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9 Common Jean-Shopping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Many among us would rather paint our ex-boyfriend’s outhouse—our ex-boyfriend being a hillbilly of uncertain orthodonture, at least in our heads—than walk boldly into a dressing room and start trying on jeans.
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Denim shopping can be a daunting task. Sometimes you wonder if you shrank two feet yesterday and no one bothered to mention it. Why else would the waist of every single pair in your size hit your neck? Sometimes you wonder if jeans are made for humans or willow trees. Sometimes you just want to buy a skirt—or pajama pants. Fret not. We’re about to make your next trip as painless as possible.


Here’s What To Avoid When Faced With Stacks Of Jeans and a Mirror


Rushing. Give yourself at least six pairs and 45 minutes to find the right fit. No matter what style you choose, jeans should have a snug but flattering fit from waist to knee.


Ignoring the hem. What shoes will you be wearing with your new jeans? If you’re going to be wearing platforms or anything high, the hem should be longer. If you’re a flats and Converse gal, make sure your heels don’t catch the back of your pants.


Ignoring the options. If you find the perfect pair, but the length just doesn’t work—take it to a tailor. Any good tailor can give your new denim a fresh hem.


Standing politely in front of the mirror. If you’re buying jeans, you need to bend over at the waist and squat down. Find out if there are any unfortunate gaps in coverage. The only way to do this is with scientific experimentation. You don’t need to record your findings, but you do need to flop your head toward the ground and drop to your haunches. Now check the mirror and make sure you could do both those things in front of your boss or your grandma.


Forgetting that denim loosens up after it’s been worn for a few hours. Don’t buy jeans you can barely button, but remember that the denim will soften around your frame. Especially if you make a habit of all that bending and squatting.


Walking into the dressing room after lunch. Do yourself a favor and don’t try to jam yourself into jeans right after a bacon cheeseburger and fries. We’ve all done it, we all know it isn’t fun. Trying on denim is like swimming. Don’t do it until at least an hour after eating.


Buying jeans that are trendy rather than flattering. Yeah, don’t do that. Sure, we all want both. But if you must sacrifice one, sacrifice the dictates of the season. Seasons don’t last forever and you want to feel good strutting around town.


Not paying attention to material. If you can, check the material composition of your all-time favorite pair of jeans before you go shopping. For instance, having at least three percent lycra or spandex helps skinny jeans retain their shape. A large percentage of cotton means they’ll shrink in the wash.


Thinking one pair of jeans is enough. You’ll need dark denim for casual Fridays at work and to pair with your hottest top for hitting the clubs, along with a lighter, looser pair for everyday wear. And that’s just the beginning.

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