How many pairs of jeans do you have in your wardrobe?
I just did a quick count and to my absolute horror, I have 31. Yes, 31 pairs of jeans of which I wear about five.
The others are there just in case I miraculously lose five kilos, or feel like wearing a two-inch rise, stretch flared pair that I loved when I was 23, or am in the mood for fluoro pink, spray-on skinnies that would probably make even Miranda Kerr's bum look big.
Throw them out, you say? No way! They might one day morph into the perfect pair of jeans. The ones I've been searching for all my life.
It's this elusive pair of dream jeans that keeps the denim industry alive. And, as the creative director of J Brand, Jeff Rudes says, "finding the perfect pair of jeans is a lifelong treasure hunt."
J Brand is an American jeans label who most famously created the skinny cargo "Houlihans" a few years ago.
They were cropped, they were stretch, they were super soft, and they literally made every single woman who tried them on feel like Gisele Bundchen.
OK, maybe that's an exaggeration but they did make a gal look slimmer. I've got a bottom most would call womanly and they even made mine look trim. (Trim. A word not often associated with bottoms.)
Women scooped them up in every colour and turned to J Brand as the new master of the denim game.
The secret, according to Rudes, is getting the dimensions of the pocket size and the angle of the yoke right.
"I made this my mission," he says, "down to the last millimetre."
He says this is key when women go jeans shopping. "The most important thing is how your bottom looks. If the pocket is too big or too small, or sits too high or too low, it will make your bottom look bigger. Same with the yoke. If it's not in the right positioning or at the right angle, the whole fit will be off."
So. How to find the perfect pair of jeans? Heed his tips and hone your search.
1. The most important thing is the fit, followed by the fabric, and then the style. "Feel the fabric first," says Rudes, "if you like it, try it on."
2. Skinny jeans suit every body. If there is one cut that fits all, it's the skinny. "Youthful is an attitude," Rudes adds, "anyone can wear a skinny jean and look great."
3. Be courageous and try something new. "Many women are surprised they love our high-waisted Maria, for example."
4. Listen to the sales assistant. "They know your body type and can sift through the stock to find you something that suits."
5. Find the right rise for your body type - low, mid or high. There is not one rise that fits all, so you need to try these on and decide.
6. Turn around. Is the pocket right? Does it make your bottom look bigger?
7. Check the yoke (the V-shaped section on the back, above the bottom). "If the yoke is straight across or not angled at a V, then it won't be flattering."
8. Stretch fabric is generally better than stiff, unless it's a boyfriend cut. Stretch is more comfortable and the fabric technology today means jeans can look like a rigid fabric, like an old Levi, but actually have some stretch in it.
9. Jeans should fit quite snugly. "They should go on tight because they'll open up and relax. Not hugely, the way they used to in old denim, non-stretch terms, but a little."
10. Get the length right. "Skinny leg jeans should be a little longer than your ankle. Boot leg jeans should fit over your heel, almost touching the floor."
11. Shop for new fabrics. "Denim technology has come a long way. We have a jean which goes on over the body like a stocking to smooth the bottom and make the leg look longer."
- Sydney Morning Herald
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