There's one classic item that's essential in every woman's wardrobe, and it's not black pumps or a pearl necklace. It's the perfect pair of jeans. But with so many factors to finding the right pair, making a buying decision can be daunting. With tips from Maryann Zegarac, personal stylist manager at Nordstrom, you'll cruise the denim section with confidence.
This pair by U.S. designer Paige features a blend of rayon, cotton, polyester and spandex ($179). "This creates a luxuriously soft denim that won't stretch out because they're pre-stretched," Zegarac says.
When it comes to closures, look for a single button and zipper. "They lay the flattest and offer the best support," says Zegarac. "Snaps tend to come undone, and more than one button can add unnecessary bulk and be uncomfortable."
A skinny, tailored leg works best for most shapes, sizes and styling purposes. "You can cuff them, tuck them into boots or wear them with flats, and they're generally an appropriate length for most heights," Zegarac says. To create the illusion of longer limbs, choose a boot-cut pair.
Check the label for cotton. "A cotton blend fabric is the best," says Zegarac. For stiffer jeans that will keep their shape, choose a pair with 2 percent spandex. "More than 2 percent spandex would suggest the jean is very stretchy, like a legging."
"In the fitting room, jeans should fit very snugly and be slightly uncomfortable," Zegarac says. Even the best denim brands such as Paige and J Brand contain spandex. With enough spandex and wear, jeans may stretch up a full size, so lean toward buying the tighter pair.
Be patriotic — to a degree. "Most premium denim is made in the USA with materials from Italy and Japan," Zegarac says. "Each pair of premium denim is handmade, which is why each pair fits a little different and the price point is higher."
We have a hunch you own a denim jacket, chambray shirt and skinny jeans in three different washes. So it's time to switch things up with these five fall trends.
With a slouchy and low-rise fit, boyfriend jeans are perfect for a relaxing weekend. $84, Diana skinny by Kut from the Cloth, knuths.com
Swap your favorite colored summer denim for a more demure slate wash this season. $69.95, Gap 1969 Always Skinny, gap.com
Printed and patterned jeans pair best with solid tops and simple accessories. $74.95, Gap 1969 Always Skinny skimmer, gap.com
Party like it's 1989 in acid-washed denim, seen everywhere from jeans to jackets. $88, Express high-rise legging, express.com
From your Girl Scout days, patchwork is back — but better. $128, BCBGeneration leather patched jeans, dillards.com
When the president and CEO of Levi Strauss & Co. says he never washes his jeans, you think it's gross — and then you wonder if he's on to something. Rather than cleanse his denim washer-and-dryer style, Chip Bergh chucks bacteria and odor via his freezer. So I decided to put his habits to the test in a (somewhat) scientific experiment: Starting with two identical, brand-spanking-new Levi 535 jeans ($35 each, macys.com), I made notes on their color, cut and fit. I alternated wearing each pair, laundering one based on its care instructions and freezing the other. After two weeks of wear and care, here's what I discovered.
Size: The washed pair shrank — big time. In fact, its legs lost a full 2 inches of fabric. They're also, um, a tad snug now. The freezer jeans, on the other hand, stretched to the point that I often found myself hiking them up as I walked the office halls. Color: While the freezer jeans kept their brown-washed hue, the laundered pair now pops with hints of royal blue and white that weren't there when I bought them. Feel: This may be TMI, but someone recently brushed my leg and complimented me on how soft my jeans were. Which pair was I wearing, you ask? The freezer jeans. The washed pair feels a bit scratchy. Odor: The laundered pair smells like Tide, but the freezer jeans are odorless. My conclusion: Bergh knows his stuff.