Jeans that won't wear out in the thigh
May 26, 2019 6:56 AM   Subscribe

I (F) am usually US size 16 and have thighs that rub and cause my jeans to wear out between my legs after just a few months. They always wear out there first, and the rest of the jeans would be good for another.... er, long time. This is annoying and seems wasteful. What better alternatives are out there for me?

I've bought several different brands over the years but lately have been pretty happy with the fit of Gloria Vanderbilt's Amanda jeans. What jeans might still be comfortable (I wear jeans All The Time) but not wear out so quickly in the thighs? Alternatively, is it practical/reasonable to "pre-patch" jeans in this area before wearing them? Seems this would be uncomfortable.

Style-wise I like fairly plain jeans (no fancy pockets, stitching, tears, etc) but I don't care much what tone/color blue they are. Bonus points for pockets deep enough to be useful. I don't mind paying a fair amount as long as they will last - I don't want to pay $80 and still have them wear out in four or five months.

Note I am not complaining about the rubbing itself - it actually does not cause any discomfort. I just want my jeans to last longer.

I also found this post from a couple of years ago which is quite helpful but not exactly my question, and also I don't know if products may have changed since then.
posted by 2 cats in the yard to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
You can patch the inner thighs by topstitching thin but strong nylon patches into that area. Buy some thin nylon, maybe ripstop type. Or get a jacket from a thrift shop made of ripstop nylon, and cut it up to get patches. Thin patches are way more comfortable than using thick denim or those horrible thick stiff iron-on-patches.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 6:59 AM on May 26, 2019 [3 favorites]

Depending on how large the area to pre-treat is, my sewing machine has a special "darning foot" that basically just embroiders a small rectangular region. It stiffens and thickens the fabric where you do that but I find it useful to reinforce regions of easily-worn cloth that are prone to wear out, using a heavier-duty synthetic-fiber thread.
posted by XMLicious at 7:11 AM on May 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

I do not have specific brand recommendations but I do find that tighter and stretchier jeans wear out much more slowly in the thighs; I suspect that less fitted jeans actually end up rubbing/crinkling more when I walk. I wonder whether thicker pre-patching would actually increase the amount that it would rub and ultimately would be somewhat self-defeating.
posted by mosst at 7:13 AM on May 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

I find on the other hand that jeans with a lower proportion of stretch material and higher of cotton last longer. The stretch wears out faster. This can be harder to find with plus sized jeans, and I paid $90 for my Universal Standard jeans (I wear a much less available size than 16 though, you may have less expensive options). I've been wearing them constantly for over 5+ months without wearing the out.

Pre-patching sounds smart but find the correct materials. If you poke a bunch of holes in thin fabric you'll be weakening it, but if you are using strong thread that makes up for it. Also don't only iron on an iron-on patch -- stitch it as well.
posted by wellifyouinsist at 7:32 AM on May 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

Seconding that finding jeans that still have a high cotton/denim content and less stretch wear better. I went from being able to keep Lane Bryant jeans for a couple of *years* before they wore out to blowing out their new jeans design (all of their styles appear to be all stretch now) in about 3 months. I just picked up some Lee jeans that seemed stiffer and will be hoping for better luck.
posted by TwoStride at 7:38 AM on May 26, 2019

I'm around your size and very hard on pants. A specific rec: the Universal Thread jeans at Target wear really well for something low-end; I've had mine for about a year and they're still hole-free. For higher-end, my Kut from the Kloth jeans lasted AGES before they finally succumbed to chub rub. Like years.
posted by assenav at 7:52 AM on May 26, 2019 [3 favorites]

+1 on thicker, more cotton, less stretch jeans. Those flimsy skinny jeans don’t last worth a crap.
posted by Neekee at 7:53 AM on May 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

I wear men's old navy jeans and they're super duper tough. Big pockets too!
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:20 AM on May 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

Eileen Fisher jeans. They're expensive up front, but if you do eBay/online consignment at all, they can be affordable. They fit a little large, IMO.

Also, if men's jeans work for you, Everlane jeans have a little stretch but are very thick and sturdy - I wear mine a ton, and they show almost no signs of wear.
posted by Frowner at 8:46 AM on May 26, 2019

I too have an issue with inner thigh wear and tear with my jeans. I have the normal amount of rubbing (no thigh gap on me). I also do some semi-regular bike commuting and so that compounds the rubbing; it also mean I really do need some stretch in my jeans.

I have found Not Your Daughter's Jeans (yes, I can't believe I wear mom jeans) to last over a year and that with a lot of wear. The material is sturdy, but there is still enough stretch. They are usually around $120 and while that's pricey, the fact that they last as long as they do makes it worth it to me.

You might also check out jeans specifically made for bike commuting

posted by brookeb at 9:23 AM on May 26, 2019

I have found nothing to stop the inner thigh rub myself, but j.jill jeans last longer for me than any other brand.
posted by AliceBlue at 6:01 PM on May 26, 2019

I also do some semi-regular bike commuting and so that compounds the rubbing

brookeb, that's interesting: I was just going to suggest to 2 cats in the yard that, if possible, getting around by bike instead of walking might help solve this particular problem, since that's what did it for me! My jeans always used to wear out between the legs, but since I've been cycling to get around this has ceased to be an issue (though I tend to be a very casual urban rider, and do not travel long distances at high speeds).
posted by tenderly at 12:53 AM on May 27, 2019

Ugh I have this problem also and am following. You did not ask for this, but I found great success in patching a couple of pairs of pants, one a chino, one a jean. If you have a sewing machine, it is rather simple. You need a fusible interfacing (I don’t think the exact kind really matters, but something like this) plus a thread to match the fabric. With pants inside out, cut out pieces of interfacing to cover the worn spots, and iron them down. Then sew sew sew, up down back and forth, to create a fairly tight mesh. You are sewing your own patch. And if you get the tear-off kind of interfacing, you can easily pull off the edges that aren’t sewn down. You’ve essentially created new fabric to cover the patches. I have extended the life of my pants, and these patches have not worn through.
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 10:40 AM on May 27, 2019

Thanks for all the suggestions.

@AnOrgamiLIfe, actually I did ask about (pre-)patching too, so your detailed instructions are helpful.

@XMLicious, do you recommend a particular brand of thread?

Today I went to Target and Old Navy. The Target pants looked promising but were "skinny" (despite being size 16/18 I guess this means legs?) and didn't fit well at all. I got the men's old navy as suggested by Homo Neanderthalensis (yes, awesome pockets!). They are 99% cotton/1% something stretchy - I think it was spandex - and felt a bit heavier than the GV ones I've been getting. Fingers crossed.

For additional info for those interested: a friend also suggested LL Bean and seconded the Not Your Daughter's jeans.

I don't currently have a sewing machine but may use this as an excuse to buy one :)
posted by 2 cats in the yard at 3:02 PM on May 27, 2019

Slightly tangential, but I have this problem (extra upsetting on jeans I've made myself) and someone recommended Scotchgard, which turned up here previously when I did a little more investigation. I haven't yet tried it but am going to give it a go on an older pair to see how it affects the fabric and washes.
posted by carbide at 12:56 AM on May 29, 2019

Looks like the thread I most commonly use for this is Gütermann brand “Sew-All Thread”, but I think the important thing is that it's 100% polyester, or some other synthetic fiber that will be durable and really low-friction when rubbing against itself.
posted by XMLicious at 2:56 AM on May 29, 2019

Just saw these additional two responses. I hadn't found that earlier thread. Thanks for both additional bits of info!
posted by 2 cats in the yard at 6:15 PM on May 30, 2019

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