Reviewing my new favourites and moving on from skinny jeans
Buying jeans feels like one of those things everyone struggles with. No matter what size you are we all seem to have difficulty finding a pair that fits just right. I am no different in this. With wide hips, large thighs and at slightly taller than average, I tend to approach jeans with a kind of Sisyphean dread – it will always be an uphill struggle to find some that actually work for me. Add to this the sheer horror of trying multiple pairs on in the shop (are you ever sweatier or less comfortable than when clambering in and out of jeans that don’t quite fit, one after another?), and I try to avoid buying jeans for as long as possible. But between big thighs (literally) and cycling, that’s not always very long. My jeans frequently succumb to holes in undignified places (usually the upper thigh/crotch area) rendering them unwearable.
On top of these usual complaints, I’ve found my body has changed quite a lot in the last few months. It’s quite different to when we arrived in Australia, and especially since I’ve been ramping up my running routine. So some of the trusty pairs of jeans just don’t fit me how they used to, and I reached the dreaded conclusion that I needed to buy more.
Now, I don’t really have that strong feelings about jeans. The debate about skinny versus wide has for the most part passed me by. I still wear skinny jeans (black and blue), but likewise see the appeal of a nice wide leg. However, one debate I feel very strongly about is waist rise. I was not built for low rise jeans, and could not have been happier to watch them disappear from the face of the earth. Their foretold return fills me with abject horror. What if high-rise jeans go the way of the low-rise, and they become impossible to find? It doesn’t bear thinking about.
In this fight I see the wide-leg trouser as a possible saviour. Skinny jeans are an acceptable loss if it means the preservation of the high waist. For this seems to be the way: tight jeans will get lower, but the looser and wider options seem, if anything, to be going higher.
So I thought it was time to explore a broader range, and ease myself out of skinny jeans. I have, it must be said, owned several pairs of ‘mom’ jeans and wider-leg trousers in the past, the former still being my go-to casual look, in place of skinny jeans. But I decided to go a step further, and opt for Levi’s Loose Taper jeans. This isn’t a style I’ve seen before, and I think it could be described as the love-child of the mom jean and the skinny. Loose through the leg, but with a slightly closer fitting ankle, they strike a shapely balance between the two. I often find wide-legs just a bit too wide at the ankle, reminding me of the excesses of the flair (another style that seems to be making a comeback), and as I pretty much always cuff my trousers, they can end up looking a little gawky. So this more slender calf/ankle region is a perfect compromise.
The best things about these jeans is just how amazingly high they are. I don’t think I’ve ever owned a pair that actually sits on my natural waist before, but these reach it with ease. They were originally just a bit tight around the torso – I felt I was getting an artificially flattened tummy as the mile-long zip re-jigged my jiggly bits, but whether they’ve loosened up or I’ve run a few more 10Ks, they’re now perfectly comfortable. They are, I will admit, not the most flattering on the behind – they kind of skim over rather than sculpt – but this isn’t really my biggest priority. When your waist is being perfectly highlighted, can you really ask for more?
I bought the mid-blue wash, and I’m pleased with how versatile they are. I’ve worn them super casually, with just a t-shirt, or with a turtleneck for more work-appropriate look, and I think un-cuffed and with a pair of heels and black shirt you could even get some evening looks out of them. I’m putting together a ‘How I style’ type post about them, so watch this space for some fully realised looks.
I really can’t think of anything bad to say about these jeans. Being Levi’s, the material is lovely and thick, and they’re really well constructed. They’re not too stretchy so are holding their shape nicely. Arguably there is slightly too much fabric at the top of the thigh, but I think this is more a sizing issue (honestly I think I could get away with sizing down a little bit), and doesn’t detract from my experience wearing them. If anything it might help defend against holes!
So if you’ve been struck on (or in) skinny jeans for years, and can’t quite bring yourself to the wide side, you should give these wonderful taper jeans a try. Like a hug in trouser form, the comfort of the high-rise paired with the easy looseness of the leg will have you wondering why you ever bothered fighting your way into a pair of skinnies. And you might just be doing your bit to stave off the hopefully preventable rise of the low-rise jeans!
What is you favourite pair of jeans? How do you feel about the wide/skinny or even the high/low-rise debates? It’s fun to see fashions change, and younger people rebelling against what their predecessors wore, but I hope we can live in a world where everyone can find their perfect pair of jeans, whatever shape that may be. Homogeneity is never a bonus!