The Best Skinny Jeans For Real Women

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I’m currently about 20 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight, which at 12 weeks postpartum I’m okay with.  What I’m not okay with however, is a) not having any button-up pants that fit, specifically jeans; and b) spending a fortune on a pair of jeans that fit me now, but will, fingers-crossed, not fit me in a year when I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight.  So I set out in search of some reasonably priced skinny jeans that I could wear during this postpartum period.  I chose skinny jeans because they go with everything, especially boots, and now with Fall hitting, boot wearing is essential.  I gave a shout out to my friends on the FTLO Facebook page and asked for their recommendations for a reasonably priced pair of skinny jeans and the answers were so varied it was dizzying.  So I decided to take on the challenge, and try on as many pairs as I had time for, and find the best pair of postpartum jeans around.  Let me also say that while these challenges are not limited to just the postpartum time frame.  I think I can safely say that a lot of women, weather they just had a baby 5 months ago or 5 years ago, can relate to the need to find a good fitting pair of skinny jeans for a real women’s body with curves and bumps.

I developed a 5 star rating system, and simply gave 1 star for each category that the jeans met.  The 5 categories were:

Fit - overall fit of the jean.  This is crucial for a pair of skinny jeans on a postpartum figure.  For starters, most of us carry our weight in our mid-section and our hips when we get pregnant, and that’s where we tend to hold onto it.  Once the usual swelling goes down, our calves and ankles go back to normal, but the thighs and mid-section require a bit more work and time.  Therefore in a skinny jean, we need a pair that will be forgiving at the waist and hip, but still fit like a skinny jean where it is most important; the calf and ankle.

Comfort – Of course this is a high priority.  We don’t want to feel like we’re being squeezed in like a sausage.  The jeans need to have a somewhat stretchy waistband (some jeans pinch in while some waistbands feel like they have some give to them).  We also need some give in the actual denim, and most importantly the jeans need to pass the sit test.  Sit down in them.  DO you feel like you’re being pinched in all the wrong places and you can’t breathe?  If so, that’s not the pair for you.

Styling - After comfort and fit, this is most important to me.  I look at the color of the wash, the distress marks, if any, the hem length, the fit on the ankle and the inseam, the color and width of the stitching.  And for goodness sake, you’ve gotta be mindful of any designs on the pockets.  Nothing over the top, no sparkles or sequins, not swirly weird designs for me.

Value – I’ll drop $125 on a good pair of designer jeans, but no way am I willing to spend that for a pair of postpartum jeans that will only fit me for a limited time.  I was looking for jeans under $50 (The Gap pair made it in here even though they are $69 at regular price, for the sole reason that the Gap has a sale about every other week and you should be able to snatch up a pair on sale).

Flattering – In other words, how do these jeans make my butt look?  Because that is always the most important thing about a pair of jeans, right?  :)  Pocket placement and size of pocket is key!  The pocket can’t sit too low on the butt or it makes you look like you have a slouchy butt, and if they’re too high and it flattens you out.  I find that for my rear, the pockets need to fall right at the top of the crease of my rear.  The stretch and give of the denim is also important here.  If the denim is too stretch, I find it makes my hips look bigger.

So let’s get started shall we?

I started out at Ann Taylor Loft and tried on the Modern Skinny and the Curvy Skinny.  At $69.50 these were one of the more expensive pair I tried on, but since the Loft tends to have lots of 40% off sales, I included them in here.  I did not like either of these jeans at all and only gave them 2/5 stars for Comfort and Value because when purchased at 40% off, you can grab a pair for about $40.  The denim was too stretchy so I felt it make my hips look really wide, and the fit at the calf was way too loose.  I also didn’t like how short and loose they were at the ankle.  I tried on the Curvy to see if it would fit my hips better and instead the overall fit of the leg just got bigger, as you can see in the bottom right photo.  Overall these were not flattering to my body at all.

Next I went to the Gap and tried on their Deconstructed Always Skinny jean.  I really liked these jeans a lot and loved the styling and pocket placement of these, although I wasn’t in love with the design on the pocket.  They fit nice and slim throughout the whole leg and were tight at the ankle, but not too tight that I couldn’t roll them up for a cute peg legged look.  The length was nice and long too.  They passed the sit test and felt like they were just slightly confining at the waist, but maybe 2 more pounds would release that feeling ;)  The only reason I gave them a 4/5 was for value, being that they were $79.95.  If snagged during one of their 30% off sales, it would have brought them down to about $55, but still over my $50 threshold.

Next I tried the Gap Always Skinny Mid Rise, which have the same fit as the Always Skinny, but come just a little higher at the waist.  I loved the fit and comfort factor of these jeans, but I knocked them down for the coloring.  I’m just not into the dark denim right now and this is the only option in this fit.  They were also slightly looser at the ankle and calf, which was a bummer.

Lots of rave reviews came in for the Target skinny jeans, but for me I just didn’t love them.  Massimo offers several fits in their denim so I tried on Fit 3 and Fit 4, pictured here.  Fit 4 comes in a little higher at the waistline and is curvier through the leg.  These actually did fit great, but I knocked them down in the overall styling and flattering department.  I didn’t love the pockets or the bright yellow stitching trailing all the way down on the very dark denim.

Fit 3 still has a mid waist rise, but has a straighter fit through the leg and hip, which I liked more than Fit 4.  I also liked the wash of this style more, but I thought the pockets were sort of strange and the stitching details around the pocket.  The waist also pinched a bit, so overall I gave this jean a 3/5 stars.  Not a bad option, but not perfect either.

The Zara Dark Wash Skinny jeans were pretty near perfect.  I loved the super stretchy fabric, which was also very soft and comfortable.  The waistband had just the right amount of give so they didn’t squeeze in my muffin top, and the fit through the leg was great.  The $49 price tag was pretty great too.  They could have been a little longer but not a huge factor, as they were long enough.  My only complaint about these jeans were the strange pocket and wide hem at the bottom.  Looking at their website, it appears they have the same jean with different pockets and hems, but I wasn’t able to find them in the store, which can be a little crazy at times.  I asked a salesperson for help finding skinny jeans and a dude just pointed me in a general direction.  I’m pretty good at finding stuff on my own when shopping retail, but when it comes to a store’s huge selection of jeans, some help and guidance would have been nice.

So which jeans did I choose?  Did I ever find the perfect pair?  Well yes I did!  And at the place I least expected it, Kohl’s!

A reader recommended the Lauren Conrad skinny jeans, referred to as the Kate and I have to say I was a bit skeptical.  What would a reality show star in her 20′s know about designing denim jeans for a real women’s body?  But I have to say I was completely and pleasantly surprised.  Not only did these jeans look great, with a nice distressed wash and very subtle rips, but they fit fantastic, and the quality seems fairly decent!  I did have to size up to a 10 to accommodate my muffin top, but the difference between the 8 and 10 did not change the fit in the leg, which was important.  I love the fit through the leg and ankle, and the length is perfect.  I currently have these cuffed twice and they look so cute with my loafers, the perfect ankle skimming length.  And can I just say, I like the way my butt looks in them too.  The best part of all though?  They have them on sale pretty much 100% of the time for $31.99, and with a $10 coupon I got in the mail, I paid $21.99 for these jeans!  So not only did they fit and look as good as the Gap pair, but they were also a fraction of the cost.  I am a sold believer.

So what did we learn from this all?  Well first off, I know my experience will not be the same for everyone.  You may end up hating the LC jeans and love the Target ones, but if anything I hope this gives you some ideas of where to start, and things to consider besides just cost and fit.  Second, don’t feel like you need to put off buying yourself something until you lose the weight or get to the place you want to be.  No one should have to wear pants that don’t fit, and as you can see, there are affordable, cute options out there.  You just have to be patient and persistent in finding a pair you feel good in.  Don’t settle!

Lots of friends recommended going to TJ Maxx or Marshalls for a better pair of designer jeans, and I thought about doing so.  But first, I didn’t ever have the time to stop and sort through all the racks.  And second, I figured the selection at each store is so varied that I thought I’d focus on brands and styles that can be found across the country and online.

So what do you think?  Have you tried any of these jeans and what were your results?  Do you think I made the right choice?  I would love to hear any of your feedback on finding good skinny jeans and share any advice you’d have for a different body type than mine.



Andrea Howe

Andrea is the founder of For The Love Of, a lifestyle blog dedicated to approachable, modern living. She writes about style, her love of DIY, and living a healthier life through wholesome, nutritious cooking. She is also a regular contributor at Babble. Get in touch: Facebook, Twitter You can find Andrea on Instagram @andreavhowe and @gwynethmademedoit

  • I rarely go into Kohl’s, but when I do, I’m always startled by how cute some of the stuff is! Glad you found a good pair of skinnies!

  • totally agree w/ the comments on the loft & target jeans. They are TERRIBLE in my humble opinion. I agree with your Gap rating. I’ve never tried Lauren Conrad jeans– but now I’m tempted to do so!

    Also on the list– but more pricey, I guess– jeans from Urban Outfitters– their midrise jean is pretty great :)

    • Andrea Andrea says:

      Erika, I had it on my list to go try on the UO pair that you recommended on the FB page but I just never had the time to make it down to the mall by me that has an UO and I wasn’t sure about ordering online. But I do want to try them on!

  • Kara Murano says:

    great this post. I’m not post-partum but I am carrying about 20 extra lbs that I hope to have gone in the next year so this was super helpful! I’m gonna check out kohls soon!
    thanks love <3

  • Karri says:

    I recently bought the Gap always skinny deconstructed and am absolutely loving them. But this is the first time I’ve had luck with Gap jeans in years. And I never have luck with Target–I just think they fit poor, overall, on me.
    I am definately going to have to try Zara!! LC’s jeans don’t come in my size. It bums me out.

    BTW – you look GREAT!

  • KateB says:

    Yeah! I NEVER would have tried anything in the LC line on…figuring she would be for younger, skinnier ladies. I so need some skinny jeans to go with my 87 pairs of UGGs. I am addicted to them.

    Thanks, Sistah!

  • gina says:

    Thanks for the informative post. I’m terrible at finding the “perfect” pair of jeans because my legs are soo short. I’ve even taken them to a professional tailor and then hated the new hem so I never wore them. Having long legs is definitely a plus! I’ve also got a wide, ahem, posterior and have never tried on a skinny jean because I feel like I’d look like a pear. But maybe I’ve given up too soon. ;)

  • LOVE this post. You did some great research! You know I love my Gap jeans, and I have a couple LC pairs as well. Target has worked out for me overall, but I have my issues with their fit too.

    Glad you found a pair! I have had the Gap deconstructed skinnies in my shopping bag for weeks. May have to pull the trigger! AHHH! Lol

  • Laura says:

    My fave skinnies are from Gap when the midrise didnt have the dark stitching. I also have a pair from the loft and wish I would have never bought them. And would you find me strange if I said you had a great butt? Cause you do! :) I am curious about the Lauren Conrad jeans.

  • lori says:

    i love this post! i have several LC pants… some fit amazing, some not so much- which is why it is so important to ALWAYS try them on in the store!

  • Jess says:

    I love wearing jeans and feel like I probably have far more pairs than I need. The brand I keep going back to is Gap! I find them stylish, but just high waisted enough to make me feel comfortable that my bum isn’t hanging out. :) Plus, like you said, you can always find a sale there. I have to agree with the pair you decided on…the LC pair looks great on you!

    Jess – J’s Style
    fancypants514.blogspot.com

    • Andrea Andrea says:

      Thank you Jess! I love the Gap ones too and will most likely grab a pair of them at their next sale. They are really great jeans and very flattering!

  • nicholl says:

    love good finds from kohl’s!

    Would love to have you stop by and say hello at thechiffondiary.com :) happy Thanksgiving! xo

  • Monica Van Vorst says:

    Wow. Thanks for all the information. I will go to Kohl’s and try on the Lauren Conrad Jeans. I really appreciate your research because I have the hardest time finding nice fitting jeans at a good price.

  • erica says:

    talk about informative!!
    love all the details and the pics! <3 you are amazing, my dear.

  • april says:

    I seriously love this post! My youngest is 5 and I still have trouble finding jeans, not just the skinny style! I generally feel that Old Navy and Target jeans are for girls who have not gone through puberty…if you know what I mean…lol
    I can only buy Lauren Conrad jeans….if you find them on sale at Kohls they are totally affordable and last forever!
    Please do more posts like this friend!
    Have a great weekend…
    april
    xoxo

  • Rena Frey says:

    You are so brave putting up close pics of your butt on the blog. I commend you, but even with the supposed “baby weight” your butt looks great. I totally agree that the Kohl’s ones look the best. I’ll have to check them out. :)

  • Heather says:

    Thank you for posting this…my sweet boy was born 12 wks ago tomorrow and I’m in between just like you! I rarely go to Kohls and these jeans hit the spot!

    Thx

  • This is maybe the greatest post ever! I try on about 60 pairs of jeans when I am in the market for them. And what used to look good on my body is no longer in style. I have just been thinking about looking for a flattering skinny jean and I wanted to throw up thinking about going through that whole process again. But this totally gives me a starting point and I think I am up to the challenge! Thanks for sharing your findings!

  • Chris says:

    Great post. Came across it because I just found LC jeans fit me really well and bought a bunch. I’m a bit out of the fashion loop, and wondered if other people liked them or found them comfy, so your post was a nice validation.

    I’m tall, a 16 and reasonably well proportioned, but always have the issue with skinnies of “If the hips fit, the waist and thigh will be too big.” The Kate pencil jeans really work for me.

    Glad you found something that worked for you too, and good luck with the pp weight loss!

  • Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the pictures on this
    blog loading? I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

  • Chris says:

    To the previous poster, yes, it’s loading fine for me.

    And to the folks still looking at skinnies… if you go to Kohl’s to check out the LC jeans, make sure to try on a pair of the Elle skinny jeans too. The fit is similar to LC, and has a shorter inseam (the LC Pencil jean is like 34″) and a slightly lower rise. The Elle jean is going to work great in Spring with flats… and I also found a floral print Elle that is really cute and fits like the blue jean. Good luck.

  • mary says:

    I am a mom in my 40′s, 5″4″, 110#, and have virtually no butt. Jeans have always gaped in the back just below the waist line as a result. After looking for the perfect pair of jeans forever, I discovered the LC Kate jeans yesterday while shopping at Kohl’s. What a pleasant surprise! They feel fabulous! Bought them in two colors, the light blue wash and olive green. I happened upon this post late last night, after the fact.

    Now to check out her boot cuts, as I desperately need to get rid of my ill fitting Gap jeans.

  • Chris says:

    I just purchased a pair of the LC jeans in a size 14. I am 5’4 and have a bit of a muffin top. The jeans fit very well in the waist, hip and legs, the length is great. These jeans are too low waisted for a good fit for me. I am thinking of going with the ELLE jeans or the Levis at Kohls. I may shop around at Marshalls or TJ MAXX before heading back over to Kohl’s this morning.

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