Everlane Jeans: A Review

When I heard Everlane was doing jeans, I was excited like so many others. The idea of wearing a sustainable pair of jeans that were also stylish and reasonably-priced for their quality was wonderful.

But then again, I remembered: Everlane bottoms are often hit-or-miss for me. Sometimes they work surprisingly well — the wide-legged structured pant is something I often reach for when I’m tired of wearing jeans or leggings. But a few other things I’ve ordered from them have fit really strangely.

And of course, you have to factor in the fact that ordering pants and jeans online is often frustrating, time-consuming and argh-inducing. Especially if you’re like me and have a mama belly and a weird body shape (inverted triangle for the win!) It’s enough for me just to stick with what works most of the time — which is Old Navy’s high-waisted “sculpt” Rockstar jeans as well as their Rockstar 24/7 high-rise and mid-rise models as well.

But still: sustainable denim for about $68 a pair! I had to try it…

So I went about the process of ordering a pair. And — I have to be honest here — it proved slightly excruciating.

The Not So Skinny

Part of it is the process of trying on bottoms via mail. I don’t know anyone — even the most narrow hipped modelesque types — who can blind-buy something online and get it right every single time and on the first try. The female form is too varied, and designs are such a crapshoot. It really is about finding a company and a pair that works for you, and even then it can take time. So often you’re just sending pairs of jeans back and forth, or buying something online and then running to a store to return it. It can take FOREVER.

Which was my experience, sadly! Part of it was not knowing my consistent pant size for Everlane. The one pair of bottoms that worked for me are a size 8. But I’ve ordered other Everlane bottoms in that size, plus in size 10s, and it ended up the style just didn’t work on me, no matter how I sized.

So armed with that limited, imperfect information, I ordered the ankle-length high-rise skinny in the darker indigo rinse. I read that it helped to size up, so since I’m normally a 28 or 29 in jeans, I tried ordering a 30. Okay, easy, right?

Except when they came, I found I couldn’t zip them up. Dang mama belly! The hips and legs fit okay — skinny — but I just couldn’t zip up over my belly. I felt vaguely humiliated!

Which was too bad, because I could tell at first touch that the material is superlative. I expected that — Everlane always uses high-quality fabrics. There wasn’t a ton of stretch — just a tiny, tiny bit. The finish was almost perfect, too — just a classic, dark rinse that reminded me a bit of my favorite A.P.C. jeans from the late 90s, which were straight-legged, a bit lower-rise and completely enduring. You can tell the material will hold up over time and last forever, and the finishing on it was top-notch. So it was even more heartbreaking that the size didn’t work.

Still, I didn’t give up. I exchanged the pair for the next size up and crossed my fingers. After waiting a little over a week for the mail to send it back, the company to process it as a return and then order a new pair, I got a pair of the ankle-length high-rise skinny. Same great quality fabric, of course, and this one I could zip over my mama belly. But…now the thighs and calves were too loose.

Wah! I felt hopelessly thick-waisted and had a pang of self-loathing for a bit, like, “What the heck is wrong with my body?” But then of course I remembered that my body is fine and good — it’s just the pants that didn’t work for me. The waist now fit, as well as my hips, but the fit was distinctly unskinny, with loose fits in the butt, thighs and calves.

I was all ready to send them back, concluding that Everlane’s jeans just weren’t meant for me. But then I realized that with their looser thigh and calves, I actually had a good pair of boyfriend jeans on my hands!

Which is funny, because most boyfriend jeans don’t work on my body type — I often think they’re too bulky. But these were slim yet relaxed, and with a higher rise than most boyfriend jeans on the market. And the leg was somewhere between slim and straight, and definitely loose in the ankle.

It was the weirdest thing, because I checked out the Everlane modern boyfriend jean, and my pair of high-rise ankle-length skinny fit much more like the modern boyfriend. Which made me wonder if they accidentally labeled the wrong pair? Did I get a mislabelled pair of boyfriend jeans?

I have no idea, to be honest, because I was pretty done with the weeks-long process of trying on jeans over mail. Still, I tried, and decided to share here because online shopping is such a mystery at times.

A quick and easy breakdown

I’m not sure if my Everlane jeans buying experience will be necessarily helpful, since jeans are so idiosyncratic anyway and buying them online is just a strange experience. So, in the end, all I can offer is a quick list of observations and suppositions, and hope this helps out any others hoping to buy Everlane jeans online — or not feel bad when they don’t fit for their body type.

+ The quality of the fabric is absolutely superb. It’s on the thicker, weightier side, but it is still supple and not as stiff as you’d think. It has just a touch of stretch and doesn’t seem to get baggy after a full day of wear. And the dark indigo rinse is really beautiful.

+ I’m an inverted triangle type and petite height, and I found the ankle-length skinny high-rise fit didn’t work for me…as a skinny fit, that is! I think anyone looking for a super-skinny fit probably won’t be satisfied — it really is meant to be a slim leg, but not shrunken at all. (I think you’d need a smaller cut with a stretchier fabric to achieve that.)

+ Trying to work out the best body type of this style of jeans is a bit of a mystery, but I would have to say perhaps a straight-up and down figure that isn’t long-legged or tall. (The seams for all styles don’t seem geared towards the taller folks.) I can’t quite work if a more hourglass figure would work out in the high-rise. The waist seems very narrow, but the butt and thighs seem cut very generously…so maybe an hourglass figure with a small waist but athletic thighs?

+ So yes, overall, the waist of this style is smaller but the butt and thighs seem very generous. Take that info for what it is.

+ If you are looking for a pair of super skinny jeans, I don’t think these will work for you — in my eye, jeggings-style jeans work with a smaller cut in a stretchier fabric. But I do remember the pair of Everlane jeans that did fit in the hips, thighs and ankle were more of a slim fit, but not super-shrunken. I don’t think they’d tuck into ankle boots without some looseness, for instance.

I’ll be really honest: I love Everlane’s quality fabrics and the stitching and finishing on these jeans are fantastic. And of course I love the values of the company.

But, for me, the fit just didn’t work. As much as I’m enjoying my “inadvertent boyfriend” jean from Everlane, I just can’t rely on the company for a fit I can count on. Which is fine — I don’t think many companies can offer a dazzling array of fits to cater to all the different body types that women have, and the ones that do need a certain economy of scale (or higher price point) to make it worth their while. I’m still interested in finding a pair of sustainable jeans, so I’ll be checking out Grana and a few other companies in the coming year. Stay tuned!

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