I mean…I do have a pair of very comfortable jeans. My heavily-distressed, very-well-broken-in Levi’s 501s are, admittedly, insanely comfortable. It’s just that…the snow, you guys. I can maybe deal with a tiny rip here or there, but my Levi’s feel more like wearing shorts. And as for the rest of my denim collection?
Well. After several months of stay-at-home orders, my denim size has…shall we say…fluctuated?
And if there is one thing that the pandemic has taught me, it’s this: just because jeans can zip, does not mean I want to wear them.
Looks Like Jeans…Feels Like Sweatpants?
So I went off in search for some seriously comfortable denim. I needed a pair of jeans that weren’t overly distressed (hello, winter), a pair that looks cute with snow boots (hello, again, winter), and a pair that I won’t want to rip, screaming, from my body as I collapse on the floor, sweatpants cradled in my arms, whisper-crying, “I’ll never leave you again….”
So no rigid denim. Obvi.
While I do love the rigid denim look (and have plenty of pairs), in a contest between rigid denim and sweatpants…my sweatpants will eat rigid denim for breakfast.
Sizing notes: In general, after some pandemic fluctuation, I’m roughly a size 26. (Longtime readers yesokFINE: I used to be a size 25…and, at one point a size 24, but this is a hazard of blogging for 10+ years and I’m just going to gloss over it.) For the purposes of this search, however, I tried on (in almost all jeans) both a size 26 and a size 27. In general, the size 26 will be pictured on the left, size 27 pictured on the right.
Per usual, any links below marked with a ** are more sustainably made.
1. The Clear Winner: MOTHER The Stunner Ankle Fray
Mother Stunner Ankle Fray in ‘Teaming Up’ (size 27) | tee** (1) | Adidas superstars**
These jeans are made from a blend that’s 94% cotton, 5% poly and 1% elastane…and seriously feel like pajama jeans. This pair is SO comfy that I ripped the tags off immediately — and have zero regrets (even after trying on everything else).
Sizing up meant a longer length (which I didn’t need) and a higher rise, which I loved. There was also less squeezing of my softer stomach and the jeans weren’t so tight on my legs. But other than that…you really can’t tell much of a difference. Sizing up just meant a little more comfort. Size 26 on the left, size 27 (the size I kept), on the right.
Mother Stunner Ankle Fray in ‘Teaming Up’ size 26 (left), 27 (right) | tee** (1) | Adidas superstars**
After wearing the heck out of these, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well they’ve held their shape, even when I sized up.
2. Almost Perfect: rag & bone Ninas
Rag & Bone Ninas in ‘Evergreen 2’ (size 27) | tee** (1) | Adidas superstars**
Normally, rag & bone Nina skinny jeans are an easy win: they’re probably my most-worn style. And while this particular wash has some comfy stretch (86% cotton, 12% poly, 2% elastane)…the fabric itself wasn’t nearly as soft as I wanted it to be. That said…they do soften up with time (and, perhaps, with a wash), but I found myself eyeing up my sweatpants, so back these went.
NOTE: I just tried on this wash (in the exact same style) and the fabric is MUCH softer. I’m going to order these instead.
In this style, going up a size simply meant a higher rise and sliiiiightly more room in the legs and butt. But the difference was barely perceptible.
Rag & Bone Ninas in ‘Evergreen 2’ size 26 (left), 27 (right) | tee** (1) | Adidas superstars**
3. The Complicated (but GOOD) Pair: Re/done Originals ’90s High Rise Ankle Crop
Re/Done 90’s Original High Rise Ankle Crop**, (size 27) | tee** (1) | Adidas superstars**
These have the look of rigid denim, but are actually a very soft (and stretchy) blend of 77% cotton, 22% tencel and 1% lycra. They’re also sustainably made, which I appreciate. I just…I couldn’t figure out where the heck they’re supposed to hit.
They’re skinny enough to work with most snow boots, but with all other shoes…I was stumped. Do I cuff them? Cut them? Leave them alone?
Once again, size 26 on the left, size 27 on the right.
Re/Done 90’s Original High Rise Ankle Crop**, size 26 (left), size 27 (right) | tee** (1) | Adidas superstars**
In the end, my head starting hurting so I changed into sweatpants and called it a sign. But the butt is good. The pocket placement makes bums look rounder. And the sizing did make a difference: the bigger size has a higher rise, longer leg, and more room through the seat. I just need to decide if it’s worth figuring out the length or not.
Re/Done 90’s Original High Rise Ankle Crop**, size 26 (left), size 27 (right) | tee** (1) | Adidas superstars**
4. The One That Was Almost A Win: AGOLDE Pinch Waist Jeans
AGOLDE Pinch Waist Jeans in ‘Ovation’** (size 26)| tee** (1) | Adidas superstars**
Here’s the thing: if your waist is smaller than your hips, you might LOVE these jeans. That is the exact opposite of my body type, however, so the promised “pinch waist” was just uncomfortable.
But these are pretty great jeans. Not only are they sustainably made, but the fabric is super-soft and a bit stretchy (90% cotton, 6% recycled cotton, 3% poly and 1% elastane). Going up a size made an actual difference, too. The bigger size has a much higher rise, and much more length in the legs. It was also a little roomier in the waist and hips.
AGOLDE Pinch Waist Jeans in ‘Ovation’** size 26 (left), size 27 (right) | tee** (1) | Adidas superstars**
Because I’m so short, the size 27 had too high of a rise to be comfortable. And while the size 26 was better, I didn’t totally love the side view (thanks to that ‘pinch waist’).
AGoldE Pinch Waist Jeans in ‘Ovation’** size 26 (left), size 27 (right) | tee** (1) | Adidas superstars**
5. The One I Wanted To Like…But No: Boyish Billy Skinny Jean
Boyish Billy Skinny Jeans in ‘Far Country’**, size 26 (left), size 27 (right) | tee** (1) | Adidas superstars**
I couldn’t even button the smaller size (never a good sign), and while I could, technically, button the larger pair there was…still…something…off. There seemed to be some pulling around the, ahem, feminine area and trust me when I say it was MUCH more uncomfortable than it looks in the photo. Also, the fabric description read “cotton blend,” which I took to mean stretchy when in fact it actually meant RIGID DENIM. So back they go.
I am totally intrigued by this brand, however. The distressing and wash is great. I just need to find a much (MUCH) better fit.
6. Just No: FRAME Le High Skinny
Do we even care (size 26) | tee** (1) | Adidas superstars**
These look like some sort of weird combo of denim paint and legwarmers. Pass.
7. Hell To The No: Free People High-Rise Jegging
You have been warned (size 26) | tee** (1) | Adidas superstars**
Perhaps if I were to go up…four sizes? Five?
Have you guys found a pair of jeans that are truly comfortable? Like…wear-all-day, replace-sweatpants comfortable? If so…SPILL YOUR SECRETS YOU UNICORN WHISPERER.
Oh, hey, Pinners! This one’s for you!
OG reader here – anyone remember Ain’t No Mom Jeans? This post goes right back to the beginning and I LOVE it! I also love how this site has evolved over the years. For me, Mother is where it’s at for comfy jeans! For a pair that is just as comfortable and might hit you better ankle-wise….try the Mother Insider Step Crop. I’m a 5’2″, size 25/26 and these are so so comfy! I’m collecting these in every wash – breaking some of my personal rules I sometimes even pay full price for these because the special washes sell out fast! I’ve heard good things about AYR as well. Has anyone tried that brand? P.S. LeFrame – what’s with this brand lately – they used to make me look so good and now they are just not……good.
THIS is why you are my favorite fashion blogger of all time. Love your sense of humor and honesty. You look amazing as always. I’ve been a reader for a looooooong time (close to 10 years I think?? Holy moly). I am crazy impressed with how you’ve evolved, no doubt it wasn’t easy (especially have loved watching your political/social commentary expand). Brava!
LOL Trish! You and I posted at the same time, same wavelength. Cheers!
It may sound boring but I’m 100% dedicated to my AGs. I love how comfortable they are and how true to size they are. As for style, I float between leggings and boyfriend. I’ve tried other brands but I ALWAYS go back to AG.
Mother jeans in the wash Skunk at the Tea Party. I have them in the Dazzler, which is long and great for tall women, and so flattering and comfortable! There’s also a style that’s shorter.
Frame Le Garçon crop or my ancient Current/Elliott skinnies. Oh so soft and comfy. I’ve never tried the Frame style you have but I love mine and my new Oliver Logan jeans too
I tried the Boyish Billy and Zachary (and the Mikey actually) and the Zachary is so much more comfortable and stretchy and I didn’t need to size up (unlike the Billy)
I’m having this issue too. I just ordered two pairs from Madewell to try. The Roadtripper (curvy) and the roadtripper mid-rise, both in 28s for room (i’m usually a 27). For me it’s usually a curvy cut, 2% elastic/stretch material, and mid-rise cut that makes them comfortable. I’ll see how they do. Mother looks great but I just can’t spend more than $100 on jeans. I wish I liked high rise more because it seems like that’s all there is these days. I can’t stand how they cut into your waist when you sit down, though. Maybe there’s some secret to this I don’t know!
Shana, have you (or anyone else) tried the Frame Le One jeans, the ones that only come in 2 sizes? I’m super curious about them, and they must be stretchy to fit even remotely close to the stated size range.
Longtime reader here too – you still look great Shana and exactly the same to me. I have lived in Madewell Roadtrippers in quarantine and even before that. But beware that some washes are not comfortable while others are amazing. My earlier pairs are the best (circa 2017). This year’s gray Madewell Roadtrippers are fantastic. Question: is the proper skinny jean fit still super tight? Or is this rule relaxing since roomier, straight leg jeans are the new normal?
1. I love you so hard for posting #7. That’s what most of my jeans fit like rn.
2. DAT ASS in the Ninas though…
3. Buying pinch waist because that is my problem, when I size up high enough to fit my thighs in anything without a ton of stretch, the waist is way too big.
4. Love you, again.
After rupturing a disc in my back about a year ago, I have a tough time wearing anything but pull on jeans because the waistband of normal jeans hits right in my problem spot. I absolutely love Liverpool Chloe ankle pull on jeans. They are incredibly comfortable.
Jeans? What are jeans??? 😉
I had a pair of AYR and I was not super impressed. They were a rigid denim pair and I sized up one. They made my butt look so flat. And I don’t have a flat butt. And that wasn’t the look I was going for. But I know some people love them.
And I’m going back, I don’t know where I say AYR???? Maybe on the FB post of this. My mind is mush…..
Ahhh! This is the perfect post that I needed(been a reader for about 6 -7 years now and two weekends ago I was on the floor with my jeans strewn about, nothing was comfortable!!) My shape hasn’t fluctuated with the pandemic as much as it since having my son two years ago. Im 5’2, with a wide waist on a short legs. My waist is roughly the same width as my hips, and *soft* and I have always had some good sized thighs.
The ONE style that is affordable (elementary teacher here) is GAP *curvy* fit jeans, I prefer a high waist but mid rise works fine too. I do a 27 so I dont have to work them in. If im down a few lbs I relish in the roomy fit and if I fit the size 27, then they are still comfy. I usually am disappointed by most other styles and brands but now I am intrigued to try your first pick. Definitely on my wish list!
I outgrew last year’s jeans so I’ve been on a stretchy, comfy denim search too. I landed on Lucky Brand Ava Legging mid-rise jeans. Every high rise pair that fit my hips was too big in the waist and too high a rise on my short self.
I’m also a 26 or 27 with shoulders/waist/hips all about the same width and my most comfortable jeans are the AG Farrah skinnies. I like them in a 26, but I also buy almost exclusively second-hand, so they come soft and lived-in but generally still in great shape. I’ve also got a pair of Hudson Nico skinnies in size 26 that are really soft and comfy. The key for me has been high enough rise to hold in my soft mom stomach and stay up but not too high since my waist and hip are so similar in width. 9″-10″ is my sweet spot.
I do really like my Citizens of Humanity Rocket skinny jeans. They are super soft. Normally I would change out of jeans when I get home but I find myself keeping these on.
As for my Mother and Rag and Bone jeans they are all sadly too tight right now.
Sooo do you keep the high end denim in hopes they will fit again. Or get rid of them, buy the next size up, and embrace my new slightly softer self…..😂😂😂
Hello. As another reader commented- highly recommend Liverpool’s pull on jeans (e.g. Gia Glider Slim fit is amazing… also have some great skinnies from them). On their pull on jeans, the buttons are decorative and no zippers BUT still have the stitching and look of them (close enough at least) that you can’t really tell if you tuck or half-tuck in a tee/sweater. PLENTY of stretch and softness too. You seriously can’t tell that the waistband area is elastic on many of their pull on jeans. Why deal with a button and zipper and all that uncomfort if you don’t have too? Feel free to keep eating your lunch and cross the bridge to elastic waistband-land. You won’t go back 🙂
Thank you so much for this candid fit review. I’m not sure my soft mum belly can cope with skinnies anymore lol I am 5’5” with slimmer hips and a wide waist, size 25-26 (more 26 these days😬). I love Citizens of Humanity Emerson slim boyfriend jeans. They are so soft and often have a button fly, but the legs are slim in most washes. Size 25 fit like regular jeans and 26 like boyfriend jeans. I get them from eBay as they’re expensive.
I love it when you do these posts. I had a big try-on sesh at Nordstrom on Sat and I found the Mother The Insider High Waist Crop Step Chew Hem Jeans insanely comfortable, and so cute. They’re more of a spring jean though b/c of the length and rips. I also liked the comfort and the look of the Frame Le High Ankle Straight Leg Jeans in Bestia, but I was afraid they might stretch too much. I was looking for a slim straight crop style. I think the Mother Stunner looks great on you. They do make such comfortable denim. I tried those in the grey on Saturday and loved the comfort and fit but the grey wash was a bit weird.
Another looonnnng time reader here….Shana..you chose wisely! The Mother Stunner Ankle Frey in size 27 are perfection on you! As the oldie but goodie saying goes…AG legging ankle. You turned me on to these years ago and I never looked back. I’ve tried Mother, I’ve tried Paige, I’ve tried so many others…but I always come back to AG for my soft daily go-tos. Short waist and legs make high waisted jeans very uncomfy. My only exception is the Good American flare–but the day to day winner goes to AG. I have 2 pairs of non distressed AG Prima Cigarette jeans en route to me as I type…..Boston winters.
I tried on like 10 pairs of jeans the last time I went to Nordstrom and these Mother jeans were the winners for me too. No matter how many I try, I keep consistently coming back to this brand for fit and comfort. Good choice and I love reading your honest, true to life reviews!
Great post! So helpful to see the different fits… I’m definitely intrigued by the Mothers.
One more vote for AG Farrah – they were my daily until I discovered the Stupid Pants.
Shana! We don’t care what size jeans you are!!
Also, what’s the deal with Rag & Bone washes? Some are so cheesy, and the fabric super stretchy. Then others are perfect.
I hate high rise jeans and find that they are so uncomfortable when sitting. My favorite jeans are Frame they are stretchy and comfortable. They make a cute slim boyfriend fit and the skinnies are great. I would say AG as far as softness and comfort are my go to jeans. I also have a ton of Rag ‘n Bone and I think they look the best but they are not as comfortable or soft as my. AG or Frame.