I don't have a daughter, OR her jeans.
March 1, 2013 10:21 AM   Subscribe

When you can't tell that you've lost NEARLY 20 POUNDS because you blame it on your always-saggy Old Navy jeans... maybe it's time for new jeans. Any suggestions for better plus-sized jeans for a 33-year-old in the Midwest?

I think I'm an apple. I have a bit of a stomach, and it's squishy, which makes my muffin top the thing that actually holds my pants up :P Lovely. No real bum to speak of. I'm 5'7" but have been wearing a Short/Ankle length for some reason.

I've been wearing Old Navy Sweetheart boot-cut, which fit perfectly for ten minutes. I've been wearing an 18. Of course, my waist size doesn't seem to have changed that much.

I would like plain jeans I can ostensibly wear to my university job. (And if you know of decent, sturdy non-jeans pants that fit, too, that would be great.)

I AM NOT OLD. I AM NOT A MOM. The snob in me doesn't want to wear anything pitched to moms, or anything that says "I bought this at the fat-girl store" (I'm looking at you, Venezia), but... I'm a realist. Please hope.
posted by Madamina to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (31 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I have really liked the Style&Co jeans from Macy's Woman department. I have also recently gotten Jones New York patterned jeans from that department which I really liked.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:26 AM on March 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you've lost 20 pounds from when you were wearing an 18 at Old Navy, I'd try the long and lean cut from Gap in a size 16. They are pretty slim through the thigh, which usually works on apple shapes given our proportionally thinner limbs.
posted by redfishbluefish at 10:26 AM on March 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

Try Talbots 12W or 14W. Try different styles, which might call for different sizes.

I love my Talbots woman-size jeans; they fit like a dream, last, and look great.

Jones New York is good, too.

When I dress mine up, I do not look frumpy or mom-like!
posted by jgirl at 10:33 AM on March 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Jeans are a pain in the ass!

You have to try every stinking pair on to see if you like them! I've hit gold with Lee Jeans at Marshalls for $12.99, I've paid $50 for Jones New York jeans at Macy's. I use the Moscow Rule of Shopping when trying on jeans. If they fit, I'll buy them, I'm not really looking at the price tag.

I saw some Gloria Vangerbilt jeans at Costco. They came in neat colors. You might like them, I have big legs and I think between the skinny cut and the stretchy on them that they might make me look like I'm trying to smuggle golf balls in my pants. Might work for you though.

Also, don't be afraid to have jeans tailored. I have an hour-glass with the aforementioned big legs. If the pants fit in the legs, my tailor will fix the waist for me (and hem!) And yes, I've paid as much for tailoring as the pants originally cost.

I'll nth the Talbots jeans. Very nice fit (some even go by inseam!) but spendy.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:37 AM on March 1, 2013

Seconding Macy's. You can get classic-looking Levi's for next to nothing at their end of season sales.
posted by donajo at 10:38 AM on March 1, 2013

I like Not Your Daughter's Jeans. I know the name sggests that they might be mom jeans, but they're not. Unfortunately, the sizes and lengths aren't consistent from style to style... I wear 16W in one and 20W in another. Most of them have some stretch.

I turn them inside out, machine wash, and then air-dry; they last a long time. The ponte knit pants are especially fade-resistant.
posted by wryly at 10:42 AM on March 1, 2013

These: http://www.landsend.com/pp/womens-plus-size-fit-2-boot-cut-denim-jeans~250729_-1.html

And they're available in multiple lengths thank you very much.
posted by 26.2 at 10:52 AM on March 1, 2013

I am a similar shape to what you describe, though shorter. If you can get over your (kind of weird for a size 18 girl) size-ist objection, Lane Bryant offers modern cuts of jeans, in a variety of washes. Most importantly, you can shop by both your body type and your size. I've worn anywhere from 14-20 at Old Navy while shopping at Lane Bryant. The jeans hold up much better than ON, and can be had for reasonable prices if you get on their mailing list for coupons. I suspect you'll be happiest if you can set aside any judgment of brands or who they're marketed to and just buy what makes you look best, no matter the size or who makes it.
posted by terilou at 10:58 AM on March 1, 2013

I've been wearing Old Navy Sweetheart boot-cut, which fit perfectly for ten minutes.

Part of the reason that your jeans stretch out so quickly is that Old Navy makes crappy jeans. But you should also buy jeans that feel a little too tight in the dressing room. Even nicer jeans stretch out a bit.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 11:00 AM on March 1, 2013 [4 favorites]

Try Kut from the Kloth jeans at Nordstrom. They are awesome. You'll probably fit the 16 if you were wearing an 18 and lost 20 lbs, but they have plus versions if needed. NO designer jeans fit me. These fit like a glove.
posted by barnone at 11:04 AM on March 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Are you me? I used to live in my Old Navy Sweetheart jeans, lost weight, and went looking for something new. I still have one pair of Sweetheart jeans, they're the ones I wear when I'm just kicking around the house.

After losing weight I had to replace practically my entire wardrobe, so I hit the consignment and thrift shops in town. Jeans-wise, I think it worked out great. All of the jeans were used (of course) so I could tell what they would look like after being worn for a while. If they were still holding up and looking good at the consignment shop, awesome. Buying from a resale shop also gave me the ability to try on a ton of different brands. It was hit-or-miss, sure, but I wound up with a pair of Calvin Klein dark wash bootcut jeans that looked great off the rack, cost $12, and they make my butt look like it's levitating.
posted by Elly Vortex at 11:08 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Levi's Signature are my favorite cheap jeans. I liked Svoboda a lot when I wore a size 16, but they seem to be unavailable at the moment (the Svoboda website says they're "retooling" which never augurs well).
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:10 AM on March 1, 2013

Another vote for buying a different brand and a slightly tight in the store size.

I was forever buying jeans that were comfortable in store only to get them home and have them immediately get baggy when I wore them. I changed from Old Navy to Lucky brand several years ago but the problem persisted. Now I buy the slightly uncomfortable ones that I try in store and I avoid drying them and I've eliminated that problem.
posted by FlamingBore at 11:15 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

One problem I've found with jeans is that a saggy butt and thigh area can bring the whole situation down. To address that problem, I've had great luck with Denizen (by Levi) at Target, particularly their "Totally Shaping" line. I have these and these really like them both - the right about of stretch while still looking substantial. (I see that the second pair is sold out in all but one size - I'd keep checking back).
posted by hefeweizen at 11:22 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

And specifically, try on the Diana model from Kut from the Kloth, in the dark denim. Bonus - they're on sale for $50 right now. Order the 16 and 18 and see if they work, and return one to a store (is there one near you?) or online.
posted by barnone at 11:27 AM on March 1, 2013

I love Gloria Vanderbilt Amanda Jeans - they have just enough stretch and they have a good variety of colors. $15.99 at Costco - I have 8 pair. In my experience with this brand, the darker the color the looser the fit. I especially like that there are no designs on the back pockets.

My only complaint - and it's very minor - is that the hem on most of the pants has a tendency to flip up after washing. If I remember when I get them out of the dryer, I hang the pants and then attach a clothespin or two to the hems. Its quicker than ironing.
posted by jaimystery at 11:35 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I am against Lane Bryant because, of late, they have been much lower quality than when I first shopped there. I also don't like their (or anybody's) emphasis on any number of "tricks" or "hidden slimming panels" or "if you're a triangle you should wear the yellow tagged styles" or any of that. So many solely-plus-sized stores seem to work on this assumption that I should have a Positive Attitude (I don't buy that brand, either) and at the same time minimize things I should supposedly be ashamed of.

I'm a fat chick. I am friends with other fat chicks. We all know we are fat. I am allowed to be perfectly sizeist about myself and what I like while being supportive of other people and their own perceptions of their sizes and shapes.

What I DON'T like is that when I walk into a Lane Bryant, looking for a pair of black pants, I get told first and foremost about the spandex content in each pair, "which minimizes your gut at the same time as it makes it easy for me to get in and out of them without unzipping," says the store manager, who then gives me a well-meaning list of every fat-girl "trick" she knows. Because I had no choice, I bought some pants, and they have lived on the low side of my hips ever since. Because THEY HAVE NO BELT LOOPS. Smart.

When fat-girl stores start making clothes that look and feel like clothes for everyone else, maybe I'll feel more inclined to shop there. I already shop at places like Igigi, which does a pretty good job of just making gorgeous stuff without telling me what I should be looking for.

But until that time, I would like to find brands who simply make their products in a larger range of sizes, because all I want is A PLAIN OLD PAIR OF JEANS that are mostly cotton and not Miracle Slimming Whatever.
posted by Madamina at 11:48 AM on March 1, 2013 [4 favorites]

Lucky makes a plus-size range, as does the aforementioned Kut From the Kloth, both sold at Nordstrom. Actually, stores like Nordstrom and Lord & Taylor both have pretty extensive plus-size departments, where you can try on a crapton of jeans until you find ones that fit you best. If you don't want specifically plus-size brands but instead brands that go up to a 16-18, there are lots of options, most of which have been listed above already.

Unfortunately, jeans are sucky for almost everyone - sizes vary among brands and even among styles within the same brand. I've been skinny and fat and everywhere in between, and jeans are always a challenge. You just kind of have to try a bunch to see what you like best.
posted by bedhead at 11:58 AM on March 1, 2013

Buy jeans with a bit of spandex (instead of 100% cotton), that's what keeps them from losing their shape quickly. And I second Lands End...they have an incredible range of sizes.
posted by honey badger at 12:23 PM on March 1, 2013

Eddie Bauer! I was wearing ON Sweetheart jeans until I got tired of the shitty quality. Eddie Bauer boyfriend cut are my new faves.
posted by youcancallmeal at 12:35 PM on March 1, 2013

My favorite jeans are Jones New York. I'm between 20/22 depending on ... stuff. I'm 5'4" and have to hem mine, so they might work well for you. Definitely have a tailor adjust your jeans - it's so worth it!
posted by RogueTech at 2:23 PM on March 1, 2013

I'll nth the Talbots jeans. Very nice fit (some even go by inseam!) but spendy.

They have good sales. I get my Talbots and Jones jeans on eBay VERY reasonably. (I have enough right now, so I don't mind potential bidders knowing!)
posted by jgirl at 2:43 PM on March 1, 2013

Also, Talbots and Jones New York have 12W; most companies do not. I think Charter Club does as well.
posted by jgirl at 2:45 PM on March 1, 2013

Response by poster: I tried on some Silver Suki Surplus and Tuesday jeans; they fit pretty well, but the store didn't have my inseam. They seemed awfully flared, though I'll have to see how they look with the correct length.

I tried on some Lucky Brand capris in a 16W, and they actually felt quite good. I'll have to find some actual jeans.

I tried on some Not Your Daughter's jeans, and oh were they not kidding. The rise got perilously close to my boobs, and they had a TON of spandex. Their capris had a better rise, but again the amount of stretch made them bunch like jeggings on my calves.

Once more into the breach...
posted by Madamina at 5:00 PM on March 1, 2013

Nthing Talbots Women. Also, don't pass by the Levi's rack in Macy's. There are many cuts, and I just bought a really nice looking, dark, well made, well cut pair that are classic, but defiitely not mom jeans. It renewed my faith. But there are so, so many different Levi's cuts that you have to devote a couple hours to trying on several sizes, lengths, rises, and styles.
posted by Miko at 5:40 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Have you tried Eloquii, the plus line by The Limited?
I have recently been impressed at the limited's jeans and at their sample sales went to, I saw they had the same designs and colors etc in the Eloquii line as in the eponymous line.
Some jeans I wanted actually only came in the Eloquii sizes.
posted by rmless at 8:05 PM on March 1, 2013

Buy jeans with a bit of spandex (instead of 100% cotton), that's what keeps them from losing their shape quickly.

I've found the opposite to be true. The spandex is what makes them stretch out and because they're not 100% cotton they don't shrink back up in the dryer. My 100% cotton jeans keep their shape a lot better than any of the spandex containing ones.

I really liked Calvin Klein when I was an 18 (and now, actually).

I love my Lucky jeans, but I never tried them when I was plus sized.

And Lane Bryant jeans suck.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:07 PM on March 1, 2013

Nthing the Talbots Jeans-often have a 40% off clearance or some other promotion and they are very flattering. Good Housekeeping just reviewed a bunch of jeans in a similar fit and their top rated was cold water creek-always high list pice but pretty much constant 50% off sales. I know both of these stores might sound matronly, but seriously, give the pants a try. I was pleasantly surprised.
posted by purenitrous at 5:39 PM on March 2, 2013

I love Silver jeans and got a great deal on a few pair a while ago from Torrid. (but yes, jeans and specifically Old Navy jeans are a PITA.)
posted by getawaysticks at 6:21 AM on March 4, 2013

Response by poster: Short-version update:
I am wearing a super cute pair of Lucky Brand Ginger straight leg jeans in a 16W.

Silver Aiko slim bootcut: not as great, but still better than before. (Ouch.)

Longer version:
I should never be surprised at how awful the plus-sized shopping situation is, but somehow it still shocks me. I had to go to Cedar Rapids, of all places, to find a department store (Von Maur) with decent options to even think about trying on. I had a pair of Lucky Brand capris and another Silver style in a 33" inseam that was as close as I could get.

At Macy's, which I knew was horrible, there was one pair of orangey red Lauren Ralph Lauren jeans and another in a flat navy blue. The "skinny" ones looked huge and mom-ish. That was it. Among the 30-odd leftover items cluttering the dressing room were four pairs of size 10 Kut from the Kloth jeans that looked really cute. Sigh.

At Boston Store, it was even worse. They had a bunch of mom-ish high- or elastic-waisted store brand jeans that didn't appeal to me, and although they had a table of Silvers, the one style they had in a non-capri had a single pair of 16s and another in a 24. That was IT for jeans.

After a cringe-inducing several days of local attempts, I ordered from Nordstrom and got them in two days.

Dear stores: I may look like a total schlub, but I am carrying a [classic, really expensive, really well-known brand] bag. I clearly have money to give you. Would you like to take it from me? And guess what: there are millions of other plus-sized ladies just like me in the upper Midwest.

Why do you think your sales are so low? BECAUSE YOU SUCK MAJOR ASS. The end.
posted by Madamina at 11:24 AM on March 14, 2013

OMG! Those look amazing! Seriously! Didn't even know Lucky jeans came in a size 16. You look fantastic - congrats for taking the leap into the world of post-Old Navy jeans. Try on some Kut from the Kloth jeans when you have a chance. I think they might work really well, depending on the style. Yay for nice jeans!
posted by barnone at 1:09 PM on March 17, 2013

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