On a scale of hideousness, only bikini shopping can hit a more depressing note than searching for the perfect pair of jeans. The process can be relentless, but help is at hand in the form of London’s foremost denim guru, Donna Ida. Since day dot (or 2006 in Chelsea), Australian-born Donna has made it her mission to get women into the jeans that fit them best. Opening up a string of denim boutiques, an online store and even her own line of jeans to fill the gaps in the market for her customers, Donna has made sure there are now many happier denim-clad bottoms in the UK than there once were.
But her work will never be complete due to our changing tastes and trends—not to mention a slightly altered waistline following the Christmas period… So here is her brand-new, 2016-ready advice on finding the jeans you will love like crazy. Forget body shape or size, focus instead on what kind of jeans you like and Donna will know exactly the brand, style and wash you should be going for.
Scroll down to get Donna’s insider tips on your best jean options…
“A really good go-to that works for a lot of shapes is Frame Denim’s Le Garcon (£215). It’s almost like a relaxed skinny, so even though it’s slouchy you won’t look big in it. If you’re after a true, baggy boyfriend jean then go for the original everyone went crazy for years ago: Current/Elliott Boyfriend Jeans (£205). It’s really straight cut, tight on bum and thighs, big around the waistband and falls straight at the bottom.”
On Miranda Kerr: Frame Denim Le Garcon Boyfriend Jeans, available in Berkeley Square (£230).
“Smaller pockets on the derrière aren’t as good for curvy girls. You can roll up your jeans as many times as you need to (I’m short so I have no choice!) but just make sure they sit one inch above your ankle. I always look for a bit of shading on the thighs; the boyfriend jeans should look lived in and thigh shaving and whiskering is quite flattering, giving little bit of shape and definition.”
“High-waisted skinnies give you so much more leg. Brands are making skinnies quite cropped these days so if you are really tall you may be having some trouble finding a pair that are long enough; look to the Ida Ivy (£150) and Goldsign’s Lure (£280). James Jeans’ Twiggy (£150) is amazing: mid-rise, a curved waistband which sits a little higher at the back, plus a tuck in the back pocket that gives your bum a lift. Paige’s Verdugo (£195) is one of their best-selling styles and the really square pocket makes your bottom look smaller. Mother Denim’s Looker (£215)—the bulk of their business in my boutiques—has more of a trouser waistband, so it won’t dig into you as much if you’ve got a muffin top."
"You only need 2% maximum elastane in a pair of skinnies. If you go beyond that you’re in jeggings territory. The black-blue washes are most popular right now because they go with everything, all year round. Sometimes black can be a bit harsh and you can feel a bit like you are in a waitressing uniform, a stormy shade is more approachable.”
"Frame Denim, J Brand and Paige all do great flares; and J Brand’s Maria (£90) is so stretchy you’ll go down five sizes, even if that isn’t your true size! Unlike some other standard rules that apply to skinnies or boyfriends, with flares you really do have to try them on to see."
"Depending on how tall or how long your legs are, the fit is going to really vary: if you have a long thigh bone the flare will want to break too soon, or if you are short in the calf it will be skinny to below the knee. Look at where the jean flares out, it wants to flare out where your knee is. If it’s still skinny below the knee and heading towards the calf, then it’s not the right pair for you."
On Aimee Song: J Brand jeans, Oliver People's sunglasses.
"You should only see a hint of your shoes (1 cm above the ground, max) and you have to pick the right shoes that are just for flare-wearing days. You have to commit to high heels because the jeans need that height—like stilts! If you need to get them taken up, make sure you get the 'original hem' and a tailor who does denim tailoring; they cut the bottom of the jeans off and put that hem up higher, so you get the exact distressing and finish the jeans were designed with."
"Dark indigo washes are great all year round and you’ll actually find that in the summer a pair of white denim flares is more universally flattering than light blue.”
"Cropped flares like Ida’s Kitty or J Brand’s Selita sold like mad last year; it’s because they are easier to wear in the UK with our changeable climate—and the fact you can wear them with flats and lower heels."
"ReDone is really good for this. In general, this is a a really cool shape but it is hard to crack, so people come in for that and they leave with culottes or a boyfriend. These have zero stretch, like old Levi’s, so although we like the idea, we’re so used to comfort that we’re not so willing to go back."
"Boilersuits and overalls are proving to be very popular because they’re a one-item outfit; I was stressed about launching the Ida Sadie Boilersuit (£210) but sales have just gone crazy, because it’s really flattering for every kind of body shape, easy to wear and super comfortable."
On Bella Hadid: Unif sweater; ReDone jeans; Saint Laurent bag and shoes.
What's your biggest denim problem? Let us know in the comments below and we'll answer your wardrobe's woes!