Holly White road-tests... Jeans
They’re wardrobe essentials, but only if you have the right fit and style for your body
Finding a great pair of jeans is the fashion Holy Grail. The right pair can truly take you everywhere and will last for years.
Up until my 25th birthday, I owned one pair of Cheap Monday jeans from Urban Outfitters, bought hastily in the sale, mainly because I was feeling flush and they happened to be in my size.
They weren't right for me and I never wore them much, resigned to the fact that I was just more of a dress girl.
Then, on my 25th, I was given two pairs of Sass & Bide jeans, and I suddenly understood the designer denim thing and just how wonderful great jeans can be.
They felt gorgeous on, were versatile and flattering. I wore them dressed up and down, and I'm still wearing them almost two years later.
Shopping for a pair of jeans can be an ordeal, so I was lucky that the perfect pair just happened to be handed to me. But when it came to buying new ones, I encountered all the usual problems.
So, in a bid to ease the pain for you, I've searched high and low and come up with some choices for every budget.
The biggest deterrent is probably that jeans make you confront your waistline. Rather then a generalised small, medium or large, or even a delicate 10 to 12, you must acknowledge your waist size and any changes to it since you last bought a pair of jeans. But this varies immensely from brand to brand.
Don't make the mistake of squeezing into a smaller size as it results in the cruellest of all creations: a muffin top, to be avoided at all costs. Only you can see the tag, so if it bothers you that much, cut it off once you buy them.
Starting with the low end, the cheap and cheerful Penneys has a €13 skinny that is a lovely shade of grey. I leapt around the changing room pulling them on for about five minutes then sadly noted they dangled about three awkward inches off the ground.
But I am pretty tall, so this won't be an issue for most people.
The good points to these jeans were the lovely colour and, of course, the price, but don't expect them to last forever. Mine lost their shape after one wash.
Next up, we get more interesting with Topshop. Its best denim offering is Jamie jeans. Priced at €61, this is where the high-street store keenly competes with the best of them. They come in a range of colours, are really long and stay tight wash after wash. The only downside is that the colour fades slowly, so you will need to have the Dylon handy.
Moving up the price scale, Salsa jeans, exclusive to BT2, are amazing. Ignore the size tag and go up two sizes -- but don't let this put you off. They are gorgeous on, lovely and long, and that perfect mix of soft yet substantial denim. Also, you have the kudos of wearing a pretty un-known brand ... well, until now.
Next up was Arnotts Project, where Pepe jeans are its biggest seller. The Diva style were my favourite. They are long and lean, sit pretty low and genuinely suit a woman's shape. Priced at €105 they were incredibly reasonable, considering how lovely they were. They also had little design details akin to Paige jeans, such as nice lining on the pockets and cute buttons.
At the high end, J Brand are a discreetly amazing brand of jeans. I got a pair last year. A Harvey Nichols voucher in hand, a brother who owed me a birthday present and a small wad of cash, and they were mine. I wear the cigarette-leg jeans and they have held their shape, colour and luxe feel.
Also awesome are their flared Love Story jeans. These are incredibly flattering, as the size of the flare somewhat compensates a generous hip, resulting in an hour-glass shape. Although Kate Moss has been seen pairing these with flat shoes, I feel heels are a must otherwise they trail on the ground.
I paired all these with simple vests, as the focus was solely the jeans, but the right pair provide the background to any look you want.
The heel tends to be the determining factor, however -- low for day and high for night. A black blazer and a white vest is a classic look that can take you anywhere.
If you're on a first date and you don't want to appear too overdressed, the jeans will keep it casual.