Finally the topic I have been waiting for Joanie to tackle: denim! And not just because almost all of my jeans have big knee holes right now (checks Joanie’s notes: I guess I’ve been washing them too much). Denim trends are mysterious and unexpected, but as a category they are one of my favorite types of clothing. I learned a lot reading her thoughts and dared to imagine wearing a few different cuts, I hope you enjoy!
The long awaited and hotly debated topic, denim!
Denim is a very personal style choice. So take all my picks with a grain of salt and try them for yourself. Denim trends can shift dramatically, high to low rise, skinny jeans to wide leg, cropped, flare, baggy, tight, etc but it’s my personal belief that if you find a pair of jeans you love, you should wear them forever regardless of style. That doesn’t mean you should not try other styles, I think you should push your limits!
But it does mean that you can feel free to wear what you like regardless of trend. I know a friend who has been wearing flares for the last 10 years because they look good on her and they fit her personal style, despite skinny jeans being the required denim for 6+ years.
I also want to encourage you to get your denim altered, and not just the hem. I bought a pair of vintage Levis’ five years ago for $95. I had them slightly tapered and taken in at the thigh by a half inch, it cost me about $50 and it’s not an exaggeration to say I’ve worn those jeans 1,000 x because they fit me like a glove. Denim is designed to last you for years, so take the time to get them altered exactly as you want them. If you’re getting them hemmed: I would highly suggest asking them to keep the original hem. It’s not always possible based on how much length you’re getting taken off, but it makes a big difference in how they look. The original hem has distressing and thread that is hard to duplicate.
A note on cropping, if you’re buying a pair of cropped jeans, more than likely you’ll need to get them altered because they are probably designed for someone 5’ 8” +. Cropped pants should hit above the ankle bone, showing that bone creates a very flattering line that you won’t be able to get if the pant covers your ankle. This small adjustment makes all the difference. You might try on a cropped pair of pants and they feel all wrong, tuck the hem in a couple of inches and the pant should look much chicer. And if you’re cropping them, you’ll also want to taper them slightly to maintain the original design.
I know denim with stretch is all the rage and I like it too. But, there is a case to be made for 100% cotton denim, they will feel stiff at first but once they’re broken in they will mold to your body and they will last forever. They also hold their shape beautifully. There is a reason that Levi’s from the 70’s still look great.
A note about washing, don’t over wash your denim! I rarely wash mine, especially darker colored ones, they wear much faster with lots of washing. Spot treat them and hang them up if they need to air out.
P.S. If you’re wanting that classic vintage Levi Mom jean look and you’re shopping vintage look for 501’s. Look at the color of the denim and make sure that’s what you want, the rest can be altered but the fading/color can’t be changed.
P.P.S. I link to Shopbop several times because they have fast and free shipping and very easy returns! If you’re a prime member they give you free two day shipping.
And a way we go!
a. I own these jeans and I really, really like them. I wasn’t sold at first but they have become a favorite. They have several great washes and even a couple with holes in them, if that’s your thing. I am personally not a fan of buying denim with holes in them. The holes end up landing in strange places and they don’t look natural. But that’s a personal preference. They will stretch, for sizing if you want them to be snug order your normal size, I ordered one size up for a relaxed fit and can wear them comfortably all day.
b. Hate the name but love the fit on these Levi Wedgie jeans. They’re high waisted, thick fabric and hold their shape really well. I would order your normal size and one size up. They will give slightly with wear.
c. AGOLDE denim deserves a mention for many of their styles. If you haven’t checked them out, I encourage you to do so. The have the Riley crop and they come in several colors, but the “Air Blue” gives you the most classic denim look. The Nico style is the one to pick if you want a classic skinny jean style.
e. B Sides
d. Here is a great wide leg option if you want to test the waters but don’t want anything too wide or dramatic. I like the idea of getting them in black and pairing them with a fun high shoe for going out (when we can do that again). I like the look of dark denim with a fancy cropped sweater of jacket for evening.
e. I’ve been a big fan of B Sides Jeans for years. They are a Brooklyn based company that makes one of a kind pairs with vintage denim and several years ago they launched their own line. The are going to be a bit on the trendy side but the quality of the denim is top notch. I find their jeans to run a bit small, so if you’re in-between, I’d order up. I like their Plein jean for a year-round white/cream denim option. Would be very chic in the winter with a black turtleneck and a big belt. Their jeans often say “sold out” but put your email down to be notified as they do restocks.
f. Order these before they sell out! I bough a pair of these last summer and they are a go-to for me and sell out quickly. They have a similar feeling to the wildly expensive Jesse Kamm pant. They are so comfortable and flattering and look great worn styled many ways. They are long but I took my kitchen scissors and cut them to the length I wanted, no need to pay to have them altered. They run slightly big. I ordered my true size, 4, which fits well but I could have done a 2 for a more fitted look.
g. Citizens of Humanity
i. Madewell skinny
g. The only time I’ve ever stopped a woman on the street to ask her what denim she was wearing was with the Citizen of Humanity Charlotte jean. These have a slight vintage look but feel very modern and incredibly chic. They are expensive but the quality is great and they should last you years of almost daily wear. I like the gray color as it’s unexpected but they come in a variety of washes and I also love this classic look.
h. A cute boyfriend jean option, Size down one or two sizes and if you’re on the shorter side expect to get them altered or wear them with a big cuff. Boyfriend jeans are supposed to be casual, oversized and relaxed so don’t stress over the fit too much. Pair them with a fitted top or a cropped sweater.
i. Rounding out this round up with a pair of can’t-go-wrong-skinny-jeans from Madewell. I personally love the 10” rise, it sits above the hip bone, which I like. I’ve owned these jeans for 5+ years and still wear them regularly. You won’t regret them! They come in three lengths which is very helpful.