The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

Skinny Jeans and The Stretch

Remember how I got all ranty the other night about my job and Jonas and my jeans? Well it’s been a couple of weeks and in general Jonas is still making me crazy and I’m completely committed to the strategy of totally ignoring the issue with my brokerage and the large, looming decision I’m going to have to make, but I’m happy to say I have made some headway on the most important of those issues: my jeans.

The basic problem is: Skinny Jeans and The Stretch

You know what I mean, right? You buy a pair of skinny jeans that look all super cute in the dressing room. They conform to the shape of your leg and make your butt look cute and all of that. Then you get home and wear them for approximately 7 seconds and they start to sag and bag and bunch in unattractive places. It’s like it’s 1987 and you’re wearing a pair of nude panty hose that have gotten all stretched out and are drooping around your knees like you have elephant skin there. It’s possibly the least hot look ever.

I began my quest to find a solution by doing a bunch of super technical research in the form of bitching about the problem on social media and to my female friends and family members. Twitter, Facebook, my mom, sister, best friend and I came up with the following hypotheses as to why I couldn’t get my jeans to fit right for more than 10 minutes:

1. I was buying jeans with too high of a percentage of spandex in the fabric, which allows them to stretch too much.

2. I was buying my jeans too big.

3. I was buying cheap jeans from Target that are specifically manufactured to self-destruct as soon as you walk out of the store so you have to buy another pair like every other week.

4. I have a rare disease that causes the lower half of my body to randomly contract and expand, making jeans unable to ever fit properly. This disease is almost definitely fatal.

Once I had targeted the potential problems in my jeans-buying methods I decided to do two things:

1. Buy a ridiculously expensive pair of jeans (in the name of science).

2. Devise a photo/jeans experiment (blatantly ripped off from this girl’s viral jeans post) to test these hypotheses.

Here is the data I collected:

Test Jeans 1

Purchased at: Target

Price: $27

Percent spandex in the fabric: 1

Size: 4

Findings: When I put Test Jeans 1 on first thing in the morning (right out of the dryer) they fit great. By the evening it looks like I’m wearing an adult diaper. One that’s been soiled. Note the bunching on the sides of the hips and the knees. By the end of the day they’re less skinny jeans and more farm-hand working in the field all day jeans.

Test Jeans 2

Purchased at: Gap

Price: $16 (they were on super clearance)

Percent spandex in the fabric: 2

Size: 26/2

Findings: Test Jeans 2 held up pretty well in the back with minimal stretch. The front, especially around the knees, bagged a bit, but the hip, thigh and calf area still looks decent.

Test Jeans 3

Purchased at: Nordstroms

Price: $189

Percent spandex in the fabric: 2

Size: 26

Findings: These suckers really kept their shape both in the back and the front. You can see a little bit of looseness behind the knees at the end of the day, but for the most part they look pretty similar to when I put them on. They could definitely go multiple wears before being washed again.



Hypothesis #1 (about the spandex in the fabric) is total bullshit. I can’t remember who told me to look for this on the tag, but it clearly has nothing to do with the relaxation of the jeans, since the pair with the very least amount actually stretched the most.

Hypothesis #2 could be part of the problem. The crappy Target jeans that stretched way out are a size larger than the other two pairs. Although they look to fit the same when I initially put them on and they say the size stuff is all totally relative anyway, so who the heck knows.

Hypothesis #3 seems to have some serious scientific data backing it up. The Nordstroms jeans really held up the best. This is a total bummer to me because I’ve always had faith in Target. But I suppose you could also look at it this way: for the money I spent buying the Nordstroms jeans, I could buy SEVEN PAIRS of the Target jeans. SEVEN. So I guess I could buy six pairs of the same Target jeans and just change into a new, not stretched out pair every hour and a half during the day and I would still be saving $27. But that’s a lot more laundry. So… I don’t know. The math is hurting my brain. Also, the very cheapest pair by far wasn’t too much worse than the super expensive pair. Which just goes to show you have to always be on the look out for cute clothes and deals (I was raised by my mother on that wisdom).

Hypothesis #4 is still in question. I’m going to the doctor next week for testing.

So to wrap it all up, if you want your skinny jeans to stay skinny, it’s probably best to pay more and go down a size. But keep in mind what my BFF told me when I called her from the dressing room at Nordstroms to ask if I should go with the ones that were super tight in the hopes they would stretch a bit and be perfect, “Don’t spend a fortune on jeans that are so small when you gain 5 pounds like 10 minutes from now you’ll never be able to put them on again. I’m just saying. You know it’s true.”


29 Responses to Skinny Jeans and The Stretch

  1. nobody should ever spend $189 on a pair of jeans unless they also come with a cowboy hat, saddle, and quarter horse.


  2. EFF you GAP and Nordstorms and your size 4 being called size 26– WHAT THE EFF is THAT BS all about??? Am I reading those sizes wrong?? What is the logic behind that– I am SO confused

    Awesome post 😉

    • Jessie, the European sizing is in waist measurement. so a 26 is like a 2 or a 4. I don’t know, it’s all confusing to me, too. That’s why I prefer to stick with Target. But Target jeans SUCK.

  3. What brand are the Nordstrom jeans? I too am short and have stayed away from Nordy’s because I was afraid of so many choices.
    Also, I just bought a new pair of Gap jeans and they are awesome. The real straight in a size zero to allow for stretching. So far, so good!

  4. Yeah. Size 4 or 2… doesn’t matter. There is no such thing as saggy in size 2 or 4. :-p #jealous

  5. You are too f@^king skinny….that’s the problem!!! You look great – Target or Nordstom’s jeans. So there.

  6. Love this!!! But now I’m a little concerned…I bought some skinny jeans from Gap last month and bought them snug since the sales girl told me they would stretch half a size, but they aren’t stretching! WTH?! I was counting on them stretching out so I can sit down in them.

    Still not sure about the price thing. I bought a pair of matchstick jeans from JCrew for $115 and after a few hours they are so stretched out I can literally pull them off without unbuttoning them. I have a pair from Old Navy that are great ($27), but their denim is really inconsistent.

    Oh, skinny jeans – you are a mystery!

  7. In my experience there seems to be a connection between the distressing/finish of the jeans and the amount of stretch. The jeans that look old and worn out with lots of fading tend to stretch more than the darker jeans without all the distressing. My theory is that the process or chemicals they use to make the jeans look old destroys the cotton fibers, making them lose their elasticity.

  8. Nice post. It seems that quality always come with a good price. You’d have to spend some if you want to have great quality clothing. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. what happened to your tatt on the afternoon Target pic?

    hitchem up to be fair

    Gap jeans the best result and a bargain so stick with them

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  14. I had a hunch that it’s actually the opposite of Hypothesis 1 that’s actually true – i.e. that you need more spandex, not less, to avoid the stretching out, even though that seems counterintuitive – and it seems your experiment bore that out. Found this on another site: “When the jean has some spandex, it will move with the bend. Alternatively, jeans made of denim only stretch when bent, but lack the elasticity to bounce back to their original form. Although jeans with spandex still stretch, they constantly maintain the ability to stretch, so they don’t produce the saggy look that is seen when skinny jeans made of pure denim are stretched.”

    so it seems the answer is somewhat in buying jeans with a slightly higher spandex content, not lower.

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