How to buy jeans

I have a confession to make, I don’t really like jeans. Well that’s not strictly true, jeans don’t really like me. I have been on a mission for many years to find the perfect pair but as I have got larger – and older – its felt more like a fantasy than a reality that I would ever find a pair that I loved and that loved me back. I look at pictures of jeans and feel something like despair, how I would love to be able to wear the coloured and patterned ones that have been so on trend this year. Sadly I did try a pair of coloured jeans from Wallis – fine for the first hour or so of wearing and then required constant pulling up, hardly a put on and forget outfit!

If this is you don’t despair because at long last I have found the answer. You may already have heard of jeans specialist Donna Ida
icon as I had, but been put off by the thought of a shop full of jeans for those blessed with a tiny size 10 figure and no curves. I decided – in the interest of serving my readers – that I should at least try out their denim clinic service and if it ended as I expected I would be no worse off.

Gorgeous summer colours in the Belgravia store

I contacted Donna Ida and they kindly made an appointment for me in their Belgravia store with Claire. I explained my dilemma beforehand and told them my dress size but said I wouldn’t be too disappointed if they couldn’t help me I would still like to write about their service in the hope that it would help my readers. I wanted to ask about which jeans you should have in a capsule wardrobe, which would be the one pair you should buy, what mistakes women make when buying jeans – in fact just get as much information as I could about making jeans buying easier.

Claire turned out to be warm, incredibly helpful and patient. She had already put aside several pairs of jeans for me to try – I let her off the hook by telling her I wasn’t holding out a lot of hope in finding something to fit but she smiled and assured me that she could help. As a bit of a jeans phobic I was just hoping for one pair that would fit and that I wouldn’t be embarrassed by having to admit that I couldn’t get any of them on.

The Basics – plenty to choose from!

We started with a dark wash in a mid rise straight leg from James jeans called Hunter. As they worked their way up my legs, over my hips and zipped up I started to feel a little more positive. Not only did they fit (first pair!) they actually looked quite good. We decided that a higher rise might be better as the Hunters had a quite high Lycra content and having been burnt by the aforementioned Wallis pair which stretched so much they wouldn’t stay up, I didn’t feel completely secure in them. Next up was a high rise pair which amazingly also fit, but were snugger on the thighs. They would be passable but Claire wasn’t satisfied that she had found me the perfect pair.

Her next choice was Paige what she called her fail safe brand. These are the brand she tries on everyone, designed by Paige Adams-Geller who was the fit model for denim giants Seven, Citizens of Humanity and Habitual and has now created her own label. If anyone knows about jeans fit it should be her. These were the Paige Hidden Hills Bootcut – McKinley in a size smaller than I had tried in the other brands. They were pretty snug but actually very comfortable. I tried them with a gorgeous loose fitting silk top by Anna Sui and for the first time in ages I actually felt like I looked ok in a pair of jeans. Just to be certain I tried the next size up and joy of joys they were too big!

A huge range of every colour and style

Claire stood me on a little podium with a 3 way mirror in a pair of heels and adjusted the length. Donna Ida will do alterations for you, hems are £15 but they are done to look like the original hem, so to me a must have investment, after all these are my everything jeans (they have to be for now as they are the only pair I own!)

Finally a pair to love

So thanks to Claire and the generosity of Donna Ida I now have a pair of jeans – a real pair like skinny people wear. If you feel unsure or intimidated about visiting please don’t, just call in advance tell Donna Ida you would like to be booked in for their denim clinic, give them some brief details about size and what you are looking for and they really will be delighted to help. The Donna Ida staff love jeans – and yes they do look very good in them – but they also love helping women find “their” pair of jeans.

Here are a few more nuggets I gleaned whilst I was there:

Q – What are the 3 pairs of jeans a woman should own?

A – A smart black pair which can be worn dressed up in the evening or with a jacket for dress down work days, a dark wash straight leg which is extremely versatile and a more casual relaxed pair in a lighter was

Q – What is the biggest mistake women make when buying jeans?

A – You should approach buying a pair of jeans like you would a bra fitting. Try on lots, different brands have different fits and get professional help if you are unsure

Q – Who does the best jeans for larger or curvy girls?

A – Paige – see above,  and James jeans go up to a size 34 (16)

Q – How should you care for them?

A – You don’t need to wash jeans after every wear in fact you shouldn’t. When you do wash them turn them inside out and wash them on a cold setting. Don’t hang them on a radiator or tumble dry as you will damage the stretch.

Loved this Anna Sui top!

And this Beyond Vintage poncho













Finally, Donna Ida founder of the stores will be launching her own range of jeans later this year which will be instore early next year. As the undisputed expert in jeans Donna has listened to what we want and her range will all be high rise.

PS If you are looking for a pair of jeans the sale is now on so you may just get yourself a great pair of jeans at a bargain. If not just think about all those £30-40 pound pairs of jeans you have wasted your money on in the past. Save up and treat yourself to the jeans you deserve.

My bottom is nearly as good!

My gorgeous jeans













I’d love to know what your experience is of buying jeans and if you have found a favourite brand.

Donna Ida

1 Comment

  1. Aitch
    July 13, 2012 / 10:18 pm

    You now have me dribbling with jealously – not a good look I admit – but Donna Ida sounds an absolute star find. I too have wasted money on cheap jeans and lived to regret the so-called bargains when they are rubbish after one wash. So I think I may be issuing another challenge to the Queen of Jeans. Do all the brandches carry the full ranges of jeans I wonder?