7 Things I Learned While Shopping for (Inexpensive) Jeans

I went shopping today and learned a lot today about denim, about marketing, about the world at large.  Here I share some of my more profound insights:

— 1 —

Thanks to the modern miracles of Spandex and low-slung waistbands, ladies today have a choice of fits in their jeans: do you want them to fit for the first few hours out of the dryer?  or do you want them to fit in the later half of the day?

Choose the first:


Jeans I already owned. Don’t stay up. Purchased at a thrift store to tide me over until I had more time to shop.


And you literally will be holding your pants up to keep them from falling off by the end of the day.

Choose the second and you look like this at first:

But they will loosen up in a few hours but still stay on you of their own accord.  At least that’s what the salesladies at LOFT assured me.

— 2 —

Forget everything you’ve heard about size variation and vanity sizing, blah blah blah.  LOFT’s sizes are correct.  Everyone else’s are wrong.

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

— 3 —

Once you find a pair of jeans at LOFT, or course they will be out of the correct style (skinny but not ankle skinny and not “super skinny” if you please), in the correct fit (curvy, not modern–after two kids I no longer am modern), in the correct color (dark but not black).  Figures.  But if you order from the store you get free shipping.  Sweet.*

*BTW, I don’t live in that lovely world in which LOFT jeans are “cheap” or even “inexpensive,” especially when (oh, the shame!) I buy them at full price.  They are still safely in the two-digit price range, however, so I’m lumping them together with truly “cheap” jeans.

— 4 —

Old Navy’s jeans are awful.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

I was going to post a full picture here, but then I remembered pictures live forever on the internet.

I was going to post a full picture here, but then I remembered pictures live forever on the internet.

{*Update: over a year later, I tried Old Navy’s jeans again and they weren’t so bad. . . . I just had to go up a size to get them over my wide muscular voluptuous imposing . . . majestic thighs.  Fit your thighs and hips first!  The waistband can be altered. *)

— 5 —

Pockets are important.  It’s all about the pockets.  They need to be wide and low, not small and high.   Because whatever your pockets are, your rear end will look the opposite.

Some of the worst offenders in the pocket sizing department are the jeans for Vera Wang’s Kohl’s collection.

I like to imagine Vera personally designing each piece for the lowly Kohl’s line with the same love and care she puts into her high-end bridal gowns.  But there’s no way Vera, in all her sleek chicness:

English: Designer Vera Wang at Ralph Lauren's ...

would come up with these:

Okay, they don’t look so bad in this picture, but believe me, they are.  I think the pockets are correctly sized for pants size 00 but they don’t make the pockets bigger as the jeans get bigger.  Something like that.

— 6 —

Kohl’s has altogether too many choices.  It’s so dizzying.   They do have one line of jeans that has decent back pockets, however:

Can’t get the picture to work.  You can see it here.

(And yes, A, I did notice your back pockets the other day but, no, I’m not in the habit of checking out your behind.  Honest.)

But they don’t fit me well in the front.  (No picture, you’re welcome.)  Ah well.

— 7 —

 I think choice in general makes clothes shopping hard.  That’s why shopping for clothes at Costco is so appealing.  One or two options, no possibility of trying them on.  Grab it and go.  It works!  Have you seen how the clothing section has expanded at Costco in recent years?  People like shopping for clothes that way.

Costco’s clothing boutique

The only jeans I saw at Costco were of the Gloria Vanderbilt variety, and I had been forewarned.

Gym pants, though . . . I was in the market for gym pants, along with jeans.  I found a pair of gym pants at Old Navy that were okay, but I didn’t like the price and the fit wasn’t perfect.  Tried on a few more at another store, and they just weren’t right.

As I was walking out of Costco, however, I grabbed a pair of Kirkland brand gym pants.  I still don’t know if they fit.  They actually cost more than the pair at Old Navy.  But I didn’t have to think about it.

And really, after trying on all those jeans, they had me at “elastic waist.”

Happy weekend!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

8 thoughts on “7 Things I Learned While Shopping for (Inexpensive) Jeans

  1. Mom Jeans! Love it. I enjoyed the link to the gal’s experience with the G.V. mom jeans. Thanks. I avoid G.V. – don’t like the way they fit. Just like non-momjeans, there ARE decent mom jeans out there. For one thing, when tucking shirts inside your slacks is no longer an option (as is the case with myself) then the higher the waist, the better. You do get to an age, eventually, which is actually very freeing – over 50, I’d say. It’s strange, however, because although you have a sense of not giving a crap about what others think, there’s STILL some sort of undefined parameters that we mom-jean-wearers still adhere to. Can’t rightly think of what they are at the moment, because at the moment I don’t give a crap!
    And for what it’s worth – the only ones judging all you beautiful young women and your jeans are other beautiful young women – we older ones see only beauty and feel a nostalgic twinge of longing. Sort of….because, as I said, being 50ish and wearing mom-jeans and a sweatshirt (God forbid!) is oh so comfy and who cares?! No one is looking at us!

    • Hah! Yeah, I think Gloria made a misstep recently because her jeans are _everywhere_ in the secondary clothes market (Costco, Ross). Anyway, I hesitated to write about “mom jeans” because I agree that it’s more important to have something that fits and is comfortable than to have whatever is currently in vogue. And a decent pair of mom jeans is _certainly_ better than the muffin top/plumber’s crack combo that is running rampant. *Shudder*

  2. Ok, I’m playing blog catch-up tonight and loved this post. I agree with you 100% on Old Navy jeans (awful) and on the jeans stretching-out thing. My roomie used to always tell me that I wore mine too big (we were the same size but she wore her jeans 1-2 sizes smaller than me) but I just don’t like them skin tight (although saggy butt is no fun either). I have two pairs of Loft jeans, trouser jeans (I thought they were a little mom-jeans-ish when I bought them but couldn’t resist how comfy they were… I wear them all the time) and my only pair of skinny jeans (from Loft outlet). Their jeans fit really nicely, but it is hard to find the right style…and I also love that I can sometimes wear a 6 in Loft (only brand that I can wear a 6 pant in, ha…)

    Ok, this is the longest comment ever, but I really enjoyed this post 🙂

  3. I know this may sound crazy, but the Arizona brand super skinny jeans at JC Penney are great. And they’re dirt cheap. They didn’t give me mom butt like the ones at Gap and Old Navy.

Feel like commenting? Please do. I usually respond here in the comment box.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s