Because we all know that buying jeans is THE WORST…
There are a few things that I hate buying more than I do a new pair of jeans. Maybe bras? Sports bras in particular. Squeezing your clammy body into a tiny piece of lycra under unflattering florescent light in a shoebox changing room and dislocating your shoulder in the process. Yeah – that’s definitely down there. But denim is TRICK-Y. For a lot of us it’s one of our most-worn categories in our wardrobe so it’s an essential purchase, but there are so many stumbling blocks to finding the perfect pair – fabric, fit, stretch, cut, wash, price tag – it’s a wonder that we ever get round to making a decision. So that’s where this post comes in. Hopefully these tips might help to streamline your process and make the whole thing a tad less nauseating and below I’ve also shared my top denim styles if you want to jump the queue and make a purchase ASAP. Here’s my guide to buying denim in the perfect size, fit and wash for you…
BEFORE YOU SHOP
THINK ABOUT FIT. The possibilities are pretty endless when it comes to styles of denim. Do you fancy a slim-cut? A skinny leg? A flare?! A bootleg? I give it about two years and I reckon we’ll all be strutting around in bootlegs again and feeling like we are IT. Before you head out to make a purchase I’d suggest taking a look at your current wardrobe and addressing two questions. One – what is your most worn style currently? Do you like how it looks on you? Feel comfortable? Does it work for your current needs? Is it a versatile style and work well with the rest of your items in there? Two – is there anything that your wardrobe is lacking denim-wise? If you’re already happy with what you’ve got and feel like there’s a denim key that could unlock a whole new world of possibilities for you, then that’s the style to add to your shopping list. Take some time to peruse your fashion faves online or on Instagram and notice the styles that you’re drawn to the most. Have a moment to assess what could work for you/your needs/your daily uniform and add it to the list.
GET YOUR MEASURING TAPE OUT. Most denim is sold using the waist measurement in inches and sometimes an inner leg measurement too. Seeing as that’s not how the rest of our clothing is sized here in the U.K, I find the whole thing a minefield. Off the top of my head I have no idea what my current measurement is and can guarantee that it’s at least an inch more than a couple of months ago thanks to my recent discovery of WHITE CHOCOLATE COCO POPS. I know. So to save yourself the hassle of having to try on 278 pairs and only 178 instead, grab yourself a measuring tape, measure your waist and inner leg and take a note, just so you have a rough idea of where to start when it comes to sizing.
SET A BUDGET. You can spend £30 on a pair of jeans, or you can spend £230 on a pair of jeans. It’s quite the bottomless bit, so once you have your desired style picked out and you have your measurements in hand, then it’s time to have a think about what is affordable for you. More money on a piece of denim doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better, but it does mean that it’s more likely to be straight-up denim without stretch and vintage-type details like gold stitching and a button-fly, so you have to weigh up what you want here, what’s realistic and what feels comfortable within your budget.
WHEN YOU BUY
ORDER ONLINE. Some of us might prefer to sharpen our elbows and go forth to the shops, and I do when it comes to some purchases, but I find were possible that it’s a much more comfortable process to do an online order and try out new jeans in my own bedroom. Not only does it take out the ‘clammy, sweaty, possible risk of dislocating a joint’-ness, it means that you can mull over your purchase a little more. Sit down, walk around, make sure that nothing is digging in too dramatically, can you bend over? Can you do a squat? FAB. You can try them on with other items in your wardrobe, see if they work with your shoe capsule – you get the gist. It just makes for a more relaxing process.
SECOND-HAND-STYLES. One thing you will have to leave the house for though, is if you want a true vintage fit. Then there’s no other option but to get digging at your nearest second-hand outlet. It’s actually a really good way to source denim because vintage places are always teaming with it, you can get unique styles and washes that you can’t find anywhere else and usually they don’t have a massive price tag. Hey – and someone else has worn them in already for you? Nice. If after all your initial steps you’ve decided that you want a straight leg, high waist, pale wash jean then this should definitely be your starting point.
OPT-IN TO TAILORING. Another thing to keep in mind when you’re shopping for denim is that a trip to the tailors might come in handy. Say you’ve found your perfect wash, and you love the fit around the leg, but it’s gapping at the waist a little. Easy, peasy; a tailor can nip in that waist for a small cost and there you have your perfect pair. It’s such a good tool to keep in mind, whether you’re buying high-street or high-end denim, or something second hand. Even if it’s an alteration that needs to be made to an existing pair in your capsule wardrobe, a few stitches here and there can make all the difference and help with finding that all exclusive ‘fit’ which is the hardest part when it comes to shopping for jeans. Ask friends and family for local recommendations in your area.
MY FAVOURITE JEANS
The two most worn styles in my denim wardrobe cover both ends the fit spectrum; although both a straight leg style, one comes with a high-street price tag and plenty of stretch and the other comes with no stretch at all and is much more of an *investment* shall we say?
The former are the *Topshop Straight Leg Raw Hem Jeans (gifted). If you’re a regular around here then you 100% would have heard me raving about these before. Available in regular, tall and petite leg lengths and a shedload of washes, these jeans have a zip fly, a raw hem around the ankle, a high waist and a nice amount of stretch that makes them the most comfortable jean I own. Great for days when I’m running errands or am feeling particularly bloated. I’ve got most of my mates into this style and despite the stretch in the fabric they wash and hold up really well without getting too baggy around the knees.
My other favourites are the ones that I’m wearing in this post and are my most-worn style – the *RE/DONE High Rise Stove Pipe Jeans. These are again high-rise and again with a raw hem, but this time have a button-fly and are made from a stiff no-stretch denim. This gives them a vintage feel and look, but also means that they are pretty f-ing hard to get into when they are fresh out of the wash. Remoulding them back to your shape is a journey. Despite that these are my favourite jeans to style; I own a blue pair and a black pair and basically just rotate the two. They’ve recently launched a stretch version – the *RE/DONE High Rise Stove Pipe Comfort Stretch Jeans, if you enjoy the wash and the fit, but just want them to be a tad easier to put back on post-wash, and if I was to suggest a high-street dupe then the *Topshop Editor Jeans are pretty darn close.
SHOP MY DENIM EDIT*
Photos by Mark Newton