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Buying jeans can be one of the most frustrating shopping trips you are likely to have (along with swimsuits and bras) There is so much choice now that it can be really hard to know where to start. I’m not a huge jeans wearer but I have found a few pairs that work for me and I have a whole load of tips on what to look for when you are buying. I recorded a video this week about 5 pairs of jeans I have in my wardrobe, but I really only scratched the surface on the subject so thought a longer post on the best jeans for women over 40 and how to wear them would be useful.
First you need to consider what you want to wear your jeans for. If they are something you wear every day, your buying decisions will be different to someone who only wears them occasionally. You might want to spend more on a premium pair because they will get so much wear, making their cost per wear worth the investment. If they need to be versatile, so that you can wear them during the day and for relaxed evenings, a classic straight cut, dark wash might be your best option as these are smarter and could also be worn with a tailored blazer.
If you wear your jeans very casually, perhaps you are crawling around on the floor with children, you will want something that handles frequent washing and possibly tumble drying (a pair with a high elastane count shouldn’t be tumble dried because it breaks up the elastane and will shorten the life of your jeans)
Best Jeans for Women Over 40 – Which shape?
The next big decision is about shape. There are 5 main shapes. Skinny, straight, boot leg, wide and flared.
Skinny jeans (including super skinny which unless you are very slim, probably aren’t the best option) work for those with slim legs. If your legs are slimmer than your top half, wear a skinny pair with a top that has more volume. Skinny jeans also look good with a longer length tunic top if you want to cover your bottom.
Straight jeans are classic and are a smarter look if you want to wear them for work. They look great with a blazer and you can wear them with loafers or heels.
Boot leg jeans went out of fashion for a while but are back again now. However, look for a pair that fits on the thigh for a more modern look. Boot leg jeans that are very loose on the thigh, worn with a boxy top is the quickest way to look frumpy rather than fabulous!
Wide leg jeans have been popular for the last few seasons and worn right they can look incredible. Wear them with a fitted top, a wrap style works really well. These are a great option if you are pear shaped as they fall in a straight line from the hip.
Flared jeans can have magic powers! Choose a pair that fit snug on the thigh and have a medium to high rise and they will make your legs look like they go on forever, especially if you add a heel.
Stiff and thicker jeans are better on straight body shapes. They will fight against you if you have curves and are likely to dig in. Most jeans now have at least some stretch built in. Look for the elastane content, usually 1-2%. If you are really curvy you might want to look for a higher elastane content to give you more stretch and comfort. Some brands have now incorporated “sculpt and lift” options in their jeans offerings too.
I almost never wear full length jeans anymore. Cropped and ankle length jeans give you one big advantage – you can wear them with a flat or a heel, so no need for having different length jeans to accommodate your shoes. If you have shorter legs and a longer body though, you might want to choose a full length pair and add a heel to make your legs look longer. Alternatively wear a cropped jacket and a higher rise pair to lengthen your legs.
In length, I am also covering rise. I would guess that most women over 40 wouldn’t want to wear a low rise pair of jeans, we will leave those for our daughters! Look for a mid or high rise pair to hold in a tummy.
I love coloured jeans in the Summer and they are typically all I wear. This year an Ecru or stone colour is a popular option rather than white, although I love to have a pair of white jeans in my Summer capsule wardrobe. They are perfect on sunny days with a colourful top and espadrilles or sandals.
For blue jeans, a dark wash pair is the smartest option and the most slimming. I would suggest that you avoid any stone washing or bleaching down the front of your thigh if you don’t want to draw attention there, as it will make them look wider.
Best Jeans for Women Over 40 – My Favourite Brands
Marks and Spencers – a wide range of styles and colours at very reasonable prices. My pick is the Ivy skinny in Dark Indigo. They look very skinny on line but actually they aren’t as skinny as that on. The Ivy’s also come up nice and high so they stay put and are available in sizes 6 to 24 and in short, regular and long and are an absolute bargain at £19.50
Next – again a really good range of their own jeans and other brands. As you know my pick is the Soft Touch Cropped jeans which also come in full length if you don’t like cropped styles. They have a great range of colours – 25! – including some prints and come in sizes 6-22 and regular/tall or petite.
Also the Mid Rise Crop in mid blue. A great price at £25. A bit more of a relaxed fit, again not as slim as they look in the product image. As these are more of a relaxed look I styled them with a Boho top and ballet flats with leg ties.
Best Jeans for Women Over 40 – Mid range options:
Boden – a good selection and again in a really good range of sizes. In fact there were several styles which I really liked. Starting with the ones I have…
The pair below I bought last Summer, but this Camberwell pair are very similar.
Also in an off white which they call Ecru, the Denbigh which they still have in all sizes and have reduced to £36. I’m not sure why because they are really nice – although on the small side so perhaps size up – maybe it’s something to do with that thing we British love to talk about (ugh when will it stop?)
Other pairs that I really like but don’t own…
These Sailor jeans which look incredibly flattering and give that long, long leg look I was talking about above.
And the Cambridge Ankle Skimmer, which are a slim straight style, so not too skinny for those of you who like a bit more room in the leg.
Hobbs – A couple of different styles including their best seller the Amanda which they call the faithful. It comes in a regular length and short length for petites in a range of washes, at £89 and £85 respectively. My pick for this season is the Marianne in white (scroll down to see how to wear it) a 7/8 style at £79.
NYDJ – Possibly my favourite jeans brand and one I have converted many of my clients to. They have a variety of styles (they used to be a bit frumpy, but have improved a lot over the last few years) and colours and have a magic shaping panel that means you look a size smaller. Plus, as they come in American sizes, I am a size 10 which makes me very happy! (Note though when you buy, choose your UK size, when you receive them don’t panic that the label says 2 sizes smaller, i.e. I would order a size 14 and they would be labelled a size 10) Buy NYDJ here and here.
I bought the jeans above last year and they are supremely comfortable. The have a lovely soft brushed effect and although they fit tight, they don’t dig in anywhere.
Here are a few more options from this year that I like.
Sheri Slim Ankle jeans, not too slim and a cropped style in a perfect neutral. These would look great with a white tee and navy blazer, or with a red top and accessories.
The Marilyn is the perfect straight leg, high rise jeans in a dark wash.
Best Jeans for Women Over 40 – Premium Brands
You can spend well over £200 on a pair of jeans should you want to. However, I think that the £140 on NYDJ is worth the money and unless I found an absolutely stunning pair wouldn’t go over that, but then I am not a huge jeans wearer. Should you want to invest in a premium pair there are a couple of brands I have had and like.
Paige – Paige Adams-Geller designs jeans to fit the female shape and was one of the first premium brands to hit the market. The reason she understands jeans so well is that she started out as a fit model for jeans. Having learned so much about what worked she launched her own brand.
I have a pair of straight leg jeans from Paige which I managed to get half price in the sales. They fit beautifully and are incredibly flattering. I tend to wear them more in the Winter as I prefer a colour and a crop in the Summer months. If you like a boot cut shape, the Manhattan Slim Fit Boot Cut look incredibly flattering because they aren’t baggy on the thigh. The dark wash makes them really wearable and versatile too, but you need to wear them and get your money’s worth from the £230 cost.
RE/DONE – The cult brand of the moment. RE/DONE jeans were created to be a celebration of Levi’s jean’s past and a continuation of the jean’s individual story. They take the vintage denim apart at the seams, repurposing it as the fabric for new jeans. The jeans are manufactured in Los Angeles using water conserving methods and no harsh chemicals. Quantities will always be limited since each pair is handpicked, hand cut, and distinctly one of a kind. These Stovepipe, high rise straight legs are a modern take on a vintage style and look like the perfect slim straight leg crop.
Best Jeans for Women Over 40 – How to Wear
Here are a few more ideas for how to wear some of these styles:
Classic straight leg jeans left and boot leg jeans right. For these two styles I have chosen classic wardrobe pieces that don’t date including a blazer, wedge espadrilles and loafers.
For cropped jeans I have gone for a classic look with a linen knit and driving shoes and a contemporary look with wide leg crop jeans, a wrap top, basket and slide raffia sandals; key pieces for this season.
Finally for two pairs of coloured jeans. First a white pair, which I have given a relaxed summery feel with a Boho style top and beaded sandals. Secondly a soft pink pair that I have teamed with a gorgeous kimono jacket and wedge sandals, for a look that wouldn’t be out of place on the Riviera. (I put this gorgeous kimono in a client’s travel capsule and couldn’t resist sharing it with you)
I hope this post has helped to answer some of the questions you might have about wearing jeans over 40. You can find some great pairs at reasonable prices and don’t have to spend a fortune. In summary, if you are looking for a pair of jeans that are comfortable and have great fit, I would recommend you give the NYDJ a try. If you want to have one great pair in your wardrobe they are worth the money. If that is beyond your budget check out Next and M&S.
Leave me a comment if you have any questions or want to share a great pair of jeans you have found.