Premium Denim Brand Review: James Jeans

You’ve wanted to try a pair of James Jeans (particularly the Hector, since it’s so damn popular) but you haven’t known where to start. You head over to their site to look around, and you see this:

Each pair of James Jeans is a denim masterpiece using angled back pockets, a contoured waistband, as well as the most unique and technical Dry Aged wash treatments in the industry. Cured to perfection, James Jeans makes your legs look and feel longer, leaner and thinner and your bottom sexier than ever.

But you’re unsure. Does it live up to the hype? I’ll help you find out.

First of all, Seun Lim is my hero. Those of you who know me already know this… it’s a pretty easy thing to find out if you look in my closet and see the exceptionally large amount of James Jeans sitting in there. There’s something pretty spectacular about a brand run by a woman who knows how women like their denim to fit. And while the sizing runs a bit wild sometimes (the James Five Pocket Bootcut is a size small, the Flip Flop is about a half size big and so on… you’ll get photo-based references below), it’s really, REALLY easy to find a pair that works for you. They run up to a size 34 (as well as running plus sizes that go from 14-24 American sizing), so the spread of options for all women is much greater than the majority of premium denim lines.

From a cut that fits comfortably to a wash that creates the illusion of thinner legs to perfectly placed back pockets (with the signature James Darts on them) to lift the look of your butt, Seun Lim knows what she’s doing. And honestly, they do tend to live up to the hype. Like all things, there are a couple of pitfalls, but from the perspective of the three most important basics in denim (fit, wash, fabric/feel), they own it.

Plus, James Jeans on a whole are one of the more eco-friendly brands on the market today. They do all their labor in Los Angeles, use primarily organic cotton, dry age their denim (which cuts down on the amount of chemicals both in the jeans and in the ecosystem) and, as WWD reported last October, have changed the way they look at dyes:

Everyone is getting into the green act and for Seun Lim, the creative director and co-founder of James Jeans, going a bit deeper when it comes to their jeans line can go beyond the use of organic cotton. Apparently, checking out the green dyes to come up with a wider set of designs is on his [sic] mind and for all intents and purposes, it is a good way to enhance your carrier product and provide more designs while you are at it.
Jeans are no doubt in demand and one of the casual style pants people prefer. While the demand is rising, expect them to further boom as James Jeans aims to improve on its current green practices of business.

“This season, we are trying to focus a bit more on the process of washes,” said Lim. “I wanted to step up and offer something different.”

There are, of course, some downsides. First: the sizing. When a brand is so “flexible” with their sizing options, it makes it harder to figure out what your right size is. Here are two different shots of two pairs in the same size; first, the James Five Pocket in Black Mirror and then the Philip Flip Flop in Pure, both in 26:

James Black Mirror
Philip Flip Flop in Pure

Ideally, they’d fit the same, but since we don’t live in an ideal world (and everyone seems to cut their jeans strangely in this one), it’s just not the case. Honestly, I like wearing the Philip more… I prefer a loose, almost boyfriend-esque fit (without the saggy butt that goes along with it.) so it works. But going out? The sparkle and fit of the Five Pocket are perfect.

Best way to find out how James Jeans fit you? You guessed it… go try them on. You can find some great deals online (and if you don’t have time to check them out, email me and I can help you find your true James Jeans size) that won’t even come close to breaking the bank… and there’s definitely one pair to work for virtually every man and woman.

Love,
JP

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  1. I wear a size 10 jeans and pants everywhere. The Gap, always a size 10. I have a pair of Red Engine jeans in a size 30 and they fit perfect. Anyway, I ordered a pair of James Jeans in the James fit and they are WAY too small. I ordered them from the James Jeans website and it appears I can only exchange them. What should I do? Will the Hector cut fit me in a size 10?

    Kimberly

  2. Kimberly,

    The James cut DEFINITELY runs a full size small, as well as a few of the skinny pairs they carry… but the rest of them run True to Size, including the Hector. If you'd like me to help you with sizing, please feel free to email me at denimdebutante@gmail.com!

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  5. I looked around and emailed the founder of denimdebutante.com before buying James Jeans Skinny Boot Ref Bootcut. I wear 12s and some 14s, and she recommended 32. These fit really nicely and, unlike my other “stretch” jeans (Elie Tahari and Christopher Blue), they hold their shape. After 20 minutes of wearing most jeans with spandex, they start to fall down and need a belt. These don’t. In fact, when I take them off, they look pretty much the same as when I put them on. They are pretty comfortable. The rub, for me, is that these have a fairly low rise, which means–muffin top! I’m in my 50s and don’t wish to expose my middle-aged tummy. I’m thinking the best bet for middle-agers with bellys is probably Not Your Daughters Jeans, though I don’t own those yet. The dark wash is gorgeous and the fabric feels luxe. The length is just long enough for me at 5’8″ and wouldn’t be long enough if I wore high heels.

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  9. Hi!
    I too love these jeans. I own some of the oldies in this style but my favorites are a 26 I got which is from what I know skinny bootcut from a couple of years ago and a jimmy petite style with a flap pocket (26P). I am wondering about the new fabrics. There is a style called the reboot C and it seems like the fabric is lighter and stretchier. I would like a dark wash, simple style lower rise, but NOT thin fabric. Any suggestions?
    Thank you!

    Lisa