Jean Adventures 1: No Rest for the Weary (or the Short).

Posted in shopping advice by bluewellesleyblue on July 11, 2008

Finding the perfect pair of jeans is a bit like finding religion because of the infinite variety of shapes, sizes, and proportions of people’s lower halves. It’s going to be a highly personal experience no matter what in the sense that a brand or cut that works for one person might not work at all for someone who seems to have a similar shape. Most people, I’m guessing, would probably benefit from some tailoring even on the brand that fits them best. Still, there are probably going to be some things that work better for some broad categories of people.

Like many other girls of Asian descent, I’m fairly short. I’m a little under 5’3” and while far from being the shortest of the lot, I am also a bit on the short-legged side. The consequence is that even the “short” or “petite” sizes usually still have inseams that are just a bit too long for me, and I probably can’t expect a perfect fit on any denim straight from the store. No part of my rear, thighs, hips, or legs are particularly large in a way that I have to take into account while shopping – if it fits around wherever it’s meant to rest on my waist, I usually don’t have trouble pulling it up to that point – though I do have a bit more junk in the trunk than most other Asian girls around my size.

In this installment of “Jean Adventures” I cover the Madewell and Gap stores I have easy access to – in the Natick Mall and Wellesley Square areas here at school – which means I can only review what they usually have in stock around my size, not their entire lines. My process, in that case, is inherently far from scientific.


The Madewell brand falls under the J.Crew parent company and seems to be available only in very limited locations. They had short-inseam jeans in both the “Rail Straight” and “Skinny Low” cuts when I went and I tried on my size in both. Their jeans fit pretty true to size – they run medium as opposed to large (Gap) or small (Genetic Denim) relative to my experience – and when they say short they still mean a little too long for me, which is the norm.

Both the “Rail Straight” and “Skinny Low” cuts were too “skinny” in their fit to be flattering on me. I like the skinny jeans style and one of my only two pairs of jeans that fit is a pair of Hollister ones. However, a skinnier leg almost inevitably makes the derrière seem a bit larger in comparison so the leg of a pair of good skinny jeans can not fit my leg so closely it’s like the thing was painted on (the BDG skinnies at Urban Outfitters do this). These weren’t quite at that point and the “Rail Straight” were even sort of alright, but not to the tune of nearly a hundred dollars. So I left the store without any real intention of coming back until maybe when I’m at my wit’s end and have enlisted the services of a good tailor.


In my experience, Gap sizes run towards the larger side. I’m a smaller size there then I am at the vast majority of other stores or with other brands. I actually have not tried on their “petite” sizes if those are separate from the “ankle” inseam length on their pants – the store in Wellesley Square tends to carry a random mix of sizes and so I’ve never been able to make certain of this – but their “ankle” inseam seems to be short enough for me to wear without hemming, at least in the fitting room.

The problem then, comes from other things. No matter what size around what should be the right one I pick up there, both the rear and the crotch/rise/ what have you are always sort of… saggy. That’s the best word I have for it. If I pull the jeans up to where the crotch or rise rests where it ought to the waistband is always much too big. One issue, though, is that the Wellesley Square store never has anything in a “1” and while a “2” is definitely too big, “0” fits but in most cuts doesn’t seem right either because of being a bit too tight in parts.

Next time: Guess and Martin + Osa.

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