It appears that climate change has decided it’s done with 75 degree afternoons in October right in time for Joe Manchin to continue not really giving a shit about climate change at all. Cool! The temp drop has prompted me to look for more fall/winter clothing, but I’d definitely feel better about it if I knew this planet would last as long as my new jeans will.
As you can probably tell, I’ve decided to let dark denim break the incredibly unhelpful 50/50 split on my last Instagram poll. But before we get into it, I want to say that shopping for denim can be a trying experience—one that doesn’t always foster the best feelings about ourselves and our bodies. This is a pair of jeans that worked for me (after trying multiple sizes and styles that very much did not), but if they don’t work for you for whatever reason, you are more than allowed to tune this rec out.
As some of you may remember, I’ve adopted the youth’s proverbial chant of ‘death to skinny jeans’ in favor of straighter silhouettes and less stretchy denim. Very vintage vibe, according to my mom. And so far, I’ve been very into it.
My usual denim kryptonite is a light wash straight leg cropped jean (these are my go-to’s—size down if you try!). They look good with EVERYTHING, and I could always go for more pairs. But with the season change, I wanted something with a little more ankle coverage that was also slightly more appropriate for a night out. I figured that meant I should look for full length, darker wash jeans this time around. Here were the (loose) guidelines in my search:
A straight-ish leg: I didn’t want these to be entirely skin tight like skinny jeans, or full on flares (which, for the record, are fire, but not my everyday vibe). Straight and tapered leg jeans have been working for me and I think they look super cool, so I wanted to stick with that silhouette.
A grey-ish, black-ish wash: When it comes to darker colors, I tend to prefer greys and washed blacks to traditional dark blue washes—I think they’re cool, versatile, and super flattering.
Wearable from day to night: I didn’t want something that was too long, or only worked if I was wearing heels—the style had to make sense for casual outfits AND look nice enough for dinner/going out (at this point in my life, “going out” basically is just going to dinner, but still).
Bonus points if I, at 5’4-5’5-ish, didn’t have to take them to a tailor for a hem. If you bought jeans in the mid to late 2000’s like me, you might also be scarred by the experience of every pair having an absurdly long 33 inch inseam (and gaudy embroidered back pockets—truly why). It made the already unpleasant task of jean shopping in the age of low rises additionally difficult. While tailors are godsends for many things fit-wise (including hems), I was hoping for a pair I could just wear off the rack.
My search very quickly led me to AGOLDE and their the 90’s Pinch Waist Jeans (more sizes here). Perfect length, great cut and wash, and a nice high waist—what more could I want? While I will never know the correct way to pronounce their name (a-gold? a-gold-e?), I absolutely adore them for everything: Cropped jeans, leather pants (more on this shortly), denim shorts—they even make good bodysuits and tanks (I swear to god, jeans brands make the best basics). It feels like they, for the most part, understand that people have hips and butts and thighs, and that pants should probably accommodate those features. What a concept!
The only drawback: the sizing is a nightmare. For one, it’s not the most inclusive (the largest size I’ve found is often a 32 or 33). It also happens to be inconsistent. I spent years with hangups about the number inside my jeans, but my life got a lot better when I started looking at sizes as they’re meant to be—a reliable label to help me find things that fit, instead of a number that could never get small enough. But AGOLDE throws sizing conventions out the window. In most jeans brands, I’m comfortably one of two sizes. If that also is the case for you, my rule of thumb for this brand is to start with the smaller of the two. But you might have to size down again in some stretchy styles, or take the larger of the two in others (especially for skinny jeans).
These are 100% cotton, so the denim itself isn’t stretchy (like in a typical skinny jean, for example), but it will stretch out over time. After reading the reviews, I went down a size in this pair, but my suggestion if you’re newer to AGOLDE is to order two sizes and return whatever doesn’t work. I promise that the headache of finding/breaking in the right pair is worth it because these are wildly flattering on the waist and from the back. I wore them to a college reunion last weekend and got inquiries about them from people I haven’t spoken to in half a decade!
Difficult sizing not your thing? These Madewell Perfect Vintage Jeans are a great alt for this wash at a lower price, and they come in lots more sizes with options for plus, petites, and tall. The denim also has a little stretch to it, so no break-in period required.
While we’re here, I should also shoutout AGOLDE’s Leather Pants. I mentioned them earlier, but they’re too good not to give you the full run down. They are incredibly soft and comfortable, the same flattering cut and length as the 90’s jeans (same sizing too!), and they work with sneakers/casual shoes or heels depending on your vibe. They are definitely a splurge but my god, so worth it. The off white ones are beautiful too, but I ended up going with black because I felt like they were easier to style. They’re backordered most places, but Saks has them stocked/will ship for free.
That’s all for today—if you try any of the pants we’ve discussed here, you gotta let me know! Also, sign up to get this newsletter straight to your inbox at shitiboughtandliked.com. It’s a good time, I promise.
Happy jean hunting!
P.S. Reminder: Now’s a good time to restock your LiquidIV pre ~Halloweekend~. You and your Sunday morning-self are welcome!