Isn’t shopping for jeans hideous? I’ve never enjoyed it and I could blame the fact I despise my thighs, but I suspect most women hate shopping for this particular garment regardless of whether they’re a size 8 or 18. Denim refuses to forgive and whilst it can be relatively easy to wriggle and jiggle your way into a dress or skirt, jeans either fit or they don’t. And if they don’t, they’ll make sure you know about it.
That all being said, I wear jeans most days so I do of course have to face my fears and shop for them. I try to put off such traumatic events til absolutely necessary but when my beloved (admittedly ancient) jeans dramatically ripped on Oxford Street recently, I realised shopping for a new pair wasn’t just absolutely necessary but immediately necessary.
Working in fashion has tainted me though, I didn’t want rubbish high street jeans. I wanted posh ones! Fancy ones! Boutique ones! Still, with my knickers literally on show to half of W1 I didn’t have time for such snobbery, I’d buy a cheap pair now and get some snazzy ones on a day where I hadn’t had four slices of toast for breakfast.
But where to go?
I started with Topshop because their denim department is massive but alas, I’d forgotten the cardinal rule that a size 14 ANYWHERE ELSE is not a size 14 in Topshop denim. Shame.
I wasn’t impressed by the selection anyway if I’m honest. All the Toppers jeans felt more like leggings and they had weird fringed ankles and comedy rips which I had to conclude weren’t very ‘me’. Perhaps I was just bitter that none of them fitted, perhaps I just wanted NORMAL JEANS.
Anyhoo, I trundled off to H&M. Their jeans fitted, but I didn’t really like the ones I tried, and by this point I’d wasted enough time that I wanted a half decent pair. I’d stopped caring that the jeans I was wearing to browse the rails had literally burst at the seams, this was now a mission to see if nice size 14 high street jeans actually existed.
Off I went to Gap. Again, nothing wowed me.
I messaged Katie…
“lol my jeans have ripped. on Oxford Street. do nice high street jeans that actually cover your bum exist or should I fashion a modesty belt out of an old paper bag and just go home and cry?”
Katie works for M&S.
“HAHAHAHAHAHA obviously you missed where I said *nice* jeans so any other suggestions pls”
I went to M&S.
Because it was ‘high summer’ when this debacle happened (check out my retail speak) there were lots of pastel colours. Ugh. I *really* didn’t want pale pistachio sausage legs, for obvious reasons which are mostly eyes. Luckily I found a couple of darker styles so I shimmied over to the changing rooms, politely asking strangers to ignore my exposed derrière as I did so.
And by gum, I found them. I found the perfect jeans!
I wasn’t convinced on the colour, but I knew I’d found the perfect size (14, told ya Topshop) and the perfect style: M&S Collection’s Sculpt & Lift skinny jeans.
I WAS SO EXCITED!
I found a black pair (can’t go wrong with black denim eh?), bought them, put them on immediately and skipped home.
As soon as I got home I looked online to see if I could buy more, but at the time they didn’t come in any other colours I liked. I hoped they’d release darker hues as the new season approached and thankfully they recently did just that. I bought the Medium Blue pair as soon as I spied them online and I am obsessed with them. Literally obsessed. They are such a joy to wear!
I obviously don’t wear crop tops, I have lifted up a normal top so you can see properly how the jeans fit on a size 14.
The main reason I adore them is that they are properly high waisted, not in a “trendy retro” way but in a “if you bend down to pick something up you won’t expose your entire bum” kinda way. They sit so high and are so comfy. I feel like my tummy is constantly being cuddled by them. They’re not remotely restrictive but don’t look like jeggings. They really do sculpt and lift, which is probably the first time in history that I’ve found a denim product that actually does what it says it will.
I like them from the front. I like them from the side. I like them from the back. (Well, as much as I ever will like myself ‘from the back’ without losing weight. You know what I mean!).
I feel slimmer in them (score!) and confident in them (double score!) and they wash really well AND they seem to maintain their shape really well too. I’ve worn the black pair since mid-May and they still fit perfectly, where other high street jeans I’ve worn on a daily basis in the past have quickly stretched into uselessness.
I don’t know if these jeans are so excitingly great for other sizes, but I’ve worn size 14 jeans for at least 15 years and these are the best I’ve found so far.
And they’re £35. (EDIT: eeep – just been reduced to £24.50!!!!!)
You can find them online in a range of colours here.
Update: Loads of you have commented on Instagram about this post (yey!) and left loads of helpful tips for other high street stores that cater well for 14s, including Uniqlo and Next. Have a looksie at “the conversation” here.
Update 2: If it helps, I am 5ft7/8 and I have a medium and long pair of these jeans. I think I probably prefer the long ones. They don’t feel crazy long as they’re obviously skinny at the ankle.
Update 3: They’ve just been reduced to £24.50!!!!