The Pursuit of the Perfect Jeans

J Brand jeans and Zara jacket

UK personal style blog

 [Jeans: J Brand c/o Shopbop // Jacket and collar: Zara // peplum top: Topshop // Shoes: Rocket Dog // Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs c/o Shopbop // Sunglasses: Gucci]

 For the past couple of years, I’ve been constantly in pursuit of the perfect pair of jeans.

Now, I’m sure I’m not the only one on this particular quest. What is it about jeans that makes them so hard to shop for? I will never know. What I DO know, however, is that I HAD the perfect jeans. Oh yes I did. They were from Dorothy Perkins, of all places, they cost me about £20, and I must have worn them a few hundred times over the years they were in rotation in my wardrobe. Seriously, those jeans MORE than paid for themselves.

The problem with all of this wearing-of-the-jeans, though, is that eventually those jeans wore right out, and not in a charming, perfectly-worn-in kind of way either, but in an “if I wear these in public, people will probably hand me their spare change to buy some new clothes with” kind of way. So they had to be reluctantly retired, and the search for the New Perfect Jeans commenced: a search which has so far proved fruitless. Or jean-less, rather. And oh, there have been lots of jeans. But none of them have been PERFECT. There are two main reasons for this:

1. Sizing: GAH.

When it comes to dresses, skirts, tops, trousers – anything that isn’t a pair of jeans, basically – I can pretty reliably pick out my size and know it’ll fit – or will fit as well as anything ever fits, anyway. With jeans, though (I’ve already typed the word “jeans” so many times in this post that it’s become completely meaningless to me. jeansjeansjeans. Jeans.), I seem to be between sizes. My usual size, i.e. the one I wear in all of those other items of clothing, will generally give me a muffin top in jeans. And no one loves a muffin top, do they? The size up, however, will often be so large I’ll feel like I’m wearing harem pants, and if you’ve ever read The Fashion Police, you’ll know aaaaalll about my burning hatred of harem pants. GOD.

2. Being super-fussy: DOUBLE GAH.

So, yes, I’m fussy. Like, REALLY fussy. No, fussier than that. In order for a pair of jeans to be deemed Perfect Jeans, you see, they must fulfil a number of criteria. They must be:

a) The perfect length

Now, I know you can have jeans altered. I know this. I’ve even done it, plenty of times. But I never really like the way jeans look when they’ve been altered: I want them to fit perfectly, straight off the rack, and when you’re my height, that never, ever happens. The only time I can find jeans that are the right length are if they’re from a petite range, or designed to be cropped on “normal” people, and those kind of ranges tend to be really limited in terms of cut and colour. Like, any given brand will offer a kazillionty-one different washes and cuts on their regular length jeans, but only two in the petite range, and neither of those will fulfil my other requirements, which include…

b) Skinny, but not super-skinny

I LOVE skinny jeans. Love them. I know this isn’t a popular point of view, but I hope they never go out of style. Lately, though, I’ve been finding it almost impossible to find skinny jeans that aren’t super-skinny. I’m not sure if the problem is with the jeans or with my legs, but even jeans which are too big in the waist will normally fit like leggings on the calves, and I HATE that. I want drainpipe, not Saran wrap. And can I find it? Nope: no more than I can find…

c) The perfect mid-blue wash

I know lots of people love dark wash jeans, because they like the fact that they can be “dressed up”. Not me. For me, the beauty of jeans is that they’re casual. If I’m going somewhere “dressy”, I’m not going to be wearing jeans, and when I am wearing jeans, I want them to be that classic, mid-blue: not too dark, not too light, and absolutely no whiskering/distressing/deliberate creasing or ripping. Seriously, if I want to look like my jeans are falling apart, I’ll just keep wearing those ancient Dorothy Perkins ones, and forget all about the search for the Perfect Jeans, you know?

Which brings me – AT LAST, I hear you say – to the jeans in these photos. These jeans fulfil only two of my requirements: they’re the right shade, and the right cut, but as you can see from the photos, even although they were sold as “ankle” jeans, they’re still long enough that I have to tuck or roll them to avoid that “concertina” effect on the leg. (I HATE THAT.) What you CAN’T see from the photos, however (and for that, I would like to just take a brief moment to salute the peplum top, and it’s belly-hiding properties. I hope IT never goes out of style either, and if it does, I’m going to just keep wearing it anyway…) is that in the battle between muffin-top and harem-pant, I decided to err on the side of harem-pant (I KNOW!) and sized up. And the result of that is that as soon as I I start walking, these jeans start a-slidin’, and within a very short space of time, they’ll have inched their way down to the point where they not only look horrendous, but where I have to do this awkward kind of mincing walk, where I take a few steps then stop to pull the jeans up, then take a few steps and stop to pull the jeans up, and so on and so forth.

Yes, you’re right, I could wear a belt. I have thought of that, and sometimes that’s exactly what I do. On the day these photos were taken, though, I didn’t need to wear a belt, because I was wearing THIS instead:

perfect fit button

This, my friends, is a Perfect Fit Button. You may have seen the infomercial. If you haven’t, well, it’s basically an extra button which you pin onto the waistband of your too-big jeans to create… you guessed it!… the perfect fit.  Terry bought this one in the “As Seen On TV” store in Orlando (I promise I’m not making this up. Or, indeed, being paid to tell you about this.), and honestly? It kind of works. I mean, not perfectly.  There’s just no substitute for jeans that actually fit, obviously, but given that it’s been a long time  since I owned a pair of those, a few weeks ago  I “borrowed” this from Terry, and have been using it ever since to keep my jeans up.

So, last Sunday, we’d headed into Edinburgh to see the fireworks that mark the end of the Edinburgh Festival. I was wearing these jeans, held up by the Perfect Fit Button. We’d just arrived, and were walking along the street, when all of a sudden…


You’re thinking my Perfect Fit Button gave way, and my jeans fell to the floor, aren’t you?

Well, you are WRONG.

It was TERRY’S button that gave way. And it wasn’t even a Perfect Fit button, either: it was an actual, real-life button, which… clearly didn’t have a “perfect fit”, because one minute it was holding up Terry’s jeans, and then, all of a sudden? It wasn’t. (This makes it sound like Terry’s jeans were too small. They honestly weren’t, so we have no idea why the button popped off. My theory is that it did it purely to spite me.) We don’t have a lot of luck with jeans in our house, really.

Well, Terry looked at me and I looked at him. Then we both looked at the Perfect Fit button, sitting all snug and secure on the waistband of my jeans.

It was obvious what was going to have to happen. ONE of us was going to be spending the rest of the day walking around with our jeans falling down, and by “one of us” I mean “it was going to have to be me”. Because my jeans did at least still HAVE a button of their own, albeit one that wasn’t all that great at holding them in place. Well, it would’ve been just plain selfish for me to walk around with TWO buttons to my name while Terry didn’t even have ONE, so we stood there in the street, with passers-by looking on curiously as I grudgingly removed my Perfect Fit Button and handed it over to Terry.

And then I spent the rest of the day – and night, people, for we were there until late – looking like I was wearing harem pants, and doing a strange, shuffling walk, while stopping every few seconds to pull my jeans up.

After that, the search for the Perfect Jeans assumed a new urgency. I’ll let you know how I get on…