My Jeans Search: Website vs Reality

When I fixate on something, I GO HARD. And right now, I’m fixated on finding the perfect pair of jeans.

Right now, my jeans collection consists of:

  • A few pairs of skinny jeans – which I’m super bored of and want to take a break from.
  • A pair of favorite cropped boyfriend jeans – which have too many rips and holes to wear to work. Also, they’re cropped and we are coming up on cold ankle season.
  • A pair of favorite full-length jeans that are dying a slow death – I thrifted them (Chicos boyfriend’s jeans) years ago and wore them a million times so now they’re wearing holes in the thighs. I ordered a couple new pairs to try from the Chicos website and they fit totally different, so I sent them back. And I can’t find the old version that I have online used anywhere. Anyways, those jeans are currently in the limbo of I’ve stopped wearing them but can’t fully commit to throwing them out yet.
  • A pair of Kut from the Kloth boyfriend jeans that fit well.

So, I’m in the market for maybe 2 pairs of jeans so I can keep them in rotation with my current pair that I like. That way they don’t wear out as fast and I still have a little bit of jeans variety in my life.

Which brings me to my jean search. Here’s what’s on my ‘must have’ list:

  • I want them to be more of a straight legged cut, but am also open to boyfriend jeans. Since I’m curvy, boyfriend jeans are pretty much a straight cut anyways.
  • I want a GOOD wash with no holes.
  • I want more of a cotton feel without too high of a spandex count. However, not fully cotton, because I want them to be comfortable.
  • I don’t want to pay $200 for a pair of jeans. My comfort zone is in the $50 – 100 range.

As for sizing, I’m typically a size 10/12/large in most clothes. For jeans, I’m usually a size 12 in most brands or a size 31. However, sometimes a brand will call a 31 a 12 and sometimes they call a 32 a 12… so I always try on a couple different sizes since it doesn’t really matter what the number says if you look good in them. Also, nobody can see the size tag on your clothes. You know, unless you tell the whole internet. {shrug}

I started my search at Nordstrom Rack since I figured I could just try on all the pairs in all the sizes. I tried on: 2 sizes of Levi’s wedgie jeans, 2 sizes of Madewell Perfect Vintage jeans, 2 pairs of Kut from the Kloth, Joe’s Jeans, and 7 for All Mankind jeans.

I ended up buying the Madewell Perfect Vintage Jeans in Alstyne Wash for $69.97 in a size 31. The same jeans are $128 at Madewell, so always check Nordstrom Rack and Nordstrom first for deals if they aren’t running any sales.

Here is a website vs reality photo using the Madewell stock image:

As you can see, the jeans look super straight on the model because her body is quite straight. Since I’m more curvy in the hips, thighs and butt area, they don’t really give me the same fit.

However, I like these jeans. The wash is great, they look really cute even though they are very high-waisted. They come up OVER my belly button, but I like the look. Like I said, I bought them. And I brought them home, ripped the tags off (like a rookie) and threw them on one morning to take Jack to school.

AND OHMYGOD high-waisted jeans are like a tummy straight jacket when you sit down!

How could these jeans that look and feel so nice when standing turn on me like that the moment I sit my butt down in a chair?!

So, the search was still on.

I stopped by Nordstrom and tried on another half dozen pairs of jeans with no luck.

And then, I decided to regroup. I looked though my jean drawer and pulled out the brands that made jeans that fit me well. Then, I searched for straight legged and boyfriend cut versions online.

First up, DL1961. I had purchased a couple pairs from a Trunk Club years ago, back when I used to have a ton of referral credits sitting around. I looked the brand up on the Nordstrom website and found a few straight legged pairs, so I stuck them in my shopping cart while clicking around. When I accessed the cart to delete the ones I didn’t want… I looked at my total and HOLY HELL. Each pair of jeans ranged from $188 – $209.

So, I noped right out of there and deleted them all.

Then I looked up another brand I love, STS Blue. I bought a pair of STS Blue boyfriend jeans from Trunk Club in 2017. I’m still wearing that same pair of jeans… they’re the ripped, cropped pair that are still my favorites. However, the holes have grown so much over the years that it’s kind of embarrassing. Also, they’re not work appropriate and are too short to wear in the winter.

Once again, I clicky-clacked over to the Nordstrom website to search all the STS Blue jean options. The jeans ranged from $62 – $68, so it was a much less shocking experience (thankfully). I found three pairs that looked like what I wanted, so I placed an order and waited (not very) patiently for them to arrive. I currently own size 31 in STS Blue, so I stuck with ordering just that size in all three options.

Okay, back to some Website vs Reality photos…

STS Blue Carley High Waist Ankle Straight Leg Jeans, $68

I tried these in two washes, since I’ve found previously that different washes in jeans tend to fit differently.

First up, the Portage Bay wash:

And second, is the Atwell wash:

Since both pairs of jeans are the STS Blue Carley High Waist Ankle Straight Leg Jeans, they have the same specs: a 29” inseam, 14” leg opening, 10.5” front rise and a 14” back rise.

Surprisingly both pairs of these jeans fit almost identically, even though one is a darker wash. And I do realize that it’s difficult to tell the color difference on a screen, but they are a couple shades apart with the Atwell being darker. I really like this cut of jeans and they remind me a bit of the baby bootcut jeans I wore with my Doc Martin’s back in 1995.

Here’s a better view of the ankle shape:

I would be happy with either pair of these jeans, but I’m leaning toward the Portage Bay because they’re a little lighter. The one pair of jeans I currently have and like are a very dark blue, so these would give me a little bit of a different look.

STS Blue Riley Skinny Leg Girlfriend Jeans in Golden West, $62

These are described as “a modern version of the classic boyfriend style” with a slimmer fit. They have a 29.5” unrolled inseam, 12” leg opening, 9 ¾” front rise and 14” back rise. However, once again when you compare the very straight model to me, they look more like a skinny jean with a straight ankle cut.

With that being said, I do like the fit of these jeans. The girlfriend cut from STS Blue is not very different than their straight leg cut, with maybe a tiny bit less room in the cuff (we will get to that in a minute). The lighter wash is nice with the teeny-tiny amount of distressing in the upper thigh/pocket area.

Here’s the ankle view:

Now here’s what’s funny about these three pairs of jeans. The first two said that they had a leg opening of 14” and the girlfriend pair has a leg opening of 12”…

Yeah, they all have basically the exact same leg opening with the girlfriend jeans measuring at exactly 14” and the straight leg a tiny bit larger.

So, if I were really hurting for jeans, I’d totally buy all three of the STS Blue jeans. However, we’re about to come up on a plot twist…

Poshmark Fun

In addition to looking on Nordstrom’s website, I also did some Poshmark searching for STS Blue and I happened upon my exact pair of Taylor Tomboy over-distressed jeans, but with no distressing for $22. They did have the cuffs sewn up though, so I figured at the worst they could replace my spring/summer jeans since my ankles would be out and about.

But then when they arrived, I found that somebody had shrunk them all to hell. They were cheap though and I KNOW they are actually my favorite jeans in there under that shrinkage… so I scoured the internet for a solution. 

And apparently the solution is that you stick them in a warm bath of water, squeeze them out, and then wear them around. If you watch my Instagram stories, you saw all this in real time… but I decided to do it. I yanked those wet jeans on and did some clumsy squats and lunges all around the house. Then, I sat on a towel for about 20 minutes, before getting them off and hanging them up to dry.

And it worked perfectly!

The jeans stretched back out to fit identically to my favorite pair of cropped jeans. And before I did the dipping experiment, I cut the threads holding the cuffs up and they are now a normal length. In fact, I laid them on top of the Riley Skinny Leg Girlfriend Jeans… and they’re exactly the same!

Whew, that was a roller-coaster of jeans. So, now it comes to decision time. As I mentioned, I do have one pair of jeans I like and I’m looking to add 2 pairs to the mix. After my rehabbing fun, my Poshmark score of the Taylor Tomboy jeans makes them an instant winner. They fit great (and they aren’t returnable). So now, decision time for my Nordstrom Order…

And I’m still having a hard time deciding. I’m leaning toward the left pair (the STS Blue Carley High Waist Ankle Straight Leg jeans in Portage Bay), because they’re a little different cut than my tomboy jeans and a medium wash of denim. As much as I love the Riley Skinny Leg Girlfriend Jeans (right pair), they are basically the same shape and fit as my tomboy jeans, just with a lighter wash. They’re really cute though and could be a fun weekend casual jean…

Hmmm… which ones would you pick?

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6 thoughts on “My Jeans Search: Website vs Reality”

  1. We are a lot alike in the hunt for jeans. I don’t want distressing, rips or holes and a real seam at the ankles (no cuttoff or cuffs). I also don’t like the really high waisted jeans either, I want to sit comfortably. I also have been noticing that low-rise is coming back in style and just no – avoided it last time, don’t want to revisit. I guess my favorite is mid-rise, boyfriend/girlfriend/straight but those are harder and harder to find! I might have to check out STS jeans. Both of those medium washes look great, but I think I would lean toward the Portage Bay.

    1. Thanks for your feedback! And with your similar jeans criteria, I think you should absolutely give STS Blue jeans a look! (my 100% non-sponsored option as a jeans hunter) I forgot to mention that the rise of each of the STS Blue options was a couple inches below my belly button. =)

    2. I liked the Portage Bay, lighter, and just good all over, which is hard to find! The Taylor Tomboy pair, are cute, and the color is good. I get stuck getting darker blues, and kinda have to pull myself out! I try to have a few in different shades to avoid jeans boredom! The nydj that I have seen this week on qvc, seem to do away with this problem. And, the sitting causing low jeans near butt problem. I have not purchased any of this brand, however. But this is what they are saying. Thanks for the tip to reshape jeans! I will try it on a pair that is smaller than her same size same brand sister I ordered. They are smaller than her twin!
      Are these jeans fine when you sit? I absolutely hate it when I sit and the jeans go low! Thanks for sharing your jeans hunting journey. I appreciate it!

      1. Thanks for your vote on Portage Bay! =) Thankfully all the pairs I tried have a high enough back that I’m not showing off too much when I sit! Ugh, that takes me right back to the super low rise jeans of the mid-1990s where you’d show off your buttcrack if you leaned over too far! lol

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