Investment Dressing

…isn’t what it used to be.  If Karl Lagerfeld can send models down the runway clad in jeans as part of the Chanel freaking Couture collection, that says to une femme that denim is here to stay.

Not that I’m complaining, mind you.  Over the last few years, denim jeans have become a wardrobe stalwart, ever ready to take on anything from a casual Saturday afternoon with a marinière and flats, to a workday meeting with a jacket and pearls.

Near the top of my “fill the wardrobe holes” list, however was a pair of jeans long enough to wear with heels.  Most of what I currently own are Petite NYDJ’s, which are pre-hemmed to a length that’s great for flats, not so much for heels.  Keeping in mind my resolution to “buy better, buy less,” last Saturday I marched myself down to the Designer Denim Department at Nordstrom, otherwise known as “tbd.”

Honestly, I wasn’t hopeful.  My previous few tries at upgrading my denim had yielded rises so low they caused an immediate gaping case of Plumber’s Derriere, and hems of a length that would’ve pleased WNBA forwards.  But the lovely Sales Associate approached me with the confidence of someone who smells a sure sale, so I threw in my lot with her.  “I don’t know if you’ll have anything here for me. I need something with at least a mid-rise, and a shorter length,” I challenged.

“Oh sure, we have plenty of mid-rise styles, and for regular priced items, we hem for free.”  Those were the magic words, and I followed her around the department like an eager puppy as she eyeballed my size in several brands and styles, and escorted me to the dressing room with a dozen to try.  So try I did.  And she’d done a pretty good job guesstimating my size.  There were some Not-A-Chance’s, some Almost-There’s, and one pair of Oh-Yeah-These-Look-Amazing jeans.  It was a revelation. (And almost perversely, they were the very first pair I tried on.)

So which were the magic pair?

These.  7 For All Mankind

On the advice of the Very Helpful Sales Associate, I took them home and washed them, and then brought them back the next day to get measured for alteration.  They should be ready to pick up any day now.

Having never owned a pair of premium denim before, I’m just floored by how soft the fabric is, and how well cut they are.  I can hardly wait to wear these with The Orange Vogs!! 
More Gratuitous Couture Denim

Chanel 2011 Spring Couture photos from, here.
So that’s two items checked off the list.  
Do you have a favorite brand of jeans?  
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  1. The 7s aren’t THAT much more expensive than the NYDJ as it happens. Couldn’t you also get regular length NYDJ and have them hemmed?

    Don’t faint, but my best fitting jeans are NYDJ straight leg and (the faint is coming) JC Penney’s ANA jeggings (faint for both JCP and jeggings).

  2. Big, big find-buy several! I wear Talbot’s trouser-cut jeans. Did not wear any jeans for over a decade, till I found these, only style that skims rather than encases my thigh.

  3. Always good to find a pair of jeans that fit well. I’m not precious about labels, I’ll wear anything; Levi’s, Gap, Uniqlo, though I do have a couple of more expensive pairs (bought in the USA, of course!) including a pair of J Brand that in retrospect, I don’t think are very flattering.

  4. Yes I do and they happen to be 7 for All Mankind. I’ve got two pairs now, a skinny and a dark wash boot cut. I wear the dark wash with heels to work more and more often. I should try your suggestion of a jacket and pearls with them.

  5. My daughters guided me over to the pricey side of jeans several years ago — Citizens of Humanity, 7s, Fidelity, in current order of preference. So great to find a model that works for you — enjoy!

  6. I’m very long-waisted and am never happy with the way jeans fit, so I took a chance on a recent Groupon deal for Indi custom jeans. I’ve been following the brand, which is based right here in the Bay Area, for more than a year, and I finally decided to bite. The site asks for a number of body measurements (including bra size–interesting!) and allows the customer to choose the fabric, the wash, the rise, the pocket details (front and rear), and the hemming style. The best part: if the jeans don’t fit, Indi will re-cut and re-sew them until they do. For $85 (the Groupon price), I figured it was worth it.

    Still waiting for my jeans. Fingers crossed.

  7. I’m in Sevens too:). The Ginger model. I bought a pair, loved them to death, bought a second pair:). They make me look infinitely better than any other options. Good on you!

  8. Miss J had a similar experience with a sales associate and jeans a year or so back. If not for that woman’s help, Miss J would probably left the store empty-handed. She ended up with perennial favorites Levi’s (boot cut and dark-rinse for heels) and Lucky Brands straight-legs for flats. Miss J tried on every on-trend brand, which was fun. When she complained about the extreme low-rise, she was brought some truly awful Not You Daughter’s Jeans.

    One thing Miss J will add, while she loves the fit of Levis, she actually doesn’t like ANYTHING on her butt- pockets, logos, designs, etc. She wishes Levi’s made a line of trouser jeans with no back pockets, or at least no contrast stitching. That orange stitching really calls attention to the derriere.

  9. Yes I am a jeans addict, J brand is possibly my favourite I have lived in their skinny jeans and cords this winter, I love the Agness in coated black denim, and of course the original “love Story” style..
    I also love Sevens like you, they are so flattering xx

  10. I have to replace my jeans and I dread it. Jean shopping can be as hard as swimsuit shopping. Maybe I need to get to Nordstorm.

  11. J Brand. Love them! Though I only own one pair. For cheaper denim Gap has some decent pairs that hold up well. Hemming really is the key.

  12. The comments are really interesting too as well as your great jeans post! Thanks Deja… I did have some 7’s way back but the denim was hard and uncomfortable. Maybe I should look again. All I have at the moment is one pair of NYDJ and they are getting very tatty. I cannot stand a low rise either… What type are your 7 for all Mankind 7’s? Do they have a style name? X

  13. Frugal Scholar – the problem with the regular sized NYDJ’s is that the rise is also proportionally longer, and while the petites hit me right at or just above my waist (I’m VERY short-waisted), the “regular” rise hits halfway to my armpits. I’ve tried this. 😉 I love the NYDJ straight leg jeans for wearing with flats, though.

    Duchesse – I may pick up at least a second pair, but may also see if they have the same cut in a different wash. I haven’t tried the Talbots trouser jeans, but have not had good luck with the pants fits in the last couple of years.

    That’s Not My Age – I’m not really picky about labels either, but have had no luck lately with Gap or Levi’s. I’ve had one incredible pair of Gap jeans for years, but they don’t seem to make that cut anymore…everything is extremely low-rise these days.

    Ruby Tuesday – a lot of people recommend J brand, but don’t think I’ve tried that one yet. I’m a jeans addict too!

    Northmoon – I’d love to get a skinny leg pair too. I add a pair of pumps when I wear with jacket/pearls and it feels appropriate, as long as the jeans aren’t distressed or faded. Give it a try!

    Belle de Ville – I know, it’s like Christmas all over again!!

    materfamilias – thanks! Now that I know there are styles that work for me, I’m hooked!

  14. Oddly, my experiences of 7´s for all mankind are not so great. After wearing them a few times, they become loose and fall off. Not funny at all.

  15. Nancy – ooh, custom fit, that sounds like it has possibilities. Hope it’s as good as it sounds!

    LBR – YES, go to Nordstrom. They will hold your hand (figuratively) through the whole thing, and help you navigate the jeans maze.

    Tabitha – another vote for J Brand, will Have to try them!

    Kalee – and you too in the J Brand camp… 🙂

    LPC – I don’t know what this particular “model” is called, but I love the fit! Will probably invest in a second pair, as I wear jeans pretty frequently these days.

    Miss Janey – it’s good to get some knowledgeable help! I don’t mind pockets, but I refuse to have anything sparkly, embroidered or such on my butt.

    metscan – that’s too bad! The SA advised me that they should be quite snug when you first put them on and they will conform to your shape. Hope that’s correct!

    Mardel – do you have Nordstrom’s where you are? They really do have fabulous customer service (usually….have heard some have experience otherwise, but they’ve always been very helpful to me).

    Spacegeek – Joe’s is another brand that several people have recommended, will have to try them as well.

    M – that’s great! I haven’t tried Old Navy, usually because the place is such a zoo.

    Semi Expat – if you click on the caption of the picture of the 7’s, it links to the product information. I’m not sure what the style name is, but I do like these and they’re amazingly soft.

  16. The only jeans that fit me are NYDJ. Almost all jeans are too short or tight in the crotch. I don’t look very good in jeans because I have big upper thighs and not a small booty. I think that is why I prefer dresses, they are much more comfortable. I tried the Cookie Johnson and they didin’t fit either. Because of my lovely thighs, boot cut look straight leg on me. I love the skinny jean look but it doesn’t love me. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  17. Nowadays I do wear NYDJ, but something in me simply recoils at the idea of buying pricey jeans. I am a child of the ’60s and ’70s; if I had retained my youthful shape I’d still be wearing my 501 button-fly Levis, and thinking that $30 was way way too much to spend for them.

    But, OTOH, the 7 for all mankind jeans sure makes the model’s butt look good. Maybe I better go visit Nordies…..

  18. I had always baulked at paying lots of money for a pair of jeans, which of course meant that I had several pairs of cheap, ill-fitting jeans which I never wore. Finally, I bit the bullet and went to a very hip specialty jeans shop on a trip to Sydney, and the very young, very adorable, very skinny young Italian man there steered me towards a pair of Nudie jeans. After I had forked over close to $300 (Australian), he told me not to wash them for at least 6 months. WHAT! Well, I didn’t, but I do live in a very hot climate & don’t wear jeans very often, air them out REGULARLY, wash them maybe once a year, and do the freezer trick thingy, and they have been one of the best investments in my wardrobe.

  19. Rita@Goldivas – me too! I hope she reports back.

    Julianne – NYDJ are great jeans! My only issue is that the petite lengths were too short to wear with heels (though perfect with flats), and the regular lengths too high in the rise. I think only the very young or very slender look good in “skinny” jeans. I usually opt for straight leg or bootcut.

    Aunt Snow – oh, I remember those days. Remember how stiff those new denim jeans were until they’d been washed a few dozen times?? I do love these 7’s.

    Anonymous – I’m glad you found a pair that work well for you. I don’t know if I could bring myself to not wash my jeans, but from what I’ve read you’re not alone in how you freshen them.

    Nancy B. Hartley – I’m so glad that my recommendations have helped you find some pieces that work for you! Isn’t that Ella Moss tunic just the best? It’s so flattering over slim pants or a pencil skirt.

  20. I just love your shopping tips! Please keep them coming. I live 10 min, from Nordstrom. In spite of this, I went online, and ordered two sizes of these jeans. They arrived today. I found my correct size, and they are perfect! Great fit, comfortable, nice dark wash, no weird markings, or distressed textures. Just what I’ve been wanting, without going through the ordeal of spending time and energy at the mall. Thank you, thank you! Nordstrom’s should put you on the payroll. Back in the fall, I also ordered, from Nordstrom, your same Ella Moss tunic ,that you featured in your post about the minimal wardrobe. I love your taste! Thank you a million times for sharing your wonderful fashion finds! You take the effort out of shopping!