The quest for the perfect jeans begins in early childhood for girls and continues throughout a woman’s life. Just as a young or teenage girl has worn in her jeans just so, the tiniest hole appears on the knee or a growth spurt squeezes her out of them, and poof! The quest continues. It’s a delicate balance, finding the right rise, wash, cut and length. She’s declaring her jean personality to the world.
Forget about setting aside a couple hours to go shopping. This is going to take a day. There are too many factors in choosing jeans. You’ll need time and some extra cash for lunch as well as an ice cream treat when the first round in the dressing room doesn’t turn up the perfect pair.
Unless your daughter has tried on a particular pair of jeans and you’re buying the same exact pair again, online shopping won’t fix this problem. You can always find a pair that works in the store, and shop online for lower prices later. But the trip to the mall is probably unavoidable.
There are a bevy of factors to weigh in choosing the right pair. She’ll have to find the right fit and cut for her shape, and she’ll weigh her preferences for and the current trends in color, wash, and length. Keep in mind that jeans do loosen up, so what fits somewhat tight in the store may fit perfectly after one wear. Look for jeans with some spandex in the material of slim-fitting jeans for greater comfort.
Little girls are fairly easy to find jeans for, although even at a young age, girls can choose from many different styles. But the day is coming, if it hasn’t arrived already, that your daughter’s beanpole frame takes a new shape. When that happens, it’s a whole other ballgame.
When shopping for a bigger girl, first of all, point out that models in magazines are grotesquely airbrushed and shot from strategic angles and placed in bizarre poses in order to appear thinner. Got that? Good. Now reassure her that somewhere in that sea of denim awaits her perfect jeans. Hit Old Navy, misses departments or plus-sized stores like Lane Bryant for a good range of sizes and styles. Sometimes, a larger size in a petite department of a women’s store works for young but heavier set girls. Some girls no matter their shape enjoy experimenting with boy’s jeans.
The rise refers to where the jeans hit at the waist. Classic rise jeans fit at or just below the navel. High-waisted jeans have seen a resurgence. They hit above the navel, often in a seventies style with a flared leg. Low-rise jeans hang on the hip bones below the navel, and ultra-low rise sit below the hip bones. Try to find low-rise jeans that have a higher back, to avoid plumber’s butt.
The cut refers to the shape of the legs. Straight cut are uniform from thigh to hem, with no flare or tapering. Boot cut fit slim at the thigh and flare slightly below the knee. Flare leg have a more pronounced flare, in a 60s style. Skinny fit jeans are tight throughout the leg. Skinny jeans can be intimidating, but larger sizes in skinny jeans at Old Navy look fabulous on many different frames, and they’re a steal at $20. Tapered leg jeans exist, however, this style is not recommended at any age.
The wash of the jeans refers to the color and texture. Dark-wash denim ranges from brighter unwashed indigo denim to a darker vintage look. Stone-washed jeans have a slightly faded, washed out color. Dirty wash are pre-washed to feel softer and are tinted to appear dirty. Distressed denim is highly faded with fraying and tears.
Classic length jeans stop just below the ankle. Ankle-length jeans hit right at or just above the ankle bone. Capri jeans stop at mid-calf.
While the cut of jeans points to how jeans fit on the legs, the fit of jeans refers to how they fit in the seat and thighs. Slim-fit jeans hug the curves. Regular fit are slim but with a little roominess for comfort. Relaxed fit jeans provide more roominess, but are not yet baggy, whereas loose fit jeans are baggy throughout. The current trend of the “boyfriend” jean fits slightly baggy, as if they are borrowed boy’s jeans. You might even encourage girls with hard-to-fit bodies to experiment with boy’s jeans.
When Old Navy and Target offer jeans at $20 and Levi’s can run $30 to $40, it’s difficult to justify an $80 purchase of a pair of jeans. Explain to your daughter if you have a tight budget. However, if you have the money, an endless roster of brands shills jeans for $60 to $200. Brands like Roxy do fit nicely and may look more fashionable than other brands. On the other hand, thrift and vintage stores may offer the coolest jeans in town for a fraction of the price.
Unless you’re purposely trying to fade the jeans, wash them inside out to preserve the color. Read the labels to make sure the color won’t bleed during the first several washes. Wash them in non-bleach or color-fast bleach, and don’t over-dry them, which could cause them to shrink.
All jeans must die. Some die a slow death, as we hold them together with patches or shorten them into clam diggers or shorts. If your daughter is unbuttoning her top button at the table or the seat has faded into a precarious shade of white, it’s time for a new pair.
A girl’s choice of jeans may be influenced by her body shape and the current trends. However, there’s one other factor she has no choice but to consider: you, the parent, who thinks those jeans sit way too low and are way too tight. You can say no. You can. Practice it right now, “No. I am not buying you those hoochie mama jeans.” Don’t let the tears sway you. You are well within your rights. This monsoon of drama, too, shall pass.
Then again, maybe ultra-low rise jeans put a little too much out there. But slim-fitting low-rise jeans are the dominant trend. Be careful not to create shame where there shouldn’t be any. We all have periods in our fashion histories that we’d like to erase from the annals of time. However, poor fashion choices are a part of growing up. And it might be your taste that doesn’t fit with the times. Besides that, they’re just jeans. They were invented for miners. If only Levi Strauss knew what he started.