Never underestimate the importance of a really good pair of black jeans

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First of all, they’re quite versatile—they can skew anything from punk to polished depending on what you wear them with. And they’re more flattering, I think, than blue jeans, especially those with a very light wash, which so many jeans have these days. I’ve got more pairs than I can count, but am always searching for the new Perfect Black Jean, and my quest led me to dig up the following (quite excellent) pairs.

These are classic Levi’s 501s, but tailored for a more current fit; and here’s a pair of Levi’s Wedgies, which I know many of you swear by, but which look like hell on me.

Everlane’s just-introduced Super-Straight Jean comes in two lengths—regular and ankle—and has a nice amount of stretch, but not too much.

I’d like to try this wide-leg cropped pair when the weather warms up a bit.

Here’s a coated denim pair, which looks so much like leather that it’s almost crazy to splurge on the real thing.

I like the cropped, frayed hem on this pair from Mother Denim.

A nice skinny jean with a perfectly clean wash from Madewell.

The waist on these from L’Agence is high but not too high, which works for me.

 

The denim on these is quite rigid and they have no stretch whatsoever, which I know is what a number of you go for.

And I thought I’d just throw in these overalls too, because my thinking on overalls after 40 is evolving—I think if they’re cut cleanly, as these are, that they’re highly acceptable.

This kicky pair is from Universal Standard, which means it comes in every size imaginable.

I just think these look rather laid-back and weekendy.

And finally: this high rise stovepipe pair is so clean-lined and perfect that I could see wearing it constantly.

 

 

 

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33 Thoughts on Never underestimate the importance of a really good pair of black jeans
    E
    13 Feb 2020
    1:49pm

    Could someone explain the appeal of no stretch jeans? I know they’re more authentic, but they’re not as comfortable for sitting or living life. Or do people just wear them in larger sizes?

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    Tamara
    11 Feb 2020
    6:03pm

    Annnnnd here come the Frames….worst part is I clicked twice oyyyyy so I will have to return one of the pairs….Net-a-Porter is pretty easy about that thank goodness 😅

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    Betsy
    11 Feb 2020
    9:52am

    I love Madewell – they have just enough stretch and come in that high rise that I now prefer! Also still love the Gap denim – I still have young ones at home and they are so comfortable without the worry of stains, etc.

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    c.w.
    11 Feb 2020
    10:13am

    I love my 6397 black jeans (so much I have two pair) and I have a Madewell pair that aren’t quite as comfortable as the 6397’s, but they look good. Also, I discovered a new-to-me brand of jeans––Trave––the pair I purchased are Irina slim (dark wash, not black) and they are made in Los Angeles so field trip? https://travedenim.com And not to beat a dead horse, but for those who love DevaCurl, I was told to try Ouidad. The woman who started the DevaCurl company trained/studied/interned/worked(?) at Ouidad.

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      Tamara
      11 Feb 2020
      6:04pm

      I’ve been worried about that as well…I guess it’s time for this Deva to take a break 🙁

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    Mary
    11 Feb 2020
    10:49am

    So the distressing on the 501s you’ve shown is acceptable for a “girl of a certain age?” Just checking!

    And I totally agree that black jeans are more flattering than those with a light wash. I do have quite a few with light washes for the summer – can’t stop wearing jeans, even better in the summer.

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    Mary
    11 Feb 2020
    10:51am

    I love the jeans the model is wearing! Wonder what they are.

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      Kim France
      11 Feb 2020
      10:56am

      The “model” is actually Paris Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt, who I should have identified. I once read that she buys jeans at Zara.

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        Mary
        11 Feb 2020
        10:59am

        I should have recognized her, for crying out loud! Too focused on her amazing outfit. Thanks, Kim.

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        Mamavalveeta03
        11 Feb 2020
        4:00pm

        Seriously? Zara? I’m kind of shocked by this.

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    Elisa
    11 Feb 2020
    5:59pm

    I love black jeans and will check out some of these suggestions. I have two black Madewell jeans (one with buttons and high rise, one more of a “girlfriend” cut), both very comfortable. Is anyone else getting tired of frayed hems?

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    Sara A
    11 Feb 2020
    7:21am

    Yes!!! Perfect timing as I’m in the market for black jeans. Have been exploring Everlane’s offerings but now have others to consider. Thank you!

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      Sam
      11 Feb 2020
      3:43pm

      I just got the black super straight from everlane and love them so much!

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    MKW
    11 Feb 2020
    7:42am

    ….and Oxychlorax has a laundry detergent to preserve dark colors. I’ve just started using it so not ready to give a review.

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    Jill
    11 Feb 2020
    8:34am

    I also love black jeans, so when this Amazon add for jeans by The Drop haunted me I decided to try, they have amazing reviews and cost $50. Well now I own 4 pairs, 2 black. They are that good, basically 4 pairs for the price of one pair of Frame jeans. The black is perfectly faded. https://www.amazon.com/Drop-Womens-Venice-Ankle-Skinny/dp/B07KYRVZBB

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      Heather
      11 Feb 2020
      9:07am

      Oh wow – those are dangerously cute! Do they run true to size?

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        Jill
        12 Feb 2020
        8:08am

        I would say a tad on the big side but I would definitely stick with your regular side. I have dried mine on High where usually with frame jeans I hand dry so that is a plus.

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    LeighTX
    11 Feb 2020
    9:36am

    I am completely sold on Democracy’s Absolution jeans, which have a bit of stretch and are the most comfortable jeans I’ve ever worn. And they’re carried at Nordstrom Rack, my favorite store. I wish I were wearing a pair right now, instead of this itchy wool pencil skirt that is already digging into my waist. 🙁

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      Kimbersam
      11 Feb 2020
      1:17pm

      Jeans are difficult! I have all the patience in the world for jean shopping with friends but when it comes to me, two try-on fails and I am kaput and require nutrition. Several people have recommended Democracy jeans to me and frustratingly, I looked a complete turd in them. Their cargo-ish jogger pants look cute too but I’m sure I’d fail those as well.

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        LeighTX
        12 Feb 2020
        9:16am

        Oh, no! If you have a Nordstrom Rack near you, it’s a good place to go jeans-shopping as they carry a lot of nicer brands for less than full retail price. My other favorite pair is from Michael Kors, which I wouldn’t have expected.

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    Viajera
    11 Feb 2020
    11:16am

    Ahem. [rant against pre-distressed jeans, at any age, with a whole bunch of these !!!! …][and sound effects!!]

    Otoh, perhaps they are perfect for this political time we are in.

    Btw … I am a half-breed Mex-Am … and almost everyone I know hated the halftime show. Did we already discuss this? There was one male friend holdout but he likes to be contrarian. All’s I am saying is, if you were appalled and embarrassed too, but also torn bc it was somehow an accurate reflection of the nation … you are not alooooone…

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      Viajera
      11 Feb 2020
      11:20am

      I forgot to say … many cute pairs of pants tho. … can’t believe I forgot that part… sorrying…

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        D.Morgendorffer
        11 Feb 2020
        2:35pm

        I am a football atheist. So, I saw just a snippet of the show and can only offer the observation that Shakira achieves fitness goals of which it never occurred to me to aspire (and don’t think I could achieve). As for thoughts of pre-distressed jeans and the zeitgeist, a couple months ago my husband and I saw a group of Buddhist monks in the men’s dept. in Walmart looking at the jeans selection with great interest. Much to our regret, we couldn’t stay and find out the answer to the previously unasked question of WHAT DO MONKS LOOK FOR IN JEANS. Anyway, it just now occurred to me that the Buddhist monks might say that the human condition is a pre-distressed one. Side note: I would have thought the monks would have gravitated towards the overalls (a totally non-controversial item for them, I would have figured…), but no, they were focused on the jeans.

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          Viajera
          12 Feb 2020
          11:14am

          Yes, both performers looked good, as far as that goes.

          A fashion koan. That story is cosmic. Wow.

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    Maryse
    11 Feb 2020
    11:17am

    Ack! I love those overalls! I wore them in the 90’s and love that they are coming back. I’m considerably larger now though than I was then. But if I weren’t I’d be wearing them again.

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      Emily
      11 Feb 2020
      6:02pm

      Maryse, seriously look at Universal Standard’s overalls. They look excellent in ALL THE SIZES. I have two pairs. Love them so much.

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    Rebecca
    11 Feb 2020
    11:50am

    I love a black jean! My current favourite is the Gap True Straight in black. However, they have changed their jeans again, so I will have to see if I can find something similar among their new offerings..

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      MeezStephanie
      11 Feb 2020
      2:05pm

      Can’t believe I also got these (usually in the Madewell or Everlane camp). This style in black is particularly good and doens’t seem to fade or stretch out, so far anyway.

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      lc
      12 Feb 2020
      9:32am

      Rebecca, I love Gap Classic Straight jeans, but couldn’t find anything called True Straight on their website. Is the Classic Straight perhaps the one you mean? They’re absolutely simple, mid-rise, narrow-but-not-tight leg, plain back pockets and the dark indigo and the black are nice solid colors, no tricky washes.

      https://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=495996002&pcid=999&vid=1#pdp-page-content

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        Rebeccca
        12 Feb 2020
        9:58am

        Will have to check the label when I get home, but I believe that it was called True straight. I haven’t been able to find for the past 6 months or so, as I believe the Gap has shaken up their jeans again. Will try classic straight: dark indigo and black is absolutely what I go for!

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          Candy
          12 Feb 2020
          11:35am

          I have a great-fitting pair of black jeans in straight leg from Banana Republic that I love, but as part of Gap group, they also seem to have phased out that style so that the only choices now are skinny or wide leg. I keep checking back in hopes they’ll come to their senses.

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    EW
    11 Feb 2020
    1:45pm

    Love me some black jeans: I have two: 1 pair of Zadig&Voltaire Ava– love the feel of these with zippers on hips, frayed ends nice a low rise; the other are….Karl Largerfeld(the mid priced collection from Lord&Taylor(RIP!) – these are more refined, mid rise, you know the ‘business’ jeans! you can to work on a Friday 😉

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    Mamavalveeta03
    11 Feb 2020
    3:58pm

    I really REALLY want a pair of vintage Levis – like the kind that I’ll find in a thrift store or Goodwill by trying on 213 pairs. My J Crew black matchstick jeans from a few years ago are holding up well.

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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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