Entering fall means it’s time to talk denim! I have always loved wearing jeans, but it hasn’t been until the last year or two that I’ve felt completely happy with my jeans. In the past I bought what I thought were the “perfect” jeans, only to be frustrated halfway through the day when they stretched out, lost shape, and got awkwardly saggy. Not to mention how annoying it is to have to pull your jeans up all the time! I also bought pairs of jeans that looked really good with flats, but once boots weather came around I discovered too late that those jeans didn’t look right with my ankle boots or with my riding boots. I hated spending money on jeans to later discover all these things that were problematic about them.
Having learned from years of mistakes with dozens of jeans, I finally realized I just need to test my jeans before I pull off the tags and decide to keep them. It’s better to do it on the front end when you can still return things rather than discovering them later and having to pay for it.
So, here are 3 very simple things I do to test my jeans once I think I’ve found a great fitting pair. While there is a LOT of ground we could cover to troubleshoot all fit problems with jeans (like, finding jeans that you don’t have to pull up even if they’re not stretched out, figuring out which rise is best for you depending on your midsection, or how jeans should even fit you in the first place) all of that is too much to cover in one post. Today I just want to focus on what to do to minimize buyer’s remorse when you think you’ve found the perfect pair of jeans.
These might seem like obvious things to do, but I’m always surprised by how often I hear women lament about wasted money because of these problems. A few little tests on the front end would save a lot of heartache and money!
THE SIT TEST: Sit, bend over, and squat in them.
My mom used to make me do this in dressing rooms, but I’ve learned that not all women try this with their jeans before pulling off the tags. Sit in them. Bend down in them. Squat. I plan to wear jeans to chase kids around, run errands, and basically do anything. If I’m not comfortable sitting in them, squatting in them, or am annoyed that they fall off my hips way too far when bending over, I will not want to wear them and they’ll sit in my closet. You need to be comfortable in your jeans and not feel like they’re restricting your movement in any way or else they’re not worth your money. All of my jeans have so much stretch to them, but they aren’t jeggings. They’re thick, hold in my extra jiggle, maintain their shape, are comfortable enough to do a lot of movement in–and stay on my hips while doing so. There are millions of jeans out there, and though it’s a pain to find great ones, it’s worth it!
If you have problems with jeans revealing your rear when you sit or bend over, try a pair with a higher rise, especially a higher back rise.
THE SAG TEST: Wear for *at least* 3 hours around the house.
We’ve already said saggy jeans are frustrating. I’ve experienced sagging with jeans at all price ranges, from cheaper brands to expensive $100+ designer jeans. I’ve also experienced amazing jeans that retain shape over multiple wears with jeans across all price ranges. While some brands tend to retain shape better than others, every pair of jeans is always different, even within the same brand.
To test this, I wear my jeans around the house with the tags on for at least 3 hours to see if they’ll stretch. If they do get saggy yet everything else about them is great, I would exchange them for one size down and do the test again to see how the size down fits after 3 hours of wear.
One example is with my Old Navy Rockstar jeans. (The ones I’m wearing in the pics above.) If you were around last fall, you have heard me talk about these a ton. But for everyone else, this is a very important lesson to apply to all jeans. I read reviews that these stretched and sagged and people were unhappy with them. I read other reviews of people saying to size down 1-2 sizes. It sounded crazy to size down two sizes, but since shipping and return shipping are free with Old Navy, I had nothing to lose.
I’m normally size 6/8 and got these in 4. They started out SO tight! I could get them on and zipped, but they looked almost painted on because they were so tight. I wore them around the house for 2 hours and they were still tight. At around 3 hours, they had stretched a little and felt looser. They no longer looked painted on either, rather they actually looked like a perfect fit. Being skeptical, I thought they would continue stretching out a lot more, but after a full day of wearing, they hadn’t stretched beyond that initial loosening and maintained that perfect fit all day. I kept them and wore them for like 4 more days straight (because I’m gross like that) and they still didn’t stretch anymore! They had maintained that perfect fit for multiple wears before washing. If I had stuck with size 6, I would have been one of the people complaining that these stretched out and got saggy. With sizing down, they were perfect after the initial stretch, and they have been my absolute favorite jeans!
*I have the Old Navy Rockstars in 6 colors, and they are all different sizes. Most fit me in size 4, but in one color I got size 6. In some other colors I’ve tried the 4s were too tight and I couldn’t even zip them up. All are different, so always buy two sizes and always do the stretch test.
**Also, unfortunately my very favorite pair of Rockstars shown above are not available at the moment. If they come back this year, you’d better believe I’m going to shout it from the rooftops and let you all know! One pair that is fairly similar, except the size 4 did not fit me and I needed to try size 6, is HERE. Old Navy has tons of other Rockstar jeans HERE.
- LOFT White Modern Skinny Jeans. I wear size 28P.
- Old Navy Mid-Rise Rockstar Jeans. I have the distressed pair above, olive, coral, maroon, khaki, and white.
- Wit & Wisdom Black Ankle Jeans. I wear size 6. These are softer than the black pairs of Old Navy Rockstars I’ve tried.
- Wit & Wisdom Bootcut Jeans. I wear size 8.
This is definitely based on preference for how you want your jeans to look with your shoes, but I’m throwing it out there because I’ve heard so many women say they can only wear a particular pair of jeans with ONE pair of shoes because of how the jeans are cut or how wide the leg opening is.
I personally like when my jeans have a skinny, tight fit with ankle boots, flats, and riding boots. However, a few years ago, my skinny jeans had pretty wide leg openings and looked a little more like slim fitting straight leg jeans. They looked fine with flats, but once I rolled them up with ankle boots the fit wasn’t tight like I wanted it to be. My jeans also looked baggy and bulged at the knees with riding boots because overall the leg wasn’t skinny enough. I personally hated having jeans that could only work with flats or heels but didn’t work with ankle boots. Now I look for a skinny ankle and test my jeans to make sure I like how they look with a variety of shoes.
Again, this is dependent on how you want your jeans to look with your shoes. Some of you might like your jeans to be a little looser when rolled up with ankle boots. But, regardless of whether you want a skinny, fitted look like I do or whether you have a variety of preferences depending on the shoes, try the pair of jeans with all of your main shoes. My main shoes are: a pair of simple flats, my go-to pair of ankle boots, a pair of riding boots, and white slip-on sneakers. If your jeans look how you want them to with a majority of the shoes you’d want to wear them with, then you’re probably good to go. If they only work with ONE pair of shoes, you might want to move on to finding a pair that would work with at least two pairs of shoes.
Again, I know these seem obvious, but I can’t stress them enough. I have talked to soooo many women that complain about one or all of these things, especially the latter two! You have to trust that you CAN find jeans that will not sag, that you can be really comfortable in jeans even while doing a lot of movement, and that one pair of jeans should be able to work with multiple types of shoes. Don’t settle until you find jeans like that!
Denim Brands as a Starting Place
I already gave you a list of specific pairs of denim that I own that meet all my hopes for jeans, but let’s now open it up to brands that tend to have a good track record. Please remember that not every single pair of jeans from the same brand is created equally, so read reviews regarding stretch and sizing and all that. But at the very least, this should point you to the right playing field for good, comfy, stretchy jeans that won’t sag.
These brands tend to have jeans under $100. I avoided listing designer jeans because while they’re great, I think you can find ones you’ll love at lower price points.
For an idea of where I’m coming from, in the last 5 years I have owned multiple pairs of jeans from Target, Old Navy, LOFT, Wit & Wisdom, Paige Denim, Caslon, Lucky Brand, and tried them from many, many, many more brands. While I have found *one* good pair from some of those brands, that same quality may not have spanned across the whole brand. The brand listed below have several pairs that I felt good about.
- Wit & Wisdom – Tend to be very stretchy without sagging. Vary in thickness, depending on whether it’s a regular pair of denim or a jegging.
- Kut From the Kloth’s Diana Cut – Usually very stretchy and thick, but usually need to size down a LOT because they are so stretchy. (I like these a lot and am pointing you to them but usually don’t purchase Kut From the Kloth myself because the rise is too high for me. Material is great though.)
- Kut From the Kloth’s Donna Cut – From what I remember trying these on briefly is they are thinner than the Diana cut above, but also stretchy.
- Old Navy Mid-Rise Rockstar Jeans – All over the map in softness, thickness, and sizing, but all 6 colors I own do not lose shape after that initial 3-hour stretch. They are very affordable, especially with Old Navy sales.
- Articles of Society – A lot of people love these, though honestly I prefer any of the other 4 brands listed above. From the few I’ve tried on, I recall them being fairly stretchy but also fairly thin and not great at holding in my jiggles, haha! But they are often on sale, around $38-$50. I’d still prefer Old Navy Rockstars or would pay a little more for Wit & Wisdom though.