Pull up a chair, settle yourselves in, because this is quite a lengthy post. It’s the Big High Street Jeans Edit. I’ve been working on this one for a while, mainly because I wanted to have tried them all on so I would know how they fit. I also own a lot these jeans. Like I needed any more denim, but let’s put it all down to purely selfless research shall we? I will be doing a ruthless edit of my denim drawer over the next few weeks. There are plenty of pairs lingering at the bottom that I just don’t wear anymore.
Denim styles change over time. Or maybe my taste has changed. Possibly a combination of the two, but I no longer go heavy on the skinny jeans. I find them hard to wear these days. They feel a bit dated. The exception being the black Paige pair that I have. They are ultimate black skinny jeans so until they fall apart I need not buy another pair. Good job as they aren’t cheap.
These days I favour a straight leg jean. Personally I like a higher waist band too. Something to tuck my stomach into. Gone are the days of a low waist. Looking back, they were not such a good idea. You always had to wear a belt, unless you wanted your undercrackers on show whenever you bent over. Although I do recall that some ladies embraced this, with a visible thong hanging out the top *shudders*.
I’ve tried to pick jeans that I think are quite universally flattering. I can’t say for sure that they will all suit your particular figure, but I find they all work with mine. If it helps, I am 5’7, size 12, a bit thick around the middle and of generally medium build. The M&S, River Island and Top Shop Jeans all come in varying lengths and all the others lend themselves to a rolled hem to make them fit length-wise. I roll the bottoms of almost all my jeans. I like a bit of sock/skin showing, and also, If I’ve spent upwards of £200 on a pair of boots, I want them on show.
OK, enough of the preamble, let’s dive straight in…
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RIVER ISLAND STRAIGHT LEG JEANS
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, River Island is very good at denim. To be honest, up until last year I never really even considered shopping at River Island. It is often a bit too Love Island for me. That’s all good as they are probably not aimed at the 40 plus market, but they really do some excellent jeans. I have 3 pairs from there and they are probably my most worn pairs. One thing that is annoying is that they don’t tend to stock the same styles every season. But look for their straight leg pairs as they are all quite similar.
There’s not a great deal of stretch to these jeans, they are 100% cotton, so if you’re worried about that then maybe size up. They have a good high waist, but not too high, they are cut to the ankle, but also come in 3 lengths which is very useful if you’re under 5’3 or over 5’9.
M&S SIENNA JEANS
If you like a lot of stretch in your jeans and you don’t want to pay more than £20, then head to M&S and check out their selection. These also come in 3 lengths and 8 colours. Spoilt for choice. I tend to size down in M&S, not always, but I’d say, because of the amount of stretch, go down a size in these jeans. The waist is high, but not too high. Also, while you’re in Marks, check out these trainers. I have the same ones in blue and white from 2018 and they are seriously one of the MOST comfortable trainers I own. Also, a cheeky alternative to the more expensive and less comfy Vejas…
WHISTLES BUTTON FRONT JEANS
These are my most recent and therefore, current most favourite, jeans. I got them when I went to the John Lewis Style Studio for a ‘Perfect Pair of Jeans’ appointment (more of that later). They are pretty much my ideal pair of jeans. High waist, button front, cut to the ankle, they are straight but feel slightly tapered. I like to think I’m waist 29, but I got these in a 30 and they fit like a dream. The denim feels really good quality, like it will last a long time. No stretch, but don’t feel tight or restrictive. I’m seriously looking forward to Spring when I can wear them with a bare ankle and a bit of pastel knitwear. I love this cute twinset from Mango.
H&M VINTAGE HIGH JEANS
H&M have been very hit and miss with their sizing and their jeans quality in the past, but there is one style in there I turn to over and over again. That’s their ‘Vintage High’ jeans. They do versions of them every season and they all seem to fit very well. You might like to go up a size on the waist if you don’t like to be sucked in too much, but generally I’d say they’ve got their sizing much better recently. For the price (usually around £25) they are excellent value, they are also part of the Conscious Collection as they are made party from recycled Cotton.
I loved one black Vintage High style they did a few years ago, that I bought a spare pair for when they were in the wash! I’ve also re-dyed them black on 2 occasions to keep them fresh. Very easy to do that with your black denim these days. Dylon do a very easy in-machine clothes dye that works a treat.
1. H&M Leopard Print Puff Sleeve Blouse
2. Vestiaire Collective Vintage Chanel Bag
3. Top Shop Ultimate Black Tux Blazer
4. H&M Vintage Slim High Ankle Jeans
5. Chloe Susanna Black Studded Ankle Boots
JOHN LEWIS JEANS
I did some work with John Lewis recently, part of that entailed going to a ‘Perfect Pair of Jeans’ appointment at their Oxford St store. I didn’t realised they had so much choice. They have 3 of their own brand denim, Kin, And/Or ), plus all the High Street jeans they stock for labels such as, Jigsaw, Whistles, Warehouse etc, PLUS a good range of designer denim from the likes of Paige, AG Jeans and 7 For All Mankind. You are literally spoilt for choice. If you go for a style appointment, the stylist will call you to find out what sort of things you like before you get there and have a selection ready for you to try. It takes a lot of stress out of jeans shopping.
As well as the Whistles pair, I also got a pair from AG Jeans. They are not cheap at over £200, but the fit was so good I couldn’t leave them behind. So they are my pick from John Lewis. They are slim leg, a lot of stretch and make your arse look great. I’d pay more money for that tbh. Especially at my age.
COS TAPERED LEG JEANS
I usually head to Cos for my knitwear. Some of the best on the High Street in my opinion, but their denim is also very good. My particular favourite is the tapered leg style they do. The kind of remind me of the jeans I wore in the 90s. Slightly balloon shaped but more grown up and more flattering. They don’t have any stretch and the denim is quite thick. Made to be worn with a rolled hem. Perfect pair of jeans for ‘French Tucking’ in your jumper to give the illusion of a waist.
TOPSHOP EDITOR JEANS
The final one on my High Street Jeans list is a pair a lot of you probably already own, the Top Shop Editor Jeans. Top Shop have a tendency to come up with jeans styles that are universally loved. Hands up who had/still has a pair of their Baxter Skinny leg jeans? They were the first pair of skinny jeans I bought back in 2000. I remember wearing them with my black Ugg boots and feeling a bit ‘edgy’, how times have changed! The Editor jeans are a classic Straight Leg style. I would go up a size, but they only do even number waists anyway, and I couldn’t even get close to doing up a size 28. No stretch, but a great shape and will go with everything.
I hope the Big High Street Jeans Edit was somewhat helpful for you if you’re in the market for a new pair of this season. I’m sure there are some I’ve missed out. Let me know if you have any recommendations.