Monday, October 03, 2005

Speaking of Jeans

You know how I am always on the lookout for perfect jeans? Ladies of my particular proportions are always being extorted in our efforts to find denim with appropriate levels of sexiness without wanton-ness, fit without discomfort, control without roll, and a price that will allow me to pay Provo City this month.


As I was strolling through Target the other day, as I am want to do, I was going to buy a new pair of the Mossimo low-rise bootcuts that make EVERYONE look good regardless of age, salary, or size…
Mossimo Boot-cuts

…when I came across a NEW style in the “junior’s” section. They are Levi Strauss low-rise bootcut and they come in a couple of different washes…indigo and antique being the two best, in my humble opinion.
Levi's boot-cuts
So I thought I would share my (correct-as-usual) opinion on how to buy jeans:

They should be tight when you first try them on, but if you can’t button them comfortably, then they’re too small. Trust me on this. If you put on jeans and immediately think, “these are too small, I would never wear jeans this tight,” they are probably right. If you try on a size lager and think “that’s better” you are wearing jeans that are too big. Jeans straight from the manufacturer have been processed to death, wear them around the house for an hour, and they will loosen up. If you are in between sizes…sucks to be you, use your best judgment.

No one should be buying high-rise jeans. NO ONE. I don’t care who you are, how fat you think you are, or how old you think you are. Jeans that come up to your belly button make your BUTT AND HIPS LOOK HUGE…even if you’re skinny.
bad high rise jeans
For the most flattering fit, you should be wearing your jeans in a medium or low-rise. Low-rise does not necessarily mean that your crack is going to show; they usually call that super-low-rise or ultra-low-rise.
low-rise cartoon
Be prudent. If you buy your jeans in the teenager department, low rise means one thing. If you buy your jeans in the respectable adult department, it means another. If you have a J-Lo-esque rear, wear a belt with your low-rise jeans, this keeps them from sliding down when you sit down.

Medium-rise jeans should come below your belly button. If you are wearing high-rise jeans thinking that it will control the roll situation, you are sorely mistaken. Medium-rise jeans prevent the roll. High-rise jeans create the “pooch”. No one wants to create the pooch.

Most women look best in a modest, darker wash. Light washes are akin to white pants in that they can make you look larger than you are. The goal in mind with jeans is LONG and LEAN. Darker washes have the tendency to produce this effect. Stay away from obvious whiskering at the crotchal regions or obvious and unrealistic “sanding” at the thighs and buttal regions.
bad whiskering and sanding
This is stupid. I often try and imagine what kind of activity could possibly have worn the jeans THAT way? Sliding down concrete embankments? The darker the wash, the more “formal” the look. Jeans are more acceptable in social occasions of, say, going out, if the jeans look nice and have a dark wash with not a lot of “distressing” and wear.
good heel length and wash
Colored jeans are not worth even talking about at this juncture. You shouldn’t be wearing them. Full stop. Black jeans are a little too 90’s and white jeans only looked good on Jackie O and supermodels vacationing in St. Tropez.

Your best bet is straight leg or boot-cut. Flared jeans are somewhat trendy and youthful, but not flattering on most adults. The best line for ANY pant is straight from hip to foot. If your jeans come in too much at the knee then it accentuates the size of your thighs. If your thighs are the widest part of your leg (and we hope that they are or else you are some kind of freak with huge calves…) your jeans should fit you there and then should continue to the floor unfettered and unobstructed. A little flare is OK, but moderate to extreme flare is not.

Here you may balk. If you are a person who likes to wear boots or heels with jeans, you may need to consider buying jeans to fit with heels and jeans to wear with flats. Not kidding. One jean cannot rule them all, so to speak. If you are wearing a shoe/boot with a heel, the hem of the jeans should cover the top of the foot and be wide enough to clear the shoe and still have an inch before it touches the floor. If you are wearing heels and your hem touches the floor, your jeans are too long. If your jeans hit at the top of your heel, they are too short.
bad high heel jeans

If you are wearing flats or street shoes (notice I did not say running shoes or hiking shoes or any specific sport related shoe…) the same principle applies. Your jean may have a “break” at the top of your foot above the hem (which means that the line of the leg may bend, not bunch, at the top of your foot) and the hem should cover most of your heel without touching the ground. “Heel length” jeans would be too bunchy at the bottom to wear with flats. Bunchy=not good. Long and lean=fantastic.
Levi's boot-cuts
P.S. I was at Banana Republic today buying a gorgeous $168 pink silk dress for $12 when the woman in front of me was having the sales girl fill out an alterations ticket! For jeans! Genius!

My biggest pet peeve of fashion these days is this: just because they sell it in the stores doesn’t mean it’s “in style” or that it is going to look as good on you as it does on Giselle or SJP. You may be seeing some “skinny” styles coming back right now.

This does not mean this is where jeans are headed. This is a fad, a throwback to the 80’s, and you should not participate unless you are at or below a size 4. Seriously.


Amy Lynn said...

I'm just so flabbergasted at your neverending well of wisdom and knowledge. How do you KNOW all of this? Seriously? Do I need a new subscription to a magazine other than National Geographic? Would that help? Or is it just better to sin in ignorance? You always look fabulous in your jeans...even with brown frosting dripping down the leg. (Still sorry about that little incident on Sunday...)

Kacy said...

What about Lucky Britches? My mom favors those. You need an addendum on belts now, please.

PS I still maintain that Britannias had their day. Full stop.

Heidi said...

Wow, I now consider myself (for the first time ever) full informed in the area of denim. And, I have been doing everything wrong. I will try to repent. I really hate trying on jeans. I've never found a pair that worked for me.

Bek said...

Thanks for the tips,

I have to say I was happy to hear your Target recomendation. I have found that my favorite jean is from WALMART. It is their $22 dollar Levi's one. I have tried everything from Lucky's, to Sevens etc. The cheapy old Levis fit my perportions best. For gals that have my perportion (really curvy--in sizes that border around the driving age) the Gap Long and Lean w/ Stretch are HEAVEN. They make you truely look long and lean, are comfy and suck in at all the right places. :-)

I will never forget the time I first saw someone wearing dark jeans, long w/ a boot. I lived in NYC and thought "I will never do that". Now, I think it is one of my favorite looks!!! Who knew?

Kacy said...

Oh, Carrie? Beg pardon--You forgot to mention something. How should jeans "fit" when you hold them up in front of yourself on the hanger?

Anonymous said...

If you watch, "What NOT to Wear" you already know all of this stuff. AND I just have to add that the really expensive jeans last longer and are softer. Love the rules. Live the rules.

suzy-q said...

addendum on fitting your genes to follow?

lost your email, found your blog

Marcy Dibbleblotts said...

Great post...I'm excited about the new Target recommendation. I have fallen in love with Gap's new cut CALLED "Long and Lean." love it, love it, love it.

Suzie Petunia said...

I feel so proud of myself to be sitting here in my Target Mossimo jeans. They are the only ones I wear - ever since Carrie Ann told me that was the only (budget-concious)way to go. As ever, I am grateful for the much-needed advice. I'll second the motion for a post on belts. I was stunned and embarassed when one of my beehives informed me I should never leave the house without a belt on! I DID NOT KNOW! I PLEAD IGNORANCE! Carrie, can you help??

And as if I didn't feel cool enough... who is Giselle and SJP?

Emily said...

Can you post photos of you in your new Target Levis as well as the BR golden find? (My most complimented dress was BR, $9.99 marked down from $110. Not as good as yours, but still...)

I was in BR just the other day trying on dresses and I'm going to venture a guess that the one you found wasn't a strapless formless fuschia number with a very wide ruffle that looked a lot like a tablecloth wrapped around. Please, tell me it isn't?? Let's just say it didn't look so good on me when my friend-the-future-bride made me try it on for potential bridesmaids' glamour.

Emily said...

Okay, here's the ugly one that I tried on:

Tablecloth, no?

Is this the cute and stylish and underclothing-covering one that you bought?

Emily said...

One last thing: if you tell me that you, in fact, bought the tablecloth dress, you can find me at Carly's blog where I will be sharing painful foot-in-the-mouth stories and commiserating.

emma jo said...

I too feel a little cool--like I have some of Ceeb's taste. I wear my Target Mossimos everyday as well. Do you think that if I nurse twice as often I could get a smaller size?

Moragh said...

ha ha!! you said full stop!

Anonymously Yours... said...

I'm surprised that you forgot to mention the one area we ALL look at when trying on jeans....your back-side or "bootie." It is SO IMPORTANT to keep POCKET-SIZE in mind when finding a good ftiing jean...Small pockets on anyone blessed to have curves more than a size 6 can destroy whatever the fit may be! (Basically, small pockets accent whatever is left not covered by them...) Larger pockets can help slim...and any pockets with a flap or button should also be used with caution, if you tend to be hesitant in accentuating the "bootie" area!

Abby said...

Carrie, Stacy and Clinton would love you for helping to make the world a better place, from the lower waist down. You are a GURU and I am proud to call you my sister!

Lisa M. said...


I didn't even understand one eighteenth of what in the smack of budda you are talking about.

Suzie Petunia said...

Thanks a lot. I just realized my Mossimos "bunch" at the bottom. Wait here while I go dig a pair of high heels out of my closet...

Emily said...

I am still in suspence about your new dress. Won't you satiate my curiosity?

Carrie Ann said...

Sorry to disappoint, Emily, but I took the dress back. It wasn't the one you were thinking of. I had never seen it before in the store, it just appeared on the sale rack. If felt like a summer breeze when I put it on, but it did not fit well at all, so i'm not surprised it was only $12.97.

And for all you anonymi out there...of course I watch "What Not to Wear". Do you think I'm making this up? While I have impeccable style and insight, I am merely consolidating info into a one-stop info center of fashion do's and don't's...but the purse blog...that was all me. I am a girl with opinions. What else can I say?

AzĂșcar said...

I have to give another shout out to the long and lean Gap jeans. A-mazing.
Perhaps it was me you saw getting her jeans altered at the BR. I just had a pair of fabulous wide leg jeans shorted to fit me. The BR seamstress was kind enough to duplicate the little detail she was cutting off. The dear.

JP said...

I agree "Long and Lean" jeans from GAP...they are just wonderfull. Even with freakishly long legs...they make it "work"

Still...CA, you are amazing. I need to head out to Utah and drag you along for some "guided" shopping...

Lisa M. said...


I printed out your entry and took it shopping with me. I even took my camera along.

I tried on jeans after jeans after jeans, thinking there was NO way in hell (can I say hell here?) anyway, no way that low rise jeans were good for my body type.


I have to admit, you were quite right.

Thank you for being the guru that you are. It was nice to go shopping armed with some info.

(I know this entry is way late. I just coulnd't resist)


Anonymous said...

Hi! I may be wayyy late on this too, but i was just on trying to decide which jeans would make my post 2pregnancies belly good as well as not be too short for my 36 inseam. I googled "best mossimo jeans from target for my body" and your blog came up. I just ordered the Mossimo Superbee medium wash in 8L. Thanks so much, u totally saved my christmas party ass!!

Mark said...

I love the outfit.