End Of Summer Try-On Sesh {with TONS of Denim Under $100!}

Greetings, friends! This post is going up so late, I should probably just wait until tomorrow, but I was getting a few people asking about me so I figured I’d go ahead and throw it up now. I really cannot WAIT to get back to a more predictable posting schedule. Today is the first day of school for my family, and with that I hope to restore some order and routine to my work life.

I’ve been trying to get this post up for days. It was going to go up on Saturday, but things were crazy here, and I finally cried uncle and posted an outfit that I could explain more quickly.

Then today was another crazy morning, and I’m finally getting around to wrapping this up. I swear, I’m going to spend the rest of today and all day tomorrow preparing posts for the rest of the week so I can put a stop to this mad scramble every morning.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve ordered a bunch of jeans and assorted other items to try, and I did a big try-on sesh a few days ago. My goal was to find some jeans under $100 that I can recommend, and I did find a few gems! I’m also sharing some tops and a pair of dress pants.

I want to apologize in advance for causing your eyes to bleed with my rear-view shots, but I’m convinced that this is a crucial part of the denim-vetting process. So many pairs of jeans look fine from the front and sides, and when I look at the rear, I am horrified. So in my attempts to give you a complete review of each pair, I decided to go ahead and post pictures from all angles, even the dreaded rear-view.

Obviously, everyone is built differently and is looking for different things when comparing rear pockets, but for me, I tend to be wide and flat back there (#shovelbutt) so I’m looking for pockets that give the illusion of more curves. I like my rear pockets small and placed right in the middle — many are placed too far apart, for some reason. I’m sure that flatters someone, but not me.

I only know this from a lot of trial and error (and rear-view dressing room pictures) so if you’re not sure what looks best on you, my best advice is to try on a lot of jeans, and take pictures to compare. Looking at pictures makes it a lot easier to compare than just looking at your rear view in the mirror. I don’t know why, but it’s true.

With all that said, let’s get started. For reference, I’m 5’5″ and 140# with an hourglass shape. All of the jeans in this post are size 29 unless otherwise noted.

End Of Summer Try-Ons {with TONS of Denim Under $100!}

First, I ordered two pairs of jeans from Express. These skinnies are comfortable and soft, and I like the higher rise, but they’re too long for me so I’d have to hem them.

And while the front and side views are okay, I feel like the large rear pockets make me look wider and flatter than I already am. #nothankyou They’re placed well, but they’re rather large. Again, this is just me. If you don’t mind the larger pockets, I think these jeans are a good bang for the buck, especially since they’re currently on sale for $39.90. If they’re too long for you, you can always have them hemmed, but if you’re tall and have trouble finding jeans that are long enough, these are worth a try!

Express high waisted medium wash leggings, size 29 regular // Vince suede slides // Ann Taylor mixed jersey tank

This next pair is BlankNYC. I like the fit on these a lot. They’re a great length, they hug my legs without being too tight, and the rear pockets are well spaced, and they’re smaller than the Express pair.

The wash on these is a little funky, though. They’re almost an acid-wash. #the80sareback If you like that, they’re great jeans for the price.

BlankNYC skinny jeans, size 29 // Vince suede slides // Ann Taylor mixed jersey tank

I’m really sorry to say I don’t have a set of rear shots for these J.Crew jeans because they’re my favorite skinnies of the lot. These jeans are soooo soft and comfortable. Like, seriously impressive for comfort. I also like the fit a lot, and the lighter wash is nice for summer. Also, right now, J.Crew is running a promotion on their pants & jeans: 20% off 1 pair, 30% off 2 pairs, 40% off 3+ pairs with code PANTSPARTY.

The top I’m wearing is super cute as well. I like how it has some structure through the waist, and the deep v-neck is flattering. It runs very big, though. I’m wearing a small, and I feel like it’s a little too big. I expect it will shrink up some when it’s washed, though. FYI, this top is 40% off!

J.Crew high rise jeggings, size 29 // Vince suede slides // Hinge surplice top

I also ordered two pairs of bootcut jeans. This first pair is Wit & Wisdom. They have that ab solution panel in the waist that Wit & Wisdom is known for, which makes them comfortable, and they supposedly lift and shape the rear.

The wash is a nice, dressy dark wash that is very versatile. They’re just a TAD short on me with my go-to Hazel pumps, and they flare a little funny at the bottom, but that’s not a deal breaker for me. FYI, you will want to size down in these if you tend to run in between sizes. I’m in the size 6, and they fit perfectly.

I don’t care for the rear pocket placement — they’re a little large and wide-set — again, not a deal breaker, but with the length issue too, I decided to send them back. Plus I found a similar pair that I like a lot more…

Wit & Wisdom bootcut jeans, size 28 // Ann Taylor mixed jersey tank // Sam Edelman leopard pumps

This next pair is from Express, and I’m bummed I paired them with a top that’s too tight because it detracts from how flattering the jeans are.

The top is a Bobeau blouson sleeve number that I thought would be really cute for casual wear, but it is skin tight. #nothanks I may order the next size up, though, because I like the idea of it and the material is super soft.

The jeans, however, are bootcut perfection. I love the wash — dark, but not too dark, and they have just a slight fading in the hips and behind the knees to give them that cool, worn-in look. They happen to be the perfect length for me to pair with my favorite pumps, and they have a great shape through the leg.

Plus, the rear pockets are on the smaller side and placed perfectly, with just a slight curve at the top to give to the illusion of more shape.

Express mid-rise bootcut jeans // Bobeau blouson sleeve top // Sam Edelman pumps

I also ordered these Kut from the Kloth bootcut jeans, and I’m probably keeping them as well. I love the lighter wash, and the fit is fantastic. Unfortunately they are just a smidge too long, but not enough to warrant hemming. I think I’ll just wash them and hope they take up 1/4-inch.

Kut from the Kloth Natalie bootcut jeans, size 6 // Old Navy tank // Sam Edelman pumps

Okay, next up, straight leg jeans. So I found these at Banana, and I really thought they were fun. I ordered them in short and regular lengths because I noticed when looking at the website that they regular length had a 29.5″ inseam, and the short had a 27.5″ inseam. I like how they fit the model, and they look cropped on her, so I ordered both lengths to try.

At first try-on, I loved them in the short. I think they look casual and comfortable and modern. They have a great wash for the price point — that is often the first place where I can tell the difference between low and high end jeans — and the vented hem is a fun detail.

The rear pockets are larger and set wider part than I prefer, but I was willing to overlook that because they’re cute and I’m trying to integrate other styles of jeans into my closet.

Banana Republic slim straight dark wash jeans // Vince suede slides // Ann Taylor mixed jersey tank

But then I decided I should try them on with the regular (longer) length compare. To be fair, I tried them on with the same black tank and slides. (Why I never tucked that tag into my tank, I have no idea!)

At this point, I was conflicted on the length, and I started really second guessing that rear view. Those big wide-set pockets definitely don’t do much for me.

Banana Republic slim straight dark wash jeans // Vince suede slides // Ann Taylor mixed jersey tank

But I wasn’t ready to give up, so I decided to see how they would look with ankle boots.

Darn it, now I kind of like the regular length. As we head into fall, though, I’m not sure what to put on top. I mean, a sweater, obviously, but I need to try a few different styles and see how the proportions work out.

Banana Republic slim straight dark wash jeans // Sam Edelman suede booties // Ann Taylor mixed jersey tank

I also tried on the short pair with Converse and a summer top, and I think this works. The top isn’t very flattering on me, though, so I passed it on to my 15 year-old daughter. For reference, I’m wearing a small in the top and a 29 in the jeans.

Banana Republic slim straight dark wash jeans // Converse Shoreline // LOFT striped bow back tank

Curious also to see how they would work with loafers, I went back and tried each pair on again with leopard loafers. Honestly, I like both lengths. It’s just that one is a cropped straight, and the other is full-length on me. I feel like the cropped pair is cute for summer, and the full-length pair is better for going into fall. #decisions

Banana Republic slim straight dark wash jeans // Ann Taylor mixed jersey tank // leopard loafers // Caslon rounded v-neck tee // leopard slides

In the end, I decided to send both back because let’s face it, the pockets are really not working for me. But I want to like them, and I’m still looking for straight leg jeans to add to my closet this fall. I still have the Frame pair from the #NSale, but they are a lighter wash, and they sort of flare at the bottom. Plus, even on sale, they were spendy, so I’d love to find a more affordable pair.

This pair of 7FAM cropped straight leg jeans were 20% off last week, so I ordered them to try. I’ve been holding onto a few extra pounds lately and everything feels tight, so I ordered them in a size 29 even though I know I usually take a 28 in this brand.

This pair may be a keeper, but I’m still working how how to wear them, and I think I should probably exchange them for the 28 because after wearing them for 5 minutes, I can feel them getting loose in the rear. I also think they look a little big through the knee area, but maybe that’s just because they’re a straighter cut. The only way to find out is to try the 28 and compare, so I’m going to try to do that soon. Anyway, for now, I would say these are a contender. I like how the straighter cut balances out my hips, and they are so very comfortable. I love the b(air) fabric — it’s so soft and lightweight.

7FAM crop straight leg jeans // Old Navy tank // Tory Burch Miller sandals

For comparison, I tried them on with booties, and I think they’re a great length for that look. Again, the pockets are a little larger than ideal, but I think they’re placed well and fairly flattering. Obviously, I wouldn’t wear this tank with the booties, but I didn’t bother to style an entire outfit. I definitely want to play around some with this look though!

7FAM crop straight leg jeans // Old Navy tank // Tory Burch Miller sandals

I also placed a fairly large Banana Republic order, and I was pleased with much of it! These ponte moto leggings are really fun for casual wear. I’m not sure I love this sweater with them — I think I’d go with something in more of a sweatshirt material, and I really like how they pair with these backless leather skate sneakers. I actually ordered these in the short because I wanted the ankle length, but the full length might be nice too… I probably should have ordered both to compare.

Banana Republic ponte moto leggings // silk cashmere varsity v-neck //

These slim straight washable windowpane pants are a great workwear piece. They’re very flattering, lightweight, and comfortable. They aren’t lined, so make of that what you will. I still think they’re nice, and at 40% off (which is what I paid) they’re a good value.

And I really like this silk cashmere varsity v-neck. It’s just a classic sweater, but it has a flattering neckline and it’s very soft and thin and comfortable. Again, a nice work wear piece. For size reference, I have the pants in a 6 and the sweater in a small.

Banana Republic slim straight windowpane pants // silk cashmere varsity v-neck // Sam Edelman pumps

Whew! I feel like there’s more that I should say, and I’m sure I missed some sizing notes, so feel free to ask if you have any questions.

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55 Responses

  1. Thank you for this try-on session. It is so helpful to read what factors you consider when choosing a great pair of jeans. My favourite ones on you are the J. Crew and the last pair…7FAM.

  2. Great post. I really like the Varsity V Neck sweater. So many pretty colors, and it’s a classic style.

    FYI, LOFT has Free Shipping today, plus many markdowns. I ordered the V Neck Sweater in Lavender that you had in a try-on session. I think it will be pretty with white jeans.

  3. I love the silk/cashmere sweater.  I am not a fan of bulky sweaters on me.  I ordered a couple of those from BR last year, unfortunately they pilled badly under the arm after 2 wearings.  I’m nervous about getting them again.  Could you let us know if you have a positive experience with them.  I really want to love them.

  4. Wow… that’s a lot to try on for sure. I just bought two cute pairs one from target( Denizen by Levi’s) and a cute pair from Marshalls. I’m not a big spender when it comes to jeans… These two pairs fit like a glove, even around the waist where I usually find them too big, so that was a deal breaker for me… I know what you mean about the pockets. That’s a rule I’m now using when in the fitting room. I wonder if anyone else finds jeans that fit perfect but always have a gapping waist?

    1. Same problem here. I have some curvy boot-cut Denizen’s that I love (though they do wander down some). My Denizens passed the rear picture test, but I’m not strong enough do take that picture consistently….I just let my husband give the thumbs-up or down (nothing like making him look at unsightly things is there!)

      1. LOL, Paige, you crack me up. I rely on my husband a lot too — he hates that Loft top in Saturday’s post. The ruffles or something — and he’s right, I don’t need the extra.

      2. yeah I bought the misses skinny and they look good from behind( nothing worse than turning around in small room with poor lighting either) I think we are all in the same boat. The waist has a little gap but I’ll be getting the tailor to tuck that. They were a great price though.

      1. Yeah I’ve been doing that…. though I hate to pay the price. But it does make a difference if not I’m tugging them up all day. LOL even if its just a small tuck its so worth it. I’ve bought very few that fit like a glove around the waist..

  5. Wow….that was a post with a lot of work.  I don’t even know where to start on the comments. 🙂 LOL Mostly because I forgot what I was going to say.  🙂 LOL  I do know I’m not ready to embrace the bootcut. I know if skinnies are going to fade out…my favorite…..I’ll have to go for straight before the boot.  You, however, look great in the bootcut.  I just don’t wear heel, pointed toe much these days, and they look the best with bootcut.  As for the pair you said the knees bagged out shortly after putting them on, I wouldn’t keep those. My first pair of Wit and Wisdom was like that and I thought it was maybe just because someone in the dressing room had tried them on but no….they are bagged out always and I just don’t like the look.  I love the waist band of Wit and Wisdom though.  I’ll for sure have to keep this post around for reference.  You could go either way, like you said on the crop and regular length on that one pair, but I agree, one will be best for now and Fall the longer pair, but you made the right decision if the pockets bothered you still.  In your intro. I could understand all you shared. It was so fun to hear your First Day of School talk. I miss that……emptied nested.  I so remember my son being along by the door for  his annual picture and missing his sisters in the picture.  So many changes huh?  You really did have a great summer of getting things done and now the start of new fun memories in your new house.  I’m sure your daughter will do fine on the bus when the time comes.  I’m assuming she still gets to go to the same school with the same friends? 

  6. I really like the window pane trousers….but I have a different bottom problem that you so I don’t know how they’d look. I also have tragically long legs, so that won’t look as good as you do.
    I hear you about the jean issue. Now I’m wondering what my Wit & Wisdom absolution jeans look like from behind…my husband said thumbs-up though, and he’d tell me. I took pictures once and it was too disheartening to do again.
    Thanks for trying the boot-cut jeans! Definitely more my style.

  7. So good to finally see your email and post.  I was curious about the delay.  Like you, I like structure and routines.  Regarding your middle schooler, by the time she does get her bus # assignment, she will have made new friends at school, and probably even have some in the neighborhood.  Thank you for sharing so many options of jeans with us!  You have helped me to pay more attention to how my jeans, shorts, etc., fit/look from the back, which I so appreciate.  You are so right, that can definitely change my mind on what I put on.  Have a fabulous rest of the day!

  8. What a fun and helpful read today.  I have the same Banana Rep. jeans in regular length (I’m 5’ 6.5”) and I like how they look wirh shorter (meaning hit my ankle low) booties. I like the distressed hole in the knee and raw edges. I think they look great on you. 

  9. Wow! What a super helpful post! I think I like the Kut From the Kloth jeans and the BlankNYC jeans (yep that wash works for me… and I am definitely relating to the 80’s throwback!) My son started back to college today but he commutes right now. My other son is done w college and doing his thing in Chicago now. Time sure flies! Best wishes to your kids for a great year!

  10. You are SUCH a sweetheart, Jolynne! Always so concerned with your followers (fans) and getting your blog out early. I (we) appreciate that about you but also know you have a family and whole other life besides your blog. So please don’t be so hard on yourself! That said, I love how dedicated you are and so appreciate how much work you put into your blog. XO

  11. I was getting worried about you but figured you were busy with first day of school. That was a lot if work. Thanks for all the info. I am so ready for jeans.

  12. I loved this try on sesh! I really need to remember to check out the rear view when purchasing jeans more often! I LOVE the Bobeau blouson sleeve top! Can you tell me what size you’re wearing for reference? The website says it runs small. Curious what size you had on in the pic and what size you plan to re-order. 

  13. Thank you for this very extensive jeans try-on- I haven’t shopped at Express in forever (several decades), but I am going to try the mid rise stretch bootcut jeans you modeled. I never think of ordering something in two sizes, but when I have to exchange them, I am frustrated. So, I am ordering these in 2 sizes, and I hope one of them is as flattering on me as they are on you. Thank you again!

  14. I think both the Express boot cut and Kut from the Kloth bootcut Jean are very flattering. They truly make you look taller and leaner. Thanks for the reminder to check the rear view. 😉
    It’s a busy time of year. How fun to meet up with the same group of moms for coffee on the first day of school. 

  15. I think consistency is important, but I have thought of maybe reducing the days I post… but going into 25 days of fall fashion isn’t the time to do that! 🙂 It’s all good, now that the kids are back in school, but remind me next summer… I think a different summer posting schedule is a very good idea.

  16. I hope everyone’s first day went well! I’m so ready for routine and structure to come back in my life! We were supposed to have started week before last, but we’re still struggling with setbacks so no school for us yet. Shooting for next week! Meanwhile…I’m still a faithful reader but have gotten pretty random about commenting. I had to take the time today because I can’t even imagine how much work went into this! You found some great ones, especially the 7fam. They look great on you. I still also like the BR in the short, but you gotta be happy with the rear view to feel great wearing them. I finally found a straight crop I love, and I bet I’ve worn them 4x since getting them two weeks ago, lol. They are Vigoss of all brands, but they’re some of the most comfy jeans I’ve tried.

      1. Yes they do! And they’re on sale for $40! They have a lighter wash that had to grow on me, but I really like it now.

        I also meant to comment the other day when you featured a pair from ON (high rise straight crop). They are so different from most ON jeans in terms of feel and quality. They are too long for me, but I bought them back in May and forgot to return them, so I’m thinking about cutting them, lol. Really nice for the price though!

  17. Jo-Lynne
    Thanks so much for this!! So helpful! You are too hard on yourself.  You look so nice in the outfits you show us! You had an emotional day! You should be proud — a run done and a post! Success!!! We think a Rose’ is in order!! HA 

  18. Hey at least you got a first day of school picture my daughter started high school on Thursday last week i forgot to take her picture . I forgot Friday and again today. Maybe I will get one tomorrow its only the 4th day.   Your poor daughter you should made her sister stand out there w her even if its in her pjs lol 

    1. Haha, I actually tried! And she would have, if I’d gotten her up earlier, but we were in a rush, and she was dead asleep when i called her. So I gave up and took a picture of her later, at her laptop with the dog and a coffee drink. LOL!

  19. Shovelbutt!! I didn’t see that coming and I really did LOL! After riding an office chair for almost 20 years, I think that term is pretty accurate for me as well!

    1. Haha, I’ve always had a flat rear. After running and working out for years, and a few extra pounds, I have a little more shape than I used to, but I really have to watch those back pockets. The smaller ones seem to look best.

  20. I really enjoy your blog. This post was very helpful. Thank you for all the denim options and helpful hints with finding the right fit. I think my favorite are the 7FAM cropped jeans and the KUT from cloth bootcut jeans.

  21. Hi Jo-Lynne! Thanks for the helpful denim try-ons, especially the bootcuts! What is your inseam? I hesitate to order short, but often regular is way too long.

  22. Your posts are always so helpful 🙂 thank you for doing all the hard work!   And I’m so excited to see that bootcut jeans can be worn this fall. You look great in your pics…none of them look bad! Some are better than others, but really…you look great! 

  23. So many great items featured here! The BR jeans are on sale today…would they look funny cuffed? The short inseam is still a little too long for me lol. I did get petite straight leg jeans from KTK but they are a lighter wash and I think I like the dark wash better. 

  24. The try on sessions are some of my favorite posts!!  I know it must be a lot of work for you and exhausting but they are so fun to see! Thanks, especially with the busy time of year.  I was wondering about Kut From the Kloth jeans. I have never owned a pair. How do they run?  The sizing chart online does not match up at all for me. The waist and hip measurements are sizes apart for me.  I am currently taking the second AYR course- bootcut is what I am suppose to wear- probably shouldn’t have the lighter thighs but sometimes it is so hard to find the exact jean. I really like the look of these and the price is great.

  25. I love this post and how you dress like most of us do with several kids, school, jobs and for keeping it real. I’ve stopped subscribing to many of the over 40 fashion bloggers because after having four children size 00 isn’t keeping it real! You look great, fit and healthy! Thanks for your posts.

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