Jeans Shopping 101• Plan ahead. For example, don't schedule your shopping trip right after your dinner at the pasta buffet. Leave plenty of time to peruse the store. Pack a flask and rescue flares in case things get really bad.
• Know exactly what kind of jeans you're shopping for and dress accordingly. If you're looking for relaxed everyday jeans, wear casual shoes, shirt, and undergarments. If you're searching for some trendier denim to wear with heels at night, then wear your stilettos and a clingy top to the store. Want a pair of skinny jeans to tuck into your boots? Wear your boots into the dressing room and tuck those suckers in.
• Keep a ballpark price in mind. And no, $20 - $200 is not a ballpark. Is this going to be a sale rack kind of day, or is this going to be the day you spend some (or all) of your savings on a pair of designer jeans?
• If you usually have a hard time finding jeans, steer clear of smaller stores and boutiques, and head straight for large stores withlargerselections. There's nothing worse than trying on every single pair of jeans in a store only to go home empty-handed, convinced you're some kind of mutant who can't wear normal clothes, when in fact, the store only offered three different styles.
• If you have a little junk in the trunk or have been blessed with a Rubenesque figure, you should check out stores that specialize in larger sizes—they usually have more options, and the staff has a better knowledge of flattering cuts and colors.
• Conversely, if you have a smaller frame, or are just looking for a bargain, don't be afraid to take a peek at the juniors’ section, especially for trendier styles. Prices usually stay below $50, but beware the super-low-rise fashions, which only tend to look good on svelte 13-year-olds.
• As much as I adore thrift and vintage stores, they are not dependable sources for jeans. If you stumble across a fabulous pair of worn-in Levi's while browsing at the thrift store, good for you. But usually, the selection is too limited and unpredictable to count on finding a good fit.
• No matter what store you go to, try on five hundred pairs of jeans . . . and then try on five more. Do you see why you should carve out some time for this?
• If you hyperventilate at the thought of endless shelves of denim, familiarize yourself with the Denim Field Guide and Maslow's Hierarchy of Jeans (both featured in the book!) to help you make sense of it all. You could breathe into a paper bag too, if that helps.
And to help you with that "retaining one-half of your paycheck" thing, I'm so excited to offer you a free pair of fabulous jeans from a new premium denim company based out of NYC called Antique Rivet!
The winner will receive a pair of these embellished straight leg jeans in size 0-13 (I'm so sorry to my beautiful readers who fall outside that range, I swear I'll make it up to you!) which normally retail for $85. Recessionista, baby! (Oh my god, I'm so upset I just wrote that. I apologize.)
For a chance to win, please leave a comment describing your best jeans shopping strategy, or how you found your favorite pair of jeans. Thanks so much for entering, and I'll choose a winner at random a week from today (Monday, November 2nd!). As always, blogging or tweeting about this giveaway will earn you an extra entry! Best of luck!
Updated to add: International readers are welcome to enter! We can have your prize shipped to me and then I'll ship it out to you, wherever you may be!
Aaaaannnnnnd our lucky winner is BAM! Thank you all so much for entering and for all the amazing tips and tricks! I learned so much from reading your comments! And not to worry--another great giveaway is coming up soon! :)