Dream Jeans


In keeping with my 2017 theme, The Year of Living Passionately I’m adding another goal, years in the simmering.

This is going to be the year that I find my dream jeans. The year of my perfect fabulous jeans. I’ve had it with skinny jeans, jeggings, bootcut, high rise, low rise, mom jeans, bell bottoms, stretch jeans, cropped jeans, et al.

Some people think older women shouldn’t wear jeans, that they look sloppy. I say age is not a variable; jeans are always cool. For me, jeans need to be sexed up in the simple way that the French queen of jeans, Emmanuelle Alt, wears them. It’s about menswear worn in a devastatingly female way.

I want what she’s wearing: classic jeans that aren’t baggy or saggy.

Note that there’s a lot going on in that photograph. The perfect jeans + a meticulously cut shirt tucked in just the right wrong way. The no belt. (Or the right belt.) The nonchalant cuffing. The fab shoes, in her case, pumps. It helps to have a great bod (but not required!) and bed head hair. There’s no fussy (or statement) jewelry going on. And most important to this photo: no handbag. Yes, it takes all of this to make a great photograph and a stylish woman.

Of course, this all depends on the woman you want to be.  And Emmanuelle’s it for me. I don’t have her bod or her hair, but I still believe in the power of the right jeans to make me feel like I want to feel.

So why haven’t I found my dream jeans?  The answer is simple:  I haven’t devoted any time to finding them.

As there are no good malls or decent jeans or online shopping in Tropica, my shopping is restricted to when I travel. When I do visit a mall on a trip, I spend my time shopping for other things and never get to the jeans. Trying on jeans is like trying on bathing suits: exhausting and emotional.

My dream jeans are out there, I just have to spend the time. I hereby promise to dedicate an entire day in my second city, Chicago, to jean shopping. I’ll even request a personal shopper at Nordies or Bloomies or GAP, wherever. Whatever it takes. No detour to lingerie or shoes or electronics or Eileen Fisher.

I have a memory of the jeans I wore in college. Mine really were my boyfriend’s jeans:  Lee cowboy jeans. Soft and sexy in a well worn way.  I still believe in the power of jeans to deliver me to that place and memory.

When I think I’ve found them, I’ll ask: Would Emmanuelle wear these jeans?  And if the answer is yes, sold!

xo Liza

P.S. A bit of fashion fun for this wintry March day. Do you have favorite jeans? What’s your brand? What’s your cut and style? Or, have you stopped wearing jeans for some reason?  Do you pack jeans when you travel? When do you wear them? And with what? In other words, tell all please!

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18 thoughts on “Dream Jeans

  1. I too am looking for the “perfect” jeans for me, and I love Emmanuelle Alt! I have adopted her jacket style, and have been sewing jackets like a fool, but the jeans have yet to appear. Please let us know when you find yours, and maybe I can jump on that bandwagon!

  2. My sister had a pair of jeans custom made for her. Truly fab. It has to be said she’s a woman of a certain age who has got very svelte with time. So she is one of the Emmanuelle Alts. So far I have not achieved this, so at the moment won’t be going there. And another thing….how can she (or we) manage without a bag?

    1. I hear what you’re saying…but the body is not an apology. It’s not your body, it’s the jeans that aren’t right. Find a pair to feel great in and you’ll look great. Re the purse, well, you need to have a personal assistant or a driver, or maybe a partner who’ll do the honors. xo

  3. I also want very much to find a pair of jeans that I feel good in. Please let us know how your quest unfolds. Good luck! I enjoy your ideas and look forward to seeing your messages.

  4. I love my NYDJ boyfriend cut. They fit great, they’ve soften beautifully and move like I do. I don’t have a jeans body, but I don’t care–I love them anyway.

  5. This is such an awesome post Liza. Jeans shopping can be a real trauma (yes, just like bathing suits) mostly because we are secretly hoping when we put on said suit/jeans we are hoping to miraculously transform into the models wearing them. You’re perspective is perfect – find your ‘jeans muse’ (I also think French do it better in this space too – Emmanuelle, Jeanne Damas, Garance etc) and ask ‘what is it about the jeans do I like?’. The cut, the fit, what they’ve teamed it with… We ALL have jeans bodies – it’s just about ignoring trends and advertising and finding the perfect jeans for us. A personal stylist can definitely help with this, as we focus squarely on you and highlighting your best features.

  6. I, too, was hoping you were going to do the job for us. Personally, I keep coming back to NYDJ. My style is Sheri Slim. I’m 5’8 and can’t believe the length some styles offer. Do real women really wear high heels with their jeans? Love to have more input.

  7. I am always so surprised when I hear that “older” women shouldn’t wear jeans. Really? Do they say that about men? At any age, there are a multitude of body types but they can all wear jeans. There are so many cuts and styles to fit anyone and everyone! My favorites from Stitch Fix are Liverpool Jeans…one regular black skinny cut and one leggings. I also have a pair of distressed jeans that are a “go to” piece for me.

    1. Annie, you are absolutely right about the sexism of clothing advice. There is no such thing as “age appropriate” either. If you feel great in something, it looks great on you. There was a Sixty & Me article on leggings and it got the most hits ever, because women seem to be so conflicted about whether they can wear leggings! Sad! Anyway, carry on. You seem to have your jeans game on!

  8. Well, after seeing so much discussion, I just had to join in. First off, I stopped wearing denim jeans (jackets, vests and even handbags) in Tropica years ago when I finally admitted to myself they were unbearably hot and rather binding, especially on long car trips. Previously, in other climates, I had a closet full of them. I have recently re-considered my position. With all the new fabrics and technologically advanced design, I may just find a pair I love. Soooo, I’m on the prowl for the perfect jeans, and, no, age is not a factor!

  9. My favorite tommy helfinger jeans are almost to the point of not being able to wear them in public. I found them about 5 years ago at goodwill. The perfect fit, the perfect look and the perfect price.
    I too have to devote an entire day to finding another pair of perfect jeans.
    I scrounge the thrift stores for mine. I want the already washed, worn and soft. Nothing grinds me more than paying a lot of money and having the entire fit change when the jeans come out of the dryer.

    1. Hi Cindy. Thanks for writing. Seems like you know what you like. Yes, time is the variable it seems, when finding the right jeans. Good luck for the next pair! Carry on.

  10. I can’t believe I stumbled upon this site. I too am looking for the perfect jean for a 62 year old woman with a less than perfect body. Has anyone heard of, or bought, Mother “Looker” jeans?

    1. Hi Patricia! Welcome and thanks for writing! Thrilled you stumbled onto Camp Liza. When I do my jeans shop in the U.S. I’ll report back. In the meantime, find your blue jean muse and search out that style. Carry on!

  11. I have lots of jeans I love. I don’t have the body for tucking so fit is not as important as it would be if I were. The difficult part, for me, is jeans that don’t stretch out of shape within an hour, leaving you with pooching knees and a sagging rear. I have learned to sew grograin ribbon inside the waistband to prevent stretching, but that only fixes the waist. I am puzzled by someone wanting old worn jeans, because those seem to be the ones that stretch the most. I’ll be following thread for hints. Thanks for bringing up the subject.

  12. Like everyone on here, I say “don’t dare tell me I’m too old for jeans”. When someone says that it makes me want to double down on whatever the forbidden item is! And I suspect the writers of those comments are young enough to be our grand daughters.
    I’m 69, 4’11”, little thighs and as I always affectionately call it, a scrawny butt. Oh and a doctor told me I have the highest navel he’s ever seen. (Rude!) The distance between that navel to right under my breast is about 4 1/2 inches. I live a mountain life high in the Rockies and jeans are the daily choice.
    It’s difficult. NYDJ is the brand I used to wear but I was always very unhappy with them. They, like most manufacturers of petite sized jeans put the back pockets so low that on my mature, fallen rear end it looks and feels like I stuck a couple of envelopes back there to flap in the breeze. They’re too high waisted for me also.
    Someone mentioned Liverpool. They’re good looking and comfortable, tho I think the knees can stretch too quickly. Another brand I had never heard of, AG, is my current favorite. But they cost what I used to pay for two or three pair. Sometimes though, I become so frustrated trying to clothe this body of mine, I spend way over my comfortable limit. It’s desperation!
    But Liza, be sure to try various styles from the same makers. They really vary. And once you find the rise you like, always start there. Good luck hunting…hope you find the prize!

  13. At 77 I still have slim legs, no more tucking of tops. My favorites are jeggings with boots or platforms and a loose very stylish top, usually black. The best jeggings are believe it or not, Target or Walmart. I use very small multipocketed cross body bags for phone and no longer use a wallet, but tiny credit card holder. This is my go to for drinks and. I still have a fabulous career, and though waist seems to be permanently gone I still have the hair. I’m grateful for my health and genes every day.

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