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If Your Jeans Aren’t Comfy Enough for Quarantine, You’re Doing It Wrong

Am I a psycho for insisting on wearing denim in quarantine? Not at all — the right pair can be just as comfortable as sweats or pajamas

I might be stuck at home, but I’m too narcissistic to compromise my style. While everyone else is wearing sweatpants or pajamas for the fourth week in a row, I will not be caught in unflattering fits. Yes, I will be the insufferable prick wearing jeans in your Zoom meeting — no matter what Sophie Turner thinks.

Truthfully, I feel more comfortable in jeans. Getting ready every morning to stay at home in coronavirus quarantine is therapeutic. Putting on a clean pair of jeans and a crop top is a costume — in this case, ’80s Johnny Depp — to momentarily assuage the overwhelming stress about the pandemic.

Still, I don’t want to look like a knockoff Jonas Brother circa 2014. Skinny jeans are too tight and they suffocate my style game, so I’ve been searching for jeans to wear when eating on the couch and at my desk and in the kitchen. I’m consuming way too much pasta, so I need some good stretchy jeans. Here’s what the denim experts tell me.

Vintage Is Often More Comfortable

Worn denim is typically cozier. The fibers have loosened and softened from repeated wear and wash. Jaime Wong, owner of Brooklyn and Los Angeles vintage retailer Raggedy Threads, suggests thrifted jeans. “To feel some kind of normalcy inside my home rather than wearing sweatpants all day, I throw on my favorite comfy pair of vintage Levi’s 501 redlines from the ’60s,” Wong tells MEL. The fit is key: They’re “more of a boyfriend size.”

Vintage Levi’s 501 redlines are hard to come by, so monitor Etsy closely. Or ditch vintage and opt for a new pair of 501s. What you might lose in extended comfort, you’ll make up for in a higher bank account. New 501s retail for $59.50, more than half the price of $124.99 vintage redlines.

What to Know About New Jeans

Maybe you don’t give a shit about denim. You just want a comfortable pair of pants that will make you feel better about not showering in five days. In that case, opt for new jeans with loose cuts, like bootcut, relaxed fit, athletic fit or wide-legged. “Search for a pair that’s not so tapered around the legs,” Wong says. Unless they’re actual sweatpants, ditch those joggers bunching around the ankle. They went out of style in 2017 anyway.

Why Jeans Are Weighed in Ounces

Vintage or new, you’ll need to find lightweight jeans in hope of snagging the softest jeans. The weight of denim is deteriorated by type and density, produced between 5 oz. to 32 oz. Fewer ounces mean lighter jeans.

Scott Morrison, found of denim brand 3×1, tells GQ that the lightest-weighted jeans are 9 to 10 oz. Between 13 and 16 oz. is considered mid-heavyweight denim. Anything above 16 oz. is a novelty weight. Morrison says most men are likely wearing 11 to 13 oz. denim.

Rinsed Is Reliable

For true comfort, find rinsed lightweight jeans. Rinsed refers to jeans washed to remove residual dye to stop the color from running. A happy byproduct of rinsing is softer denim. “They’re made to wear immediately and [you] don’t have to ‘break them in,’” Wong says.

Wong recommends something even lighter. The 3sixteen brand lightweight selvedge CT-101s are rinsed and tumble-dried to remove detergent, enzymes and distressing. “It feels like pajamas without looking like you’re wearing pajamas,” Wong says.

Where to Buy Online

Finding well-fitted, stylish vintage denim can be hard to come by, especially when you’re stuck at home and can’t shop in person. Check out popular thrifting apps Depop and Poshmark for influencer-approved jeans.

If haggling with 16-year-olds over jeans older than they are isn’t ideal, look for pants that mimic vintage style. David Shelist, owner of the Denim Lounge in Chicago, recommends Fidelity’s Jimmy Oxygens, lighter in color around the thighs and knees. “These suckers feel like sweatpants. Super-stretchy, but [they don’t] bag out or droop,” Shelist tells MEL.

Another option for new jeans is the pricier J Brand Kane French Terry. They come in a range of denim washes as well as non-denim colors with fun names like sea spray (green), keckley mowse (gray) and milibus (black).

There’s one final option for finding good jeans while you’re working from your childhood home. Dig through your dad’s closet and find those authentic ’70s bell-bottoms he can’t fit into anymore. Talk about a genius idea.

This Is Life Under Quarantine