Know What You Want
Do you need something for work? Are you looking for a special “going-out” pair that really shows off your curves? Or do you want jeans that you can wear everyday with flip-flops and a T-shirt? If you’re clear about what you want, sales people will be able to better help you and you’ll be able to more easily rule out what works and doesn’t work.
Keep An Open Mind
Don’t begin your foray into denim shopping with your mind set on wearing only a particular label or a certain wash or cut. Often times, you’ll come across jeans you would have never imagined you’d like that turn out to be your favorite. If you limit yourself, you run the risk of missing out on the perfect pair.
Spend some time reading—jean terminology, different brands’ design philosophies, and customer reviews—before you start shopping. If you’re knowledgeable about what’s out there and what people are saying, not only will you be able to ask sales people the right questions but you’ll be better equipped to shop with a more discerning eye.
Try Before You Buy
Buying jeans online is a great way to shop, but you need to be sure of what you’re getting. It’s always best to go into a store and try on a number of different styles, cuts, washes and fits before hitting “confirm order”. In my experience, washes and fabrics can have an affect on the way a jean fits. Even if it’s a brand and cut you know well, it may fit differently depending on the wash and/or fabric. Trying on is the only way to be completely sure.
Ask Someone to Look at Your Butt
It might sound ridiculous, but all the women in the fitting room with you—whether they’re working or shopping—have been faced with the same dilemma. And, more often than not, they’re going to offer their opinion to you anyway because they know you’re struggling. Listen to what they say, but take advice with a grain of salt.
Consider the Fabric
This one can be tricky. When a jean has a bit of stretch, it will expand as the day goes on. The downside is that the knee and butt areas start to sag; at worst, your pants are literally falling off your waist by the end of the day. The upside to stretch is that it tends to be more comfortable.
Jeans that are made of 100% cotton, on the other hand, keep their shape all day long and are especially nice if you want something clean and structured. The upside is that cotton retains the look of the jean pretty much no matter what (I might even argue that the overall life of the jean is extended). The downside is that they tend to be less comfortable.
You just need to think about what’s important to you before you head out. My advice: Try both stretch and non-stretch. You’d be surprised at how much that small percentage of spandex and lycra changes the look and feel.
Plan For the Future
Now that you’ve invested so much time and energy into finding just the right jeans, buy another pair. There are a few reasons to do this. One: Ideally, you should have a pair hemmed for flats and a pair hemmed for heels. And two: Most labels phase out certain styles, fabrics, or cuts from season to season, making it impossible to find the exact pair again. And the last thing you want is to be wishing you had another pair of your favorite jeans that fit you so well. Save yourself the grief and have a backup pair.