let’s get down to brass tacks: you are going to have to buy some lighter wash denim with a slightly higher waist. people keep asking me the same thing: “what do i buy?” and “where do i buy?” right. tricky questions. there is a huge personal element in this transaction. your true denim self will have to step up and choose what wash, size, and tailoring is right for you. but, below, i have hooked you up with some advice on five key elements (brand, sizing, tailoring, wash, and rise) as well as a couple of places to buy to get you started.
brand: first things first, i really think this needs to be a Levi’s 501 or something created to look the same. yes. that’s right. did you just cringe? well, it is a safe bet. the denim is going to be rugged, no stretch, good rise, etc.
sizing: if you are going classic levi’s, you are going to have to size down. and if you are dedicated to having awesome jeans, you are going to have to manage some discomfort on the front side to produce the right product on the back side. i sized-down by 2 inches. i had to lay on the bed to button them up the first few times. but guess what happened? they stretched out and feel great now. and you want them still snug-ish when they have completely stretched. otherwise, you are headed into full-out boyfriend — which is not a bad look, but has much more limited application and tilts over into sloppy pretty quickly.
tailoring: if you buy levi’s or any other straight-leg jean, you are going to have to have them tailored. this is nothing new. if you were alive in the ’90s you were either begging your mom or your friend’s mom to ruin her sewing machine needle by narrowing the leg of your levi’s. so, now that you are an adult, you can take them to your tailor. you probably want them cropped at about 1″ to 2″ above the ankle bone. also, when your tailor starts pinning the leg to narrow it, tell him you want the fully monty — take it almost all the way to hip-height. trust me — you don’t want to end up with bulk above the tailoring line.
wash: i have invested in two pair of levi 501s for fall: one medium wash and one destroyed. destroyed pair is mos def for an edgier evening or weekend look to wear with heels and a blazer. the medium wash is more of a refined and mainstream look that will go with anything.
rise: a 9 1/2″ rise is a sure bet. this is standard on levis 501s and 505s. it is going to hit just above the hip bone, but not all the way to the waist. do not get skinny jeans with stretch and a really high rise (10 1/2″+). this is not a good look. otherwise, your higher-rise jeans need to be accompanied by no stretch, a straight-ish leg esp. from the knee to ankle.
check out the options posted below and, then, get out there! but, pull ‘em up, girls! waists are riding high.
classic levi 501s in vintage indigo, $88. i had these tailored and cropped and bought them 2-sizes too small. i have had them a month and they are turning into pure heaven.
urban outfitters offers an updated 501 that incorporates some of the needed tailoring. $88
urban outfitter’s own BDG twig high rise grazer, $49, is a great option that i just ordered for myself while working on this post. these have an 11 1/4″ waist — but no stretch and a narrow, but straight, leg. i can’t wait to see how they turn out. i will report back. at $49, i had to give them a shot.
for those of us who want what we want right now without having to wait and have the money to make magic happen, this option is for you. re-dun is a fantastic company feeding our new, old denim fettish. the deal is that they buy vintage denim and re-work them to absolute perfection. the jeans are pre-shrunk, so you order your regular size. the leg and hips have already been narrowed and major holes have been patched. the inventory is evolving, so check bag often. at about $225 or so a pair, the costs are in-line with regular denim pricing these days.