7 Things You Need To Know Before You Buy Your Next Pair Of Jeans

We don’t respect jeans enough.

No, not because we’re suddenly putting weird plastic panels on them or covering them in mud and selling them for hundred of dollars. I just mean, straight up, we don’t respect jeans enough. We over-wash them, we buy “jeans” that almost entirely elastic, and we constantly complain about how uncomfortable they can be compared to something like leggings. A good pair of jeans is underrated: They hug your body (and your booty) perfectly, they do feel comfortable, and they last for ages. Unfortunately, you’ll have a hard time finding jeans that fit the way they’re meant to if you just rely on finding your size on the rack and buying them.

I want the best for you, which means I want the best jeans for you, too! That takes a little more work and dedication, but I swear it’s worth it. Once you have even just one trusty pair of denim jeans in your closet, your whole idea of them will completely change for the better. Check out these seven things you need to know before you buy your next pair of jeans.

You Need To Know Your Measurements

You should know this before you step foot into any store, but it's absolutely essential when you're shopping online. And I mean, your actual measurements, not "I wear a size eight in some jeans and a six in others." I mean your measurements in inches or centimeters, whichever you primarily use in your country. Know your waist, hip, and inseam measurements and then refer to the size guide your online retailer of choice uses. That doesn't mean you'll have perfectly fitting pants every single time you online shop, but it's a lot better than playing a guessing game.

American Apparel

Pay Attention To The Fabric Percentages

Want some high quality stretchy jeans that last? Pay attention to the composition of the fabric. You can get a nice pair of skinnies that are more than 90 percent cotton with just a fraction of elastane (the material that makes your jeans stretchy). But it's not uncommon to see jeans (or jeggings) that are practically just blue leggings. The pair pictured on your left is only 64 percent cotton, 32 percent polyester, and four percent elastane. Like...these are barely jeans. If you're looking for ultra comfy leggings that look like jeans, go for it. If you're looking for a pair of jeans that will last...pass. Your best bet is to cop jeans that are made of 92 percent cotton and up while the remainder is elastane. Otherwise, you're just wearing glorified leggings.

Buy them at ASOS for $45

Be Careful About Cropped Styles

Everyone is a different height, and one person's crop can be another's capri pant. If you can, make sure you try before you buy, especially if the inseam information isn't available.

Buy them at Urban Outfitters for $69

Don't Discount Non-Stretch Jeans

We've gotten so used to ultra stretchy jeans that I think most of us forgot what a pair of solid, non-stretch jeans feel like. The answer: Different, and potentially constricting, but they look killer and can hold up really well if the denim is good quality. You'll have a lesser chance of worrying about wearing out that inner thigh area or misshaping the jeans in any way because they'll snap back to their original size after you wear them.

Buy them at UNIF for $88

Never Assume Jeans Will Fit Because They're Labeled As Your Size

If every pair of jeans you own are all in the same size and fit properly, you're an anomaly. I bet that you, dear reader, are one size in one store and another in another store, right? Hell, you can even try on two different pairs of jeans produced by the same manufacturer and fit in two totally different sizes. And let's not even get into vanity sizing. ugh! Jeans are fickle, okay? And your comfort in a pair of jeans isn't just determined by the size displayed on the tag, sis. Everything from cut, to style, to the percentage of cotton, to a weird fluke in the manufacturing process all play a bigger role in how a pair of jeans fit. So, again, if you can, please, try before you buy. I know, dressing rooms are hell, but you might as well get it over with because you know what's even more annoying than a dressing room? Having to return clothes after you buy them.

Buy them at Urban Outfitters for $59

A Killer Pair Of Jeans Might Require Some Splurging

Yes, you can buy a pair of jeans at Forever 21 for under $30, but what's the quality like? Will they last a long time? There's nothing like a good pair of jeans that are high quality and last a long time; in fact, this can save you money over time so you're not buying a bunch of crappy jeans every year. Save up (or stalk sales) for a pair of jeans that are on the pricier side from a company that either specializes in jeans or is prudent about high quality items in general. You'll wear them so many times that they basically pay for themselves. Bonus points if the jeans are made in your own country as opposed to cheap labor; you're paying a little more for clothing made in more humane conditions. If you want suggestions on where to cop high quality jeans, start by checking out Paige Denim, Need Supply Co, and Madewell. The now defunct American Apparel also has great jeans, which you can find plenty of via secondhand sources like Poshmark or eBay.

American Apparel @ Instagram

Be Very Weary Of Washing Busted/Ripped/Distressed Jeans

TBH, you shouldn't really wash your jeans too much anyway; the shape and color lose strength with too much time spent in the washer and dryer. But you definitely want to be careful about washing busted/ripped/or distressed jeans. While distressed jeans that you buy in the store might be more reinforced than an at home DIY version, you need to be careful about throwing these kind of jeans in the washer and dryer. The fabric can get too distressed and end up being a virtually unwearable mess. Elastane in the fabric can help stave off the worst effects, but be weary. You don't want to spend a bundle on jeans that get effed up after one wash.

Buy them at ASOS for $56

Your Jeans Are Supposed To Fit Pretty Snugly

Unless you're going out of your way to wear a loose fitting pair of jeans, it's important to know that your jeans are meant to be a little snug. So if that pair of pants you're trying on in the store feels a tad bit snug, don't sweat it. Why? Because they'll stretch and conform to your shape throughout the day and especially over time. Good jeans provide some serious denim memory, and sizing up just to feel a tad bit more comfortable in the dressing room might just lead to ill fitting jeans in the long run.

Buy them at Madewell for $135

What other jean buying tips have come in handy for you over the years? Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Ashley Reese, on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite!

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