Alterations Tuesday: Boyfriend Jeans


Lets start this post out by saying that I hate the term Boyfriend Jeans.  Don’t even get me started on how the term is heterosexist. Don’t even get me started on the fact that most men’s jeans don’t fit women like the boyfriend jeans you can buy in the store. When they first introduced the boyfriend jeans (meaning, when they took the ugly straight legged jeans that weren’t selling, rolled the cuff and gave them a new name) in 2005 I did not jump on board.  I thought the trend was, and still do, think it’s unflattering to the variety of body types that women come in.  I hate that all the models who model boyfriend jeans are extremely thin, making it impossible for a women who are say, size 12 to imagine what their bodies would look like in boyfriend jeans.  And finally, I hate that most boyfriend jeans seem to only be available in light denim.

Despite all this hating, I’ve been intrigued by some of the boyfriend jeans on the racks lately, and in patterns.  I love the Wyome Boyfriend Jeans by Named Clothing.

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I’ve been checking out the Pilcro Hypen Carpenter Jeans on the Antrhropologie website (plus the cute jacket in the picture, damn!)

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Then there’s the J Brand Black Distressed Boyfriend Jeans located via Saks Fifth Avenue 

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Then, I found these incredibly ugly Calvin Klein jeans in the free box at my house.  They’re so poorly shaped, size 6, bootcut, and look like they were found in someone else’s free box, or maybe at Costco. When I tried them on I immediately noticed that they could be altered into boyfriend jeans. They had a relaxed fit, and the pockets from behind weren’t terrible. But the cut needed to change completely from the bottom up.


I really like altering denim. I like how forgiving it is. I like the functionality behind making your jeans even better.  Even though I enjoy the process, I was imagining that altering these jeans into boyfriend jeans would be way harder than it was.  I’m almost embarrassed to say that this was the easiest, low-committment Alterations Tuesday project I could have ever picked, unbeknownst to me.  To think I was actually looking for a challenge.


You see, once I had the pants inside out on the floor I realized that I only needed to make an angular change to the leg for them to start turning into boyfriend jeans. Sewing is not magic, it’s geometry.


Then, I sewed at that angle (you can see me sewing along the chalk line), cut off the excess, and neatly finished the edge with a zig zag stitch (you could do the whole thing with a serger as well). It was at this point that I decided to try the jeans on, and realized they were done.  It was honestly a little deflating.  I really enjoy projects I can sink my teeth into, lots of seam ripping, measuring, trying to get that perfect fit….this was so not one of those projects that if I had known ahead of time I probably would have saved it for a Refashion Thursday.


And yet, here they are. I’ve really come full circle regarding boyfriend jeans.  The first thing I noticed was how comfortable they are, with so much room in the back and front to breath in. No wonder they’ve gained such a cult following by fashion fanatics everywhere. Unlike the skinny jean (which I’m not ready to give up yet), you can basically walk around in jeans as comfortable as pajamas and if anyone tries to stop you, point at the nearest department store and say, “I’m the height of fashion baby!” I think I’m starting to understand the 90s.


This morning when I woke up, styled, and set out to photograph theses jeans with my housemate who basically has turned into my photographer, the lighting was either too bright or too dark just about everywhere we went until we went to the neighbor’s backyard. The cute pointed heals I’d picked out for the photo shoot were not appropriate for the earthy yard and in a mad rush I slipped into my garden loafers that hail back to my days at Smith.  Despite this, I’ve learned that I actually prefer these jeans styled under-done. What’s the point of wearing jeans this comfortable if your feet can’t be comfortable as well?


I doubt that I’ll give up wearing heals completely with the boyfriend jeans, but I’m totally impressed by how the shoes don’t distract from the simplicity of the pants, but rather compliment them.

IMG_3002If you’re on the hunt for boyfriend jeans, or you want to make them yourself, my official tips are above for achieving the appropriate fit. If you’re going to set out on making them yourself, (or you ask me to make them for you) start out with a pair of loose fitting bootcut jeans that are 1 to 2 sizes larger than your regular size, but still fit you in the waist well enough to sit on your body and not fall off.  For example, I typically wear a size 2 or 4, and the jeans I used were a size 6.

To style, I recommend keeping things loose and/or boxy on top. Fight the urge to wear them with a tightly fitting t-shirt. You’ll actually appear more put together if your whole outfit is loose.  If you’re going to a dressier event, style the loose outfit with daintier shoes if you want to feel more pulled together.




4 thoughts on “Alterations Tuesday: Boyfriend Jeans

  1. Amber

    Those look super comfy. I have been having issues recently with jeans. I usually wear mens jeans, but have gained some hips. I like to looser fit of men’s jeans, but I need the to actually stay up! 😦 any thoughts or ideas?

    • elana

      I absolutely have ideas! You could have them taken in at the waist in thd back a little bit. Enough so they stay up but not enough to show off your hips to change the look or feel if you prefer men’s jeans.

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