Featured image: Brooke Cagle via StockSnap
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There was a time, not so long ago, when I didn’t own a single pair of jeans. It wasn’t because I didn’t like them; it was because I just hadn’t found the right ones. Any jeans I tried on were either too low-waisted (muffin top central) or too faded on the thighs (which I find unflattering) or €300-odd (take a bow, Paige denim jeans of my dreams).
Instead, I wore skirts and tops; oversized jumpers with leggings; belted tea dresses and vintage-style sequinned jackets galore.
And honestly? My Journey Towards Jeans (title of my autobiography, don’t rob it) was all about finding the right pair.
#1 Oasis’s Lily jeans
First up was a pair of Oasis’s Lily jeans*, which I bought in a gorgeous grey colour (seen, in very bad video, above) – they’re high-waisted and have just the right amount of stretch to suck you in without making you stick out the top. This is an important balance to get right, and something that not all denims manage to achieve; jeans need to be like a waist trainer of sorts, rather than a girdle (girdles = smushed bits above and below).
Comfort-wise, because they haven’t got a lot of stretch they get snug very quickly. Consider yourselves warned.
They look equally good with heels and with runners, and come in a whole host of colours – and starting at €50-odd, they’re a pretty good shout for your starter denims! More colours on oasis-stores.com*.
#2 River Island’s Molly jeans / jegging hybrid
Next up are River Island’s Molly jeans – even more high-waisted than Oasis’s Lily, these are super-stretchy, so much so that River Island even calls them jeggings on their site. (I personally hate the word jeggings because it reminds me of when I used to do Weight Watchers – now called WW – and our leader used to extol their virtues at every turn.)
These are definitely comfier than the Lilys, too – because they’re super-stretchy and suuuuper high-waisted, they do fit really like leggings. You kind of have to go tight on them (all of my jeans are a waist 30 and my Mollys are quite snug) to get the full Spanx effect, but it really is that – they suck you right in, in all the right places and, in my humble opinion, have a bit of a leg-lengthening effect, too. They’re €60.
#3 Mango’s super-skinny white jeans
I don’t know where I thought I was going in these, but these Mango white jeans* (link shows a similar pair) were purchased at the end of bootcamp in Ibiza, when I was at my slimmest, clearly drunk on Ibizan air and convinced that I could be the Irish Liz Hurley.
All joking aside, I genuinely adore these jeans – and I never thought I’d be able to get away with white jeans. (It’s probably up for debate whether or not I can, but I love them so shut up.)
These skinnies*, despite being very skinny, and not as high-waisted as I’d ordinarily be used to (I’d say they’re mid-rise more than anything else) are incredibly comfortable. They feel like a kind of soft, brushed cotton-denim hybrid, and as long as I’m not looking at photographs taken from behind (never look at the back of your calves, especially if you lift weights – the horror), I think they look pretty darn good.
#4 Current/Elliott’s The Fling boyfriend jeans
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Here’s a late – and unpredictable – addition to my jeans repertoire. Current/Elliott’s The Fling* relaxed boyfriend jeans are a revelation. They are so comfy and pretty flattering. Until I tried these babies on, I’d thought that boyfriend jeans were for super-slim women only (I have never had a boyfriend whose jeans fit me tbqh), but now I realise that I just hadn’t found The Ones.
One caveat: they’re expensive. But honestly – I have had these jeans for almost a year now, washed them countless times and they still look exactly the same as when I first got them. I wear them at least three times per week, so what’s that, more than 150 wears and counting?
(It also helps that, give or take a stone, they’ve still fit me – albeit looking slightly less “boyfriend” and more “mom jeans” right now. Plus ca change!)
#5 River Island’s Amelie jeans
Last – but definitely not least – are my all-time faves, River Island’s Amelie jeans*, and the ones I came to relatively late in the day. I may only have discovered these mid-rise skinnies in the last three months, but I’ve made up for lost time by buying them in three colours: true blue with chewed hems*; khaki biker-style (no longer available, but buy these leopard print jeans* instead cos they’re gorgeous); and a really flattering dark wash* that I’ve just added to my arsenal in the last fortnight.
These are my go-to jeans when I feel like I’ve had a little too much to eat (or when my Lilys most definitely won’t go anywhere near me), but unlike my other post-dinner clothes, they’re actually flattering – if you don’t count the indents left on my legs after wearing the biker pair for too long!
My top tips for jeans shopping
- Try everything on – and not just the pairs you think suit you. I would never have thought that my chewed-hem Amelies would be nice on me, until I tried them on – same goes for the Mango skinnies. You never know until you try, right?
- Forget about faded or sandblasted denim. Aside from the ethical implications, sandblasting for apple shapes is just never going to work. What do faded patches on your jeans do? They draw the eye to that area, meaning faded thighs = thunder thighs. I’m sorry, but it’s true.
- Wear the right underwear. I favour a lacy thong under my jeans (TMI?) – because it gives little to no VPL. Only when you have truly invisible underwear on can you see exactly what a pair of jeans does. Does it dig in at the crotch? Give you an unsightly below-bottom crease? It’s important to get the full picture (jeans shopping is serious business, after all).
- If in doubt? Buy the pair you love three times. It’s worked for me!
This post contains affiliate links. What does that mean? If you click through one of the links above and buy a pair of jeans as a result, not only will we be fashion twins, but I will get a small percentage of the sale. It makes no difference to your purchasing experience; you can consider it a thank you for sharing my expert advice! I will always disclose if a post is sponsored or contains affiliate links; for more, check out my disclaimer.