One fashion editor’s journey to finding true sartorial love
Like all serious relationships, denim and I have been on a bit of a rollercoaster. There have been highs and lows but, aged 33, I’ve finally found my perfect pair.
My obsession with jeans started in my early teens, when that super skinny style was everywhere. Low rise and so tight they looked sprayed-on, they were impossibly difficult to get on and off. I clocked up hours wiggling vigorously to get them over my thighs, and an equal amount of time prying them off again. Dropping anything while wearing them wasn’t an option – they were absolutely impossible to bend in. But despite all this, I had to have them – buying the cult style of the moment and wearing them was like a badge of honour for anyone who was serious about their style.
The super skinnies lasted a considerable amount of time, but as my body started to change, my demands on my denim became different. And so, I welcomed the ‘mom’ jeans into my life for the next few years. However, true to early noughties form, I chose an acid wash pair for my first foray into the style. (Never again, people! Learn from my mistakes and just say no!) Safe to say, that 80’s throwback style with its very high waist, slouchy legs and truly awful wash, should remain firmly in that former decade. Especially when I was pairing them with a flash of neon – the look still makes me shudder! But what I did learn from this fashion fail was that I much preferred the freedom of the slouchy legs: more comfort, less of a struggle to put on, easier to sit in etc. You know, more practical for actual living…
Then around 2012 the ‘boyfriend’ jean started trending. This was a real breakthrough moment for both denim and for me. The slouchy fit meant these jeans weren’t so high waisted that you couldn’t bend over to tie your shoelaces, but not so low slung that you feared underwear exposure at any given moment. Instead, they hit right in the middle – the leg shape was loose but not grunger-level baggy and the way they grazed your ankle gave them a feminine quality. These jeans were genuinely empowering, because not being trussed up in an impractical style gives you the right comfort levels to feel confident.
So, there I was enjoying my ‘boyfriend’ jeans. I was ready to commit to them; they were up on my fashion pedestal. But then, in 2019, my heart was stolen by the straight leg style. Swoon-worthy, they were my perfect pair. In fact, it seemed like every fashion editor and influencer had bought into the shape: the nostalgic 90s style that gave us a heady mix of comfort and chic, all rolled into one versatile wardrobe staple.
From sequin-encrusted bell bottoms (thank you, Paris Hilton) to the 10+ pairs of straight legs I now rotate, jeans have always been at the core of my style. But it’s the straight leg’s trademark effortlessness and sensible practicality (they work with 90% of my wardrobe) that has made them such a huge part of my fashion identity.
I’ve worn mine on first dates and last dates, to fashion weeks across the globe, to important meetings, on holidays, to parties, and everything else in between. They really are my fashion failsafe – I know if I put those on, I’ll feel like myself. In them, I feel put together but still comfortable. Ultimately, when you have that combination, sartorially speaking you know you are winning.
As a fashion editor, I’ve learned that at the heart of finding the perfect pair is finding your style: knowing what you want from clothes, how they fit into your life, and how they fit your body. In my experience finding that style comes from age and trial and error (so many errors), but it’s all part of your personal style evolution.
Finding the perfect pair is a journey, and most certainly not the most straight-forward one I have ever been on – especially when you factor in those awful fitting room lights. But it is one worth taking, because your perfect pair is out there. And when you finally experience that moment of comfort and confidence which comes from finding the right style, you’ll look back and smile at just how far you’ve come from those 90s denim pedal pushers…
Need a helping hand finding your perfect pair? Learn how to source and style the best fit for you at our Live Styling Event on 26 Jan. Featuring Polly Knight, Style Director for Stylist Magazine, and our own Chief Product Officer Sheila McKain, the event will take place online at 6pm GMT. To join, visit our Instagram page here.