Style + Work

Work Basics: We Begin Again, with Jeans

Last week, I made the decision to move my small law practice to a larger firm.  The thing that sucks about being self-employed is that everything is on you — you work all day, then you do the books, and the marketing, and the admin work.  And as I looked at the next year of my life, I needed more stability and less stress.  I needed paid maternity leave, a 401k match, and someone else to keep the books and answer the phones.  But my wardrobe is not ready for this change.

I talked about this decision last night in my Instagram Live, and several of you messaged me to say that you’re in a similar boat.  Your employers are bringing people back to the office or you’re changing jobs.  Maybe you’ve gained or lost weight during the pandemic.  And you need to get back to basics.

So let’s begin again together.  And let’s start with jeans.

Why jeans?  Because many employers are more casual today than they were at the start of the pandemic.  And because — unless you’re into the 20-something Mom Jeans with the high waists and the cropped, wide legs — jeans for work are hard to find right now.

These Wit & Wisdom Ab-Solution Jeans (also in petite) are constructed to provide ‘booty lift’ and stomach slimming.  But unlike Spanx which constrict and bind, the jeans smooth and lift and also make the jeans more comfortable to wear for long periods.  Plus, no waist gapping when you sit or bend over.

The narrow bootleg opening is flattering on many body types.  And in this dark wash, it’s a dressier jean that looks great with a top and blazer or a nice sweater.

Need shoes for this?  Point toes are the way to go.  I like these Trotters flats and these Vionic flats.

Wit & Wisdom has bootcut jeans that also come in plus-size.  Oh, and did I mention that they’re under-$100?  Yeah, that’s a nice feature.

Love a wide-leg jean?  The Seven Dojo Jean, has been my favorite wide, slightly flared cut since college.  They’re wide without being baggy.  Add a pair of high heels or heeled boots, and you get the best of the 1970s flare in a style that is perfect for work.

The Farrah jeans from AG are still, even a decade later, my favorite.  The waist is high, but not too high.  They stretch for movement and comfort, but don’t fall down or get loose as the day goes on.

This super black color is the only one I replaced when I went up a size.  I’ll replace the blue denim later, but this black was a must for me.  It looks so good with a black sweater or a black top and blazer.

Looking for a less expensive alternative?  I’ve tried on these jeans from Good American and they have a similar look and construction.

I’m about to be an associate at a medium-sized firm, so I need to prepare myself to be working on Saturday.  (Deep breaths.)  These frayed hem jeans from Kut from the Kloth are the jeans I can’t stop wearing.  They sold out on Nordstrom, and at Macy’s, so clearly I’m not the only one who loved them.

The frayed hem is a nice detail, and the lighter wash makes them more casual.  They make a similar style in plus-size.

One more style before we go.  If you’re not ready for jeans, that’s okay.  Chico’s has you covered.  Yes, that Chico’s.  No, you don’t have to wear it with the zebra-printed kerchief tunic.  But this retailer has a whole line of pull-on jeans that look like denim and wear like leggings.

Shown are their straight-fit pull-on jeans.  The waistband is flat front like a legging, so you may want to wear a shirt to cover it.  Also, for sizing, Chico’s sizes are totally different than most retailers sizing.  In a Chico’s jean, I would be a size .5 or 1, which translates to 6 or 8.  So make sure to check the size guide, and even then, I air on sizing down.  But the sizes run from 0-22 US, so it’s a wide range.

Do you have a favorite style of denim for work?  If so, share them in the comments.  It’s going to be a long road back to the office, and feeling we look our best might make it a little easier.

{this post contains affiliate links from Shopstyle and Amazon that may generate commission for the author}

Leave a Reply to Eleni · cancel comment

    16 comments

  1. Jamie says:

    I don’t think I’m ready for Chico’s! But on your recommendation, I might have to go there.

    November 18, 2021/Reply
  2. Laura says:

    Belle, could you post the link to your Instagram live recording? It’s not with your mask Monday videos (or if it is, I am totally missing it, which is highly plausible 🙂 )

    November 19, 2021/Reply
    • Hannah says:

      I second this comment! I love Mask Mondays, and would love to listen to this week’s!

      November 19, 2021/Reply
    • Belle says:

      It didn’t save this week. Some kind of tech issue.

      November 19, 2021/Reply
  3. Brett says:

    I love J Crew’s toothpick jeans for a less pricy alternative to the AG Farrahs (which are my favorite as well). I also like the Madewell Demi-Boot. I find it to be a flattering, less aggressive take on the Mom jeans the kids are wearing and it looks great with pointy kitten heels and a blazer.

    November 19, 2021/Reply
    • Christine S. says:

      J.Crew also has some fantastic curvy jeans in a variety of cuts. Their curvy toothpick is my absolute favorite. It’s basically magic, there’s no gaping and it never slips down.

      November 19, 2021/Reply
  4. Eleni says:

    I love Madewell skinny jeans. Usually can always find them on sale and at Nordstrom Rack. I also have a pair of Sculptek skinny jeans from Athleta that fit great and are very comfortable.

    November 19, 2021/Reply
  5. Rebecca says:

    My favorite jeans are from Brooks Brothers. They ticked all my boxes: 1) high cotton content (96%), 2) suitable for my office (no holes or distressing), and 3) not skinny.

    They’ve held up really well over the past 2+ years, even as my weight has fluctuated (both heavier and lighter than I was at the time of purchase).

    https://www.brooksbrothers.com/Stretch-Denim-Jeans/SU00067,default,pd.html

    November 19, 2021/Reply
    • HR says:

      Thank you for leaving this recommendation! I was looking all over for a full-length straight jean and these are perfect.

      November 27, 2021/Reply
  6. Alana says:

    As a pear shape, I have a really hard time finding jeans that fit my waist, hips, thighs and butt – normally jeans fit one part really well and the rest is too tight or too loose. Anne Taylor Curvy jeans used to be a great option but it feels like the quality and selection of their curvey line has gone down recently, so I’ve started wearing Talbot’s Curvey pants and jeans. They are fantastic and actually fit all parts of my body! Also, the jean itself is really nice and high quality. Thier tops are hit or miss with me (some feels a tad mumsy for me, which is saying something as a 40-y-o mom), but the jeans are stellar

    November 19, 2021/Reply
  7. Laura says:

    Belle, is the silk Wolford mask still your favorite for all-day in-office use? Any tips? I had my first in-office day this week and by the end my cotton mask was agony and the skin around my mouth was wierdly dry.

    November 19, 2021/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Yes it is. I find it comfortable all day and get less dry itchy skin as a result.

      November 19, 2021/Reply
      • Laura says:

        This is the original poster – the mask arrived today and feels great, thanks again for the recommendation!

        November 21, 2021/Reply
  8. Megan says:

    Good luck at the new firm!

    November 19, 2021/Reply
  9. Carrie says:

    Love the Wit & Wisdom. Got a pair postpartum and have picked up additional pairs since then.

    November 19, 2021/Reply
  10. Ana says:

    Best wishes at the new firm! You’ll do great!

    November 21, 2021/Reply