Confessions from a former 'pants-hater'
By clicking one of our links you're supporting our labs and our independence, as we may earn a small share of revenue. Recommendations are separate from any business incentives.
I’ve always had trouble buying jeans. Blessed with big thighs, a curvy frame, and short legs, pants were never my friend. They’re too big in the waist, too small in the thighs, too long, and too tight in the crotch (what’s up camel toe).
When I was in high school, I used to wear pants so long that I would step on them as I walked, leaving the bottoms ripped and frayed. Because ripped jeans were ‘in,’ I thought it was a good look. It was not a good look. I also often went without a belt, which led to my jeans falling down and exposing my behind. Not kidding. One time in ‘wellness class’ (what even was this?), I was giving fake CPR to a mannequin and my butt crack was exposed to the entire class. Goddamn low-waisted boyfriend jeans. If only high-waisted jeans were cool back then, maybe I would have been cool too. I digress…
In the years since, my body and I tried to make friends with jeans. I tried different brands: American Eagle jeans. Abercrombie & Fitch jeans. Ezra Fitch jeans (the ‘designer jeans’ you could buy at Abercrombie & Fitch in 2004). 7 For All Mankind jeans (my first-ever ‘designer jeans’ that I still own because I am a hoarder, just kidding, or not?). True Religion jeans (from a consignment shop—they were cool then). ‘Jeggings’ (this was when jeans and leggings combined in 2008 to create pants that weren’t actually pants). I tried different kinds, too: low cut, boot cut, slim fit, skinny fit, mid-rise, high-rise. I even tried getting them tailored and buying petite sizes. But no matter what I tried, nothing was working.
It was clear: my body was not made for jeans. Or so I thought.
I first found out about the trendy retail store Madewell when I read about celebrities shopping there. While I loved the casual chic vibe the clothes gave off, I found the clothing way too expensive. Owned by J. Crew, the store was at a similar price point. I would buy maybe two things at a sale, but nothing more than that.
Fast forward a year later and I hit a point where I decided to start investing in timeless, classic clothing and stop blowing my savings on affordable fast-fashion. At 27, I was a grown-up, and I wanted my wardrobe to reflect that. That’s when I started shopping at the store that originally caught my eye: Madewell.
Over time, I bought a few shirts from Madewell, but I didn’t completely fall in love with the store until I tried on the jeans.
As a self-proclaimed ‘pants-hater,’ I didn’t see the point of spending any more money on jeans, especially if they didn’t fit right. At the time, I owned a pair of Citizens of Humanity black skinnies that were too tight and two pairs of Paige jeans I found at TJ Maxx that were too big. This was not an ideal collection, but I didn’t wear pants that much, so it was fine.
But something about the Madewell jeans kept pulling me in…to the dressing room to try them on. So I did. And in that moment, a pair of 9” high-rise dark wash skinny jeans changed my life.
“I would like Madewell jeans to be the Levi’s of its generation,” the then-CEO of J. Crew Group told The New York Times in 2015. I would argue that these jeans are better than Levi’s. Here’s why.
They are high-rise. I thought my Citizens and Paige jeans were high-rise, but I was wrong. The 9” high-rise jeans fit above my belly button, leading them to stay in place and never fall down. Madewell also sells 10” and 11” high-rise jeans, which are even more comfortable. Another perk: The height of these jeans makes them ideal for tucking shirts into and for wearing body suits, a huge trend right now. I never thought I would feel comfortable sporting this look (I get self-conscious, guys!) but with high-rise Madewell jeans, I feel confident enough to do it.
They are flattering. High-rise jeans make just about anyone look good. They can make short legs look longer. They can create curves. They show off long legs. They can also make one’s behind look pretty, pretty, pretty good. Everyone wins here, in my opinion.
The material is comfortable. The material is stretchy so they never feel too tight—and they’re super soft. I don’t even mind wearing them on long car rides or flights. Oh, and the material around the waist doesn’t dig into my stomach, creating those unsightly skin creases.
They don’t get destroyed in the wash. For some reason, when I wash other jeans the material becomes hard, uncomfortable, and/or flimsy. Assuming you don’t put them in the dryer, you’ll get the same stretch and comfort after every wash.
They outlive wear and tear. I’ve gone through tons of jeans—designer and budget—and all have ripped in the thighs after too much rubbing together from walking. This seems to happen most with designer jeans made with soft material. Although Madewell jeans aren’t as soft as, for example, AG jeans, they are still extremely comfortable—and mine haven’t ripped yet!
They sell classic jeans that will always be in style—and trendy options, too. They come in different colors, styles, patterns, lengths, and sizes. There’s something for everyone, every event, every season, and every trend.
Clearly I am crazy for Madewell jeans, but for good reason. These jeans should be a staple in every woman’s closet—whether she’s into fashion or not. They combine comfort, style, and flattering fits to create the ultimate wardrobe staple.
As a former ‘pants-hater,’ I can honestly say that I enjoy wearing jeans now thanks to Madewell. I feel comfortable in them, yes, but more importantly, I feel confident. And this confidence makes me feel better about my body and happier about my life. Who knew a pair of jeans could be such a game-changer?!
Still think you hate pants? I promise—you just haven’t tried Madewell jeans yet.
Prices are accurate at the time of publication, but may change over time.