Most women will agree that the only other retail experience that is as painful as bathing suit shopping is jeans shopping.
The search for that perfect pair of jeans eludes and haunts most women -- myself included -- and we avoid jeans shopping until we can't get another wear out of our beloved denim (or a BFF suggests applying for a makeover on the TODAY show).
Regardless of price point, season, or material, I know I am not alone in my quest to find jeans I love. Like the Little Black Dress (LBD), jeans are a staple in every woman's closet. The modern go-to fashion item can be dressed up or down, paired with almost anything and masks those extra five winter-was-long-and-cold pounds.
Mid-March marks the official start of spring and I'm aching for it. It's a perfect time to clean your closet, donate, and purge. This year, spring also coincides with Lent and a social media challenge I'm doing, the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge. So several weeks ago, I merged my soul-starved need for spring with my Lenten challenge and need for jeans and set out to find my dream pair.
I'm a serial multi-tasker and in that spirit I sourced jeans several ways: by buying them, borrowing them, and requesting media samples. I got them from friends as hand-me-downs, online, from popular brick and mortar retail outlets, via catalogs, and my own closet (where I house 23 pairs I never wear).
I assembled brands including: Old Navy, Banana Republic, Lucky Brand, Joe's Jeans, AG, Poetic Justice, Anne Taylor Loft and J. Crew.
After several weeks of my jeans experiment, wearing a different pair every day, I created "The Top 5 Truths About Jeans Shopping" and I filled the metaphorical hole in my wardrobe too:
1. Size does matter -- as in hip size, waist size, length, rise, and yes, the retailer size charts and fit guides.
2. Just because a celebrity loves a pair of her jeans doesn't mean you will (or that should buy them).
3. Jeans for regular size, curvy women are hard to find. If the jeans fit in the leg, they gap at the waist for example -- remember to buy jeans that fit your body.
4. On-trend jeans for Real Women in their 30s, 40s, 50s are hard to find -- unless you want a pair of Mom Jeans. But they are out there so keep looking and trying them on and on and on.
5. It's all in the genes and the jeans -- If the jeans fit... well you know how the saying goes. Don't get caught up on the brand or the price tag -- if they look great you will feel great.
6. It is possible to find your dream jeans. But it is not easy.
Ultimately, for my size and shape, Lucky Jeans will always work for me. And I fiercely love my JOE'S skinny jeans. Best of all, I discovered a new brand -- Poetic Justice -- and right now these are my favorite go-to jeans. I was instantly addicted to the fit, material and incredible price of the brand's boyfriend jeans.
I purged, pulled myself up by the belt loops, and I committed to decluttering for a cause -- #40Bagsin40Days. Now that is Poetic Justice.