ok, ready? read on.
so i collect jeans. i've adopted the 'collector' label because i have a truly higher appreciation for the art of the blue jean. because i own 37 pairs of designer jeans, i can sleep at night thinking i have an appreciation for wearable art, rather than admitting the truth, which is that i am the epitome of a jeans who*re.
i have other justifications. for one, my addiction is at the very least logical... sort of. my reasoning is-- if you're going to spend money on something, why not jeans? jeans are comfortable wearable classic and understated. they get more use than 95% of the rest your wardrobe. in the grand scheme of things, better to spend money on something i'll wear (and wear and wear) than on a shirt that goes out of style next season.
finally, and most importantly, i am superficial enough to believe that a great pair of flattering jeans can actually be the fashion equivalent to prozac. there is nothing more beautifully graceful and stylish than a white tee-shirt, driving loafers, and pucci scarf belt woven through thick belt loops of your best denim. you know it's true. and if you don't, you just haven't found your pair yet.
a couple of considerations before you begin:
1. I ROCK: before i begin we have to establish my jeans superiority over you. no offense, i'm sure you have many great qualities. in fact, you might be quite stylish and have a great wardrobe. however, i swear on my chloe trouser jeans that you do not have more knowledge of denim than i do. i own them all. and if i don't, it's because i tried them on nine or ten thousand times and eventually decided that they weren't cool enough for me. either than or they were too short, in which case i will forever boycott the designer because he shunned me from the beginning. bast*ard.
2. I HAD THOSE JEANS BEFORE YOU DID. no, seriously. i did. in fact, i probably had them before you were born.
i am very tall and very thin which is made complicated by the fact that i have a big as*s. no, seriously. i'm a beanpole with a huge bum. i do not patronize brands that don't run at least 35" long and will forever boycott any designer who does not initially make jeans long enough for me. true religion? yes i know they now have extra long sizing. they didn't in the beginning. i hold that against mr. religion. he and his overembellished teeny bopper front pockets can kiss my big as*s.
i have been evolving the jeans bible for about 4 years now. i add to it regularly and would love comments, suggestions, and other reviews. whatever you do, please don't remind me that i am a conspicuous consumer and that there are children dying in africa. i know.
AG:no direct experience but i hear they're great for all shapes and sizes. also supposed to be reliable and high quality.
i own two pairs of MCQ (which is net-a-porter's affectionate nickname for mr. mcqueen). both of them stick to the classic european designer style-- made for the tall and thin, not a lot of butt room, and typically 100% cotton. the upside is that they're durable, the downside is that they're not flexible-- so you definitely want a LOT of details before buying them. also, be careful NOT to buy the older styles of alexander mcqueen. in the past, this moronic man made his signature back pocket small and triangular... OH MY GOD what a stupid, stupid man. there's pretty much no less flattering a backside than one which appears large and pear shaped. STAY AWAY from the old mcqueen back pockets. they will keep you up at night. i swear.
antik:don't run long enough for me. VERY expensive. not hugely versatile but i think they're fabulous. they're an outfit in one piece. inseam 30-33"
balenciaga:oh god, i want a pair of these jeans. i really really want a pair of these jeans. inseam (ahhhhhhh!) 35-38"
bcbg/theory/juicy:never tried on a single pair i liked. my belief is that if you're going to drop $100-300 on a pair of jeans, buy some from a designer who focuses entirely on denim. inseam varies.
blue cult:consistently disappointed with these jeans. my experience is that the disparity in sizing, inseam length, material and quality makes the blue cult quest not worth searching. i'm sure there are some great pairs out there. i've never been able to find them. inseam 32-34"
bluegenious:my best friend has s pair and they are SO CUTE. high quality, nice stretch, very wearable. highly recommend. inseam 33-35"
cavalli:i've only found them on neimanmarcus dot com and net-a-porter dot com. they appear to run long, are usually 100% cotton, and look like they would satisfy my obsession for the weird-enough-to-stand-out-and-yes-these-are-couture-i-can-buy-you-too-if-i-want jean. the primary thing holding me back is that they're usually VERY embellished detailed styles which are no versatile and noticeable enough that i can't wear them regularly. on my budget, i can't afford to drop $400 on a pair of jeans i can only wear once a month.
chip and pepper:i discovered these in miami at barney's coop 4 years ago. the original sorority girl jean was one of the few styles (like, EVER) which pulled off the super low waist. cute, but haven't been impressed with the fabric's ability to hold up. within days of yanking at the right belt loop (yes, you do it, too, even if you don't know it. 90% chance your right thigh is wider than your left, which means the right side of your ass is more likely to hang out in low rise jeans, which means you're pulling it up without even realizing it) a hole appeared. i had it repaired, and it tore again. CARDINAL RULE OF DENIM: DURABILITY. summary: the rise is really low so i recommend chip and pepper to girls who have long, lean, athletic frames. i don't think they do well with curves. inseam usually around 33 inches, although the original sorority girl had a 36" inseam.
chloe:UPDATE: i got them. yes, i recently lost my chloe virginity and let me tell you, it was every bit as amazing as i'd hoped. i have the trouser style which are closer to a 5-pocket than i had expected. they are 100% highly durable cotton in a true blue which remains timeless and versatile. the hem on most of chloe styles is 3 inches, which is really flattering and again, adds a slightly unique edge to the classic denim. inseam 35-36"
citizens:this is the only contemporary/designer jean that i do not own, mainly because i've never found an inseam long enough. one of my closest friends has two pair of the same style and LOVES them-- refuses to wear anything else. from what i've seen, they're high quality and timeless, and can be worn by any body type. they look fantastic on my friend and she's not an emaciated 12 y.o. (which is who most designer jeans are made to fit) inseam 30-33"
diesel:weirdly, i don't own these, either. i see them as sort of a higher end levis insofar as they are jeans made by the experts. versatile but classic jeans style. haven' found a style that is an every day wear, though. generally i'm not much of a diesel girl. inseam: 30-34"
dolce:i love d&g but i've never been a huge fan of the jeans. run small, not as long as they're supposed to be. overpriced. inseam usually claimed to be 34-36" but i think they lie.
gap:in my experience, high quality and classic timeless styles. cute jeans, not fantastic, but worth the $40. inseam varies.
generra/christopher blue:supposed to be the high end of the high end jean. weird styles, hard to find. in my experience, you can't drop less than $300 for a pair. inseam 33-37"
grey ant:i am reluctant to add this to my guide, because once i share the love with all of you, you will go out and buy them, and then everyone will be out there, wearing MY jeans. however, my fashion philanthropic nature forces me to spread the good news. GREY ANT JEANS ROCK. and they're worth every penny. seriously. in fact, i do not feel that this jeans bible short excerpt would do them justice, so if you wanna know more-- send me a message. i actually wrote an entire blog post which is entitled: "I wear mom butt jeans and you can kiss my as*s."
habitual:used to be only available in smaller boutiques and barney's NY, but i believe bloomingdales is now carrying them as well. i bought my first pair at a barney's outlet in napa valley california and they have since demonstrated to me that they satisfy on of my denim maxims-- they are timeless. in 2002, my slightly distressed low-waisted wide flare trouser jeans earned more compliments than any other pair of jeans i own. today, these jeans are still slightly unique, flattering and generally adorable. the colors are PERFECT for what should be your favorite *pair* because they are slightly distressed but generally the sort of classic blue which compliments any top. habituals are mostly 100% cotton which means there will be a break in period before they mold accordingly to your body. it's worth it. trust me. inseam 35"
hudsons:i've seen them look fantastic on others. dying to try the 'supermodel' jean. inseam 32-36"
james (preserved):higher rise, little stretch, mine have held up quite well. if i were shorter i'd own a paid of the trouser fit which are just so damn cute and flattering. i'd definitely recommend these to any girl with an ass (like me). inseam 32-35"
joe's:tried a truly sublime pair which were flattering enough to give r&r's roth style a run for their money. however, much like r&r, joe's are not durable. they have a little too much lycra and the cotton is a little too distressed and thus not durable. buy 'em, but don't pay much for them. my favorite style is the supermodel and inseams vary from 30"-36"
katayone adeli:another tall and thin jean, but the style is flattering, the cut is classic and the silhouette is just unique enough to set you apart from the basic "premium jean," which, IMO, is cute but overrated. these jeans are perfect for the girl who likes to stand out a bit. VERY hard to find, but VERY worth checking out. inseam 33-34"
karl lagerfeld:see cavalli, above.
levi's premium:LOVE THEM. levis has been making jeans for, what, like 100 years. they know what they're doing with this contemporary, higher-end line. the first pair i ever found were at barneys ny. i wore them to death, had them patched, wore them to death again and patched again. worth every penny. inseam 30-34"
lix:GREAT for the curvy girls. more stretch than other jeans which makes for super-comfort. but not too much that they look trashy. doesn't have a lot of standard styles-- more like a going out type of jean. inseam: 33-35"
lux:i think this is the urban outfitters brand... never run long enough for me but dam*n, they're cute. inseam 32"?
marc jacobs:i realized i'm mildly deluded but i still take credit for discovering marc back in my junior year of college when i got a pair of tuxedo jeans off of bluefly for like $60. i own three pair now, and i cherish them like they're family heirlooms. i'm not a huge fan of jacobs' entire apparel line, but every pair of jeans and/or pants have left me supremely happy. haven't seen these on shorter frames but again, i'd gues they're for the skinny and tall (although they do minimize my hefty lower half) inseam 35"
paige's premium:they look adorable on revolve dot com, i think they run long, too. inseam 33-35"
paper denim:never found a pair i liked. never found them hugely flattering on others. not a big fan. inseam 30-34"
rock and republic:r&r goes first because the roth style, which, like all great denim, i discovered and purchased before you were born. my roths were hands down the most flattering jeans i've ever worn and will forever live in infamy because not long after i had my first r&r orgasm, my roths fells apart. i marched them back to bloomingdales where i exchanged them for a pair that fell apart about a month later. it was tragic i tell you. cryable. i cry for you argentina.
anyway, as for the basics: r&r is very nice for the super tall (inseam is usually between 34-36), but i have a friend who's 5'7 and they look f-ing unbelievable on her, too. the nice thing about these is that the rise is not ridiculously low so one's ass does not hang out when sitting, etc. i sort of pride myself in finding non-mainstream jeans, but i'd wear r&rs if they were my school uniform. they're just sublime. only con-- they're not durable.