Can quads and denim mix?
August 15, 2012 9:11 AM   Subscribe

Leads for finding sexy fitting jeans for a short lady with massive thighs and some booty?

OK, so I'm short (5'2) and even 10 years ago when I was very skinny I always had curvy thighs and a booty and some trouble finding jeans to accommodate that. But now I'm older and I lift weights (viva squats) and do sprint training, so my leg muscles, particularly my quadriceps, are Seriously Not Fucking Around. It's gotten so I've given up trying to wear structured but form-fitting pants--I've spent the last year wearing nothing but skirts, dresses, and shorts that are short enough to avoid the "huge hard thigh muscle" issue. But it's going to be fall soon and I really miss being able to wear smart, sexy dark jeans. Plus, it's not like I'm ashamed of my legs--I love them and wouldn't mind showing the curves off.

But where the hell do I find jeans that both manage to be short enough AND won't rip at the seams up by my thighs and in the seat? I feel like when I try on pants that aren't painfully tight in those areas, the waist is so enormous (huge gapping right below the belly button) as to be infeasible even with a belt, or the area below the thigh is massive and I'm swimming in fabric.

Any ideas of where to go looking for jeans for my curvy thighs and butt but more modest waist and short legs? Online is preferable but any ideas are most welcome. And if you've got ideas for affordable tailoring/customized stuff online, I would love specifics and firsthand accounts of how measuring and all that works for you. Thanks.

(I'd also reeeally prefer to avoid having to spend a zillion dollars--I'm not particularly rich or ritzy--but on the other hand if I could just find one decent quality pair of jeans that fit me like a glove and made me feel great it'd definitely be worth spending some dough on...I guess what I'm saying is cheaper is my preferred route but don't totally hold back if you only have spendier ideas.)

(And yeah, I saw the recent Mefi thread on jean fitting, which was great, but didn't, at least that I saw, address this issue directly or where specifically to go find brands for this.)
posted by ifjuly to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (22 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Question - can you get a pair that fits in the thighs and butt and then take them to a seamstress to get waist and length altered? Maybe talk to a seamstress in advance, ask them what types of things they can/cannot do, etc. I frankly think that is your best bet.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:13 AM on August 15, 2012

when I try on pants that aren't painfully tight in those areas, the waist is so enormous (huge gapping right below the belly button) as to be infeasible even with a belt

Levi's Curve ID jeans were designed to solve this problem. I don't know if they can accommodate thighs so muscular that they regularly rip seams (holy crap!), but they certainly make a world of difference for me and my curvy-ness. The "bold curve" (though that was a few years ago, and it looks like they've added another "supreme" tier of pants) suits me perfectly, though I am a good deal taller than you. Obviously once you find something that fits up top, you can get things hemmed.

I would try those out if I were you. Good luck!
posted by phunniemee at 9:18 AM on August 15, 2012

I have the same problem. I bought the supreme curve jeans from Levi's and had to have them taken in two inches at the waist (and they were still too big). Then I found Fashion Bug's Right Fit jeans. Holy crap. The only jeans I've never had to have tailored. And they're like, $30 a pair. AND it's nice, sturdy denim.
posted by lindseyg at 9:28 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

you might want to try the "curvy" jeans from some manufacturers, but Apple Bottom jeans were made for bootylicious women.
posted by ATX Peanut at 9:29 AM on August 15, 2012

I like Not Your Daughter's Jeans in general - my waist is much smaller than my hips and thighs and they are the only brand that has a waist that doesn't gap on me. They also make petite lengths. They're not cheap, but Zappo's has them on sale fairly often (including some right now).
posted by bedhead at 9:33 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Uniqlo are making particularly nice womens' jeans this year. Stretchy, super comfortable, and available in a variety of fits and rises. They're cheap as chips and they'll shorten them for you on the same day if you buy from the shops.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 9:42 AM on August 15, 2012

I'm 4'11" and my criteria for pants is only that they fit in the waist through thigh. I anticipate hemming and lower leg slimming, both of which are easier than altering the upper half of the pants (but that can be done too, it's just VERY expensive and time consuming). I bike everywhere and have a small waist so I understand your issue, and it's hard to get a perfect fit, but you can do pretty well if you're patient and learn to try on everything in sight with an eye toward alterations. So get those pairs that seem to fit above the knee as long as you're not grabbing fistfuls of extra fabric (taking in half an inch in the leg is doable, 4" is usually not). This will only work with a solid dark wash without alot of fake wear or embellishment; things like factory fading on the thigh will look wrong after hemming. These alterations will add anywhere from $15-40 to the cost, but in the end buying $75 jeans and spending $25 on tailoring will probably get you better fit than almost any $150 jean straight off the rack.

Seconding the Levi's Curve ID suggestion, but really it's a crapshoot, just try everything. Go to a denim specialty store if you have one nearby but think of it as research; you can always check for brands that work and go comparison shop online later.

Also, don't be afraid to buy high quality denim that's snug, not super tight but just a little too snug when you first try them on. They will stretch especially in the butt and thigh, that's to be expected. Don't go more than 1-2% elastane/lycra, wash delicate/cold and never put them in the dryer to preserve the fit.
posted by slow graffiti at 9:44 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

I know a few people who swear by Old Navy's Rock Star fit. They don't work that well for me, because I'm a little marshmallowy in the middle, but I'd imagine they'd be quite good on someone with a more hourglassy figure. (Old Navy is notoriously inconsistent, though, so caveat emptor.)

If you're anywhere near a Nordstrom Rack, try there: they have a huge variety of quality denim at sale prices, and they offer hemming. It's not free (the internet suggests it's about $14-20), but if you tend to avoid going to the tailor, it's pretty convenient.

Last time I bought new jeans, I tried on a few pairs in-store, made a note of the brand/style/size, and then searched online for the best possible deal. Buying a pre-owned pair can work, too.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:03 AM on August 15, 2012

Should it come up, I would not recommend Tommy Hilfiger jeans for you, unless it's their higher-end lines. I have more thigh than anything else and I ripped through a pair of their skinny jeans in six months, which were already failing in the "staying unstretched and above my butt" department.
posted by jetlagaddict at 10:38 AM on August 15, 2012

I have a small waist and a wide booty and chubby (not muscular) thighs: classic pear shape. Not Your Daughter's Jeans are the most comfortable and best-fitting thing I've found ever. My legs are long--I buy long/tall in most jeans--but I'd rather hem in your shoes than try to fix anything else.
posted by immlass at 10:59 AM on August 15, 2012

My friends and I (all curvy, all short, and all ride fixed gear bikes so we've got ourselves some thighs) have this problem a lot. I did find some Levi's Selvedge Boyfriend Skinny Jeans that fit me like a glove, and are some seriously sturdy denim. (They not only fit my awesome butt and thighs but are also not too tight around my cyclist calves, which is a problem with a lot of skinnies for me.)

Last year I got them on sale half off, and the color was a nice dark wash. They're not on sale right now and it looks like this year it's a lighter faded denim but might be worth a look. Honestly if you have a Levi's store near you I'd just go in and spend hours trying every cut on. The names and descriptions of the fits just never seem to predict for me if they're going to work or not.
posted by misskaz at 11:04 AM on August 15, 2012

Similar body type here. I actually found a brand called Style & Co. in the petite's department at Macy's that fits me really well (even in the waist)--especially the ones with a little stretch in the fabric. They're pretty cheap too--around $50 I want to say, definitely under $100--I highly recommend.
posted by lovableiago at 11:22 AM on August 15, 2012

But where the hell do I find jeans that both manage to be short enough AND won't rip at the seams up by my thighs and in the seat?

First part of your question: You can seek out petite jeans. Nearly every denim maker, premium or otherwise, has a "petite" line where the inseams are about 30 inches. Even so, a 30 inch inseam can be pretty long--I'm 5'3" and I wear flats, and I find that the ideal length for me is about 29 inches if I don't want to step on the hems all the time. I very much prefer to buy regular jeans and have a tailor (or better yet, a friend handy with a sewing machine) to lop off 4 inches or so.

Second part: Give premium denim a shot! They're not cheap, but I find that the fit and material are a notch better, and they can often be purchased for less than $100 during sales. I hated wearing jeans until I saved up for my first pair of 7 for All Mankind jeans in college, and I never looked back. You may also want a pair of jeans with a lot of stretch to accommodate your curves, like this petite slim boot in power stretch denim by J Brand, or try jeans that flatter curvy figures the Levi's Curve ID jeans mentioned above, these or these.
posted by peripathetic at 11:52 AM on August 15, 2012

I have the same problem. Well, with a lot fewer squats. Anyway I am too short for bootcut jeans and I like a dark wash. I was surprised to fine My Perfect Jeans at Eddie Bauer. They are a bit stretchy which is nice and they are very flattering. Here they be.
posted by Duffington at 11:54 AM on August 15, 2012

Hemming is probably necessary, and either relatively cheap or not hard to learn to do yourself if you're handy, so I don't think worrying about leg length is worth it.

I'm somewhat similarly shaped, although I also have sizeable calves so I don't run into the extra width in the lower leg problem; I've found Red Engine works well for me (but they are pricey). I also still have a few pairs of Old Navy jeans from about 8 years ago, so don't hesitate to try things across the price spectrum, you might get lucky and find a cut that fits your body type. (Note that the Old Navy jeans have held up much better than any of my more expensive ones; they are a thicker denim and don't have much stretch. Denim with stretch *will* become saggy over many wears.)

What I'd suggest is going in to a jeans boutique where you can try on a whole bunch of pairs; this is probably a somewhat expensive proposition but if you do find a style/brand you like, you can get one and try it out for a while, and if they continue to fit well then you can search for cheaper versions of the same thing. In Boston there's a place called in-jean-ius which was really the first place I managed to find a great fitting pair; it helped a bunch that the saleswoman knew which styles might fit my body or correct a particular fit error (stupid gap-in-the-back-waist, I'm looking at you). Perhaps you can find a similar place near you?
posted by nat at 12:08 PM on August 15, 2012

I can't speak to the thighs, but I'm 5'3" and I've found that in particular, Gap jeans in Ankle are pretty perfect height=wise. You can order them online, but Gap actually carries them to some extent in stores - something other brands are not very good at.

The other reason I like this is that the Gap jeans are short, but NOT petite.
posted by maryr at 12:54 PM on August 15, 2012

I am 5'3" and pear-shaped. My go-to jeans these days are boot-cut jeans from L.L. Bean. They are a bit higher-waisted than typical jeans these days, although the waist comes under my bellybutton. I am not interested in flashing people my underwear, so I'm okay with that aspect of the cut. The petite version of the jeans does not have a very noticeable flare, and look like straight-leg jeans when seen from the front. I've given up on the Gap for jeans, as I've found all their cuts to be very unforgiving of my hips and thighs.
posted by needled at 7:31 PM on August 15, 2012

Get these jeans.

I know what you're thinking -- high rise? Skinny? These are going to be huge in the waist and way too small in the thigh! I was shocked, SHOCKED, when I put them on, but they're the best fitting pair of jeans I've ever had. My body is pretty much the same as yours -- each of my thighs is only about an inch smaller around than my waist, so finding appropriate jeans has always been a big challenge. I love these pants so much that I ordered a back up pair to have on hand for when I finally wear them out completely.

Also, I linked to the traditional denim looking pair, but some of the colored styles come in 30" inseam, so giddyup.
posted by telegraph at 8:28 PM on August 15, 2012

Oh lord, don't do the colored jeans. At least not in lighter or brighter colors. Don't even try them on. You will be horrified.
posted by maryr at 8:48 PM on August 15, 2012

Response by poster: Wanted to thank y'all for giving me so many different leads I had no idea about! Naturally as soon as I asked a bunch of stuff came up that drained my pocket money, so I haven't had a chance to buy any jeans yet. Now that I've finally replenished the piggy bank a bit and that delicious fall nip is in the air I am def. going to shop around using these links though. Will try to report back on what works best for me in time. Thanks so much!
posted by ifjuly at 10:21 AM on September 19, 2012

Response by poster: OK, so, follow up but hopefully not the last one 'cause this is still somewhat unresolved for me: I've tried a few of the recs above and am running into the same problems I have in the past with this, which is that my figure is unusual I guess...I've got ginormous quads BUT I am not pear-shaped, I don't have much in the way of hips, just quads and calves really, and despite my problems with the backs of my jeans gapping I am in fact more apple-shaped than pear-shaped. The jeans I've tried so far from this thread have all been too hippy, where there's this big pouf of empty air-filed pouchy fabric on the sides of me by my hips. And weirdly, I'm still getting gapping in the back. I haven't tried those high-waisted BDG jeans yet but they're next on my list because I'm beginning to realize that may in fact be the case, that I'm doomed to high-waisted styles due to the gapping thing. We shall see.

The other thing I wanted to clarify, not that it matters probably this late in the game when no one's still reading but for posterity's that "just tailor/cut the hems off normal-length jeans, being short doesn't matter" has not been the case for me at all. Cutting the leg hems doesn't account for the fact that it becomes clear standard-length jeans assume your thighs are a certain length, the knee cap area should be in one particular place, calve area designated, etc. When I get jeans that are too long, it's not just that the edges drag on the floor, it's that all those leg proportions are off and the knee cap area where it then hangs straight is like, down by my shin and looks weird and dumpy. Alas.
posted by ifjuly at 6:17 PM on October 11, 2012

Response by poster: Follow up again, since I try things in fits and starts. Those BDG jeans are pretty good in terms of the skinny jean route; they are thin and stretchy (enough so that there's still some gapping in the back, but less than other jeans I've tried), and yeah the waist is markedly higher which I've learned is counterintuitively more flattering for someone as short and short-waisted as I am (something I'm figuring out is that the current trend toward very low rises looks awful on me 'cause despite my thighs and booty I'm still apple shaped). Similarly counterintuitive, I've figured out slightly bootcut silhouettes are more flattering (I guess it sort of makes sense...despite the short leg thing, the bootcut evens out the big thigh shape aspect). Levi's Curve, with some trial and error, seem to be working the best so far in terms of giving me traditional, heavier-weight jeans that don't suffocate my thighs or ass and don't gap at the waist at all (in case anyone cares, my specs wound up being Classic Rise, Demi Curve 'cause Bold Curve seems more for hippy women instead of booty women, and Straight or Bootcut...the skinnies weren't flattering at all on me...bonus, these less trendy cuts are markedly cheaper!). I did need to get all the jeans I tried on hemmed, even when I did manage to find sizes with petite inseams. Was worth it though--I now have 4 pairs of jeans that fit in every way with enough versatility in fabric weight, silhouette, and color to get me through just about anything jeans-wise. Thanks a lot!

I would've loved to try the Fashion Bug jeans (didn't even realize FB was still around!--used to get lots of my clothes there 15 years ago as a teenager, so that evoked some nostalgia) but couldn't figure out how to procure any as there aren't any stores around here and they don't seem to sell online (same problem with Uniqlo, which pains me whenever someone posts awesome clothes from them). The Eddie Bauers gave me the lots-of-empty-space-for-hip-I-don't-have problem. I think you're onto something about Levi's Boyfriend jeans by the way--I asked the gals at the Stumptuous forum the same question and someone mentioned them. If the Curve jeans hadn't worked out that was going to be my next approach, especially since I've had the epiphany about straight/bootcut jeans and higher waists. The Stumptuous ladies mentioned Old Navy too, which I would've tried next as well.

AskMefi recently gave me a lead for gorgeous tall boots that are sized somewhat custom, where you shoe size is independent of the calf circumference, so I'm super happy about that as well. My big-legged self looks a little more with it now, so thanks.
posted by ifjuly at 3:19 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

« Older Please help find a source for a specific ghost...   |   Different parenting styles. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.