What are the most flattering jeans? Five women give their verdicts
Finding the right pair that suits your shape and pocket can be an ongoing challenge
From left: Laura O'Grady, Ruth Monaghan and Beverley Keegan.
Baggy, bootcut, boyfriend, relaxed, skinny, slashed, drainpipe – when it comes to jeans, the lexicon is extensive for there is no more democratic clothing item on the planet.
With so many shapes, shades, silhouettes and prices from which to choose, finding the right pair that suits your shape and pocket can be an ongoing challenge.
Trends come and go – and knowing that there is a hell of a difference between a 501 and 510 (Levi’s), for instance can be crucial in any search, though from the double denim look of the 80s to the skinnies of the 2000s, in general the low rise has given way to the now popular high-rise jean.
In a market worth nearly €2 billion, there’s a choice between the inexpensive high-street brands and the so called “premium” labels at often treble the price. But do you always get what you pay for? I have found great jeans in River Island for €55 and more recently a flattering fit from Salsa, (€100, Brown Thomas), a so-called “technical” Portuguese brand.
Here five women of different ages and shapes reveal their choice of jean and what suits their lifestyle.
Ruth Monaghan, florist
“I need jeans that are flexible for weekends with my kids and in work mode it is all about moving around, bending and turning. You want to look good and feel comfortable. For fit I go from Margaret Howell to Vanessa Seward and wear them with flats – what suits my body shape is the fitted boyfriend style or else straight cut so that my upper body looks well.
“I have small hips so many styles don’t suit. People shouldn’t squeeze into something that doesn’t fit. I like simple jeans without stuff on them and ones with cuffs you can play with. Fit is more important than the brand and I prefer to invest in a pair I can use for a lot of different purposes. I have about 10 and wear them out.”
Domino Whisker, graphic designer and embroiderer
“I wear jeans all the time – always have – and you can go easily from casual to dress up. I am quite a tomboy and love the James Dean look with t-shirts – and am always gravitating to men’s sections because it’s the tomboy in me. I never liked fitted things or the feminine look, sparkle, flares or fringing.
I buy by fit and always have because I was a teenage punk rocker with skinny jeans tucked into my Doc Martens. In a nutshell, drainpipes and high waists would be my favourites and I love Levi’s. I don’t spend much on clothes but am learning now about good investments rather than throwaway pieces.”
Laura O'Grady, model
A very successful international Irish model, Laura always used to wear skinny jeans “because it was the staple model wardrobe”, she says. “Now with Instagram and seeing people trying different individual styles, I have started to love 70s flares and baggy boyfriend jeans because there is a nice contrast.
“I don’t have fit issues, but I like soft jeans like MIH and am not fussy about stone washes and quite like slit jeans. I would not necessarily buy them but it is about styling them properly. I can’t wear distressed jeans, for instance, when I am with my granny because she offers to mend them! I probably have about 12 pairs, four skinny, a pair of coated denim and then baggies and flares”.
Lucy Nagle, businesswoman
“Quality jeans are much more flattering and last a longer time so wearability is much better. I live in jeans – they are my daily uniform and I have worn many different brands over the years. In summer I wear white and coral and in the winter I would go for black and navy, but I also love traditional blue jeans, because that colour goes with everything and always works well with a sweater.
“I have been wearing J Brand for years and though I buy a lot, the cost per wear means there is definitely value there. As for cut and shape I stick to the skinny leg or cropped leg in summer with sandals, but I also like a more relaxed fit and boyfriend style as well.”
Beverley Keegan, part-time model, mother of two and fashion consultant
“Good God, I have always been a jeans girl. My first pair was from my dad who took us to O’Connors in Middle Abbey Street where many moons ago you could find Levi’s, Lee and Wrangler jeans and we would be treated to hamburger heaven afterwards.
“Now I prefer comfort and a more relaxed fit paired with an oversize jumper – that’s a well put together autumn/winter look. I have about five or six pairs and about 12 or 13 in the archive and I dip in and out of them. For high summer and holidays, I wear white and in winter black, but blue denim would be my favourite. For evening I wear them with heels and maybe a fitted satin shirt – so they can work for both day and evening. My favourite brands would be Citizens of Humanity, 7 Jeans and J Brand because their fit suits me better. More recently I got back into Levis.”
- All clothing and shoes from Brown Thomas, Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway. Photographer Aaron Hurley, stylist Aideen Feely, hair Katie Keany, make-up Charlotte Tilbury, Brown Thomas.