I’ve been buying jeans for nearly thirty years. When I started, I didn’t know much about denim, fabrics, or how to find that perfect fit.
Like many things in life, I learned through trial and error. I listened to many wonderful customers, met with talented designers, and wore jeans nearly every day of my life!
The selection today is amazing. But it hasn’t always been.
Buying Jeans Before Stretch
When I first started buying jeans, denim was mostly rigid and not very soft. Diesel was a trendy brand we carried at Uniquities in the early years, circa 1992-2000.
I remember Diesel because the jeans had a masculine fit … not sexy at all!
But in early 2000, 7 For All Mankind exploded onto the scene, and we could not get enough of the dark blue, stretchy, low rise styles. Everyone wanted a pair. We had hundreds of people waiting for our shipments.
7 For All Mankind was one of the first denim brands made for women in comfortable fits, fabrics, and styles. No more lying on the bed to put on your jeans!
Today jeans come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. If you don’t know what to look for, you might end up with something uncomfortable or unflattering. Here are my top jean buying tips.
Denim Buying Guide
As you search for the best fit, here’s what you need to consider:1. Fabric - Look for the fabric content. If it says 100% cotton, then it has zero stretch.
- 98% cotton and 2% elasthane it has 2% stretch
- 94% cotton, 5% polyester, and 1% elasthane, the jean has 6% stretch
Try on jeans with different stretches to find your favorite. I prefer Mother denim because I love the stretch and cotton content.
2. Rise - The rise is the measurement from your crotch to the waistband.
How high do you want your jeans to be on your waist? There is no correct answer. Each person’s body is unique, and what looks good or feels good on one person doesn’t necessarily work for another.
Picking from high rise to low rise is a very personal choice. Take your time a select the rise that’s comfortable and makes you feel good about yourself.
3. Inseam – This is the length of the jean. Measure from your crotch down the leg to where the fabric ends.
You’ll probably want a few different inseam lengths depending on the style you’re going for today.
Check out this video my team and I put together. In it, two models of different heights wear the same length inseam. And I think they both pull it off wonderfully.
4. Leg Opening - This is the measurement of how wide the bottom opening of the jean is.
- Are you looking for skinny jeans? An opening of 9.5 or 10 inches should do.
- Straight leg, look for 12 inches.
- Boyfriend fit, 13-14 inches
- Bootcut and flares go anywhere from 20-23 inches for the widest silhouettes
5. Listen to your body! Don’t listen to people or articles that tell you what you shouldn’t buy if you are short or tall or whatever. There is much more that goes into fitting denim.
Denim is for Life
I have always loved denim. I remember being in middle school in the late ’70s and lying on my bed trying to squeeze into those too-small Guess jeans. Later in high school, I would steal my older sister’s faded Levi’s to blend in with the cool kids.
Fresh out of college, I was excited for my first shopping trip to Barney’s CO-OP in NYC. In the late ‘80s, Barneys was the epitome of luxury. The only thing I could afford to buy there were jeans.
At the time, I didn’t realize that there was much more to buying jeans than just grabbing a few styles from the display.
I thought that the jeans I picked out would magically fit me, but to my utter surprise and annoyance, the jeans I picked out were either way too small or just looked terrible on me. Maybe I wasn’t meant to wear jeans?
Today there are so many brands and options available. If you can’t find a good fit, then you’re not shopping in the right store.
Here at Uniquities, we have a huge selection, including:
Click the links to shop the brands or visit us in-store, and we’ll help you find the right fit for your body, style, and day!