, my anxiety levels on high alert, flashbacks of changing room struggles, I already knew that nothing was going to fit me and that it would all end in tears. “Don’t worry, we want our customers to feel and look great in their jeans”. YES! Deryane (owner of The Dressing Room), I’m with you there. “We don’t want you leaving here in the wrong cut or size”. YES! again. Even though the cameras were rolling (YUP!) my anxiety levels were down to moderate.
Presenting me with 3 pairs of neatly folded jeans J-Brandand Paige I was shown to a cool, calm changing room. What I hadn’t realised was that they’d already done the hard bit for me, they knew my shape and therefore the wasted energy of me picking out the wrong sizes and styles was eliminated. Stepping into the first pair I couldn’t quite believe that they were moving up my legs. Button done, zip up, jeans on. Oh. Is that it? Is it that easy? I can breath, I can move. I even came OUT of the changing room and paraded. Ditto the other 2 pairs. Had they slipped something into my latte? Was I dreaming? Nope. What I was experiencing was an off-the-scale endorphin rush due entirely to well fitting jeans.
Watch the video https://www.the-dressingroom.com/blog/2018/03/21/carolines-denim-challenge/3P
Denim knowledge is key. The team at The Dressing Room are fully trained, so when it comes to finding the right shape it’s not down to guess work, it’s down to fitting skill, brand knowledge and the service is complimentary. Add to that the expertise of American labels J-Brand and Paige: back pockets scaled up according to the size of the jeans (jeanius - sorry); high-tech fabric that holds its shape wear after wear; side seams positioned to flatter the female form; fit tested; hand finished colour fading tricks; specific after care washing advice; wearing-in tips and you start to realise that there’s denim and then there’s amazing denim.
A jeans fitting consultation is new to me - of course I get my bras fitted, my glasses fitted, I love to hear an expert talking about their specialist subject, but with jeans I’d never considered the need for a fitting. I thought I knew my shape and made the assumption that I really didn’t need to bother anyone, thank you very much. And yet, that’s where I so obviously got it wrong (*see list of mistakes). For my shape it’s all about the rise - the long journey up towards my belly button and the mid to dark shades elongating my legs.
So, my jeans rules are simple:
Avoid the 'they'll fit me one day/they are 'bang-on-trend-therefore-I-must-have-them' mistakes, that way lies trouble.
Once you find the rise/brands that suit you, from there you can experiment with different lengths, shades and detailing.
If you're a jeans avoider do think about handing yourself over to a jeans fitting expert, they've seen and heard it all.
Remember that what you THINK you look like in jeans is very often not what other people see. Styled well, we can ALL wear jeans.
Look after them. No more 40 degree dark washes, actually the less washing you do the better, jeans (unless dirty) can survive with an airing or a cold wash, inside out. NEVER tumble dry (it breaks down fabric) and they will serve you well.