A jeans experiment – and some advice on jeans buying

Like many things to do with clothes, I’ve thought long and hard about my jeans. I don’t think that I have ever spent more than about £60 on a pair of jeans and generally I spend quite a bit less. I’m fairly lucky in that I don’t find it hard to get them to fit and I’d rather spend the pennies on something else. Having said that, I have put plenty of women in more expensive jeans, and for them it has been totally worth it.

Feeling in need of a bit of jeans update for the spring (most of mine are really old and pretty unflattering too) and fancying a pair that were just the right shade of  blue (which is hard to describe as lots of jeans are blue) I thought that I would do a little experiment.

I’d spied some that I liked in Whistles so I tried those, along with two pairs from GAP and a pair from New Look. I also hovered over the Topshop ones but knew that our eldest was in  the market for a pair, so didn’t want to cramp her style by getting there first – but I do really like the Baxter ones. Really I wanted to try the jeans side by side to see whether I could feel the difference in cut, comfort and composition – and to see whether I should be spending more on them than I tend to.

For me, one of the most interesting things was how different they were in size when lined up together. All of them were the right size for me – whether it be a size 8, a 26″ waist or a “S” but the pic at the top shows the variation in their actual size. There’s a huge difference in pairs 3 and 4 from the left. It’s all to do with their composition and the quantities of polyester and elastane in them.

I was going to do this post on a “guess which pair costs the most” type basis but I figured that I’d probably end up getting it all around my neck, so I’ve kept it simple, showing you the label from the jeans followed by two pics of me in each pair. I was going to include a shot of me in each pair from behind so that you could see the shape and size of the pockets – but I decided that that was just asking for ridicule. In all honesty I’m not sure that they really look that different but anyway, see what you think!

At £22.99, this pair from New Look was my cheapest. The composition of them is 99% cotton and 1% elastane – although they feel as if they have more than only 1% elastane. I’m wearing a size 8, 32″ leg. The stitching is blue, rather than the usual orange – and I quite like that. As soon as I put them on, they were incredibly comfortable. They have a good rise to them, although they are slightly looser around the knees than some others.

At £95, this pair from Whistles were the most expensive. I started off in a 28″, went down to a 27″ and ended up in a 26″. They don’t do a 25″ but do do a 24″ which is interesting. I like it when brands do in between sizes, just because it all helps. The composition of this pair is 92% cotton, 8% polyester and 2% spandex. I felt that the shading over the thighs was a tad too light for me and also, somehow they didn’t move WITH, me but rather they did their own thing, which was odd give their polyester and spandex content. The pocket shape and positioning on the back was good though. Additionally they had a good rise on them and they were snug enough on the legs.

These legging jeans from GAP were £49.95.  I asked our eldest her view on the jeans and these were probably her favourite but I must admit that I did feel like I was wearing a pair of tights – which for the record isn’t necessarily a good thing. I felt that every contour would be on show and whilst possibly good for a night out (in somewhere pretty dark), I would have felt a little self conscious wearing them in the day. The composition of these is 66% cotton, 31% polyester and 3% spandex. They definitely sucked me in – not in an uncomfortable way – but I wouldn’t have felt happy in them.  So for me they were a no.

The GAP Always Skinny cost £44.95 and their composition was 87% cotton, 12% polyester and 1% elastane. I found it quite easy to discount these as the colour was too similar to some that I have already and the rise felt a bit low compared to the others. Also they weren’t as skinny around the ankle as I wanted. And I so wish that GAP would do something about the pockets on their jeans. They haven’t been changed in years and they are just a bit plain. Overall they’re not a bad option though.

So, the contenders for “Spring Jeans 2014” were the New Look ones and the Whistles ones. Which do you think I went for? I have to say that I have had enough of trying on jeans to last me for quite some time, so I won’t be repeating the experience again in a hurry!

A note about jeans buying: The most common mistake to make when buying jeans is to buy them too big. I know that it’s hard to buy something which feels slightly on the small side but that’s exactly how jeans should feel in the shop. The denim warms up when worn, and gives, making them bigger. I often wear jeans at home for half an hour or so before taking the labels off – just to be sure. The addition of spandex makes the problem less severe than it used to be as the fabric springs back into shape more easily but it’s still one to watch.

The other thing to look out for is the composition of the jeans. Whilst this is a personal thing, I don’t particularly like the feel of the ones that have a lot of polyester in them – which is a relatively new development. They feel a bit “slimy” to me and I prefer the combination of cotton and spandex. The downside of course is that they don’t fit quite as snugly but there’s always a trade off in life!


  1. Ekaterina
    February 2, 2014 / 6:56 pm

    Both look great, with whistles being slightly more flattering, but the thing with jeans is that they don't last too long, whatever the brands say. I change them every 6 months but I also wear jeans every day and have lots of pairs. I bet you went for New Look to save the money for something else:)

    • StyleGuile
      February 4, 2014 / 2:36 pm

      Hi Ekaterina – you're right on all counts. Am thinking of getting some more of the New Look ones – I love them. I'm always a bit like that when I get something new though. Love your 6 month rule!

  2. Anonymous
    February 2, 2014 / 8:50 pm

    I think you bought Whistles!….

    • StyleGuile
      February 4, 2014 / 2:37 pm

      On this occasion the Whistles fan didn't choose Whistles! Saved the pennies on the New Look ones for something from…Whistles (probably)!

  3. Mrsmac2000
    February 2, 2014 / 9:28 pm

    I think you got the New Look ones! Jeans are so tricky!! I bought my first pair of skinny ones last year and bought Wrangler ones which they adjusted the length FOC in the shop. They said the same about size to buy snug ones, bit too snug at the moment I have to say ;-/

    • StyleGuile
      February 4, 2014 / 2:38 pm

      You're right, I did get the New Look ones. Liking the sound of the Wrangler ones. Hope that the snugness ceases soon. Darned those jeans that shrink slightly when you wash them!!!

  4. Annabel
    February 2, 2014 / 9:49 pm

    I read this with great interest as I purchased exactly the same two pairs of jeans from Gap during their recent 25% off promotion! I too was disappointed with the Always Skinny jeans and took them back yesterday. I find this style really varies depending on the wash and colour…sometimes they are a great fit but this time round they seemed to come up a bit large and weren't skinny enough around the ankle. I have to confess I kept the jeggings…I bought them in the shorter length and think they will be good summer jeans with flat sandals and a tee. They are rather form fitting but I think they look fab on you!

    • StyleGuile
      February 4, 2014 / 2:41 pm

      Hi Annabel – I like your turn of phrase "form fitting"! That's exactly what the legging/jegging ones were. Not sure I am brave enough for them. Shame about the Always Skinny – a little consistency wouldn't go amiss. Thanks for dropping by and hope that you enjoy wearing your jeggings in the summer.

  5. I won't wear sludge brown
    February 2, 2014 / 10:07 pm

    Really enjoyed reading this post and for the record you look great in them all. I am such a wuss and hate jeans feeling too tight so I always go for a true fit in the shop and end up pulling them up all day as they stretch. I'll never learn! I think you went for the NL ones as they were comfy!! x

    • StyleGuile
      February 4, 2014 / 2:42 pm

      So pleased that you enjoyed the post – thank you! You're right about the NL ones. Hope you manage to go a bit snugger in the shop next time so as to avoid the pulling up all day affliction! Although I must admit to being all in favour of a bit of comfort!

  6. Sue
    February 2, 2014 / 10:12 pm

    Interesting experiment. You look great in all of them admittedly – I only wish I looked like that in jeans but I don't and for that reason the jeans which are not too skinny at the bottom are the ones which flatter me the most as they balance out my legs a little. From the pics, I prefer the New Look ones on you and they are a more "interesting" and "fresh" colour which would be better for Spring. I was on the point of returning some jeans which I bought from H&M which I thought might be a little snug but I'm keeping them as like you say, they do tend to give after a little while and I've also heard that you should buy them as tight as you can cope with. I just hate that period of breaking them in though.

    • StyleGuile
      February 4, 2014 / 2:44 pm

      Hi Sue, great to hear from you. Hope that you get on well with your H&M jeans. You always look amazing in your jeans – such a cool kid on the block!

  7. Anastasia
    February 3, 2014 / 9:42 am

    I also like the New Look version – blue stitch!! love that! are they comfy – I cant wear jeans that tight but hey they look FAB on you!

    • StyleGuile
      February 4, 2014 / 2:46 pm

      Hi Anastasia – Thank you! The jeans are hugely comfortable and they don't feel tight at all, so maybe they are worth a try for you. Thanks for dropping by.

  8. Avenue 57
    February 3, 2014 / 3:06 pm

    FABULOUS post about jeans – I love the New Look ones on you the most!

    • StyleGuile
      February 4, 2014 / 2:48 pm

      Hi Fiona – thanks lovely. I have gone with the NL ones. Sadly I can't seem to take them off so my blogging days may well now be over!

  9. School Run Mum
    February 3, 2014 / 6:08 pm

    Love this post, love seeing the fit of the different brands of skinnies, you look fantastic in all of them I am living the new look ones which are cheapest?! Amazing what a fab find I will check them out x

    • StyleGuile
      February 4, 2014 / 2:50 pm

      Hello and thank you, so pleased you have found it helpful and I liked the New Look ones best too. Hope you manage to find them – not sure I have been able to online but will look again!

  10. Melanie Wall
    February 3, 2014 / 7:49 pm

    Mmmm New Look or the last Gap pair I reckon. All look good from the front. I have fallen in love with many pairs of jeans in my time but if they don't look good on my bum – they are a definite no go! Interesting how the size and position of pockets can dramatically change the way your bum looks. Love your blog btw! Thank you.Mel x

    • StyleGuile
      February 4, 2014 / 2:52 pm

      Hi Melanie – New Look! You're so right about pockets and the way that they can change the size of your bum from huge (no pockets) to smaller (with pockets) and the shape too, depending on where the pockets are. Couldn't bring myself to do reverse shots though! Thank you for saying that you love the blog – much appreciated! x

  11. Anonymous
    February 5, 2014 / 7:04 am

    Love your bedroom wallpaper Beth! Laura x

    • StyleGuile
      February 7, 2014 / 9:00 pm

      Hi Laura – thanks! It has been on there for a while now but I still really like it, even though it's flocked!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.