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
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.
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
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.
3. The Complicated (but GOOD) Pair: Re/done Originals ’90s High Rise Ankle Crop
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.
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.
4. The One That Was Almost A Win: AGOLDE Pinch Waist Jeans
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.
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’).
5. The One I Wanted To Like…But No: Boyish Billy Skinny Jean
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
These look like some sort of weird combo of denim paint and legwarmers. Pass.
7. Hell To The No: Free People High-Rise Jegging
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!