I have struggled to find good jeans my whole, entire jean-wearing life.

When I came into adolescence (and subsequently developed my child-bearing hips), I was fortunate to find one or two pair that would get me through my school days. Good jeans were - and are - expensive. My mom was not the one to splurge on a pair of Seven or True Religion denim for her teenage daughter, and I knew that, so I dared not ask. I took whatever I could get, and usually, that was whatever would fit from whatever store she could afford.

If I managed to get the jeans over my bum (my friends called me applebottom - let the record state that I neither had nor wanted the boots with the fur), I still had an extra three inches hanging past my feet. This is when I got in the habit of chopping the excess and throwing them in the dryer for an intentionally-frayed hem look. The habit remains.

Every time I get a new pair of jeans, even ones with a shorter inseam, I wear them for a bit to decide if I should "cut or cuff." If the cuff makes my legs look too stubby, then I cut them. Sometimes I luck up and find a pair that are the perfect length, but more often than not, they need some sort of alterations. So, when I stopped in the middle of cutting my newest pairs to take a picture for my #100DaysProject, I thought to myself: there's a blog post in here somewhere... and here we are.

Setarra recently mentioned needing suggestions for curvy-friendly jeans, and then a couple weeks later I got to chatting with a coworker about the exact same thing. She had just splurged on a pair of Madewell denim (which look great on her), but in the interest of saving myself $150 this past weekend, I went to the Gap outlet instead. All these moments inspired the compilation of brands below, because they make it a point to accommodate the lovely lady humps.

LOFT by Ann Taylor
Most of (not all) the curvy jeans are available in petite, regular and tall sizes, making it easy to find a perfect fit. The downside? They're extremely overpriced for the quality. Their labor ethics and materials sourcing is also questionable, and they're not transparent about their environmental policies.

Old Navy
There is only one pair of Old Navy jeans that fit me well, but the fit is good enough to keep me coming back for more: Rockstar High Rise. These are the first pair I recommend when asked for recommendations because they're easy on the wallet and easy to find online. The downside? They hardly ever sell them in-store; all my curvy ladies know it's a terrible idea to shop for jeans online. Trying them on is a must. They're also available in short/regular/tall lengths, but the color bleeds quite heavily in the washing machine, so there's a con for every pro.

Lucky Brand
If I had to pick a favorite denim brand, it'd be Lucky Brand. (I’m actually a big fan of Lucky Brand in general. Their handbags and shoes have also been some of my favorites over the years) These are the absolute highest quality denim I own. They're super soft and rich in fade-resistant color, but they're definitely on the pricier side. Even when I buy a pair on sale, I still consider it a splurge. The Bridgette High Rise fit best, but they're only available in one length, so I always have to cut or cuff. Another thing to note is that like LOFT, Lucky Brand has questionable materials sourcing and labor ethics, and they're not transparent about their environmental policies.

I usually find Kensie jeans at TJMaxx and Marshalls and usually for less than $20. That being said, it's hit or miss whether either retailer will have them in stock on any given weekend. They have the right amount of stretch to fit really well, even though they weren't specifically design for a curvy frame. Unfortunately, the inseam is always too long for all the shorties out there, and their jeans usually feature some sort of distressing, of which I am not a fan. If I want my jeans ripped, I'll rip them myself.

Universal Thread
Target's newest "lifestyle brand" (their words, not mine) is a winner in my book. The jeans are super affordable and available in multiple lengths, all of which are available online and in-store. The downside? Their short inseams still aren't quite short enough for me, but they look really nice when cuffed, so there's no need to cut them. They have a curvy range available, but the regular high rise are surprisingly a better fit for me.

Gap was my go-to in college, but I strayed for some reason. My coworker mentioned them while we were talking about her new Madewell jeans, and the proverbial lightbulb lit up in my head. Gap jeans come in so many different fits and washes, all of which are available in short/regular/tall, and even the non-curvy versions fit really well. The price point is more comparable to LOFT, but they have better sales, so it's easy to grab a couple pair at decent prices. Also, their stores are almost always well stocked, so it's easy to find the size you need when you're in the actual store.

And Another Thing ☝🏾 (or, you know, a few)
+ Cropped fit jeans are normally the perfect length for us shorties. They stop mid calf on average-height ladies, but for me, they hit comfortably at my ankles.

+ Most denim guides online offer fit and styling suggestions for those who are tall, petite, curvy or slim. Emphasis on the word "or." What if you're a mix of more than one body type? What if you're tall and curvy? Why must we be one or the other? ¡¿por qué no los dos?!
+ Every last pair of jeans in my closet at the moment are a size six, but when I go shopping for a new pair, I try on all different sizes. Even though I know my size, it doesn't hurt to try on an 8, 10 or 12 in my opinion. With more and more brands developing a "curvy fit" for their flagship lines, the sizing standards continue to blur. A size six from Calvin Klein may be vastly different than a size six from Madewell. So I step into every fitting room armed with all my viable options.

+ Thrift stores and consignment shops are key to discovering new-to-me brands that fit well. Trying on jeans is tiring enough as it is. Ain't nobody got time or energy to shop around multiple stores to try on all these different brands, so having a bunch of brands available in one store makes the hunt so much easier. The first rule of thrift? Wash before you wear.

+ Unless they're 100% cotton, jeans should be tight when I first try them on. I'm fully aware that "just because it zips doesn't mean it fits," so I'm never spilling out of them, but "comfortably snug" is the goal. Much like shoes, breaking in a new pair of jeans can take time. After wearing new denim for a full day, they usually mold to my body and fit better for next time. If they're 100% cotton, I always size up and make sure the fit is exactly right before leaving the store.

+ I showed some love above, but now it's time to grab a sweater and step into the shade. The following brands/retailers are horrible for my curvy baes:
  • Urban Outfitters: definitely stay away from any mom or girlfriend jean styles.
  • H&M: maybe their swedish roots are skewing their sizing, but ever pair of their jeans run small and fit awkwardly.
  • Levi's: that's right - I said what I said! Pretty much every influencer raves about these babies. I really, really wanted to like them, but... it's a no for me dawg.

photo source one (mine)
photo source two »»
photo source three »»
labor, materials and environmental practices/policies source data from Good On You