I have decided. This has been building up in me the last several months. I began a covert mission to solve my problem so I could present you with solutions before I turned your world upside down. Because what I'm about to say will make you wonder who I am, why I've been telling you the opposite for so long, and should you still consult me for style advice? Hear me out...this is big. I'm so over skinny jeans, probably the single most popular wardrobe staple in most women's closets, including mine. Until now.
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**update** Since I published this post to the Vault last week, the most popular jeans BY FAR have been the Joe's Jeans and the Jones New York Lexington, both from Amazon. I've added a few more outfit ideas with these jeans below.**
I've been wearing straight dress pants for a while, and you've seen them here on the blog. But now I'm switching to straight jeans, i.e. the kind that make your legs look like tree trunks, or turn you into a badly dressed Disney tourist from the 80's ..... but do they? Do all of them? Let me start here. I am SO over skinny jeans. Why do they constantly creep up my legs so I have to pull them down every time I stand? And I have bird legs! I'm also really tired of trying to marry the right pair of ankle boots with the right pair of skinny jeans to get all the stars to align so the jeans and ankle boots meet at just the right spot, where neither is too long and neither is too short. It's like some kind of mathematical word problem.
This picture was from a post last January (complete with a video, and here's a little coincidence - I'm wearing the same green sweater!), when we were wrestling with which ankle boots work with which skinny jeans. The boots on the left are too tall. The boots on the right are perfect, but I still have the issue of the jeans creeping up my legs every time I sit down. Ugh.
You think I'm splitting hairs. Oh no. No, no, no. If good dressing is a game of millimeters, and if missing perfection by said millimeter you might ruin an outfit, let me tell you, this is important. I have devoted blog after blog and demonstrated time after time to my clients how to get the equation right. Where to hem the jeans. which ankle boots work, and which ones don't. Maybe I'm just more into comfort. Maybe I just don't want to spend all this time on this problem when I could solve it with one wardrobe change. The Straight Jean.
Straight Jeans - A Field Guide
Trying to find a good mid-rise straight jean in an attractive rinse is like looking for a white deer in a snowstorm. Not all straight jeans are created equally. Especially, don't be fooled by expensive pairs - they tend to be super "high fashion", not for regular women like you and me. But likewise, don't discard the "cheap" brands either. You may notice lots of jeans I'm suggesting to you say they are high-rise, but that really depends on your shape, where your natural waist is, and what the label defines as "high rise." They may be mid-rise on me but high-rise or even low-rise on you. And some of them look shorter than I'd prefer, but consider the models are usually 6' tall. So you can see why this exercise involved a lot of purchasing and returning. I've made notes to help you make the right choice.
Over the last month, I've bought about 6 - 7 different brands of straight jeans. I tried Joe's, J. Crew, Hudson, Express, Levi's, Calvin Klein, and some other blasts from the past. The designer labels making "straight jeans" are mostly super high-waisted, and sometimes pleated and certainly always destroyed - more for the young and millennials I'd say. Some of the ones I like are cheerily inexpensive. My favorites right now were on sale for $10 from a store called Bargain Hunt in Winchester, TN (sorry they don't have e-commerce). You won't believe the label. Jones New York.
Bear with me. I put my sister up to taking most of these pictures with my iPhone and I have no idea how to edit or improve the quality. It's just me, my sister, and some selfies (booo hisss I hate those).
Above, I have them pulled over my ankle boots, and below, cuffed to hit right under the top of the boots. I never once had to pull them down my calves the whole night. VICTORY.
Here are some I've tried. The first pair are Joe's, and I really like them, but they are too short for me. But that's because I ordered them 2 sizes too small, so I think they would work in my size.
These are J. Crew. I have never been a fan of their jeans, and I'm still not. These are more like boyfriend straight jeans, too baggy in the legs. The back pockets are too wide and too long. And the length is too short. And they're not soft.
These are Express, but the legs were not slim enough. If you have a more athletic build, I could see the legs fitting you better. They are super soft, too. But what ruins them for me, besides the not-slim-enough legs, is that the back pockets and the hem are distressed, which I didn't like. And they are reeeeaallly whiskered. Ew.
I know. I've practically demonized straight jeans over the years. Now I'm into them. (For the record, I will never veer from my opinion that capris are evil or that bootcuts are unflattering.) Here's what I've learned when looking for straight jeans.
How To Buy Straight Jeans
1. Straight jeans must be mid-rise.
Not high-rise, and not low-rise (as if). Now, many jeans labeled "high-rise" are really not extremely so, and it all depends on where your natural waist is. I'm very short-waisted because I have long legs and a short torso. I tried on these AG straight jeans and they seem fine.
2. Length is of paramount importance.
Unlike skinny jeans, straight jeans must never bunch or scrunch (too long), and they must never hit above your ankle bone (too short). Now, a crop flare above your ankle bone is ok, just not straight jeans.
3. It's ok to cuff them, but never to roll them.
4. When you're wearing straight jeans with ankle boots, make sure there is no break.
This goes for all types of shoes with straight jeans now that I think about it. Flats work with straight jeans if there is NO break, same goes for heels.
Here are some more straight jeans I think are worth trying. And don't worry, I'll be doing much more on straight jeans and skinny jeans. There will be a growing period.
How To Wear Straight Jeans
Whew! Thanks for being open to something new. I'll work with you to get this one right. In the meantime, you may still see me in skinny jeans if my new straight jeans are dirty.
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