The Jeans Issue: Queer Fashion Guide For Various Shapes, Sizes, Styles and Gender Expressions


Why I Love Bell Bottoms

by Brandy, Julie and Brandy In Your Box Office

1. Because they make your butt, hips and thighs look way smaller (no matter what size you are)
2. Because you’ve had three solid years of your muffin top uncomfortably spilling over your skinny jeans (and you’re sick of it)
3. Because they’re sexy

Bellbottoms are the sexiest jeans in the history of mankind. Period. There’s just something about the bell. It’s carefree and loose. It doesn’t have a boss or follow any rules. It smokes pot casually, for fun, and never gets paranoid. It cares about the environment and is against war. It doesn’t watch Bill O’Reilly or belong to any religion. It reads important books, but isn’t pretentious about it’s intellect. It’s adventurous and cool. And it loves to have sex. Lots and lots of sex.

I wore bell bottoms all through the skinny jean trend. Don’t get me wrong, I had skinny jeans too, but I never got rid of my bells and often rocked them (to my own detriment). I probably looked like a fashion victim whenever I wore them, but I didn’t care because my loyalty and devotion run deep. I’ve often been mistaken for a Hasidic Jew or a Fundamentalist Mormon because my jeans are so big and baggy at the bottom that from certain angles it appears that I’m wearing a very long denim skirt. But let me assure you- it’s worth it.

Now that the style is returning- there’s no looking back! Everyone needs a pair. You can wear them baggy or you can wear them tight. Do whatever makes you feel comfortable. These jeans look the sexiest when the person wearing them feels like a stud. Whether you identify with Lindsey Lohan or Samantha Ronson- bellbottoms will go perfectly with your fall style. I promise!

Live in These: An Ode to American Eagle and Beyond

by Emily, Contributing Editor

Disclaimer: The following article expresses my own personal opinion and does not necessarily represent the views of American Eagle Outfitters.”

When Laneia told us we were doing a jean roundtable I got really excited because I work at this place called American Eagle, a clothing store which specializes in jeans, you may have heard of it? Anyways, I thought to myself that this is great because I work with jeans all the time, and then I realized I didn’t know what to talk about. And as I’m writing this I still don’t know what to talk about, so what will probably end up happening is that I’ll talk about myself, as per ushe.

When I was a teenager I went through a phase where I NEVER wore jeans, only really baggy athletic pants that I had in 5 different colours (you know, one for every day of the school week). Now I only wear jeans, ever. In my own personal opinion, jeans are the best pants you could ever wear. There’s a pair of jeans for everyone, I’M SERIOUS, everyone can look good in jeans.

I’ve been instructed not to talk about skinny jeans, so I’ll just say that I really enjoy a nice slim fitting jean if you know what I mean. They make me feel fashionable and hip. I need that feeling for my self-esteem. See? Jeans are great. Also I’d like to point out that there is a difference between super-skinnys and skinnys, and the difference is right there in the wording.

At AE in Canada we used to have this fit called the Straight Leg which is kind of exactly what it sounds like. Apparently there is no demand for the straight leg in the USA which is just crazy because straight legs are perfect for people who want something in between a skinny and a slimboot, which is a lot of people (in Canada). JEANS FOR EVERYONE!

What’s a slimboot? I have really ambivalent feelings about the slimboot, so I enlisted the help of a fellow employee to talk to you about them. She said:

“They’re not as tight as skinnys so you can wear them on “fat days” and still feel good.”

My jean guidebook (yeah, I have one of those) says “If she likes the favourite boyfriend, have her try the slimboot!” I’ll tell you something though: I don’t really like the favourite boyfriend. Or the slimboot. Or anything with a flare. Or jeggings. You might call it discrimination, but I don’t mind if other people wear them. I would just never try it, you know? And I sort of avoid trying to make customers buy things they don’t want to buy, which is the opposite of what I’m supposed to be doing. But just in case you’re interested, AE is really trying to bring back the flare. Is that going to be a thing now? I’d tell you about them, but I’m trying to pretend it’s not happening.

Anyways, so, I don’t know if I’m allowed to tell you this in case I’m betraying the (evil) really great corporation I work for, but I just bought a really great pair of men’s jeans from Forever 21. See, I’d tried some men’s skinny jeans from AE because half the time they’re nicer than the women’s, but they just wouldn’t go over my hips, probably because I wanted them to fit like women’s skinnys.

But by a happy accident at Forever 21, where they don’t seem to have sizes smaller than a 30, I tried on a 30. And they fit! Just like the women’s slims that I have! Why did I want men’s jeans again? The trick here that for some reason I didn’t realize but now seems really obvious is that men’s sizes are different from women’s because men’s jeans don’t take into account hips. Whaa? Who knew? Anyways, if you’re looking for men’s slims, try going a size or two higher than usual to get those bad boys over your hips.

To sum up and reiterate my thesis statement (I hear you’re supposed to do this in academic essays), I didn’t really know what to talk about so I just talked about myself and my feelings. It’s a specialty of mine. Hopefully you feel enlightened about…something. Er. Anyways, you look superfine in those jeans, so. What was I saying?

Why I Love Mom Jeans

by Lily, Writer


At around age thirteen I began what would be a many year long rocky love/hate relationship with jeans. Thirteen is a terrible age for basically every reason possible so it doesn’t help that it is also generally the time when your body begins to fill out, your mother and anorexic grandmother start making passive aggressive comments about how much you eat, and the things on the teevee and in the magazines that tell you to hate your body start to make sense.

The main problem with jeans when I was a young middle-schooler was that the style at the time was super, super low cut. The kind of low cut that only looked good on Britney Spears (who, at the time, had superhuman abs that were most likely implanted by aliens in order to destroy the human race via jealousy/sexual frustration). I wanted to be fashionable, of course, so I bought those low, low jeans, and consequently scolded myself every time I put them on for having “muffin top”.

Here’s the thing: everyone who wears low jeans has at least a little bit of muffin top—it is the nature of the jeans. But my self-loathing mind went to the only explanation I found viable: that I was fat, everyone hated me, and I would never become Britney Spears.

But the times have changed since I was in middle school—mom jeans are finally back in style! Not only is this the best thing to ever happen to your waist, it is also the best thing to ever happen to your wallet. Let me explain: although the high-waisted jeans featured in stores and on the runways right now aren’t exactly the same mom jeans that are made fun of in that SNL parody, you can still go to your local thrift store, buy those high-waisted mom jeans for two dollars, and cut them into super-cute high-waisted shorts that look like $70 American Apparel shorts. I have at least eight pairs of shorts that are from brands like “Lands End” and “Dress Barn”—mom jeans that were most likely originally purchased at a JCPenny somewhere in Boca Raton.

Unfortunately it’s probably going to get cold again soon and you will need to find non-mom high waisted long jeans, which are much harder to find in thrift stores. Luckily mid to high rise jeans are a big deal right now and can be found in pretty much any store for relatively affordable prices. My favorite brands are Cheap Monday and J Brand.

ALSO ALSO I’m really excited for the high-waisted wide leg jean thing that is happening right now. They are “grown-up” looking and flattering on basically everyone.

Examples of high-rise jeans I like:

$208 – $220 – Nordstrom
$199 – Neiman Marcus
$200 – Nordstrom $65 – Need Supply Co.
$56.71 – ASOS

Next: Notes on Style

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    • H&M seems to be made for small Asian men which is perfect for my average women-ly shape and the style is on point in the their basic pants and shirts. Its like they are pre-tailored for me.

  1. Autostraddle how would I survive without you? I just bought jeans last week.
    I split myself between a pair of moderately expensive jeans and a pair of cheap jeans.

    I loathe buying jeans because somehow my waist/leg proportions are different from what retail-world wants them to be and it’s a bitch finding pants that are right in the waist and not too baggy in the leg. (And avoiding the temptation of the pants that fit perfect in the leg and as soon as I lose a few pounds the waist will be perfect as well! This never happens.)

    • I have the same but opposite problem where my proportions are weird and my mom has ingrained in my head that I HAVE to buy jeans a couple sizes too big because they’ll shrink in the wash. They never shrink in the wash. They have never shrunk in the wash. I spent years hitching my jeans back up over my hips because shrinking in the wash is not a thing that happens to the stonewashed-to-death comfy faded jeans I loved.

  2. i love this. Thanks Autostraddle!

    I sometimes feel like shopping for jeans is one of the most stressful things to do, especially since i tend to wait until there are holes in my favorite (only) jeans and then try desperately to replace them while wearing something clearly inferior.
    also, sizes make no sense. i officially don’t know what size i am anywhere. and because of vanity sizing, sometimes i will think i know what size i am at a store, but then the sizes change and i’m wrong again. also my size fluctuates with winter/summer and my stress level.
    so i have jeans in a 4 size range, and i never toss anything because as soon as i do i will either go up a size or the styles change.

  3. i only wear american eagle jeggings. they’ve completely changed my life.
    the fit is ridiculously comfy and flattering for every body.
    my friend and i both bought the same pair, she’s 5’2 and a size 2 and i’m 5’11 and a size mammoth and we both look dope!

      • actually “no skinny jeans” was the rule for everyone on this roundtable b/c i have strong feelings about skinny jeans. we have some skinny jeans recommended in the short-boy-shaped-girl section, i think that’s it though.

        • Eh, a few snuck into the mom jeans too, but it’s fine.

          The thing is the short-boy-shaped-girl section is where I was looking, and some of the jeans there were cool (the boot-cuts!) but the one skinny jean with the button-down shirt tucked in just made me cringe. It was like I was 12 years old again, didn’t know not to tuck in my shirts, and had just grown out of my pants.

          • eek! ha, unfortunate! because alex only wears skinny jeans and she was who I consulted for that section! that little picture made me think of like a very precocious intern. Honestly though, I feel like Delias are the easiest to get b/c they’re reasonably priced and come in every variety of inseam, cut & size.

            our original concept for this (my concept) was that the point of this jeans issue was to have an entire jeans article that didn’t mention skinny jeans, but i guess it’s inevitable, lily is a rascal, and it is a style people seem to really like so maybe we were unfair to exclude it just out of my own personal sense of wrongedness re:skinny jeans. Although if I really think about it I guess I’d say the people they look best on are small boy-shaped people. But that’s just my opinion.

          • i feel like a 29-year-old who thinks she’s 14, but as long as i have a 14-year-old’s budget, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do

          • It think it’s really cool to tuck a button up in to your jeans. Also a fitted T-shirt if you’re going to put a blazer over it.

            This is really relevant for tall slim women because they’re less likely to have the poofy effect from big breasts.

  4. Okay I have 2 serious questions.

    1. I don’t understand what shoes you are supposed to wear with any kind of jean that is not a skinny jean. I am a short curvy girl, so skinny jeans are not necessarily always the most flattering in my hip/tummy area, but I like the way they fit on my calves and how (if I buy them in a “short” length or if I get them hemmed properly) they kind of graze the top of my canvas sneakers that I feel conflicted about wearing because the guy who sells them may or may not be a homophobic douche. Anyway! Back in the day when I wore flares or bootcuts I seem to remember a lot of extra fabric kind of dragging on the ground and getting wet when it rained. When I get non-skinny jeans hemmed they end up looking too short or too long. I don’t wear heels or really anything other than sneakers and flats, I guess I should clarify that. Also I am a size 7 so my feet are kind of little and it usually felt like my foot was swimming in all the excess denim and sometimes you couldn’t even see my feet and this felt stupid and looked bad.

    I realize this is very long and also not a single question mark was used so it might not look like a question, but it is a real serious important question (I am just wordy and long winded and apparently grammatically confused in how to pose questions.) But for real, I need advice/help/guidance, please help!! What shoes would I potentially wear with non-skinny jeans? I like some of these styles and am even considering straying from the skinny jean, but the thought of matching any kind of non-skinny jean with the “right” shoe is giving me anxiety.

    2. FREEZING YOUR JEANS?! #mindblown

    • Extra fabric totally drags around behind you. Roughly all of my pants were flared/bootcut until I moved out here and now all I own are skinny pants. BUT. With regard to shoes, the great thing about flared jeans is that it doesn’t -really- matter what shoes you wear. Cute ones that match your top, I would imagine. I mean…I don’t really know much about your presentation/expression but yeah. If you feel like your feet are drowning in fabric, hem yo’ pants. You can wear flares a little shorter. I am a tiny person with wide hips and that’s a thing that I always need to do, because my hips are ~2 sizes away from what my leg length is.
      I’m not sure if any of this made sense. BREATHE ABOUT SHOES. I mean…I personally just wear the same pair of sneakers always until I can feel pavement, so. #kanyeshrug
      Sorry I’m super unhelpful D;

    • Y’know, I’m gonna have to agree with this long-winded, anxiety-ridden “question?” :P No, but for serious. All I wear on my feet are Doc Martens. And, okay, one pair of black Keds.

      I’m 5’4 and I don’t want stupid pants that get wet and then my socks are wet and I want to die ’cause the bottoms are getting raggedy and FUCK THAT. I also don’t want to look doofy with huge pant legs and my tightly laced Docs, y’know? So far, for me, flare jeans are a no-go. UNLESS OTHER STRADDLERS HAVE ADVICE DO YOU HAVE ADVICE WE NEED IT OKAY LOVE YOU

      But, to maybe help you some, I’ve seen a lot of the business casual ladies in Philly wear flare jeans with heels. I mean, who wants to wear heels, but it’s a thing some people do.

      As far as straight-leg jeans go, I think you can safely wear them with most shoes and boots. And- not gonna front, I think a little thin double-cuffing-the-bottoms action when there are surprise socks and dapper shoes involved can look cute when your jeans are just a liiiittle too long and you want to avoid soggy/raggedy bottoms.

      • Okay, so idk how helpful this’ll be, but I’m 5’4″ too and had soggy/raggedy pants cuffs forever. Then I completely accidentally found Levi’s Signature boot-cuts in, like, a Wal-mart, and it turned out that the short sizes were exactly the right length.

        You just have to overlook that they’re mom jeans.

        • Okay I plan to go find these asap. Also I sometimes feel like I am in training to be the best soccermom ever, minivan and embarrassingly loud print dresses and all, so rather than overlooking that they are mom jeans I will EMBRACE the shit outta that.

          In short, thank you :)

      • Flair jeans sometimes fit over boots. And petite pants tend to fit okay on my 5’3″ self. I used to be opposed to skinny jeans. However, I have recently developed a strong appreciation for skinny jeans. They do go well with my love of boots and avoid the ripped pant hems that I often get.

    • OHMYGOD THIS IS EXACTLY HOW I FEEL. And that’s why, when my fashionista sister told me yesterday that skinny jeans are going out of style, I actually felt like she told me we would never celebrate Christmas again, and also “Parks and Recreation” is cancelled and Celine Dion died. All of those things. They just work so perfectly and I love looking down my leg – one of the few normal looking, decent sized parts of my body – and seeing how well they fit, and then how they just brush my sneakers (also canvas, holler) and it looks fucking amazetits. Why do flare jeans want to come in and take that from me?

    • This is basically why I prefer skinny or straight-legged jeans. I’m seriously in love with my Vans and they’re wide/thick enough that any sort of flare looks superbaggy and messy. And skinny or straight jeans can be a bit shorter so they don’t get gross.

  5. The “mom jeans” bit cracks me up. I finally found a brand and style of jeans that actually fits me and is the right length (I’m in that weird no-man’s-land between petite and regular sizes), and they’re mom jeans. What do I care? My shirts are long enough to cover the extra fabric, and they make my ass look fantastic.

    Also, I don’t really care about the lumberjack pants but I want those shoes. Straddlers, you should do a shoe article.

  6. Thank you for this! Question though

    Where on the body do people’s boy jean’s sit? I always wear mine up around my waist as if they were high waisted women’s skinny jeans, which I don’t mind, but kind of want them to be a little lower. This means I should buy a bigger size right?

    My Levis 511s are my fav that I wear this way. Also pacsun sells a brand of jeans called Sandanista which I also like.

    • yeah, generally boys’/men’s jeans sit lower than women’s, especially given the influence of the sagging look and the fact that most guys tend to have less in the way of hips/ass than most ladyfolk. this is also why wearing a belt can be essential.

      the great thing about guys’ pants is you can usually go up a size in the waist (say from 32 to 34) while keeping the same inseam (this is the pants length), whereas in women’s jeans usually get longer when you go up a size.

      • Sizing the shrink-to-fits is hellsa hard nowadays because each pair doens’t seem to shrink equally. I used to buy old-ass (but new) shrink-to-fits at this old Army/Navy surplus store in the Tenderloin in SF. They finally closed; the owner must have been 96. I think he fought in WWII. The rule then was 4″ for the length, 2″ for the waist.

        Sorry, I always digress. Here’s my best solution for shrink-to-fits these days. Find a good online denim retailer. I’m not sure what the AS policies are on mentioning websites, so if it’s not okay to offer the following address, I will return and remove it: denimexpress. Super-cheap, every single Levi’s cut (I like 511s too), and friendly, helpful sales staff. They will gladly walk you through your sizing. (At least that’s been my experience with them 3-5 times.)

        They also have a generous return policy. I returned a pair of SHRUNK shrink-to-fits that didn’t lose enough waist size and they exchanged them, no questions asked. They also have guidelines for sizing the new 501s. I just read that Levi’s stopped making them in the US about 10 years ago, and since then they’ve become lighter (boo!), less durable and they don’t last a million years like they used to. The last factor is the worst because they always look the best as they get older.

        But they’re still the bomb and they look awesome once they’ve learned your shape. I like jeans that seem to want to please their owner. OK, I’m anthropomorphizing jeans now. I better take a nap or a walk.


          but my hips are fucking insane. Like. fucking insane.

          I like the straight leg boyish look, but I have these hips and ass that prevent me from looking boyish. I wear…probably about a 12 in lady jeans and it’s all hips and ass.

          And so I was like two in waist, four in length? I’ll get like a 31 36, or 33 36, or something. I don’t know. It was far too small is what I do know, because I’ve realized that my ass actually requires like a men’s 36 in boardshorts.

          So really what is a boi to do. REALLY.

  7. The most important thing I finally learned about jeans is to NEVER buy them in the right size. You have to buy them small, especially if they’re not stretchy.

    Ask your friendly jeans salesperson how much the jeans you’re considering will stretch, and take their advice. Unless you want a saggy ass. Then just wear your too-small jeans around the house for a couple hours, and they’ll fit perfect forever.

  8. I totally read AE as After Ellen, as in “After Ellen is really trying to bring back the flare”

    “the (evil) really great corporation [After Ellen] I work for”

    and started questioning whether that site had 1. suddenly become a fashion trendsetter 2. gone BAD

  9. the “Kate” cut from Bluenotes is still my all-time favorite. I’m 5’5 and pretty chubby, but they sit fantastic. I have a dark wash for classy pairings with a cardigan or blouse, and a lighter one for “Just enough energy to pull on a hoodie” days

  10. Roxy, Volcom, Billabong, and some of the other surf brands have started making jeans in the $40-$70 range that are good quality and fit the shorter, not totally boy shaped type quite well. They mostly only have skinny leg, but they do have a few boot cut and straight leg styles.

    • Truth. I’m 5′ 4″, boy-shaped (mostly), with very short legs and I’ve had good luck with Roxy jeans. A low rise is most flattering on me and they seem to still be offering that option with some of their styles. And they were about $50.

      I try on jeans in stores then scour the interwebs for discount places. It takes longer, and I don’t have as much choice in washes usually, but I save much-needed ducats.

  11. I got really excited when I saw the ASOS Curve skinny jean, as I’m 5’4″, 125 lbs, and it’s pretty much all booty. I have a horrible time finding jeans that don’t gap at the back of the waistband. Then I went to the website and saw this:

    These jeans make this poor model look like The Grinch from behind. Ridiculous.
    Back to my initial belief that skinny jeans make 90% of girls with big asses look like ducks. Or The Grinch.

  12. I’m so grateful to see the wide legged hippie jeans coming back in style… I have several pairs that I’ve been rocking faithfully, and am super stoked about finding similar styles in stores again. I have never been able to make skinny jeans work… too short and too much ass for that shit. I need some flowy bell bottoms to even out my big beautiful butt.

  13. The RSQs at Tilly’s hold up really well and fit my butch wife like a glove. She’s had her days with Levi’s or Diesel or Brown Label and then some, but the RSQ London and Tokyo cuts have been her jam for the past year or so.

    I’m kind of devout about Earnest Sewn and James Jeans, as a recovering strictly-Blue Cult kind of girl.

  14. i hate jean shopping too butttt here are some of my favorite brands that work out about 99.9% of the time for me:

    1. Joe Fresh/ a.k.a dominion grocery store… no joke,cheap and the best clothes!

    2. Guess… super pricey but fit really well

    3. true religion :D is pricey too but worth it! they last too!

    4.I absolutely love g star jeans too. they fit soo well but i havent found money for them yet.. haha

    jean shopping is the worst:

    my tips are that i go when im in the shopping mood and positive about myself and my bank account. secondly i usually go looking for 2 types of jeans and try about 20 on and leave with 2 or 3!

  15. I love jeans. I work outside. I wear only two pairs of pants, ever: my jeans or a pair of Columbia tech pants. Mostly its the jeans. Yay!

    Thanks for the awesome queer fat girl guide, but could you maybe also do one for queer fat girls that aren’t femme? Like moi? Shopping for boy jeans when your waist is more girly is um…difficult. The legs end up SOBAGGYOMG.

    On the upside, if you’re ever in Target, the Merona jeans are awesome. Mine are a size too big (suck…but I just wear a belt), even though they are actually an 18 (my size). Go Merona for making me feel thin(ner)!

  16. I also work at American Eagle so I found that part hilarioussss. Recently we’ve been instructed to put the “Hipster Flares” (they’re like something out of the 70’s) on the front table, so a lot of customers pick them up without realizing how absurd they are. If I see someone heading into the fitting room with those I always try to sneak some more normal-looking jeans into their pile. #doin’myjob

  17. j. crew has really really nice jeans for work/fancylike times and they fit me really well (i’m like between pear and hourglass shaped, if you it helps. but other ones from there also fit my friend who it stick-shaped)

    also, i kept reading “slimboot” as “slimbot” and getting excited for robotic jeans.

  18. 3 feelings:

    1. I’m happy about the “short boy’s section.” I constantly feel like the fashion world is punishing me for having strap-on-bearing instead of child-bearing hips…
    2. Colored skinny jeans are great. I managed to snap up a pair of plum jeans in high school and have worn them ever since. Pacsun and skater-type stores occasionally put garish colors on sale.
    3. Raccoons regularly take to mating outside my window but i have to squee over that raccoon in jeans pic. Squee!

  19. As a masculine-of-center/butchy/boi person who likes the idea of skinny jeans, I highly recommend the men’s Levi’s 510 (the super-skinny fit) —

    Usually my problem with men’s jeans is that I don’t like when my pants are too huge in the leg/baggy/sloppy but these ones are perfect–They follow my leg and aren’t way baggy, but they ALSO aren’t all that skinny. They’re really comfortable and simple and I can usually find them in my size (or at least close enough to fix with a belt or by cuffing.)

    Anyhow that’s my two cents! Great article.

  20. If you are lucky enough to have a ZARA store around and are semi-petite, the BOYS and GIRLS sections sell amazing jeans for like $36 full-price. The sizes are based on height and should fit if you’re under 5’7″. I got 3 pairs during their summer sale for $45 total!

  21. All of my jeans have ‘upper thigh’ holes from too much bike riding. (I’ve since relented and started wearing spandex on my commute, gross) Does this fall under the category of ‘crotch holes’?

    Is it truly too late to save them? It wasn’t their fault!

    • Oh god, this. I have no way to prevent it except buying new pants and driving/walking/taking public transit. But yes, you need to throw them out. Unfortunate I know, but do it before you make the same mistake as me and sit in them with your legs open not realizing everyone can see your good bits.

  22. This article is pure gold! I’m also incredibly impressed that someone else shares my love for AE (Canada) straight leg jeans. WHY DID THEY HAVE TO STOP CARRYING THEM IN STORE??!?!?! Now I have to order them online :(

  23. Levis 517s are still my favorites — nobody wears ’em but me and Mexican cowboys, but they sit just right to hide my big womanly hips, the crotch is low but not too low to make me look taller, and the boot cut is wide enough but not bell bottoms style. Thanks for this piece, I totally identified with Marni’s “smash face with rock” sentiment!

  24. Re: needing to spend more than $50 on jeans, I disagree. For real, the best fitting and longest lasting jeans I ever purchased were $20 on sale from Target… and their non-sale stuff was cheap but good quality too.

    It was Australian Target so maybe it’s different, but I don’t think money equals quality. A lot of the time you’re just paying for the name.

    • i’ve had two pairs of forever 21 jeans that literally just split right open, like in the middle of the jean, not even on a seam! ditto for pants from wet seal. my AE jeans eventually wear and tear too. but my james jeans and sevens are still in perfect condition after often like 10 years of wearing them. maybe america just sucks

      • Forever 21 makes crap. I’ve never bought pants from them, but the shirts I’ve gotten have been like tissue. Worthless.

        If you aren’t going for specific brands and just shopping around in thrift stores and Sears and such (most of my clothes are from Sears and Macy’s), it really depends on the jeans. I’ve never had a hard-and-fast rule to rely on, I just gotta try ’em on and see if they fit right and will wear well. It sucks but what can you do. (I have a good feel for clothes that will last versus clothes that will fall apart in the first wash, though.)

      • whoah, that is really bad! I have never had jeans do that to me, and I’ve worn some cheap nasty jeans in my time.

        I didn’t know the brands Wet Seal, AE, James Jeans and Sevens and had to google them to get what you were saying price wise… and in that process of googling I concluded that maybe the ‘cultural differences’ between Australia and America were such that it was time for me to stfu as my experience won’t be relevant to the majority of readers here :P

    • Yeah, to repeat what other people are saying, Target outside the US is totally different. Here it’s a lot like Walmart.

      In the spirit of full disclosure, I did have a pair of $20 jeans from Forever 21 that lasted a long time before they eventually ripped (yeah, Riese not even at the seam!).

      That being said, the denim and stitching of more expensive jeans tends to be high quality. I think the exception to this rule is Abercrombie & Fitch and Holister which both seem over priced for the quality (but that’s totally totally just my opinion).

      So yes you can get good jeans for $50 or less, however this takes a lot more digging and is often much more difficult if you’re curvy, tall, short or plus size.

      • Oh ok! I just figured it would be similarly nice… that is good to know, as I was thinking of getting my friend to send me some things from American target due to their ridiculous cheapness.

        I wonder if it’s just different in the States? Like there are niiiice designer jeans here, but there are so many $200 pairs of jeans that are honestly just the same as the $55 ones I usually buy. And so many expensive jeans are just cut for tall skinny people, brands like Levis (which are about $100 here) being the exception to the rule.

        • whenever my australian relatives come to the us they always want to go jeans shopping, and when we go there they want us to bring Levis. Though I guess it’s been like 12 years since we’ve gone there, maybe things have changed w/r/t what’s available there. but i always liked shopping at the thrift stores there.

      • yes, this — abercrombie jeans fit me so well but fell apart surprisingly easy, which gave my mom lots of ammunition for why i shouldn’t buy them. hollister shit breaks too, though i never was 12 enough to fit into their pants.

        i never bought pants from J-Crew, but I found that their other stuff broke surprisingly quickly, but that was like 15 years ago so maybe times have changed.

        sidenote, i worked for GapKids, Gap and Banana Republic at various times in my life and if you get shit there and it breaks and your dog eats it, throws it back up and dunks it into a vat of jello, you can still return it for store credit.

  25. Okay, in defense of skinny jeans.

    1. I hated them when they first started appearing (in . . . 2004ish? 2005?) because I am definitively pear-shaped and it just seemed impossible. But! Eventually I adapted to the new skinny-jeans reality and I feel that wearing tight pants has helped me feel more accepting of my big ass. More used to it. It’s right there.

    2. I am short (I mean, not really — 5’4″ — but compared to models). The thing with skinny jeans is you can always cuff them if you need to. Boot-cut jeans can look so dumb if you do that.

    3. Plus, you’ve sidestepped the direct cuff-to-knee slush-infiltration route that wider-ankled styles offer.

    4. So easy if you’re on a bike every day! Never gets caught in your chain!

    5. Possibly my #1 jeans gripe is the near-impossibility of finding jeans without a bunch of tacky shit on them. Fake fading, fake holes, sequins, rhinestones . . . jee-zus. While skinny jeans aren’t immune to this, I’ve had much better luck finding non-atrocious washes here.

    My pants strategy these days is slim-fitting and, when possible, brightly colored — magenta, periwinkle, violet. So fun!

  26. I had a total aversion to jeans for years because I live in vintage dresses but I am pretty much obsessed with Freddies of Pinewood’s reproduction 1950s utility jeans. Since I can’t afford them I’m going to make myself a pair and line them with plaid flannel because that’s what they did in the 50s and also it will make them super warm/gay.

    • Word. Every time I buy girl jeans and notice the pockets carry about two quarters each, I get overwhelmed with feminist rage. My mind is flooded with images of all the burdens women have been forced to carry in societies across time and across the globe.

      Purses that can’t be thrown over a shoulder to ride there quietly without constant management/loss of one arm evoke the same reaction. So no more fucking purses either. I mean, I’m butchy but I used to cross over a lot more often. So I only own one pair of girl jeans now too. Fuck that noise.

  27. Straight-legged jeans are my favorite for sure! I don’t understand why AE doesn’t carry them in the US. Slash it makes me sad because my current jeans-buying strategy is to wait for Gap “Real Straight” jeans to go on sale.

    I also have a pair of old AE bootcuts that I wear occasionally, and a bunch of skinny jeans from Old Navy. And now I want to go buy some brightly-colored skinny jeans because those look way fun.

  28. Jeans are the worst. I’m actually boycotting jeans at the moment because I am really annoyed that I am too small for even a 00 Short. (they’re too long and too big in the waist [but perfect in the hip]. but little girls’ jeans are always too small in the hip [and often also too big in the waist which I really don’t understand!]. so what options do I have?)


  29. GAP’s jeans are the best. They’re a bit pricey, but honestly I think it’s worth it. Especially if you sign up for a credit card for the discount and promptly cancel it later! I do it all the time. Plus, GAP is for the Gay And Proud, right?

  30. I would live in jeans if given the choice, lately I’ve been rocking the low rise mens Levis. I have to have low rise jeans because I wear them absurdly low (I started doing that 13, it’s not going to change any time soon). You won’t find me in skinny jeans, mom jeans, or flares, no effing way that’ll ever happen.

  31. I buy most of my jeans from Uniqlo because they offer free hemming for all their pants. I’m 5’1″ so that is essential.

    Also, according to their website they sell a pair of men’s jeans made of raw denim for $80. I’ve never seen raw denim jeans going for less than $200 so that’s pretty impressive.

  32. As a very mildy-curvy, fairly average sized androgynous-leaning person, H&M jeans are my shit. (The only thing is, I’m 5’3 and I get a 29, they’re always a little too long but I don’t mind when they bunch up a little at the bottom) I like to think I’m a rockstar and something about the so-dark-wash-your-legs-are-blue-for-weeks skinny jean makes me look just about as badass as I imagine myself to be. I literally own 5 pairs and no other jeans. I like how thick and durable they are and how once you really break them in they are like pajama-comfy. Plus the skinny jean is just loose enough for me while still fitting well. Def my favorite!


    I loathe jeans shopping. For years I just wore my sister’s hand-me-down jeans because I just couldn’t deal with the psychological trauma. But a week ago I I finally caved in and went, because I had exactly one pair of jeans and they didn’t even fit me right.
    I went to Jeans West (I’m in NZ) and now I have PERFECTLY FITTING black straight-legs and a pair of “boyfriend fit” jeans I roll up at the cuffs and wear with some lace up ankle boots.
    You guys, it was the most painless shopping experience of my life. The salesguy kept bringing me jeans and shirts from the guy’s sections with tips on how to size them correctly and I felt so goooood.

    Also I wear jeans with suspenders because I love them but nbd.

  34. I read “taking the LSATs naked” and immediately thought “Lesbian SATs?” I refuse to Google it, because frankly, I don’t care what it really is, and furthermore, if there is ever a lesbian SAT test, I am most certainly taking it naked.

  35. Would you look at that! And I’m going jean shopping tomorrow. I hate shopping for clothes period, especially pants. I’m 5’11 long limbed with curvy holy mother of god child bearing hips and I love skinny jeans. Bloody nightmare to find. Also I avoid trying on men’s jeans because I’m convinced there isn’t a pair that will go past my hips… but I want the pockets -.-

  36. Do you have any advice for those of us who are skinny, long legged, and have hips? I don’t quite fit in the boy shaped category as I have some good sized, distinctly feminine hips. It’s always a pain going jean shopping because I find pants that either fit fine in the leg and are extremely tight around my hips, or fit my hips but are saggy and horrible in the legs. The only things I’ve found are the Sundance jeans, which are really, really expensive for a poor college student.

  37. I have essential advice for the perpetually broke amoungst us.

    I buy pretty much all my jeans on eBay. Once I figured out what brand of jeans I liked and what size I should buy them in, I stopped buying jeans in stores. I have bought Wrangler jeans for as little as 15 – 20 euro a piece (excl. postage) on multiple occasions, in multiple styles. Yes, it’s crucial to do research beforehand as to what size you need, obviously, but when something does go wrong, and it doesn’t fit you can always send it back, and all you loose is your postage.

    I’ve been in Wranger/Levi’s jeans for the cost of a pair of H&M’s for years now. Just saying.

    • Oh and for those with big breasts and/or small ribcages like yours truly, there’s a whole bunch of Freya bra’s on Ebay for ± 20 euro a piece. (Again, only if you’re sure of your size and know what styles fit you.)

    • This is indeed epicly good advice for anyone with the time/energy. A lot of people sell their lightly used or totally new designer jeans/high quality jeans on eBay and you can make them YOURS! This goes along with writing down all the specs for a pair of jeans that fits you in person. Just make sure you’re not getting sold fakes.

      • There’s so much new stuff out there, it amazes me how/why it’s there for that price. And I never really worried about things being fake. For some reason, I have the feeling that that applies more to real fancy brand stuff like Gucci-jeans and Ray Ban glasses than to the slightly above average brands that I tend to buy.

        (Also, to stress my point: slightly used second hand Ben Sherman shirts for 5 euros incl postage! New, leather All Stars Chucks for 50 euros! And so forth, and so forth.)

  38. i have a friend who works for levi’s and he is a jeans magician. he can look at you, figure out your size and the type of jeans you like and would look good in. it made jeans shopping so much easier. everybody should have a jeans guru to turn to.

  39. it’s funny how ‘girls shaped like boys’ always means ‘skinny girls who are shaped like skinny boys’ what about girls shaped like overweight boys who don’t want to wear men’s jeans and just want regular women’s jeans?!

    • right! that was my first thought when i saw that section. love the article, especially the freezing jean thing.

      but yeah, i am shaped like a non-skinny boy and wear both men’s and women’s clothes.

  40. Thank you for this thing
    I can never find jeans with enough room in the back.
    Skinny jeans were a moment of self-imposed tourture
    I should’ve been looking for these high waist fare leg or bell bottom jeans I’ve always thought they were adorable

  41. I can’t help but notice the lack of discussion regarding raw/selvage denim (anyone?). Shout out to the gays in unwashed heavy-gauge hard denim – y’all look hott.

    Nudie, A.P.C., Somet, Jean Shop, etc. Imo, if you’re going to pay for designer you might as well distress it yourself.

  42. Bershka! Their jeans are all E20 and I’ve worn the same pair at least 5/7 days a week for the past year and they are just as perfect as the day I bought them. Unfortunately the $1000 plane ticket to Europe kind of breaks the bank…

  43. There is a section I feel that is missing. So you hit the “tall and shaped like a guy” but when you did the “shape like a guy and not tall” you have a bunch of skinnier jeans on there. Not my style at all. I’m shaped like a small dude and I am 5’6 (size 0). I need jeans that are fit but don’t make me look like I am wearing skinny jeans nor like I am wearing man’s jeans. Where is my section? Also, I shop exclusively at Buckle for my jeans. They have wonderful people who wait on you for hours just to pick out one pair.

  44. I love my jeans however I really, really hate having to go buy them >.< i'm quite short and carrying a little chub around the waist so usually I have to decide do I want my jeans too tight or too long :/ I think dorothy perkins is the only place i've found a pair of jeans that fit me well

  45. quick comment because I am in an airport lounge with crappy internet and can’t read everything but I realized yesterday in h&m that I like a strong crotch on my Jeans, it makes all the difference

  46. I haven’t worn jeans in 3 months but after reading this article I marched right out to goodwill and bought two of the best pairs of jeans I’ve ever seen, for $8 each. I’d like to thank you for inspiring this opportunity for personal growth.

  47. What really works for me are men’s skinny jeans. I have fairly wide hips, and the problem with, say, (men’s) straight leg jeans is that, as a few others commented, while they fit at your hips they look really baggy in the legs, which also makes me look extra short (I’m already 5’2″), and they’re a nightmare to hem (looks either too short or too long). I went out shopping for jeans yesterday and got two pairs of Levi’s, a 511 and a 591. They both fit really well, but right now the 591 is more comfortable, although I’m pretty sure it’s the wash.

  48. Pingback: Linkage, Buying Jeans and a New Episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket | Queer Fat Femme

  49. Umm,did you really just advise pear-shaped people to go size up for a better fit? That’s the worst idea ever. Jeans that fit my ass/legs are loose as fuck around my waist as it is. With most pairs, I have to squeeze them with a belt so tight it looks like I have a dick

  50. I know that this article is basically done. But. If you live in the SF Bay area, just go to Slash Denim in Berkeley. You’ll be in and out in 15 minutes and you’ll look hot. I don’t care what size you are. 15 minutes & hot, guaranteed.

  51. Can we get some queer fashion suggestions re: button up / collared shirts? I feel like this can be kind of an androgynous staple that I want to adopt, but 1) how do you fit these darn shirts anyway, they always look weird to me 2) where is a good place to buy such things especially so that I am more likely to look like a homo

  52. I adore this site! Autostraddle never fails to get me out of a proverbially sticky situation, I like what you said about inventory, I have approx 25 pairs of jeans, I wear about 6 of them… IF I’m lucky.. I hope my local thrift stores will appreciate my donation

  53. Cela pourrait aider à vous offrir l’espace de stockage que vous êtes chercher et peut-être même une aide pour vous donner un look élégant et élégant avec tout le sac en cuir. Lorsque vous vous apprêtez au sac en cuir il y a quelques conseils, que vous devriez envisager qui vous permettrait d’obtenir un particulier qui pourrait sembler juste raison sur vous. Elle peut être parfaite pour la porter à toute réunion, voyage d’affaires en ligne ou parti. Il a beaucoup de chambres qui peuvent préserver tous vos facteurs cruciaux séparément. Ce sont en fait à la mode et là-bas décent de couleurs différentes qui peuvent aller bien avec n’importe quel type de robe. Il a le choix entre élégante et peut ajouter un éclat à votre regard. La grande question sur le cuir est le fait qu’il peut être difficile, expert et élégant. Cela pourrait contribuer à améliorer la durée de vie sur le sac à bandoulière en cuir tout en lui-même. Puis, vous pouvez choisir de vous assurer que vous allez avoir une couleur qui va dire ce que vous voulez dire qu’il.

  54. En outre, ils sont accessibles à des prix moins chers et plus très abordables ! Possédant néanmoins des préoccupations de nos accessoires est difficilement authentiques de nombreuses fois ces derniers temps. C’est pourquoi un sac en cuir base courrier est plutôt authentique à posséder. C’est un gros Report qui a généralement une grande quantité d’emplacement pour tous les bibelots, que nous avons d’avoir par moments avec nous. Nous tous comme à incorporer nous-mêmes avec beaucoup de choses et qui ne s’applique pas seulement à nos maisons. Avis sur la façon dont plusieurs difficultés vous produisez fréquemment vos poches et votre porte-monnaie peut être dans les circonstances appropriées mis pour utiliser comme un dispositif en raison de son poids corporel. Néanmoins obtenir des troubles dans nos accessoires est actuellement tout à fait quelques reprises de peine véritables. C’est pourquoi un sac de courrier axée sur le cuir est assez authentique d’avoir.

  55. Ainsi, le traitement, mais aussi des conseils pourraient bien être 1 finition utile au large de l’origine des exercices lorsque l’esprit stylers par voie intraveineuse.Vos cheveux fantaisie IV sont fournis à obtenir en utilisant les cheveux design image internet dvd qui indique que vous ayez le front quand il s’agit d’apparence de stylistes de cheveux bon nos cheveux machines Styler intraveineuse le.

  56. I have the tall boy-shaped problem… I’m 5’11” and a uk 10 and today I finally bought some straight leg jeans that don’t make me look lankier than I already am.

    I’m kind of surprised at the skinny jeans hate in the comments… I’ve worn them religiously for the past 7/8 years and I think they are the best kind of jeans on me.

    I wonder if it’s a more British trend??

    I don’t like jeggings though, at all.

  57. Essi sarà in nessun caso ignorare le cose che possono essere “in” sul mondo fashion show e il tentativo di catturare quegli scorci di stile del mondo nel proprio abbigliamento come le scarpe! Nessuna meraviglia produttori di scarpe e proprietari di marchi sono sui loro piedi per soddisfare le esigenze di milioni di donne in tutto il mondo e vogliono saziare la loro nel loro proprio modo speciale.

  58. E tali elementi, è il fatto che si vorrà dedicare attenzione a e può benissimo davvero dovrebbe investire oggetto. Ora è tra gli elementi più preferiti e ora, hanno seguito le orme di rendere compatta, visita vedere i dettagli più recenti circa, dopo la finitura vedi che non migliori avranno la sensazione! Per la realizzazione del desiderio, 7 anni uso old boy tutti una capacità, prendere metà mese trappola passo dopo passo e infine induce la madre spendere 198 yuan per acquistare un paio di preferiti.

  59. Pingback: Levi’s Men’s Strong Man Slim Straight Style Jean | shareAsell.ORG

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