Help me find great jeans!
December 27, 2012 8:35 PM   Subscribe

Seriously, how should I be wearing jeans?

I've been struggling with this for a while. I've tried on, bought and returned more jeans than I care to remember. Nothing seems to fit right. I would really love to wear jeans again.

Some backstory - mid-30's. I'm 5'11" and weigh 165 pounds. I have a 33 1/2 inseam - much of my height is in my torso. I generally wear about a US size 10. (40-31-40) An additional complicating factor is that a good number of years ago, I lost a significant amount of weight (> 130 pounds) and I still have a good deal of loose skin in my stomach area even after maintaining a steady weight for 8 or so years. I also have a pretty flat rear and am fairly small hipped. All my jean issues seem to be around the rise and waist area.

On me, Most 'mid-rise' jeans don't even make it right below the waist - they are more like mid-hip. I've measured my rise that would work for me and its around 12 inches - something most modern jeans do not possess. I've been getting by by wearing ill fitting jeans and I just know there has to be a better way.

I'm looking for help on cut, style and how 'tight' jeans should be. (I seem to experience muffin top due to my loose skin no matter what.) I'm aware I can get jeans tailored and that really isn't the issue here - I need to get the right fit and cut before I make it to that level. I'd like some level of comfort (right now my jeans feel like they are cutting me in half at the crotch and baggy everywhere else!

Any help is appreciated!
posted by carmenghia to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (26 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Where are you currently shopping for jeans and what style of jeans do you desire?
posted by greta simone at 8:54 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

You might try going to a local thrift shop like the Good Will or Value Village, and there you will find dozens of different brands of jeans to try out, and you may find a brand that fits you well.
posted by markblasco at 8:54 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Have you thought about doing a customise your own jeans deal? Doesn't look that expensive, really. Here's one I found by googling "custom jeans."
posted by guster4lovers at 9:10 PM on December 27, 2012

Not to threadsit but jean brands I've bought: joe, madewell, old navy, gap 1969, j brand, rag and bone, Levi's, Paige, Hudson, Citizens of Humanity, AG, MiH, Mother, and probably others I'm blanking on. I've bought cheap and expensive jeans and they all fit the same.

My ideal jeans would be high-waisted, straight or skinny, dark wash. I'm not interested in bootcut/flare since it seems to throw off the balance in my body. In an ideal world, my jeans would fit at my actual waist, mostly for comfort due to my loose skin.
posted by carmenghia at 9:15 PM on December 27, 2012

Try Amanda jeans by Gloria Vanderbilt. They're not too tight and are basically straight with a very slightly tapered leg. They also have "slimming" elastic at the belly. Their rise is very high, almost to under the rib cage, so they reinforce an hourglass shape and make muffin tops virtually impossible. Best of all, they're quite cheap. You'll need a "long" size, as the regular inseam is around 31-1/2, it seems. Also, they run very large in sizing.

They aren't really fashionable, but they stop short of being overt "mom jeans." I think they would address the issues you're having.
posted by ROTFL at 9:20 PM on December 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm a jean nerd - did the raw jean thing without washing and stuff, japanese selvedge et al.

But what I seem to be wearing the most are my $39 pair of uniqlo slim straight fit jeans.

Why is that, you may ask? Don't run away when you read this: they're stretch jeans!
posted by Riton at 9:20 PM on December 27, 2012

Have you tried Not Your Daughter's Jeans? The name is wretched, but they have a higher rise and a friend of mine with a body similar to yours loves hers. They have them at Macy's.

I'm long-torsoed and small hipped so I also have a muffin top issue, and I wear DL1961, and sometimes True Religion (which are kind of out of style now, but fit my butt nicely).
posted by Countess Sandwich at 9:41 PM on December 27, 2012 [4 favorites]

You didn't ask about this, but consider Spanx tanks/camisoles under your top. They hold everything in and smooth out your skin around your waistband. I know because we're very similar! I've also lost over 125 pounds and am 6 ft tall with a 33 inch inseam and fight tummy skin as well.

Have you looked at Not Your Daughter's Jeans?
posted by cecic at 9:42 PM on December 27, 2012

If there's an upscale jeans store near you, or even just a dedicated Levi's store, you may be able to go in and describe what you want, and they could give you a dozen different pairs to try on to find one you like. Heck, you could probably do that at any department store that has a personal shopping service, such as Nordstroms. The problem with jeans is that they have to fit your body in a particular way, so they're hard to get comfortable in even if they technically fit you. Be prepared to try on a lot, and ask for help from knowledgeable sales staff. Good luck!
posted by decathecting at 9:52 PM on December 27, 2012

+1 trying everything on in thrift stores; good tactic for jeans searches but...

Not trying to derail, but is there a reason you need to wear jeans? I don't find them all that comfortable (seems like they used to be too thick, and now they are too stretchy which makes the stupid-low low waists something that needs tugging up after a few hours' wear and argh) and have defaulted to various slim-cut olive green cotton pants as a neutral casual pant. Alternatively: jean skirts.
posted by kmennie at 9:53 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

For higher rise without the mom feel, I really like Nordstrom's Not Your Daughters Jeans. (Which makes me feel ridiculous, but hey, they are comfy.)
posted by dame at 10:01 PM on December 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

Small hips....meaning your waist isn't that much smaller? Try the men's section.
posted by brujita at 10:14 PM on December 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm about your size (a little shorter but with a similar short for my height inseam) and I like the BDG jeans at Urban Outfitters. They're not the nicest jeans, but they have mid rise and high rise non-mom jeans in a variety of inseams. I like the mid rise, but you might want to try the high rise style.
posted by MadamM at 10:19 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Maybe men's jeans, in slim or skinny fits? There were some from Paper Denim and Cloth that worked for me a few years ago, at tj maxx.
posted by songs about trains at 10:20 PM on December 27, 2012

I just checked online and it says their high rise cigarette jeans have an 11 inch rise. I think their regular inseam is 34 inches.
posted by MadamM at 10:22 PM on December 27, 2012

I'm going to third NYDJ!
posted by vespabelle at 10:32 PM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

You might have better luck shopping specifically for tall jeans, which are constructed with a higher rise, and then hemming the bottoms.

As for the muffin top, higher rise and a comfortable cami layered under your shirt will help smooth things out.
posted by moira at 10:46 PM on December 27, 2012

LL Bean jeans are mostly of the old-school high waisted variety--look for "original fit. And they aren't super expensive...
posted by chiefthe at 5:27 AM on December 28, 2012

I wanted to n-th the suggestion of heading over to the men's section. I'm 5'11" and 155 pounds, with what sounds like a similar silhouette to you (small butt and hips but a not-tiny waist and stomach, basically the opposite of an hourglass) and my hands-down most comfortable jeans are a pair I stole from my boyfriend--just plain jeans from the Calvin Klein outlet.

I've found that men's jeans fit me better since I was a teenager, plus they have a higher rise and most importantly they're not so damn tight and stretchy. The spandex they're putting into so many women's jeans now (so that you can get a TIGHT fit) inevitably sags after a few hours, so I find most women's jeans that feel great in the store are either too tight or too loose or BOTH once I start wearing them at home. No such issues with men's jeans; if you find a pair that is fitted (but not tight) in the store, that's how it will fit at home too.
posted by iminurmefi at 6:46 AM on December 28, 2012

There's a bunch of really awesome blog posts with photos running around if you google "proper fitting of jeans." (There's few years old post from the same site about mom-butt.) There was a post with some good links on the blue, as well.
posted by SpecialK at 7:04 AM on December 28, 2012

I'm going to nth Not Your Daughter's Jeans. The name is indeed pretty terrible, but the jeans are great and they have a very high rise. They also make a lot of different varieties including skinny jeans - I'd go for the 'Sheri' style. Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, and Zappos carry them for sure, but they're in most major department stores. If you have a Nordstrom Rack near you, they usually have at least one or two entire racks full of NYDJ in various styles and leg openings.
posted by bedhead at 7:49 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yup. NYDJ. At Nordstrom.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:43 AM on December 28, 2012

If you do take the thrift store route, make sure to bring a tape measure. Being able to quickly measure the rise on every pair of pants before even taking it off the rack is invaluable. (Even in regular slacks I generally pass up ten or so pairs of pants before I find a mid-waisted one, jeans can be even worse.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 10:44 AM on December 28, 2012

Bow and Arrow makes bespoke denim jeans. I haven't ordered because I am poor, but their reviews are very good. High waisted jeans are their specialty, and they are made to your measurements.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:10 PM on December 28, 2012

Cheap Monday's Second Skin jeans. They suck in my gut and go all the way up to my belly button and if I buy them to fit my waist the legs are way too tight.
posted by 4bulafia at 5:19 PM on December 29, 2012

Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions! I am going order two different styles of NYDJ and try them out. Also, I am going to take my measurements and try the bespoke jeans. I love ultra high-waisted jeans and they are gorgeous!
posted by carmenghia at 7:55 AM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

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