clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Where I Went Looking for the Perfect Summer Jeans

Photo: Urban Outfitters

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Shabbily tacked on my bedroom wall is a list of Summer 2016 Goals. I’m obsessively list- and goal-oriented, so this piece of paper is a perfect marriage of all my neuroses — it’s a list about goals! On this list are things like eating more lobster rolls than last summer, going to the beach at least twice a month, and finding perfect summer jeans, a task which I set to work on last week.

I’m going to Puerto Rico in a few days, and because of the whole Zika thing, I would like to try keep my mosquito-enticing legs as covered as possible. I’ve been dreaming of a pair with a lighter wash, a relaxed fit, a high-ish rise, and maybe either a cropped flare leg or a raw-edge hem. Or both! Because #trends, y’all.

My first stop was Madewell in Williamsburg. It seemed like a great place to start because they stock a pair helpfully dubbed The Perfect Summer Jean — I have their Perfect Fall Jean, and I really love them. I liked this version enough, but the size that fit best in the legs and bum was a little big on the waist, as is my eternal struggle with all pants. They also weren’t cropped and possessed a boring straight-sewn hem, yawn. There was another pair on sale I wanted to try, but they didn’t have them in the store.

Next, I hit up the Levi’s in the same neighborhood to try their Wedgie Fit jeans, and while they did make my butt look as perky as promised, I needed a different size that I couldn't attain within my vacay timeline.

Photo: Levi's

Finally, I trekked across the river to the big Urban Outfitters in Soho, where I inevitably buy all my jeans because I guess I'm still a teen at heart? Anyway, I found a light-wash, high rise pair with a raw hem, and for only $70, I was all in — or so I thought. Turns out I still wasn't over that other Madewell pair I couldn't try on, so after agonizing in the UO store about which pair to go with for roughly 40 minutes, I just decided to buy both with the intent of returning whichever pair I end up liking least.

It took me two nights of trying on both pairs several times, walking my dog in them, and sending advice-seeking pictures to my very tolerant friends and mother (bless you all), before I finally returned the Madewell pair like a responsible human. The temptation of keeping both attempted to derail that plan, but I really do not need two pairs of on-trend summer jeans. Or do I? (Someone please come put me out of my misery.)

Side note, I also bought these terra-cotta suede slides on sale at UO, and they are super-comfy. Thank you, sandals, for being uncomplicated and not inducing shopping anxiety!