Attractive Women's Jeans
April 30, 2014 2:16 PM   Subscribe

How do you find jeans that actually look good?

Where do women shop for their jeans? I've always been at a loss as to where to buy jeans. I often see women wearing jeans that look good, but never, ever can find a good looking pair when I shop for jeans myself (not even a pair that looks good on the hanger). So let me elaborate as to what I think makes a good looking pair or jeans 1) a nice medium shade of blue (though I'm looking for faded, soft black jeans as well), 2) a simple design/stitching on the back pockets ( no studs, sparkles, overly garish or "stylish" patterns ), 3) no built in fading/wear patterns. Meaning those faded patterns that are at the intersection of the hips to the thigh, fading at the knee, fading at the front of the quad, back of the calf, etc. 4) a nice soft jean fabric. I hate stiff or rough feeling jeans. 5) probably low rise, but I do not find this to be that much of an issue. 6) do not seem like designer, "stylish" jeans, but also don't look like they are super utilitarian jeans bought at the cheapest discount store. 7) somewhere between straight leg and skinny (but not super skinny! and not super elastized).

When shopping for jeans I actually find # 3 and # 2 to be the biggest issues. I pick up a pair of jeans that look promising from the front and invariably I turn it around to find ugly, flashy pockets, or I unfold them to find prominent, deliberate lines/fading all over the place.

I do, very often, see women wearing jeans I like, so I know they are out there. I just don't know where to buy them (I'm bad at shopping in general, it seems). I often see younger (college age) women wearing jeans that I really like, but feel embarrassed asking something as silly as where they bought their jeans.

I would appreciate not just suggestions for particular jeans/brands, but also stores as I'm really clueless as to even where one goes to browse jeans.

As a bonus question - how much does it cost to have your jeans tailored/altered? Specifically having the waist, hips, and bum and crotch area taken in? I have HUGE thighs in relation to my hips and waist so no matter which jeans I've ever found the thighs will be skin tight (uncomfortably tight) while the hips, crotch and waist are slouchy, pouchy, and almost falling down (really it's always my thighs that hold my jeans up).

It's my dream to have the first pair of great jeans of my life. Please help me!
posted by Blitz to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (33 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
I like shopping for jeans at Nordstrom and Levi's. To get good jeans, be prepared to spend $70-$150 (full-price, less if on sale).
posted by amaire at 2:19 PM on April 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Levi's? That's what I'm currently wearing and they fit all your criteria. I bought a pair at Macys and then a pair online since I knew my size.
posted by queens86 at 2:20 PM on April 30, 2014

I bought my last two pairs of Levis jeans from Zappos: I got a pair of "mid-rise skinny" (which were not, in fact, skinny) and a pair of straight-leg with a hidden elasticized waist. Both pairs were on sale for about $45. I ended up getting the 2nd pair tailored for $20, and they took in the loose fabric around my hips/stomach.

I can also recommend Lands' End jeans: they are less trendy, the quality is pretty good, with no fancy business on the rear pockets, and again, you can get them tailored.

Pretty much, if you want perfect jeans, you will have to get them tailored. Expect to spend $15-20 for each pair. I think it's worth it, though, since I've spent too much money on jeans I stopped wearing after a month because they don't fit perfectly.
posted by suelac at 2:29 PM on April 30, 2014

I like Jcrew matchstick jeans. They aren't as soft as 7s (which I also love, but don't meet your #6 criterion), but after a few washes/wears they're good enough. You can get them at the factory outlet site for like $40 if they're too pricey for your tastes. I also like Adriano Goldschmied.

I tailor my pants myself by adding darts at the waistband (since I have to buy a size up to fit my thighs). I usually stop my darts at the seam above the pockets though, rather than go all the way through to the pocket like in that link.
posted by melissasaurus at 2:32 PM on April 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

For Levi's, Kohl's usually has a good selection, and at decent prices- they usually have some sort of sale on, and if not, it's pretty easy to find coupons.
posted by damayanti at 2:37 PM on April 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

When I see people wearing something I really like, I give them a compliment and ask them the brand and/or place of purchase. Everyone has responded positively to the request. I mostly ask about shoes but am totally feeling the jean thing and am going to start asking about those as well.
posted by cairnoflore at 2:39 PM on April 30, 2014

What I actually do is go to a specialty jeans store. I like In-jean-ius but that's in Boston, not sure where you are but if you're close to a big city there will be something similar.
Everything in there will be designer brands, though, so I don't know if that will work for you; I'm not sure what you mean by #6, exactly, or what your price range is. But a specialty store will have a range of products that might "not look like stylish jeans"... but they'll *cost* like it, so if that's your issue, probably not the right choice for you. Anyhow, at one of these boutique places, they should be able to suggest plenty of brands that will work for your body type; but you will have to try on a ton of things. On the bright side, unlike my experience in large department stores (Nordstrom's, e.g.) they actually *did* have things that work for me.

I definitely suffer with the large-thigh-in-comparison-to-waist issue, and I'm seriously tempted to try these; unfortunately due to my tough-to-fit figure I refuse to buy jeans I can't try on first, so I'm not that brave. But maybe you are.

Also, if you've got a pair of jeans you like, that are in a non-stretch fabric, then there are places which will copy that pair for you.

Lastly, the other way I've found good jeans is just to be startlingly lucky. I still have a pair I got about 8 years ago at Old Navy that randomly happened to be made for exactly my body type. I highly recommend this method but haven't ever managed to reproduce it myself.
posted by nat at 2:45 PM on April 30, 2014

I wrote this question a while back. I'm on the low end of plus sized, but all of the jeans I tried were brands that primarily sold regular sizes.

Short answer: I got Lucky Brand Ginger and I love them to death. They're nice and plain but the wash I got has juuuust enough fade to not really look like a fade but give me a nice bit of shaping. None of that weird whiskering or whatever. They are not super low rise but they are not mom jeans. They make my legs and ass look fantastic. I think Ginger is a plus-only style, but they have several other styles available at Nordstrom. I had to order online from them because I had to go all the way to fricking Cedar Rapids, of all places, to try some on at a different department store.

I had to get them hemmed (for $8 a pair) and I wore them nearly every day, and all the way into maybe 20 weeks of pregnancy. (I guess I carry high.) They're sturdy and hold their shape well.

I did see some KUT from the Kloth pairs at Macy's that were not available in my size but looked really cute without being overly fussy.

I tried NYDJ and whoa, was that label accurate. I'm sorry, but they were mom jeans to the core. Super high rise, way more spandex than I liked. (Be careful of that with some of the Levis they sell at Kohls. I bought a pair there and they were ultra stretchy, which felt kind of weird. I think the slightly higher-end Levis sold elsewhere aren't quite like that.)

If you do go to Kohls, see if they have any Chaps. I do really well with any of the Ralph Lauren varieties, and Chaps seems to be pretty well made with attention to detail. The Lauren styles that they sell at my local Macy's are a little matronly, but maybe that's because my local Macy's sucks ass. I did have a really nice pair of Lauren jeans several years ago that fit beautifully.

In other news, that pair of Old Navy jeans I was wearing beforehand? I am wearing them as I type this. I am also 25 weeks pregnant. What does that tell you, Old Navy? HMMMM????
posted by Madamina at 2:51 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've never paid more than $30 get jeans taken in at the waist, and that included hemming both legs. It's SO worth it!!! Find a cheap pair of Levi's at Kohls or even Sears and see how great it feels to have jeans actually fit and still feel right at the end of the day.
posted by fingersandtoes at 2:53 PM on April 30, 2014

Response by poster: Just to clarify, I'm not concerned about the cost issue! I'll probably pay anything for a great pair of jeans, including for tailoring. I just feel I don't like the designer jeans "look" (but maybe I don't know what I'm talking about). Thanks for the suggestions so far!
posted by Blitz at 2:53 PM on April 30, 2014

If you have more muscular thighs try Athleta, Lucky or Eddie Bauer Straight Fit.

It's ALL in the fit.
posted by fshgrl at 2:56 PM on April 30, 2014

If cost is no issue...I have heard fabulous things about Raleigh Denim. My friend went to the store, was measured, had the jeans made from vintage denim (so: soft), and now owns a truly impressive pair of jeans that look good with everything she's worn with them.
posted by magdalemon at 2:59 PM on April 30, 2014

I am wearing a pair of Old Navy jeans today that meet all of your criteria, for the medium blue ones. ON doesn't seem to have a decent black jean, but I did buy a pair of black Lee jeans at Kohl's recently that seem to fit your criteria.

Mostly, to find ones that looked good, I just tried on every pair of jeans I came across until I found the ones that worked for me.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:01 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I like checking out the sale rack at Anthropologie, which stocks a variety of pretty nice-looking jeans.
posted by mlle valentine at 3:10 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Anthropologie has Adriano Goldschmidt jeans in a style called Stevie that are pretty awesome. They come in all kind of colors and fabric finishes. I have slowly amassed a nice collection of them. Previously, I was one of those people that refused to pay more than $40 for a pair of jeans. But boy, once I put a pair of these on, there was no going back. The ones I have are the Stevie Ankles - some in regular, some petite. (I'm 5'2" on a good day.)

One of the tricks to getting them cheaper is to wait for end of season colorway sales or sign up for their Anthro card and get their birthday 15% discount. Otherwise, eBay.
posted by dancinglamb at 3:16 PM on April 30, 2014

You gotta just go to a high end department store and try on all the jeans. I always wondered where people got their awesome jeans, too, until I tried on some Seven for all Mankinds and then it was like: OH. I know a lot of people don't understand why anyone would pay $180 for a pair of jeans but once I had them on my body, I got it and am now a firm believer they're worth the cash.

That said: Gap isn't bad, either. The jeans I wear most frequently these days are from the Gap.

I think the key, though, is to be willing to spend money and try on lots of things.
posted by something something at 3:16 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have pretty good luck with Gap's 1969 line. Some of the styles have a little whiskering/fading going on, but nothing extreme. And the pockets are always very plain. I've also got a few pairs of Paige jeans that are great.

And not to beat a dead horse, but the answer to these questions is almost always "Go visit a large thrift store near you and try on 50 pairs of jeans." I discovered that both of these brands fit me well from buying them at thrift stores. And I haven't paid more than 5 bucks for a pair of jeans in ages.
posted by jabes at 3:34 PM on April 30, 2014

You need Nordstrom, a couple of hours of free time, and a few bottles of water (because trying on jeans is like exercise, I swear to god). Whenever I go jeans-shopping I pretty much grab AT LEAST two dozen pairs at a time to take to the dressing room, including multiple sizes of the same cut/style because you just never know. Nordstrom has a fabulous selection in terms of size and style, and I would say most of the things they sell outside of the juniors' department will be lacking the butt bling that you hate (though excessive tears and fade marks do still seem to be pretty popular).
posted by joan_holloway at 3:34 PM on April 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

I have the J. Crew "Matchstick" mentioned above, and they are my last pair of jeans because after years of irritation I decided jeans are not worth the hassle. Yes, I see plenty of people with great jeans that look really good -- and for every one of those, dozens of meh and dozens of awful, and I never find jeans particularly comfortable. But that's not your question. So, seconding the recommendation, but don't go the "Factory" route. Here is a photo of the J. Crew Matchstick next to the Factory Matchstick and even though my picture is kind of crummy you can see the WTF. They are both the same size. (The Factory pair are the 'distressed' top ones.)
posted by kmennie at 3:40 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Good looking jeans are about the right fit, though it will help that you are willing to tailor. I like going to stores that carry a variety of brands so I can try on a bunch of things. Since you're not too concerned about cost, I'd go to Nordstrom and talk to a salesperson about your requirements. Be prepared to try on 30+ pairs of jeans, you'll need to try different brands, different cuts, different washes, probably multiple sizes.
posted by insectosaurus at 3:44 PM on April 30, 2014

The best way to do this is go to a nicer department store, like Nordstrom or Bloomingdales, and try on several pairs. I found my AG jeans this way and they are revelatory. Soooo soft, amazing fit, perfect color, best garment I own.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 3:52 PM on April 30, 2014

I only wear Paige jeans. "Paige" was the fit model for Seven and Citizens (and other) jeans back when those brands and the whole designer-pocket jeans craze was getting going back in the early 00s. She started her own line and they are the only jeans that consistently fit me perfectly. Also the back pockets are very plain. There are Paige stores in NYC, and they sell them at department stores. But usually I get mine cheap at Nordstrom Rack.
posted by thebazilist at 4:01 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


I guess there's a little bit of wear in the hip/thigh area, but I own these jeans and I've never even noticed it, and I don't like whiskering. Also their darker washes and black jeans don't usually have any whiskering/wear, though some of their jeans do. They are really soft and comfy right off the bat, and their straight leg is perfect for me - it looks good with flats and tucks easily into boots, but I have weird-looking knees and they aren't too tight in that area.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 4:11 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

If cost is no object, try Paige. The Laurel Canyon style is pretty damn close to a Holy Grail Jean. I also agree, Luckys are fantastic. I am loving the Lolita Bootcut to death! I know what you mean about not liking the designer jean look, and I agree. These all just look fantastic and sophisticated.
posted by anonnymoose at 4:12 PM on April 30, 2014

nthing AG Stevies and J Crew Matchstick, and I'll add that the Madewell "Rail Straight" jeans are pretty fabulous. It looks like they might be phasing this fit out right now (because the only regular-price ones available are white!) but there are some in their sale section, and I'd definitely snag a pair of those if any of them happen to be your size.
posted by dizziest at 4:47 PM on April 30, 2014

My thighs/butt are larger than my waist in a significant way, and I really like the New York and Company jeans I have.
posted by bearette at 4:49 PM on April 30, 2014

Many curvy female MeFites are fans of Glora Vanderbilt's Amanda jeans. That thread is actually a list of non-jeans that fit like Amanda jeans, but Amanda jeans are awesome. I've gotten them at various department stores (googling shows they have them right now at Sears, Belk, and Kohl's) and at Ross.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:23 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

(They also carry Amanda jeans at Costco - there are currently about five colors at my local Costco, and they are great.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:14 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I had fantastic luck when I went to visit The Tannery recently, they had a great selection and a very helpful sales staff. That was in Boston - I don't think they're anywhere else, I'm afraid, but you could look at the brands on their site and see if any stores in your area carry them, as they may have a similar set up. I also had really good success very recently at Madewell. A good selection and a helpful sales assistant are the keys - GOOD LUCK! Finding good jeans is a serious chore.
posted by pazazygeek at 6:43 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking someone where they got their jeans! I have always found it complimentary when someone asks me where I got something. Just say, "Those jeans look great--where did you get them?" Everyone likes to be complimented on their style.
posted by greta simone at 9:20 PM on April 30, 2014

I like Levi's and have also found some nice ones recently by Jones New York.

If cost isn't a huge concern, I would try Nordstrom's. They have a variety of different brands and their salespeople are generally very helpful.
posted by Shadow Boxer at 5:47 AM on May 1, 2014

I'm plus-sized and I'm hour-glass shaped with really large thighs. I abhore the stretchy stuff in jeans, makes me look like I'm smuggling golfballs in my legs.

You can get jeans tailored for about $20, well worth it.

Levi's are the best for undecorated, plain jeans in traditional materials. Consider trying men's jeans (more thigh room) and having the waist taken in.

If you're really committed to this, go to the Levi's Made to Order store in NYC, I've heard all kinds of good things about it.

Other brands to think about, Eddie Bauer and Jones New York. Also, and ignore the absolutely horrifying name, Not Your Daughter's Jeans (Nordstrom, some Macy's.)
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:22 AM on May 1, 2014

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