Jean Marie
December 30, 2010 4:02 AM   Subscribe

My jeans fit in the changing room, and then spend the next three months constantly falling off my hips. How can I find jeans that fit?

Currently I wear Gap#s 'curvy' fit in a waist 36. My waist is 32/34" and my hips are about 44", so they fit just on the hip which is what I like. However, within a couple of weeks they are falling off my hips and I'm constantly pulling them up. I have precisely one belt that fits (even shops that go up to a UK22 do not seem to sell belts that accommodate my hips - my belt was from Gap in 2005 and if I'd known that I wouldn't find more I'd have bought 15) and it doesn't go with everything.

I can't go a size down, as while there is enough room on my jeans to pull them down without unzipping them, a 34" won't zip, or won't fit over my thighs. I've tried different cuts and different brands but I have the same problem. One solution is to lose weight, but that's a longer-term goal and I think this is an issue of fit rather than size, if you see what I mean.

If you have a high waist to hip ratio, what brands work for you? Or do you have any tips or techniques for altering jeans to solve the problem? (NB I will not buy 'designer jeans' unless someone comes up with an extremely compelling five-point argument as to why spending £200 on a pair of jeans is a worthwhile thing to do, and I am in the UK so this may eliminate some brands.)
posted by mippy to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (34 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
How many times do you wear jeans between washings? Most jeans I own stretch out after a couple wearings and then shrink right back down after a trip through the washer and dryer.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:18 AM on December 30, 2010

Yeah, I know you don't want to hear this, but spending more money is the best option. Those £200 jeans cost a lot of money for a reason. I'm a Seven for All Mankind devotee. I bought some Gap jeans this year after wearing Sevens for a long time - I bought them because they fit great in the fitting room, but after a single wear they're all stretched out and uncomfortable. I'm going back to my Sevens the next time I buy jeans. In the long run, you probably won't spend a ton more money overall, because you're buying a high quality product that will fit correctly last a long time.
posted by something something at 4:59 AM on December 30, 2010

My jeans always stretch out after wearing them! I buy thme snug but sometimes still need a belt after a few wearing. It sounds like with your proportions getting them altered would be a good investment and far cheaper than designer jeans.
posted by bubonicpeg at 5:02 AM on December 30, 2010

I disagree with something something. The Citizens I bought last month stretched out so badly I had to buy a belt one day. Which was infuriating because who wants to pay $200 for jeans that stop fitting when you leave the dressing room?

(I still love them though. They're softer than kittens.)
posted by elsietheeel at 5:08 AM on December 30, 2010

I didn't even wear jeans for a long time because I could never find any that felt comfortable. Then I put on a pair of NYDJs. They are the best jeans of my life. They make me look longer and leaner. They're comfortable sitting down, driving, walking, all the time. When I wear them people always ask me if I've lost weight.

Try on a few different pair in the same size ... I wear a US size 8 and one pair fit great and the next, not so great, in the same size. So figure out your size, take an armload into the fitting room and try them all on. They've got some Lycra in them. I wash them in cold water, and hang them up to dry. They're a bit stiff at first but then they reshape to me and feel so good. They cost I think about US$ 90.00 a pair but to me it's well worth it because they just fit and look so great.
posted by Kangaroo at 5:12 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

If there's any Spandex in the fabric--or anything else that lends a stretch--this could be the problem. I had this issue with some Old Navy jeans and had to buy a size down to get the correct fit.
posted by FergieBelle at 5:32 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

One way round the 'designer jeans' issue may be to go to TK Maxx and try on everything that seems vaguely like it might be in your size (don't rely 100% on their sizings, sometimes they have things with American sizes mislabelled as UK ones, sometimes they have things labelled as 18 when they're a 14).

In a similar vein of cheapness, take a look at belts there or go to Top Man and see if there's anything the right size that's not overwhelmingly masculine, a men's range is more likely to have longer lengths.

Good luck. My waist to hip ratio's not quite as high as yours, but I totally know the feeling of finding that one size won't go over my thighs and the next size up just falls straight off. It's apparently fashionable not to have a waist at all these days.... (my current jeans are all Levi's 501s worn with a belt from Top Man, but that's at least in part because I really don't like stretch denim, so have approximately zero options in women's jeans).
posted by Lebannen at 5:39 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Well, when I was about the same size, the U.S. 12W size would've been a godsend if it had been available then. My tops were always coming out of my skirt or pants at the office, making me look like I'd returned from a lunchtime fling or something. Talbots has U.S. 12W, and I know they operate in the U.K.; maybe you could check that out or see if other places would have an equivalent size.
posted by jgirl at 5:53 AM on December 30, 2010

I had a similar problem (although I'm a man). Moving from regular to slim fit fixed it.
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 5:56 AM on December 30, 2010

I'm a little bit confused about even shops that go up to a UK22 do not seem to sell belts that accommodate my hips... Surely the idea of a belt is that it does not accommodate your hips? Anyway, I'm pretty sure that Amazon has a belt for you, and belts are awesome.

The other thing I can recommend is looking for jeans with a longer zipper, which lets them open more when unzipped and then come in to a tight waist when zipped (you may still have to get them adjusted at a tailors, but at least the potential is there).
posted by anaelith at 6:00 AM on December 30, 2010

Joe's "Honey" jeans are the gold standard for big thighs/hips and small waist. They're a bit more expensive but worth it because you can live in them once you have them. You could check ebay for them too.

Regarding stretched out jeans, if you have a dryer available to you you can throw a pair of jeans in with a wet washcloth and they should spring back pretty well without having to be washed and dried completely.

Also, I used to be more completely in your shoes, and I'm sorry to say, losing weight really does help. My waist/hip ratio didn't change dramatically, but my thighs got small enough that I could get into the size down I needed for my waist.
posted by telegraph at 6:04 AM on December 30, 2010

Gap jeans are terrible for becoming baggy. They didn't used to be this way, and I suspect they changed the fiber content a few years ago. I've abandoned Gap jeans for Levi's new Curve ID -- they fit and they do not get baggy. When you go to the Levi's store, they measure you for the new style of jeans, to make sure you get the right profile (Slight, Demi, or Bold Curve). You might give them a try -- if they fit the way you like in the dressing room, they will fit like that all day.
posted by Houstonian at 6:17 AM on December 30, 2010 [3 favorites]

Get better jeans. Gap is terrible for this, among other things.

Do your homework and find a high quality brand that looks good and feels good on you. You will have to spend the cash, but it will be infinitely better. I may just be a dude, but I stopped buying Levi's about a 1.5 -> 2 years ago and have never looked back.

> If you have a high waist to hip ratio, what brands work for you?
- I know a good amount of women you LOVE their Hudson and 7 for all Mankind jeans. Not to mention their husband's love how they look on them.

> Or do you have any tips or techniques for altering jeans to solve the problem?
- Pro tip: take them in to get altered. A lot of people will buy the higher quality jeans, which will sometimes also purposefully run longer, and get them taken up a to be just perfect.

good luck
posted by zombieApoc at 6:45 AM on December 30, 2010

The rule I've always been told when buying jeans with any amount of stretch in them is that they need to be pretty tight in the fitting room. I've now learnt my lesson, having had to return several pairs of stretch pants for a smaller size after wearing them for a few hours.
posted by Dragonness at 6:57 AM on December 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

Regarding how they stretch out of shape, see if you can find jeans with some polyester in them. Yeah, it sounds terrible, but I have some Mavi jeans that are maybe 25% polyester, about 3% spandex, and the rest is cotton. They stretch a bit when I put them on but then they hold their shape. They do not stretch out and get baggy like other jeans.

I'm a man though; I would suspect that it's actually easier for women to find jeans with fabric content like this. I stumbled on these and have had a hard time finding anything similar. You probably won't find anything like this at Gap though.
posted by massysett at 7:56 AM on December 30, 2010

One thing that I've found helps is to not, under any circumstances, put jeans in a dryer. Wash them in cold water and line dry them to keep them from stretching or shrinking.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:04 AM on December 30, 2010

If you have a high waist to hip ratio, what brands work for you?

Banana Republic's Trouser Jeans. They do stretch out a bit after a few wearings, but when you wash and dry them they shrink up again.

losing weight really does help. My waist/hip ratio didn't change dramatically, but my thighs got small enough that I could get into the size down I needed for my waist.

telegraph is right on, unfortunately. When I'm an 8-10 I can barely fit into anything, and when I'm a 6 I can buy normal pants/jeans (not skinny jeans, but straight leg or bootcut) and they actually fit! It's amazing. My shape and ratio is exactly the same, just that inch or two of difference makes the pants fit.

It sucks, I suspect the only real answer is custom made clothes...
posted by DestinationUnknown at 8:15 AM on December 30, 2010

I have had this struggle for most of my life. The jeans I've found that work for me that don't cost an arm and a leg are Silver Jeans (Suki cut). You can even find them online for cheaper than their website. They are probably some of the best jeans I've ever worn and only run around US$70 or so.
posted by teleri025 at 8:33 AM on December 30, 2010

Ooh, sorry, my answer was so US-y. I skipped right over the UK part. Another thing I forgot to mention that applies anywhere, though, is that if you're ordering online, some brands will list all the measurements of the clothes, including thighs. That really helps me to figure out if something is going to fit, because sometimes despite the waist and hip measurement seeming OK, the thigh ruins all of it and the jeans won't go on. Boden is one company that tells you the thigh opening.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 8:40 AM on December 30, 2010

Yeah, agreeing about Gap jeans. You don't have to spend more than that, but Gap jeans are notorious for that. Also, your jeans should be a bit too tight for you when you buy them. Most jeans will stretch a little. Gap jeans stretch a lot.
posted by two lights above the sea at 8:49 AM on December 30, 2010

It is an easy, 15 minute fix (even hand sewing) to insert elastic into a jeans waistband to make it slightly smaller. It's not quite as attractive as well-fitting jeans, but for the most part it's not obvious if you only need an inch or two, and like I say, it's very very easy.

I found a howto:

I've done it by slitting the inside of the waistband, inserting the elastic, and sewing it back, which involves less stitching that would be visible from the outside.

Like I say, this can be done without a sewing machine too.
posted by galadriel at 8:54 AM on December 30, 2010

Seconding Houstonian and two lights - GAP jeans are especially bad with stretching. I switched to Levi's and don't have this problem anymore.
posted by The Toad at 8:54 AM on December 30, 2010

I bought a pair of Sevens once that felt amazing, and 50% off! Now I have to choke my self with a belt to keep them on. My $16-39 AE jeans seem to hold up better (at least a few months longer). I typically just buy one size too small now and suck it up for a few days.

Oh and my Gap 1969's haven't stretched at all. Unsurprisingly, they're not comfortable.
posted by liquoredonlife at 9:14 AM on December 30, 2010

Another option, if you are really in love with these jeans, is to (possibly) buy a size up and bring them to a tailor and have them draw the waist in a little bit. Because even with a belt, the waist of the jeans might bunch a little bit and look silly. I have no idea how difficult this is with denim, however.

Or go to a department store and look in the men's section for a belt that will look good. They seem to be trending toward unisex.

It also might help to find a different cut of pant that is maybe an inch or half an inch taller in the waist. That shouldn't be enough to make them look like "mom jeans" but should be enough to give them a little more "grip".
posted by gjc at 9:21 AM on December 30, 2010

As a stop-gap, you can easily find belts 44" or larger in the menswear section. A narrow men's dress belt could actually look pretty snappy on jeans.
posted by chairface at 9:46 AM on December 30, 2010

this won't help you with the jeans you already have, but when you get a new pair, make a laundry load that consists primarily of things that contain elastic or spandex, really, any material that has stretch to it. don't use regular detergent for these - the soap and alcohol content in them destroys the elasticity, and corrodes the synthetic materials - this is why bras tend to stretch out so quickly. Woolite is the worst - so much fabric softener in it. find a detergent that has no alcohol or soap products, and even better, has citric acid in it. this shocks the elastic materials back into place, making them nice and tight again. also, don't put them in the dryer, let them air dry. the hot air in the dryer also damages the elastic, makes brittle and prone to breaking. not sure what kind of detergents in the UK have citric acid, but i know a good basic wash without alcohol or soap is Dreft.
posted by assasinatdbeauty at 10:43 AM on December 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

I play roller derby, which means I have really muscular thighs from roller skating all the time. That means buying jeans off the rack to fit is nearly impossible. So buy the jeans that fit the thighs, and either have a tailor put darts in the waist, or if you've got the sewing machine to do it, do it yourself. There are just some of us for whom there are no jeans out there that will fit.

Also, nthing that the more expensive brands really do fit better, and some denim specialty shops will even provide alterations for free. I like Seven, Citizens of Humanity, Lucky, and Chip and Pepper.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 11:08 AM on December 30, 2010

John Lewis sells Not Your Daughter's Jeans. I bought a pair a while back and they are the best pair of jeans I've ever worn. I'm curvy, big in the butt, small in the waist and heavy in the thigh, but these jeans are the best fit ever.

They're expensive, but before you discount them as being too dear or too designer, I'd urge you to try a pair on. They're also really well made and mine are barely showing any wear and tear despite some heavy use.
posted by essexjan at 11:54 AM on December 30, 2010

I decided against expensive jeans and just bought cheap jeans and put a few darts in at the waist. (expensive jeans fit just as bad as cheap jeans for me.)

I try to avoid spandex which stretches but it's damn hard to do these days. My jeans don't go in the dryer to avoid stretching them out.
posted by vespabelle at 12:07 PM on December 30, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far!

- I never put any clothing in the dryer but I wonder whether doing this with jeans might help - but as I have long legs I worry about shrinkage there.
- I have exactly this same problem with trousers - hence not owning any which aren't jeans.
-'Designer' brands rarely come in a UK16 and I'm afrrais spending £1000 on my jeans wardrobe is a terrifying idea. There is a boutique in London that specialises in denim and finding the perfect (designer ) pair for anyone
They stock about 70 brands. Not one of which is in my size.
- Belts goround the hips because that's where I like jeans to sit - just below tjw waist. I've borrowed my boyfriend's belt before when I had just this problem.
- NYDJ and Levi's curve sound like great options for when I go to buy jeans - am waiting to see whether I lose weight over the next coupe of months first
posted by mippy at 11:48 PM on December 30, 2010

Response by poster: Oh - Gap jeans are about $65 here, to give you an idea on costs. Weirdly, the Curvys I bought in autumn 2009 are looser than the 2010 ones....but they've all been washed and worn for the same length of time. The difference is noticeable.
posted by mippy at 12:05 AM on December 31, 2010

You can get the waist taken in on a pair of jeans. Should run you $15-20. Wear them a few times first til they stretch out, then have a tailor nip in the waist at the centre back (your belt will hide the extra seam).
I have a friend with long legs & similar waist/hip measurements to yours, and she swears by Paige denim. A little pricey, but you should see how great her butt looks in them.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 2:01 AM on December 31, 2010

Oh, and after posting about how awesome the Silver Jeans are to you, I went and ordered another pair to compensate for holiday gain and they arrived today. I'm telling ya, these jeans are made of awesome. Good luck finding the perfect jean.
posted by teleri025 at 10:48 AM on December 31, 2010

i try on fancy jeans, then buy them on ebay.

or buy custom made clothes at for less than you'd spend on gap, etc.
posted by groovinkim at 12:02 AM on February 6, 2011

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