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Image / Style / Fashion / Shopping

The Irish fashion set on their ride or die denim


By Freya Drohan
24th Oct 2021
The Irish fashion set on their ride or die denim

A certain fictional fashion savant once said, "You're always looking for a job, apartment or a boyfriend" — but she forgot to mention another exhaustive, lifelong search: the perfect pair of denim jeans  

To know me is to know that I infamously own over 100 variations of printed dresses, but just one pair of jeans. As much as I love the idea of finding another version to add to my outfit rotations, the sheer notion of even walking into a changing room and trying on denim styles fills me with dread. It’s the same scenario time and time again: trying in vain to find the unicorn pair that will fit like a glove. Twenty unfruitful minutes later, I’ll be at the register with, surprise surprise, another frock.

With that in mind, I reached out to some women who know their way around a good denim moment to suss where they hedge their bets when it comes to jeans.

BRB, Googling a tailor near me…. 

Tara Marzuki, aka Tar Marz

Where are your favourite pair of jeans from?

At the fine ripe old age of 27 I have finally found the perfect jeans — I have fallen head over heels for vintage Levi’s. I get them mostly from Etsy or eBay.

Do you generally find it hard to find jeans that fit?

Yes, even in stores like Topshop and Zara, the cuts never did anything for my shape. Even though I love denim, I never felt like I found the perfect pair for me until recently. My favorite cut is a super high-rise vintage 501 because they accommodate my smaller waist and bigger bum perfectly.

What do you look for in a great pair of jeans? 

Right now, I mostly look for a very high-waisted cut as it’s the most flattering for my waist and makes the most of my longer legs and shorter torso. I also only wear a true straight leg — skinny jeans are the most unflattering cut on me. What really got me into loving Levi’s 501s is the fact that, because the vintage ’80/’90s jeans aren’t made with elastane (something you’ll find in most jeans these days, even in modern Levi’s) they are rigid, suck you in, create this gorgeous silhouette, make your bum look great and they don’t lose their shape so you don’t need to wash as often. Win win!

What’s your favourite thing to pair with jeans?

I’m a classic jeans and a boxy tee kinda girl; I think it looks good no matter what and is just the right amount of tomboy for me. I love to also pair really girly fitted tops with these kind of jeans.

Do you have a secret hack/tip for denim that you can share?

I love to get my jeans mostly from Etsy or eBay — you can search for your exact size. It’s really important to physically take your own measurements with a measuring tape of your waist and hips (go with the narrowest point of your waist and the widest part of your bum) because it makes buying clothes online so much easier to get right. A vintage seller will always list the actual waist and hip because the label sizing on vintage items is always out of date. Occasionally, if I can’t get the perfect fit I’ll take them to a denim tailor to nip the waist in which I think many people don’t realise you can do with denim.

Kelly Horrigan

Where are your favourite pair of jeans from?

My favourite jeans are the raw hem straight leg from Topshop. They come in loads of colours and they’re affordable so you can kit your wardrobe out with a good selection.

Do you generally find it hard to find jeans that fit?

Yes. It’s hard to find jeans long enough because I’m tall, especially on the high street. Topshop and River Island both do different leg lengths so I generally shop there for jeans.

What do you look for in a great pair of jeans?

I love a comfortable high waist and they need to be long enough that it doesn’t look like I’m rocking ankle grazers.

Favourite thing to pair with jeans?

My go-to white tee and an oversized blazer. You just can’t wrong!

Do you have a secret hack/tip for denim that you can share?

I get everything tailored; not just jeans. If it doesn’t fit right, it looks cheap. Get your pieces nipped and tucked, it makes all the difference to your overall look.

Louise O’Reilly

Where are your favourite pair of jeans from?

Very hard to pick just one! But to narrow it down, it would be the River Island Molly jeans, Simply Be denim boyfriend cut and Next’s Lift and Sculpt skinny jeans. For more premium must-haves, Good American high-waisted denim are wonderful. All of the above wash like a dream and I’ve had them in my wardrobe for many years. They are all easy to come across, as each brand brings out similar styles each year due to how popular they are.

Do you generally find it hard to find jeans that fit?

For years, I found it so difficult. For example, I’m 5’9 with a long torso with hips, so a lot of skinny jeans just don’t work on me, and other styles might sit strange on my waistline. It was always trial and error until I found reliables by certain brands which I knew I could go back to time and time again.

What do you look for in a great pair of jeans?

A stretch that won’t lose its shape throughout the day. Comfort meets confidence: something that you look and feel great in. I don’t like to be reminded that I’m wearing jeans, like ones that dig in or that feel restrictive. Finally, I really want my jeans to last. I want something that will still be in my wardrobe in five years time. I want something that will stand the test of time so I’m picky when it comes to choosing the right denim feel too.

Favourite thing to pair with jeans?

In the winter: cosy jumpers and statement jackets. In the summer: kimonos and cold shoulder tops.

Do you have a secret hack/tip for denim that you can share?

For a lot of women of various sizes, buying vintage is limited due to sizing options. The same applies to designer jeans choices. I always recommend not rushing into buying just any jeans — take your time as they are such important wardrobe staples. Do a sit test in a changing room or at home if you shop online. Get a real feel for the jeans so you know it’s the right fit for you. In terms of longevity, when possible, wash your jeans in a cold wash and try to avoid putting them in the dryer. Keep them flat somewhere or put them on a clothes horse to dry as this helps keep shape and colour for so much longer.

Featured photography by @tarmarz.