Thursday, September 30, 2010

How To: Denim

When I was in college, one of my favorite classes was Magazine Journalism. It was very informative on different types of articles magazines publish, and my prof was hot. I did really well in that class because it was genuinely interesting to me. One of my best articles was a How-To piece, which I wrote about denim.

Ever since I discovered premium denim (and then Authentic Forum) I've been obsessed with it. It just fit so much better than crappy Old Navy and GAP pairs, let alone looked and felt amazing. Being petite and butt deprived, it was a huge step up that opened a lot of possibilities.

Anyway, I decided to post my article here for all to see and critique. It's certainly not the best piece of writing, but one of my best. Also, a lot of it is opinion-based. If you disagree with something, please share your thoughts.

By the way, one of the brands featured in the article is 7 For All Mankind, which is probably my favorite premium denim brand. They just launched a series of sample sales/warehouse sales in a couple of major cities. Prices will be good, so check it out if you have the time (and cash). I will be going to the New York one on October 17.
And now, without further ado, I present "How to find a perfect-fitting pair of jeans."

With the rise of hip-hop culture in our society, the jeans on “gangsta” wannabes began to fall. The jeans-around-knees phenomenon is quite humorous, yet sad at the same time. You would think that someone know cares enough about getting the “hottest” items for their wardrobe, would also care enough about their clothes actually fitting them. Alas, it seems like it is their intention to buy clothes that are at least two sizes too large. So, for those of you with enough sense not to willfully portray the “I crapped my pants” syndrome, here are a few tips to help you pick out the best-fitting pair of jeans for your unique figure.

“Jeans naturally grow and mold your body,” says the CEO of Seven for all Mankind, a popular premium denim brand. While it is certainly so, it does not mean that your two-sizes-too-large pair of jeans will magically start adjusting to your figure and shrink into your true size. So your first mission to finding your perfecting-fitting pair of jeans is to find your true size. For this, you will need a measuring tape and a realistic outlook on yourself.

The basics.

As a rule, your jeans size is determined by your natural waistline measurement. Most people can locate it within seconds. If you are one of those people who have long lost their waistlines, your bellybutton will be your guide, as in most people, the natural waistline is usually about an inch above it. Take the measuring tape and place it firmly around your waist. Do not suck in your tummy; be honest with yourself. Also, remember to keep your back straight, because when you slouch, tummy muscles come together to form a “pouch,” which will throw you off with your measurements. Mark the place where the zero meets with a double digit—this is your natural waist and your basic jean size.

The number you just got is not the end, but just a beginning. Now that you have determined which size is most likely to fit you, you will need closer measurements. The best thing to do is to measure around the part of your body where you like your jeans to sit, the fullest part of your hips, around your thigh about an inch below the crotch, around the knee, and the inseam, which runs from your crotch to your heel. When you’re armed with this info, you can start looking for a pair that would compliment your shape.

The fits.

Different body shapes require different styles to sparkle in all the right places. There are four basic cuts that also come in different variations. The first one is a regular straight-leg cut, which comes in men’s as well as women’s jeans. In this style the measurements of the mid-thigh, the knee and the leg opening are constant throughout the leg, hence the name. This cut is good for those of you who like a casual, slacks-type of look. Because the shape of the leg is straight, it gives an appearance of longer, leaner legs, which is a big plus for those of you, who have a problem in this department.

Another popular cut is the boot cut—or bootleg, as some call it—which is a more popular variation of a flare leg. The jean is fitted at the thigh, then slowly narrows down to the knee where it stops slimming and starts to widen toward the end to the same width as the thigh. Many short statured people are afraid of the boot cut because they think the flare will make their legs look stumpy and their feet invisible. In reality, the flare in this style is not wide enough to burry the foot underneath it and is made to give the wearer a clear sense of the leg structure. This style is popular with men as well as with women of all shapes and sizes because of its versatility and comfort.

The skinny leg cut, which has become ridiculously popular again, is the third basic cut that every brand manufactures. The name of it says it all—they are tight, usually with a few “degrees” of tightness. They start out tight at the thigh, and as they go down, they only get narrower. The leg opening is usually half the thigh measurement or less. This style, made popular by Audrey Hepburn back in the 60s, came back last year to haunt the fashion houses intro going retro. What people do not realize is that the skinny leg is clearly not for everyone. Obviously, if your complexion consists of long, lean, healthy-looking legs, these jeans will definitely compliment your body. However, if you have short, un-proportional-to-you-body legs, very meaty or very bony, or they aren’t exactly straight, then do not wear skinnies under any circumstances. These jeans were made to outline every detail of the legs; therefore, all of your flaws other jeans hide will come out in these. And if you’re a man, just think of your unborn children that you’re killing.

On an opposite side of the skinny leg jeans are the wide leg cuts, or, as some call it, the sailor jeans. This cut is intended to be wider than an attributed measurement points out. The jeans do not hug the hips, but rather give you some breathing room. Same principle goes for the thighs, knees and leg opening, which is usually wider than the thigh by around half of it. So far, women have popularized this cut, which is a good thing because they would look foolish on men. If your hips and thighs are full and voluptuous, then this is the cut for you. They do not feel like second skin on your body and hide all of the unnecessary skin bulging that skinny leg puts in the spotlight. Short-legged people should avoid wearing wide-leg jeans with flats because it makes them stumpy and awkward-looking. Nice shoes with high heels could fix this problem.

The search.

Equipped with this knowledge you can finally start looking for your perfect-fitting jeans. Going to departments stores to try on same pairs is the best way to go. However, many people feel pressured by sales associated into buying thing they either don’t like or can’t afford. This is why the following section will concentrate on on-line shopping, where there is no pressure, wider variety, and best of all, greatest deals on designer clothes.

First, if you still are not sure about what you like to try, or what would look good on you, to, where you can take a quick survey about your preferences and needs in jeans, and the system will match you up with a variety of different styles and brands to choose from. The downside of this is that this site makes money on advertising, which comes from retail stores selling jeans. Another website,, uses a similar principle.

When you settle on a brand, go to their official website for the most accurate description of their styles. You can also call their customer service to find out the exact measurements of a pair you’re interested in. Knowing your measurements you will be able to approximate how comfortable or uncomfortable you would feel in a certain size. Then, when you finally decide on your size, start browsing through reputable on-line stores—eBay included—to find a place whose price meets your budget, and order away. Don’t forget that most online stores offer discount codes that you can quickly find by typing in the key words in the search bar. A good idea is to also sign up with websites such as and to get cash back on eligible purchases.

The most important thing you must do before you push that “buy” button is make sure that the product you are buying is authentic. When you buy fake merchandise, you support terrorism, child labor and sweatshops. Visit for authenticity checks and to learn about what you could do if you were scammed into buying a fake product. Otherwise, enjoy the feeling that you get, when your jeans fit you right.

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