Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Jeans! And clothes more generally

So! You know how on that end of year survey most of the Internet does, one of the questions is about describing your personal fashion concept or some such? I always kind of roll my eyes at that question and give some sort of tongue-in-cheek answer (which, I'm sorry, is fully justified by the ridiculous "fashion concept" phrasing), but the thing is, I actually DO try to dress in some sort of vaguely pulled together way, most of the time, and I feel like I've come a long way in doing that over the last couple years.

Now, I'm hardly a fashion plate, uh, at all. But! I shop at places other than Old Navy and Target for my clothing, and this is a big step up, so I'm going with it. Also, I finally got the piercing in my left ear fixed, a solid 25 years after it was first done, so that now it actually functions, and the front and back align, and it doesn't close over constantly so that I have to essentially re-pierce it (and draw blood) every time I put an earring in. So! I obtained a bunch of earrings, and I wear them every day (and night, as mandated by my piercing shop for a full year after the piercing was done), and I also wear necklaces and sometimes even watches and bracelets to match, and Annika is old enough that she no longer tries to strangle me with my own jewelry, and I even got some gold stuff in addition to my safe-staple silver stuff, and so now I can... accessorize? Kind of? I'm still not a crazy over the top accessory type, or even a statement necklace type, but I do try to have at least a necklace and earrings to complement my outfits pretty much every day, and that's a big step up for me.

OK, so, back to the subject at hand, the clothing itself. The vast majority of the clothing that I own and actually like and wear regularly is from Loft, Lands' End, and Boden. You see that I've taken a step forward past Old Navy and Target, but I'm not exactly wearing couture over here. But I love, in particular, tops and dresses from Loft (my hips are too wide to fit into most of their pants), dresses from Lands' End, and pretty much everything from Boden (though they are a more recent discovery for me and I have not yet dared to try pants from them--but I don't even wear their biggest size in most tops and skirts so I'm thinking I need to bite the bullet and at least try some of their pants). In the summer I more or less live in lightweight dresses (the Lands' End fit and flare features heavily) and the occasional maxi skirt. My Olukai flip flops are my most-worn summer shoe (I'm sorry, this whole "polished" look is still a work in progress) but I have obtained a variety of flat sandals that are cute and at least somewhat practical for wearing out and about, and I try to force myself to reach for those more often. (Please note, also, that as I work from home, officewear isn't really an issue for me other than for the occasional business trip, so my wardrobe is by and large very casual.)

You'll notice that what's missing from the above is pants. Jeans, specifically. I... well, even though I kind of feel like today's current fashions are very reminiscent of the eighties in tone, and I suspect that in 10-15 years we will look back at photos of ourselves in these clothes and cringe, I kind of love a lot of the current fashions, particularly in jeans. I have fully embraced the skinny jean (it allows us to show off all our cute shoes and boots! I am on board with this!) and also the colored jean. I had a pair of red jeans from Old Navy about a year ago that are sadly now too big, and since then I have no been able to find a decent-fitting pair of colored jeans. Also, jeans are the only thing that I still buy at Old Navy. I wear their rockstar super skinny jeans and like them a lot, for what they are. They fit well, they are affordable, they are available in lots of washes... and they are cheap, and they start to sag and stretch quite quickly after purchase. Because they are so cheap, this is not a big deal because they can quickly be replaced, but you know what I would really like? Jeans that are actually of decent quality.

I've been holding off on doing this for a couple reasons. One, between my lap-band and two pregnancies, my weight has been quite in flux for the last few years, and it has made me hesitate on investing real money into a pair of jeans that might not fit for all that long. Two, and relatedly, I am very very pear shaped, so while I can usually pull off straight-size tops (see above re my love of Loft) and even skirts if they aren't cut too straight, the same is not true of pants. So I was afraid that even if I decided to invest in a couple pairs of high-quality designer jeans, I wouldn't find any that fit me properly.

But recently, well. I'm pretty close to my pre-pregnancy weight at this point, and while the weight loss continues, it is slow and steady, and also, it takes me a lot of pounds (like, well over 20) to lose a dress size, so even if I shrink out of my jeans eventually, it will be a slow process, and in the meantime I've spent a lot of years wearing crappy cheap jeans while waiting to be a small enough size to justify something nicer, and I'm sick of it. I want good jeans! And damn it, I'm going to invest in some. I did poke around Nordstrom (another newly beloved store for me) and was surprised to find that their plus size jeans selection was sorely (SORELY) lacking--some Not Your Daughter's Jeans and... that's it--so I'm thinking I'm going to need to figure out an alternative. Like, what brand should I be looking for, and where should I be looking for it? Friends have made a few recommendations to start me off (Paige and Kut from the Kloth--though I'm not convinced I'd fit into the size 34 from Paige and also it seems to be rarer than unicorn dust to actually FIND a size 34 from Paige even though it theoretically exists--and Kut from the Kloth has plus sizes but the selection appears quite limited in terms of both color and style) but that is as far as I've gotten.

So! I'm on a mission! Find myself some decent jeans! Just one pair, for now! I'm somewhere in the range of a size 18-20 in pants, which sadly means I'm just slightly sized out of most straight-sized lines of jeans, which typically end at a 16. But if you know of any that, say, run big? Or make plus sizes? Or that you've heard good things about? Or have ideas about stores to look at to find out these things (this is where I thought Nordstrom would come through for me, only to be sadly disappointed)? I am all ears. Tell me about your jeans!


  1. I love a boot cut jean (because I'm from New England, it's how we do) and Old Navy is the only company that I can find boot cuts in petite lengths all the time. I've lost about 60 lbs since November 2013, going from a 16/18 to a 8/10. Again, props to Old Navy, because they totally vanity size, and I can wear a 6 from there (which makes me feel great, even while knowing it's not a real size 6). The jeans hold up great, even compared to way more expensive brands. I might make the foray into skinny jeans this winter (when I can wear them with boots), but for now, it's Old Navy all the way. Target as a back up, especially for shorts.

  2. I love love love ASOS Curve skinny jeans. They run about a size large and they are super skinny. Plus, in the last year they've really upped their quality. I bought a pair last year and wasn't thrilled with the quality but still loved the pants because they fit so well, and I decided to get another pair last month and was very pleasantly surprised that the fabric was thicker and felt much better. Plus! They have free shipping both ways - WIN!

  3. I have had really good luck with the NYDJ stuff from Nordstrom. I have these in Mirage and Pomegranate and love them both. They fit and feel like jeans even though the description is stretch twill.

  4. I don't think that you want fashion advice from me! Ha! But I did see a blog that would be helpful:

  5. i am no help, because i can't find jeans i like (at least not that also last) for myself either. My go-to for well-fitting, decently-made jeans right now is White House | Black Market, although I think they only go to 16. However they are HUGE on vanity sizing (I am sometimes a FOUR there. HAHAHAHAHA. I'm an 8-10 in normal sizing) so maybe? Basically I've got nothing.

  6. I would look at Zappos and maybe Amazon. Zappos always has free ship/free returns, and Amazon often (but not always) does. I'd order a bunch of stuff and then return it. Repeat until you find something good.

    I've had some luck with Levi's but it really depends....different colors of the same style fit differently. Frustrating.

  7. I am really short, and I hate low-waist jeans; my favorite, most comfortable jeans are Not Your Daughter's Jeans, by far. The quality is great, fit is super comfy, and I never feel like I'm exposing half my butt when I wear them!

    ~ Wendi