Okay, wide jeans. You will still require your skinny jeans for very wet days or when you need to put your wellies on over something to go for walk no. 500,000 across the now churned-up quagmire of your local green space. But on all but the very wettest days you can wear wide jeans. They are super comfortable and very modern. It’s time.
Note, please, that these are not boyfriend jeans, nor are they flares. Wide jeans are high-waisted and… wide all the way down and ought to cover most of your shoes and be worn with cropped sweaters or cardigans. Any survivors from the 90s will probably think of them as “raver pants”. I have got two pairs, one lightweight for summer from Sezane (“The Venice” – absolutely terrific, but not for winter as the material is too thin) and one completely random heavier-weight pair off asos, by “Dr Denim” whoever she is, which now only has one size left. If you want to get the Tall version of my jeans (which I love, by the way) there are still available in plenty of sizes and you can get them taken up. They should stop about 1cm shy of the ground and show a thin strip of your trainers all the way around, you don’t want soggy, trodden-on hems. It’s not actually the 90s.
(What are those random brands on asos by the way? As baffling and fly-by night as the brands sold in Argos.**)
And now I see OtherStories is in on the act with their High Waisted Flared Jeans, though they are not so much flared as wide. I have seen them on Fran Bacon @thefashionlift and the fit is great.
H&M of course also have a great selection: go to women/jeans and then under “Style” check the “flared” and “wide” box and their range will pop up.
These from Arket also look promising.
Of course, even out of full house arrest lockdown, we cannot try clothes on. This is a major fly in the ointment of particularly buying jeans because the only way to find a good pair, even in-store, is to try many, many pairs on.
I strongly recommend, in order to cut down on general heartache, doing some due diligence here and actually measuring your current waist and leg sizes with some string and a metal tape measure, or even a dressmaking tape measure if you have such a thing. Your measurements are probably not what you think they are.
Then order in a bunch of likely-looking styles around your usual size and then faithfully return any that don’t fit and promise yourself you will not kick any rejects into the coat cupboard to be found again in 2024.
Although someone told me that some places throw away returns because the manpower required to sort out returned clothes isn’t worth it. Can that be true?
** UPDATE – a reader alerted me to the fact that Dr Denim is not a random brand but a cool Swedish store. But then alas they’ve shut their UK store because, they claim, they’ve sold out of everything. This seems a very weird reason to shut an online store, but I sort of admire their honesty. Anyway just for clarity the wide jeans I have from Dr Denim are here: https://drdenim.com/collections/womens-jeans/products/echo-5 but the Stockholm store doesn’t ship to the UK (this must be a Brexit thing)! But you might not be in the UK, in which case, go for it.
Emily Barry says
I strongly recommend Bella Hoskyns Hepburn trousers. Make me feel very Katherine esque and elegant, plus made in the UK etc etc etc.
https://www.bellahoskyns.com/shop/hepburn-trousers-in-navy-lambswool-with-a-silver-lining-sizes-6-16-4hymm for anyone interested, they look very chic
susan millerchip says
Love the idea but am I too small at 5ft 3 and I fear the ‘clown look’ ?
Of course not too small! Its just about giving them a go. If you feel like they make you look like a clown then don’t, but it’s important to try…
But high waisted, Esther. I’m not sure I can make that move from total comfort to constricting high waisted denim. Or, I’m not sure my belly can. It can just about cope with my loose boyfriend jeans. Isn’t this high waisted style torture for a life spent mostly sitting or dropping to my knees in front of children?
the RIGHT high-waisted will lovingly cradle your tummy and won’t feel strangulating or bad. give them a whirl! why not? but don’t make any comfort compromises for Fashion. not worth it
I used to work for a fancy mail order company and part of my job was telling customers their clothes were too manky to be refunded/exchanged and we were going to send them back. It did take a long time to process them but then we charged way too much for the clothes. They weren’t so cheap we could just chuck them away which is possibly the case with some places now?
Things we saw included: jumpers a cat had been sleeping on, crinkly cardboard tags as if pressed up against somebody’s neck all night at a party, trousers that had actually been taken up and let down again, curious ‘yoghurt’ inside pyjama bottoms, items ordered from an entirely different, cheaper company trying to pass off as ours….
So yes, processing returns does take ages if you do it properly. If the plastic bag your individual item comes in is the plainest of plain, it’s a clue it’s been returned, gussied up and re-bagged. Nothing wrong with that, you’d never notice in a shop if an item had been returned. But if it’s at the bargain end of things, you might want to check the item to be sure.
Also wide jeans, excellent for wearing leggings underneath in cold weather and pleasingly breezy in warm weather!
Julie this is fascinating!! wow people are chancers aren’t they. I woudl never *DARE* do anything with an item that I might return other than try it on and then VERY QUICKLY return to original bag and box and keep quietly in a dark room while I fill in the returns slip
I actually have a cropped cardigan from 1997 which should go well with this horrendous new shape of denim. It always goes weird in the crotch… :-/
I know what you mean. but a weird crotch is part of the charm. maximum skills points for still having a cardigan from 1997 than fits
Those Sezane jeans look lovely. I may have to wait for warmer weather to join in this trend as dog walking every day in this manky weather is not conducive to wide jean wearing. I’ve seen lots of lovely Sezane items in the past I’ve wanted to buy but wonder about the sizing. Are sizes geared towards tiny French waifs or normal British girls?
I find the Sezane sizing surprisingly generous
Thank you Esther, I was convinced sizing would go the other way and be an issue. I’ll go ahead and buy with abandon (and hope I get my package, DPD wanted custom duties of £68.00 on my Claudie Pierlot jumper, so it had to go back – it’s definitely a Brexit thing!)
Oh Dr Denim is a legit brand – they are Swedish, and THE BEST makers of jeans for tall folk. They also v nice about continuing and/or only slightly evolving their styles, for those of us who are stubborn. I have been wearing high waisted skinnies for 15 years, as a tall skinny person for whom such jeans are perennially perfect and all other jeans look wrong and clowny. I started with ‘Snap’, moved onto ‘Arlene’, and have now settled on ‘Moxy’. They do a 34″ leg length. They design for slim women with actual hips, not just straight up & down girls. They rule! (Sorry Esther, this is off the wide jean topic. But honestly Dr Denim are great.)
omg!! that’s great to hear! I will have a rummage and put up a link to and independent site if I can find it
Sezane – reminded of this lovely site I spent 3 hours (I know) on last night and this am, incl ordering the Venice jeans, then went to pay and there is no ship to UK option. The Notting Hill shop is showing click and collect still (how?) but that didn’t work either.
Just so completely pissed off with them – just to let you know – and trustpilot doesn’t bode well for them at the moment either.
I had set myself up as a 2021 French woman and now dashed. Do you happen to have any Sezane alternatives?? Thank you x
I LIVED in these as a ska-obsessed teen
Ok, so Ive bought a load to try – but some are more straight to the knee and then flared at the bottom rather than wide down the whole leg. Are these still acceptable to be more modern than my straight legs? Or is past the age of 40 too old for the flared variety??
I would say to be truly modern you need them wide the whole way down – think Barbara in the Good Life. BUT if what you have is straight to the knee and then flared that’s fine. What’s harder to make modern is TIGHT to the knee and then flared. Those are still a little bit mums-night-out. What I can only say from here is that if you love them, go for it but if not, move on
Thanks Esther. I shall aim for Barbara.
I am living in Stockholm ( used to live in your patch in Hampstead) and I only discovered Dr denim since living here. I LOVE IT. Their coloured denim is amazing. Really beautiful bright colours and a nice contemporary fit. I now see that Kate Spade have also stopped shipping to Sweden!!