A Reader And I Shop For Jeans…Here’s What We Found




A while back I had offered – in response to a comment – to go shopping with a reader.  I was delighted when Shannon took me up on the offer.  She shot over this email:

I’m a 40yo mom of 2 and work full-time in center city. I get most of my casual boyfriend jeans at the Gap Outlet on Chestnut btwn 19th & 20th. I want a pair of sexy jeans and am willing to invest in a good ($$$) pair, but honestly if I’m paying $150+ for jeans I want my ass to look like it’s being cupped by the hands of god. Seriously. I have yet to find the holy grail for that. 

Obviously, Shannon is awesome.  So, we re-arranged schedules, booked a date, and went shopping.  Shannon is typically a size 8-10, so part of the *fun* was translating Gap sizing into designer sizing.  We ended up going to South Moon Under – they were close by, and have a really great selection of denim, including my personal favs, Rag and Bone and BlankNYC, which also happen to make up a really good range of price points as well.

I forced Shannon to try on….10-15 pairs?  Truthfully, I think she was ready to kill me at one point.  But!! We had total success.  Shannon ended up going home with two pairs, which I know she wears because she recently sent me a date night pic.  Hot. Stuff.

Anyway, here’s the result of our hard work:

The Skinny Jeans

Rag And Bone

Shannon’s face really says it all:


(Rag and Bone Skinny Jeans  , size 29)


Here’s the thing about Rag and Bone – they run really slim in the legs.  If you have toothpicks for legs or a seriously flattened butt, you’ll love these jeans.  If not….you’ll need to size up.  I do like how these jeans look from the front – they hug Shannon’s legs, and Rag and Bone jeans always sit so perfectly on the hips.  But these jeans had two major flaws:

1.  They’re weren’t comfortable ($150+ jeans should be very, VERY FREAKING COMFORTABLE)


2.  The back view:




I actually think a *little* pulling across is fine (sexy, even) but this is too much.  These jeans are too tight (size 29 for reference).  Unfortunately, they didn’t have a 30 in this exact skinny, but they did have a size 30 in this black Rag and Bone pair:


(Rag and Bone RBW 23 in Equestrian – size 30)


I upped the exposure so we could see the detail.  Ok.  I love SO MANY THINGS about these jeans: the cool zippers at the hip, the shorter length, the ankle zips – especially worn open.  So freaking cool.  And the back?



There’s still some whiskering, but her bum is starting to look hands-of-god-cupped and the bit of pulling just makes the jeans look tight and sexy, not stuffed.

The ‘Equestrian’ wash is almost completely sold out, but the RBW 23s come in a ton of other washes – like this softer washed black)

A Gold E

This was the first time I had heard of the brand, and I was pretty impressed!  A decent fit, and a pretty interesting wash for $124.  Shan wasn’t into distressed jeans so we moved on, but I wanted to show the pics.  (And this exact pair is currently on sale at 6pm for $86).



(A Gold E Colette Skinny in Melbourne – size 30)


Blank Denim Skinny Jeans

Blank Denim is one of my favorite brands because they manage to do really spot-on shapes and washes for under $100.  Here’s their classic skinny jean:



There’s a little more bum-flattening action than I’d like, but considering the price, these are still a solid choice.


(Blank NYC ‘The Classic’ Skinny Jean – size 31 – only a distressed version is left, but be aware of the difference between BlankNYC’s skinny jean and ‘the classic’ skinny jean.  Shannon is wearing ‘the classic’ – it has a higher rise, their regular skinny is really low-waisted.)

Citizen Rocket High Rise Flares

This is, for many of us, the holy grail of skinny jeans.  I have a pair (these –  and LOVE them), and countless readers have written in raving about these jeans.  Shannon agreed – this was one of the pairs that went home with her.  I mean seriously:  her legs look miles long.



LOVE the bum:  high, uh, pert, with the perfect amount of tightness.  So sexy, right?




Shannon was much more comfortable with an un-tucked top.  I LOVE the super high-waist (and half-tuck to show it off) but it does takes some getting used to.  Either way works.


(Citizen High Rise Rockets in Sculpt – size 30)


The Flares (or Bootcut)

Citizen Emanuelle Bootcut

Shannon and I had the same reaction to these bootcut jeans:  fine.  They’re totally fine, and a great option if someone is looking for a pair of flares that are neither to bell-y nor too high-waisted….but….yeah.  They’re cute.  That’s all.  (The bum’s good, though, and they also come in petite.)



(Citizen Emanuelle Slim Bootcut jeans – size 30)


Free People Flares

Another pair that are fine.  We just didn’t love them as much as some of the others.



(Free People mid-rise flares – size 29, but I think Shan would’ve preferred a 30)


Blank Denim High Rise Flares

Here we go.  I love the look on Shan’s face – she is seriously doubting that whole high-waist thing.  And these, my dears, are super high.  But GOOD GOD LOOK AT THOSE LONG LEGS!




A note:  high-rise jeans will often make your bum look bigger….but in a really, really good way.  Like this:


(BlankNYC High Rise Flares – size 31)


I mean…this is good stuff.  And considering that these BlankNYC jeans are also super-duper soft and under $100?  (Heck, they’re on sale for $58)…yeah.  These were a go. These were the second pair Shannon took home.


Shop Shannon’s Style

I know someone is going to ask me about Shannon’s tops.  All of the tops Shannon wore in the pictures are also from South Moon Under.  I’d link to them but they’re completely sold out (except for the red Abbeline top ).  But I rounded up a few similar pieces that I think would work well for Shannon (and be true to her style).

Shannon was drawn to tops with sexy details (v-necklines, peekaboo backs or shoulders, etc), and that insanely flattering A-line shape that drapes so well over the stomach (or can be half-tucked like a champ).  So I found a few that would be perfect for date night, as well as a few that are a little more casual for everyday (keeping the price point under $100).  I also included the jeans Shannon tried on.  Enjoy!


So that’s it!  Jean shopping with Shannon.  Shan, thank you – so much – for being such a good sport.  I know it’s totally weird to go jean shopping (one of the very worst kinds of shopping) and then have pictures of your bum on the internet.  At least it’s a good bum.

If you are a Philly local, South Moon Under has a pretty stellar selection of denim, and a really helpful staff.  They’re located in Center City on Chestnut st, and have another store in Wayne (actually, they have a ton of locations along the East Coast).




  1. Looks great! You sold me on the a and e, they look great on you. And I feel much better that I’m not the only one who can’t wear the r&b skinnies! Such a helpful post. Thank you, ladies!

  2. Shana, THANK YOU for a.) taking the time to put out there a body akin to my own and b.) going through the highs and lows of jean shopping. Shannon, you look ah-mazing. Great jean picks!

  3. Shannon looks terrific in almost all of these … but my favourites were the A Gold E jeans! Why no distressing? Tell her how wonderful they look on her!

    • Ha, I liked them a lot too, but I have so many other distressed jeans. I was trying to stay focused on nicer dark wash jeans on this shopping trip…but I may go back & get those!

  4. This was super helpful. Love seeing different body types featured! And wish I had a pair of those flares. They look amazing, Shannon.

  5. I wear 8-10 as well, love seeing this! But I have to say that despite having several of these brands in my closet, my favorites are all from Madewell. Love their “skinny skinny” and “slim boyjean”.

    • I’m near Sacramento, too! Come on out–I’d pay for you to take me shopping! 🙂 Shannon looked AMAZING. Thanks for sharing the dressing room pics-these are my favorite to read on your blog!

  6. Wow, thanks ladies, you are too kind! Seeing my 40yo mom butt on the Internet gave me a minor heart attack yesterday so your positive feedback is making me feel better. Shana, thanks for the fun time! Let me know anytime you want to shop again, as I have many more fashion challenges that could keep you busy… 🙂

  7. My fave post on here to date! Educational to hear Shana’s comments on fit & wash and awesome to see a body similar to mine! Too bad she didn’t like the distressed ones, those ones are bomb on her! So brave to do the pics from behind! Love, love it. My hubby 2 kiddos and I are moving to Philly March 1 and this blog has been invaluable for things to do in the city with kids. Thanks!

  8. You look great, Shannon. Shana, if you are anywhere near Iowa (say, Minneapolis, mn or Des Moines) please, please, please take this 53-yr-old mom shopping for jeans. I currently buy gap and urban outfitter jeans….

  9. Love seeing all these jeans on a normal person body, they always look different on models (sorry Shana, you don’t count cause EVERY pair looks amazing on you!). Shannon you look amazing, love the shirts too! I am dying to try rag & bone jeans even more now. I am a size 28/29 and can never find skinny jeans that are actually skinny, they all look like girlfriend jeans on lol!

  10. Love this post! Super helpful to see other body types and to see what is good and bad about different fits. I would love to see more of this in the future!

  11. How tall is Shannon? That will help understand the fit esp ordering online. She looks great! Love seeing a more relatable size on the blog

  12. Shannon looks amazing and I love that sleeveless top on her and the black jeans. Totally hot. I wish we could go shopping together, Shana!

  13. I love this post!! Shana, you’re gorgeous but I’m never gonna be as thin as you ! so while I love your ideas, I really loved seeing you work your magic on a person my size 🙂 more of this series, please!

  14. Great post! I enjoyed learning about a few new brands. Anyone know if any of these are thicker fabric? I’m looking for a goid winter pair for Chicago winter and spring. Thanks!

  15. Love everything about this. More, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease! And if you wanted to take it on the road to DC – me, me, me! 🙂

  16. How brave of you! I think you picked well. And personally, I am big fan of Citizens because the rise in the back, in the regular rise denim, tends to be higher then other brands and when you have a bit of toosh, you need that height. (I love AG but sometimes they’re too low for me). The tops all looked great! Oh, and South Moon Under…..such a favorite store of mine! Lucky enough that we have 2 in the DC area and 2 at our beaches!

  17. So perfect! I’m also a 29-30 and 5’9. Shana, love your style babe, but it all looks so different on me! Keep these amazing posts coming. Thank you!

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