Monday, November 3, 2008

self improvement, Tim Gunn style

In the spirit of Slynnro's NoImYoSeMo (November Improve Yourself Month) I'm going to talk about clothing and shopping. To the boys out there, sorry to bore you, but look BACON!

Have you been watching Tim Gunn's Guide to Style? I have and it's almost sad the way I hang on Tim's every word of fashion gospel. If Tim says jump, I jump. Repeatedly, until my knees give out and I cannot jump anymore.

But while I love Tim and his advice, normally I feel disconnected from his advice seekers who appear to be fashionably brain dead. Most dress very age inappropriate or look like they don't own a mirror. They look hopeless and overwhelmed by the idea of shopping, which is not something I can't relate to. Yes, I might have to shop around a bit to find just the right dress, but I can do it, I have the know how and the ability. I know I'm not a fashion expert, but I do think I can put together reasonably attractive outfits that don't make others want to call famous people to help dress me.

And this air of superiority I had was firmly in place until last week's episode when the girl wasn't that bad. Yes, her mini skirt date outfit was bad (I can't find a picture but trust me, it was whore-y), but overall she had a ton of clothes in her closet that were cute. Most of Tim's advice was to keep in mind that she's petite and everything will need to be hemmed or altered. And that she needs to shop with specific items in mind, instead of just buying things on whims. And that jeans in a dark washed denim look more appropriate on an adult than lighter jeans. And that hello Regan Parks, this girl could be you, PAY ATTENTION.

So I did. After the show was over I started digging in my closet and pulled out numerous dresses, jackets, and pants to take to the tailor. The length on all of them are just a bit too long and I have a feeling I've not been doing my short stature any good. Next up is a serious inspection of everything left in my closet and a good purging of things that really don't need to stick around. And the last thing on my to do list is buy a new pair of fancy premium jeans.

Jeans have been the one thing I can't justify spending money on. Gap's long and lean jeans fit me well and are cheap, so why bother paying more? Except that I'm starting to see that they fade and wear thin rather quickly. It seems I buy a pair and am back ordering another almost immediately and that's starting to suck. So I'm setting out to buy a premium pair of jeans, like a real adult.

So, what brands do you suggest? Is Nordstrom the best place to go denim shopping? Am I out of my mind to want to pay that much for jeans? Are there any brands that are best for short girls? What's the deal with trouser jeans? Is it true that when I start wearing premium denim I'll start pooping rainbows? I think I read that somewhere.


  1. I think that it's not worth it to buy premium denim... well for me anyhow. Because I'll tire of them, and they will get ruined. I seem to always have banana smear on them lately. But you totally should take a camera with you and document the purchasing of the new jeans! Oh fun!

  2. hi Regan

    what inseam do you wear? Diesel and Mavi have almost every style in 30" and 32" and they last pretty long.

    If you're specifically looking for trouser jeans it's nicer to buy petite ones than hemming them. Hemming usually leaves the rise (the part of the pant that starts to widen) in the wrong place. Petite patterns have a higher rise and you don't need to hem them. Joe's Provocateur is a line of petite jeans(sold at Nordstrom/Nordstrom Rack) and JCrew also has petite jeans. happy shopping!

  3. As someone who is a.) petite and b.) somewhat phobic of spending lots of cash on jeans, I have to recommend 7 for all mankind - specifically the Dojo style. They come in a "petite" length (the inseam is like 31.5") so even if you still have to have them hemmed, you don't totally lose the shape of the leg. The cut has a wider leg, which balances out my hips and rear (I find lots of expensive jeans tend to have pretty slim legs, so this is a nice departure), and they also have a tiny bit of stretch so they fit super well, but don't stretch out to the point of being sloppy. Check out Nordstrom's website - they carry the Dojo in petite in a nice, darker wash, and they're only (only!) $155... best of luck!!

  4. I like Banana Republic's trouser jeans (they just opened a BR outlet in Gonzales!!). Other than that, I just buy whatever jeans don't have a butt - I don't really buy expensive clothes.

  5. I love love love Paige Premium Denim Jeans. They are awesome. I would recommend Robertson, Hidden Hills, or Hollywood Hills cuts (the Laurel Canyon is way too low rise). And they have Petite specific jeans. I also like Joe's Honey jeans but one warning, is that the hardware sometimes pops off in the wash (those little rivet things). Seven for All Mankind are nice, but those are also pretty low rise and skinny legs. I'd be happy to go denim shopping with you :-) I haven't had a good shopping expedition in a long time. Macy's at Stanford has a good selection of jeans, as does Nordstrom's. You might have to find what you like and then order online... Note that sizes of premium jeans usually run small, so order up one size or if you are in-between, order up.

  6. Another note, if you spend $200 on a pair of jeans that you can wear to work and you take good care of them, they will last several years. Alternately, if you spend $120 on a pair of dress slacks, and then pay $15 every time you wear them to get them dry-cleaned, you are ultimately better off getting the dress denim. And anyone who tells you that there is not a difference in the denim quality of the $200 pair and the $30 Old Navy or Gap pair, clearly has never worn the premium ones.

  7. Joe actually prefers 7 for All Mankind and Citizen's...since he wears jeans to work everyday, he figures the cost is justified, and he also claims that everyone at the Mt View campus also wears designer denim (which I will BET REAL MONEY is not true given what programmers typically wear.) He also manages to top them off with free nerdy t-shirts and ill-fitting plaid button-down shirts, so Tim Gunn also needs to do a segment on computer programmers.

    I have a few pairs of Joe's petite provocateurs and Anlo (I just like their fit), but seriously, my favorite pair of jeans with the best fit that I still wear? Gap button-fly bootcut, circa 1997. They are still the best fitting pair of jeans I have, and whaddya know, it's moderate high-rise is finally back in style.

  8. You short people and all of your options. A pox on you!

    Yes, getting clothes altered is a pain in the butt and expensive, but you have that option. I am very jealous, to say the least. I guarantee you that paying for clothes to be made from scratch is a bigger hassle and more expensive than alterations.

    Le sigh.

    But when I lose all the weight I wanna lose, I'm totally going to do that. =) Because even at the skinniest healthy weight for my height, I will still be in larger sizes, and I just don't want to shop at friggin' Lane Bryant anymore.

    (Oh, so if you haven't guessed, I have no jean advice, unfortunately.)

  9. The fact that reassures me I am still a child and you are an adult is that you think $60 for a pair of jeans is cheap!

    I'm planning a closet purge as well. I love that feeling. Good luck with yours!

  10. I find the whole premium denim thing ridiculous. I've had a pair of Sevens and a pair of Chip & Pepper - hated the Sevens, liked the C&Ps ok except the high lycra content made them too warm. I've re-discovered Levi's and will never, ever consider dropping over $100 on jeans again! They come in several dark washes, they're around $30 a pair, and - oh yes - they come in a "short" length (29 or 30", depending on style) that is actually short enough for me. And best of all? I can buy them at my local Kohl's or Mervyn's, without having to deal with the snooty attitude that comes with premium denim.

  11. I am totally with on what Tim says = gospel. Did you catch the bit about how petite women shouldn't wear pastels because it makes them look like children? I had not heard that before. I do love jewel tones, so I will try even more to choose those... And I'm trying to look for more vnecks...

  12. I don't have any but I have heard good things about Paige denim. While not "premium" I do find good jeans at Ann Taylor in petites and often in the curvey fit since I'm built like a girl and not a 12 year old boy...