Style + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle: Denim is Addictive


I’m hoping you can settle an argument on how many pairs of jeans is the appropriate amount of jeans to own.  I say 10 is a good amount (the number in my closet), while my friends think I’m crazy and the number should be closer to 2-4.  If 10 is too many, maybe you could give a good rule of thumb as to what are the types of jeans that should be part of a complete wardrobe?


No lie, I chose this question only so I could show you this photo.

I snapped this pic while we were cleaning out and reorganizing Miss M’s closet (two people, four hours).  There were dozens of pairs of jeans, in every conceivable wash, style and brand.  But, I have to give M credit, she knew the difference between them.

I would hold up a pair I wanted to send to a new home at Goodwill and M would jump in with, “But Belle, those are the William Rast Sadies.”  And I would reply, “Wait, I thought these were the William Rast Sadies?”  And she would come back, “Yes, but those are the Castaway wash.”  And then, I would go cross-eyed.

So while you have Miss M on the addicted fringe of the denim spectrum, I live on the opposite side.  For years, I couldn’t wear jeans to work, so I own three pair–one skinny (Joe’s Marla Skinny Jeans), one slim bootcut (AG Ballad jeans), one trouser cut (7 Dojos).  And I am really considering picking up a pair of Paige Premium Skyline jeans and replacing a pair of AG Angels that I wore until the seams fell out.

What I’m saying is that you should own as many jeans as a) you’ll wear enough times to justify the cost and b) you can buy without charging up a storm on your credit card.  If you wear jeans four days per week or more, you should probably own 6+ pair.  If you rarely wear them, you don’t need that many.  But when you get to the point where your friend is on the phone with Betty Ford saying, “What do you mean you only take alcoholics with serious addictions? This is an emergency!” it’s probably time to cut back.

And if you do need to trim down, don’t worry. Lightly-used denim is a big seller at Mustard Seed resale in Bethesda and on eBay.  



  1. PSP says:

    I'm so thrilled you posted about this! I have a love/hate relationship with jeans. (Don't all women?) But a few years ago I had a pair of trouser jeans that I LOVED and I wore the heck out of them. Then, the trends moved away from a wider trouser leg to the skinny jeans, so I haven't bothered replacing my trousers for fear of looking out of fashion.
    Do you consider them a staple or more of a trend item?

    October 10, 2012/Reply
  2. Stephanie says:

    I have approximately 11 pairs of jeans and am on the hunt for a new pair this fall! I have my eye pair of DL 1961 skinnies. What I currently own/wear: Hudson bell bottom and boyfriend jean, Citizens wide leg trouser, bootcut, and flare leg to wear with flats or low heels, DL 1961 wax coated Emma, Target leopard print denim, J.Brand red skinny leg, white denim from Urban Outfitters, Black and Blue rail straights from Madewell. Am I normal???

    October 10, 2012/Reply
  3. CS says:

    I was just looking for jeans the other day, even after looking in my closet and thinking “Geez, I have too many pairs of jeans”. Trouble is, for women in particular, we not only have a lot of different styles of jeans, but I switch very often from heels/heeled boots, flats and flat boots. Each different type of shoe requires a different style of jean, so I'll often buy the same pair both in petite and regular cuts to mix between shoes. Shopping for jeans this way means I have many more pairs in my closet than I would if I just had one style of shoe!

    October 10, 2012/Reply
  4. M-C says:

    Imho, you need as many pairs of jeans as you need underwear while backpacking – three. One on, one clean, one drying. Surely that's more than enough for anyone. For someone who can wear them at work, that is. If you can't, I'd think one would be fine.

    Really, if you have that many, it's because you haven't managed to find any that really fit you..

    October 11, 2012/Reply
  5. Meagan says:

    I have six pairs. Straight leg (2 pair), both the exact same – one hemmed to flats one for heels. One pair wide leg trouser. One pair white jeans. One pair skinny jeans. And one pair of old boot cut ones from college that are worn in “just right.”

    October 11, 2012/Reply