One of the most arduous tasks I’ve had to deal with recently, after childbirth, was getting back into denim. If you’re a black leggings kind of girl like I am, you’ll know what I mean. For me, a pair of jeans is the ultimate litmus test. We all have that “one” pair of jeans that we compare ourselves and all others to. And my one had seen better days.
I set out to decipher the daunting world of denim and to find the perfect pair of jeans. Although I knew that I would not find a more honest friend, I was armed with the newly found courage that came from reaching my pre-pregnancy weight.
After trying on over 100 pairs of jeans and learning to distinguish between the super skinny, not so skinny, boyfriend, boot leg, straight leg, cigarette leg, flare, and slouchy (and that’s not even considering the wash or the inconsistent sizing), I believe I deserve an honorary Ph.D. in Denimology. And no matter what you read or what the sales assistant tells you, the only way you know if it’s The One is to try it on. Once you’ve done the hard work and found The One, take my advice and buy two.
Top Three Must-Have Denims
Mom’s The Word
There’s nothing matronly about Mother denim. To be honest, the name was an initial turn-off for me. And if it weren’t for Paul at American Rag’s World Denim Bar, who had the patience of his namesake saint, and who insisted it’s his favorite brand, I might not have given this newcomer a chance. When it comes to denim, all this talk of mothers and daughters is confusing. Not to be mistaken with Not Your Daughter’s Jeans (also known as the tummy tuck jeans), Mother has an entirely different look and feel. If you like wearing lightweight jeans, you’ll love them. Stepping into these jeans will make you feel like you’re wearing a second skin. After trying on several styles, the best fit for me was the Looker. I still haven’t gotten my head (or legs) around wearing skinny jeans, but I was pleasantly surprised. The Looker A.K.A. Goddess by Mother is the best starter skinny jean out there, created with soft, perfectly worn-in denim. They have enough stretch to make you feel “held” in all the right places, and the skinny aspect isn’t so skinny that you need to amputate an ankle to get out of them.
The Looker Mother Jeans/$215, available at World Denim Bar, American Rag, Fashion Island. 949.760.1510 :: amrag.com
The wildcard of all denim is like Amsterdam, the edgy city where G-Star Raw hails from. The best word to describe this brand is revolutionary. The trendier-than-thou look of the Fashion Island store and its employees makes you feel you’ve elevated your cool factor by just stepping into this place and being part of the crowd. After being asked a series of questions, I was handed a pile of jeans to try on. Be warned – there are no mirrors in their fitting rooms. This means you’ve got to step out, bulges and all, and stand in front of their floor-to-ceiling Mirror of Shame so the results can be assessed by the denimologists, who can help determine what works for you. Just a nod of approval from the store manager, Julio, the guy with dreadlocks who looks like a model, made me want to believe that I too can belong. The brand, with all their variations of raw denim and resin finishes, is about thinking outside of the box. I fell in love with their Midge Cody Skinny, especially the detailing around the knees best suited for hardcore, skinny jean connoisseurs. And if you’ve got your basics covered, maybe you’d want to experiment with brightly colored denims that are hot this season. The denim quality is the real McCoy and the cut is the real deal. Look to other brands for your basic denim needs but step into G-Star to stand out and shine.
Midge Cody Super Stretch Skinny :: G-Star Raw/$190, available at G-Star Raw, Fashion Island. 949.640.7054 :: g-star.com
I’m not one to believe the hype, at least not until I tried on a pair of J Brand jeans. What made me go gaga for them was not just the cut or the variety of styles, but the deep indigo wash aptly named Enchanted, something that makes other brands pale in comparison. It’s the deepest shade of blue without any bells or whistles, faintly distressed, which is exactly what I wanted in my basic comeback denim. They’re dark enough to be paired with a dressy top for a night out but simple enough to be worn with a tank top (I believe T-shirts should never be worn by women, even in bed). They can be worn with the highest pointy heels, or if hemmed correctly, they can be worn with flats. Their Super Skinny jean is tight fitting from hip to ankle, but the brand has so many different styles that you should take a closer look inside and read the label to find out the percentage of cotton vs. Lycra to determine if it has enough stretch for you. The more stretch, the more likely that it will adapt to your body frame, whereas jeans made from pure denim will be more rugged and will take time to break in.
Super Skinny Jeans in Enchanted :: J Brand/$205, available at Nordstrom, South Coast Plaza. 714.549.8300 :: nordstrom.com