BLUE JEAN BABY
Finally, as with T-shirts, no lesbian wardrobe is complete without some well-fitting jeans. American Eagle repeatedly gets women’s jeans right, keeping all of the features that work well in the men’s designs but offering them in sizes that fit many women. In fact, they even created a "Boyfriend" line that features a "super low rise" waist — but without the pesky boyfriend from which to borrow them. It’s almost like they made them specifically for us! (The "Artist" line has the same super low rise feature but with a skinny flare — and a cooler name.)
No, Jean Therapy is not what lesbians do when they’re upset and go shopping, it’s the name of a lesbian-owned, Boston-based boutique that carries a variety of premium quality men’s and women’s jeans from companies like 7 for All Mankind, Ben Sherman, Kicking Mule and others. They also offer alteration services and private shopping by appointment after store hours.
And you don’t have to live in Boston to get the royal treatment at Jean Therapy. Owner Leah Eckelberger told us: "We are more than happy to ship anywhere in the U.S., and we have been known to sell to people who have never been able to make it to the store by making recommendations for them based on pictures they send of themselves and email exchanges. Yes, we are that good that we can make suggestions based on pictures alone!"
Leah is herself the proud owner of more than 80 pairs of jeans, though she admitted: "Like most people I only have two or three in constant rotation at any given time. I always seem to put on the same jeans I threw on my bedroom floor the evening before!" She also offered us some handy advice about how to pick the ultimate pair of jeans:
"Picking out the perfect pair of jeans can be a tricky endeavor. But there are a couple of things to keep in mind when shopping for denim: Speak up and keep an open-mind. The first thing we often ask at the store is, ‘What are you looking for?’ It sounds really basic, but you kinda need to go with a sense of who you are and what you want your clothing to say about you.
"So for example, if you are a super foxy femme, you might be into the latest trendy jean with an embroidered back pocket. If you’re kinda tomboyish or butch, I doubt you’re going to like having someone try to put skin-tight, bedazzled jeans on you. Do you want your jeans to be baggier? What rise is comfortable? Do your jeans always stretch out of you? Do you want a skinny leg or a boot cut? What color would you prefer?
"There are never hard and fast rules when it comes to what jean will look good on someone and why, but there are a few good basic guidelines that can help steer people in the right direction."
Here are Leah’s five tips to remember when shopping for a great pair of jeans:
1. Back pocket size and placement matters. If you want to make your butt look bigger, look for jeans with a smaller back pocket angled slightly down. Back pocket details (stitching or flaps) also give a butt good definition. To make a butt look smaller, look for bigger back pockets that are spaced equally and angled up. Also, avoid any sort of detail or flap if you want to diminish your backside.
2. Pay attention to shading on the jean. People often think that a plain dark jean will make them look the best, but often it can make you look even worse because you don’t get the benefit of the shading work painstakingly added to jeans. Jeans are faded in strategic places, and it’s designed to make you look better. A light fade in the front of the thigh going down to the knee creates the optical illusion that your thigh is leaner than it truly is, and for a petite woman it also creates the illusion of height and length. And a light fade on the butt of jeans (it should be very subtle — more so than the fade on the thighs) creates what I call a "cloud effect" — it’s meant to make your butt look higher and rounder than it truly is, which is always a good thing.
3. All good denim will stretch, even jeans with no stretch fabric in them. If you want them to stay snug, buy a size to a half-size smaller than normal. When in doubt if you should go up or down a size, always try it on anyway. You’re there in the store and you might as well get it right. If it doesn’t fit, no harm, no foul. We often see women go a size smaller when we have try them on another size; they shouldn’t feel pinching, but more like a leather glove. So snug is good, bruised hips are not! However, if you like them loose, buy the proper size and they will loosen up as well.
4. If you invest in good jeans, you will want to take care of those puppies! Our mantra is cold water wash, line dry. They will stretch in the width and shrink, very slightly, in the length.
5. Trust the people who work at good denim stores. Chances are good they live and breathe denim just like us at the store. Every single person at Jean Therapy goes through a three-month training process on how to get the proper fit of jeans for customers, and it’s pretty intense and a big investment for a small shop. So don’t let all the training and knowledge go to waste!
Find out more about Jean Therapy at jean-therapy.com.