Are we ready for wide-leg jeans?

lotan wide leg

I’ve got no plans to get rid of them any time soon, but at the same time, my low-slung skinny-ish R-13 jeans have started to feel out of date. All of the cool girls seem to be wearing baggier, high-waisted, wide-leg jeans, and I must say I am intrigued, in no small part because they look so comfortable. I may dip a toe into this silhouette, just for kicks. This first pair is my favorite, so of course it’s pricey.

alice jeans

These are slightly snug in the hip area, which I think would keep them more flattering.

dl 1961 jeans

I like the barely-pink hue here.

mother jeans

The crop here is pretty great, and I feel like a jean with a crop is the easiest way to wear this trend.

grlfrnd jeans

The leg here is wide but not too wide, which is good for those of us who worry about excess bulk being unflattering.

farrah jeans

These are called Farrah jeans, and indeed they are so excellently 70s.

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 1.28.20 PM

These are kind of fun and tomboyish, and I like that they’re not too flared at the ankle—a very wearable version of this look.

3×1 jeans

The wash here is fabulously clean.

mother jeans1

I’m not crazy about the distressing on the butt of these Mother jeans, but I do like the dark wash quite a lot.

eliz jeans

These are well-tailored enough to stand in for a pair of trousers.

simone jeans

The front pockets here are cute and retroish.

madewell jeans

And I think the button fly is cute here.

wyatt jean

And finally: these look the exactly right amount of worn-in.

 

Here is a post I did a little while back on un-distressed jeans.

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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Comments

59 Thoughts on Are we ready for wide-leg jeans?
    HarrisBalling
    4 Apr 2018
    7:15am

    I was SO hoping for a plus sized pair as I scrolled … bah! Mango’s Violetta brand had a DOPE cropped wide-legged pair last year that sold out instantly and hasn’t reappeared. I wait devotedly.

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    Lola
    4 Apr 2018
    7:28am

    I love the cropped and the standard long length but as a 5’1″ girl I need to wear them with some kind of heel otherwise I look dumpy…any suggestions on a rainy NY spring transitional shoe?

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    karen
    4 Apr 2018
    7:45am

    Sssooo ready to see the end of skinny jeans. Recently reread a post on Sartorialist from 2007 in which Scott bemoans still skinny jeans – and here we are 11 years on, and it’s still The Look.

    At 5’2″ I’ve never liked heels with jeans or trousers of any kind. Not sure why. Ankle boot? Sneakers? Clogs – all seem apropos for rainy New York spring.
    Big pants (skirts, too) call for big shoes – even if it’s just a big sole.

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      Mamavalveeta03
      7 Apr 2018
      5:02pm

      Clogs, platform-ish sneakers…anything with a bit of heft to it. Strappy heels and sandals look too 1970’s disco to me.

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    caroline
    4 Apr 2018
    8:15am

    Ugh..
    I really like that cut on trousers, but find it harder to pull off in jeans..
    What’s the story on boyfriend jeans? I still love them also..
    Are they over also? Please advise..
    Signed, out of the loop in Va😂

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    Dana D
    4 Apr 2018
    8:40am

    I love my wide leg jeans and jesse kamm (ish) summer canvas pants.

    But I do not love them cropped. (so that means I also–what’s new–love the Nili Lotan pair in the first pic)

    Clogs or flat sandals.

    Boyfriend jeans will always be awesome with Birkenstocks or simple white sneakers.

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      Mimi
      4 Apr 2018
      9:50am

      I’m with you on cropped jeans or pants, Dana. My eye usually adjusts to a new silhouette in time, but I still reject any jeans with less than a 27″ inseam. (I’m 5’6″) I feel about my boyfriend jeans the way some women are about their skinny jeans – don’t think I’ll ever give them up. They’re just a tomboy classic. Lately I’ve been liking high waisted jeans with a straight leg, including a J. Crew Point Sur selvedge supercuff jeans that totally sold out. Maybe they will bring them back.

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        Dana D
        4 Apr 2018
        6:48pm

        ooohhh cool…

        I get my J. Crew jeans second-hand on ebay–I’ll look for the point sur ones. I’m also 5’6″. Yes, no cropping.

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        Mamavalveeta03
        7 Apr 2018
        5:05pm

        I love that J Crew jean, too, Mimi. And boyfriends (jeans 😉) FOREVER!

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    Babzilla
    4 Apr 2018
    8:41am

    Sweet Jesus, the Farrah jeans are a throwback that made me giggle. Yes, I had a similar pair (which means, I’m too old / mature for them this time around) – from our town’s “premier denim emporium” called “Ups & Downs.” If I remember, they cost a lot of babysitting money.

    What I’ve learned is, while the shape is quite good on people who are tall with long legs – the style looks horrible on me.

    The shoes for this section, however, are all sublime!

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      y.k.
      4 Apr 2018
      9:48am

      sweet jesus is right! i had major 9th grade flashback when I saw those Farrah jeans… where’s my Huk- a – poo shirt!

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      Viajera
      4 Apr 2018
      11:13am

      Ditto on the shoes.

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        Kathi
        4 Apr 2018
        12:52pm

        Double ditto on the shoes.

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      Emily
      4 Apr 2018
      11:19am

      I used to work at our “Ups & Downs!” What a memory you have brought back to me.

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      Mamavalveeta03
      7 Apr 2018
      5:09pm

      Definitely had the one-off of the Farrah jeans as a teen. I thought I was so cool! Probably looked like a newborn colt at 5’10” and around 115 lbs…gawky as hell.

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    moi
    4 Apr 2018
    8:47am

    I like the look, but I had to try on dozens of pairs. They’re almost all high waisted, which, depending on the cut, is either flattering or makes one’s torso look like a big ol’ denim rectangle.

    A couple years ago I settled on two pairs: cropped wide legs from J Crew (Rayner cut, I think), and long AG Farrah flares. It’s easier to pair shoes with the crops. I’ve done mules, clogs, and kitten heels. Pumps can work, if the heel isn’t too high.

    Flares to the floor are trickier. They require a heel so the hems don’t drag (even though I know that can be a thing, it’s not mine), but too high and they look like floods. And it has to be something chunky. I usually wear them out at night, with high heeled platform sandals, but did wear them a couple times this year with a pair of tall heeled boots underneath and a chunky sweater and they looked good.

    I get tired of skinny jeans, too, and boyfriends are rarely flattering on me. So I’ve been reaching more and more for cropped cotton trousers with just a slight slouch (yeah, thanks for sending me down the Nili Lotan rabbit hole!).

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    Candy
    4 Apr 2018
    9:44am

    I’m tall and have spent so many years trying not to look like I’m wearing high water pants that I’m having trouble buying into this trend. But maybe with the right top (fitted?), shoes, attitude, therapy…
    (The Joe’s Jeans one has appeal.)

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    Maggie
    4 Apr 2018
    9:48am

    The cropped, raw-hemmed version of these looks silly in a desert island castaway kind of way. And call me judgmental, but why would you pay over $100 for a look you can get by going to any Goodwill, buying jeans that are too long, and cutting the bottoms off to look exactly like this? This trend makes no sense to me. When the models look stumpy, lumpy, and crotchy, it’s a bad sign for the rest of us.

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      Heather
      4 Apr 2018
      10:55am

      YES! My #1 rule of buying clothes is if they can’t get the model to look good in it… do not buy those clothes.

      I think there’s some kind of mass delusion going on with these cropped flares and wide legs — it makes *everyone* look both shorter and larger! Even the tall and skinny look shorter and larger — they just had a taller, skinnier starting point!

      I totally get being sick of skinny jeans… but when *long* flares and wide-legs are literally the most flattering pant-silhouettes ever invented, why not just hod out for those to come back?

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        Linden
        4 Apr 2018
        1:27pm

        I know, right? The widest I’ll go on pants legs is straight-cut. Anything wider and I take on the silhouette of a piece of PVC pipe.

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      kj
      4 Apr 2018
      3:01pm

      This exactly. Wide-leg crops flatter no one. NO ONE.

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    Christina
    4 Apr 2018
    9:57am

    Those Mother roller crop jeans remind me of a pair of Gap denim gaucho pants you guys featured in Lucky years ago 🙂

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    Julia
    4 Apr 2018
    9:58am

    Kim!

    Why aren’t you linking to your excellent essay in The Cut this mooring?

    https://www.thecut.com/2018/04/i-am-a-prisoner-of-my-own-vanity.html

    Also, though I know it isn’t the point of the article, how often do you touch up your roots? I have to do mine with a toothbrush every week. Every week. Then once a month I go to the salon…..

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      KimFrance
      4 Apr 2018
      5:50pm

      You beat me to it, Julia!

      I get my roots touched up around every five weeks. My hair grows fast.

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    Maryse
    4 Apr 2018
    10:00am

    I have big muscular legs so skinny jeans have always been an issue for me. I’m the person who can’t get the pants past my calves unless there’s tons of stretch so wider legged pants are a welcomed look. But like others here I wore the high waisted narrow hipped giant legged pants dragging on the floor – much to my father’s distress – when I was a kid. Back then I had to lay (or is that lie) down on my bed to zip them up. Never again. I do like the cropped versions though. I’d wear them with clogs or sneakers.

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    c.w.
    4 Apr 2018
    10:02am

    One of those trends that I’ll have to try on––probably a million different iterations before I find a cut that is flattering. Oy and Egad. It’s like trying on bathing suits. Ok, maybe not as bad as bathing suits because NOTHING is as bad as bathing suits.

    As we say in the south…Lordy.

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    Alexa
    4 Apr 2018
    10:28am

    I’m not sure I am ready, Kim! I’m short, and fear being swamped by wide jeans. Heels help, but that’s not a practical solution for a person who walks everywhere..
    So what are people’s thoughts on “boyfriend”, straight-leg, or even “girlfriend” (as far as I can tell, skinnies but a few sizes bigger) as viable options?
    I agree, we’ve reached skinny-jean saturation. I’m not about to give up wearing the pairs I own – I’m invested at this point!. But I’m curious about where to go next..

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      Nicole
      4 Apr 2018
      11:30am

      My issue as well. I am short and small, so yeah too much fabric = not great. But I think as long as the waist/upper part is fitted and you wear them with heels – it works. I think?

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      Mamavalveeta03
      7 Apr 2018
      5:20pm

      Ok. I’m just going to throw this out there: I know we all love fashion and being stylish and such, but one of the things we GOACAers seem to agree on is WEAR what FLATTERS you…as you are NOW! I’m old enough to know what looks good and what doesn’t, and I certainly hear that echoed by all of you. We don’t have to let the trends dictate to us! If you love skinny jeans, wear skinnies! If you love boyfriend jeans or wide legs, wear ‘em!

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    Eloise
    4 Apr 2018
    10:34am

    Ewwwww. Noooooo. I’m short, and not quite as skinny as I used to be. Uuuugggghhhh. Puke. Not a fan.

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      Amy
      4 Apr 2018
      5:57pm

      Completely with you – when I saw the title of the post, my reaction was a solid “NO”. Does not work for me. Too short (5’1″), not skinny. Plus, I don’t wear heels.

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    Mary Alice
    4 Apr 2018
    10:45am

    I think those high waisted wide leg jeans are CRAZY flattering; they make your legs look a million miles long. Only issue I see (and please correct me if I am wrong, Kim) they require a platform or a heel of some sort and I just don’t usually feel like wearing heels.
    I do NOT like skinny jeans, never have. I have muscular thighs and skinny calves and they make me look like a turnip.
    My solution has always been a straight leg. Sometimes even a bootcut which balances out the hips nicely.
    Cropped wide leg pants are not flattering.

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      Alexa
      4 Apr 2018
      11:08am

      I cant wear a bootcut because I’m a snob: too many of the soccer moms (by which I mean, the ones who refer to themselves as “Soccer Moms”, not just moms of kids who play soccer- big difference)in my town never *stopped* wearing bootcut jeans. With running shoes, and a ponytail pulled through the back of the baseball cap, it is a tribal marker.

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        Viajera
        4 Apr 2018
        11:17am

        Okay, but where are they *finding* these bootcut jeans? asking for a friend wah wah

        I’m an anti-snob snob too. A conundrum, I believe it’s called. Hmm. I wonder if that’s the word.

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        Caroline
        4 Apr 2018
        12:02pm

        Haha!!
        I also swear off athleisure wear in place of real clothes. I’m pretty sure the soccer moms think I’m simultaneously not athletic and stuck up..probably both true.
        But you can sit with me 😉
        I’m actually friendly and don’t make kids feel bad when the miss the ball because a. I really don’t care and b. thats just the worst..

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        Mary Alice
        5 Apr 2018
        2:45am

        Must be a local thing? I have not had that experience with bootcuts. All the soccer moms in Southern California wear yoga pants.

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      Jenny
      4 Apr 2018
      12:30pm

      Yes, to what Mary Alice said!!

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    MsMezzo
    4 Apr 2018
    10:54am

    Wide leg jeans…what is that saying about not being able to pull off a returning fad if you lived through once already? I do think they can be flattering on a certain figure. (tall and thin with legs for days) Now, about that first pair..how high ARE her platform shoes? It sort of looks like she’s wearing stilts. Such a 70’s look. I’m having a high school flashback. They looked bad on me then, they look even worse on me now.

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    Keirele
    4 Apr 2018
    11:17am

    The Alice and Olivias are my denim ideal from the knee up but just a bit too wide from the knee down. I’m still crying about a pair of Sergio Valente reissues I got in the late 1990s that were perfect… high waist, tiny flare, super dark with no whiskering, and a CREASE! Alas, an airline lost them.

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    Nicole
    4 Apr 2018
    11:28am

    1000% ready. I started looking for a pair last November ish, and of course everything is finally out now. Thrilled. I adore denim. I cannot wait.

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    S
    4 Apr 2018
    11:33am

    SO ready! I came of age during the 70s revival in the 90s, and my mom always thought my wide leg pants and platform clogs were hilarious because that’s what she wore to teach in in the 70s. To this day, any time I find a pair of wide leg jeans that fit, I buy them. I settle for boot cut, but I’d prefer something wider. I’m so excited at the possibility of more options. I’ve started noticing them on line, but no way I can buy jeans without trying them on. I’ve tried on hundreds of pairs in vintage stores but they usually have such unbelievably tiny waists. Like another commenter, my calves are muscular and it’s a battle to find skinny jeans (which I do like and wear, but it took me forever to come around) that fit my legs. I just think of the time I accidentally wore skinny jeans to a pedicure and the ridiculous struggle it was to get them back down over my calves when it was over…

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    EW
    4 Apr 2018
    12:34pm

    I still have my wide legs jeans from the 2000’s – best ones are some ‘vintage’ 7FAM, not really high waisted but big wide bell bottoms..so yay they still fit

    for high waist AND wide leg AND cropped, I just feel like Stumpy McStumps in those, and I’m 5-10

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    Sammy
    4 Apr 2018
    12:47pm

    The fashion world will need to pry my skinny and boyfriend jeans from my cold, dead hands.

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      Mamavalveeta03
      7 Apr 2018
      5:25pm

      I’m picturing Charlton Heston….;-)

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    Kathi
    4 Apr 2018
    1:01pm

    I agree with Sammy regarding boyfriend jeans, but you can have the skinnies as I am so over them. I do like the idea is a wide leg jean, would prefer it more if I was not so big in the thigh. They just wouldn’t hang right on me in my opinion.

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    Jenny
    4 Apr 2018
    2:57pm

    Ebay is full of MiH Marrakesh jeans, super-flattering, snug through the hips with long wide flares. You can wear them as-is with heels, or cut them for the cropped wide-legged look, all for less than $100. Strongly recommend. I fell hard for this look last year, and that was my solution. And I have a lot of $$ left over for Jesse Kamm pants now!

    Also, can we posit that black skinnies are an entirely different thing than skinnies altogether, and are maybe as much of a wardrobe classic as a blazer or button up (thinking of the French editrix look)?

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    scone
    4 Apr 2018
    3:12pm

    I remember trying to rock these in high school, getting my platforms entangled in fabric, falling flat on my face. Then The Ramones happened, and it was all 501s…

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    Joan maloney
    4 Apr 2018
    3:36pm

    The rise on the jeans make me sore just looking at them – I do like big flowing pants though – Artful Home has some excellent pants that look amazing on and feel great too.

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    c.w.
    4 Apr 2018
    4:12pm

    Just for the antithesis of this posting…I received my red Frame jeans today that Kim posted about several weeks ago. They are SKINNY and I LOVE them. And I will be wearing them ALL SUMMER LONG and I’ll be wearing them tonight when my beau and I go out to dinner because he said I look stunning in them (and he flies back east tomorrow so what better way to leave him wanting more). LOVE THEM.

    (but I’ll also be trying the wide-leg jeans too)

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    Francine
    4 Apr 2018
    4:39pm

    I knew when I saw the blog title that the comments would be the best part!

    I still love skinnies and I think the freshest way to wear them is at ankle length. I think they are a classic.

    I’ve always loved flares or wide legs. I have several of both, mid-rise and slightly higher. They are fun and flattering but require effort (shoes!). No running out the door in those.

    I think several of the ones you featured are more ‘mom jeans’ and they are hideous. Doesn’t seem fair that 15-year old get to decide what denim we get to wear.

    BTW, do you guys remember when Jessica Simpson wore ‘mom jeans’ a few years ago and was raked over the coals??
    Funny.

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    Valleyoftheshoes
    4 Apr 2018
    5:42pm

    I still have my Twenty8Twelve flared jeans that I bought about 10 years ago. They still look great but I need to have serious height for my shoe choice. Ten years later, I can’t deal with sky high heels anymore.

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    pauline
    4 Apr 2018
    6:56pm

    NOOOOO. I don’t like this look at all. Cropped wide legs are unflattering. As another comment said, if the models can’t look good in this look, what hope is there for the rest of us. I will never give up my skinnies.

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    Gables girl
    4 Apr 2018
    7:21pm

    Ok Kim you have to do a “what shoes to wear” update. I cannot wear flats with these pants. I look like my clothes don’t fit. Loved your clog love on NYM today.

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    Skye
    4 Apr 2018
    7:25pm

    I got Topshop camo cropped high waisted wide leg jeans in the mail yesterday and I am feeling a lot of positive feelings about them! I am a short stumpy person and can only wear skinny jeans when I am at my lowest weight without it being uncomfortable. I am also not afraid to look stumpy though, because nothing looks in-stumpy on me, ever.

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      Viajera
      5 Apr 2018
      1:26pm

      Good for you! I love your fiery fashion spirit.

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    Gleemonex
    4 Apr 2018
    10:02pm

    … how are the cropped ones *not* culottes?

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    Hick from Styx
    5 Apr 2018
    1:01am

    I have two pairs of wide-leg, high-waist jeans. This style needs length, and chunkier footwear.

    They please me.

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      Mamavalveeta03
      7 Apr 2018
      4:59pm

      I agree about the length being a must + chunky footwear.

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    Mamavalveeta03
    7 Apr 2018
    4:25pm

    So tired of crops…

    If I could take the pockets from the Loup Charmants and make them full length, they’re be perfect! And I swear I had a pair of jeans just like the Farrahs in the 70’s.

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