Everlane Jeans and Denim Dreams

  Photography by  Jesse Tamayo  

Photography by Jesse Tamayo 

Standing in the enveloping shadow of the Fairmont Palliser, I realize I am impracticably dressed for the below zero temperatures. Was fooled by the glaring winter sun invading my bedroom this morning. Now, standing rigid with cold underneath my light fall coat. But a small cafe that reads MEAT & BREAD sits on the corner, its large windows facing full into the sun. An inviting sanctuary. Bells jingle as we step inside, and my shoulders relax. It is warm, a rich medley of scents, bars of spangled light on the walls. 

Settling in by the window, I feel at home. Lost in a denim daydream, intoxicated by the warmth and the smells and the slanted sun. Watching the steady stream of traffic buzz down 9th Ave. But mostly, I feel the way the denim moves with me, every pull and bunch of the fabric. My first pair of real blue jeans -- the kind that actually feels like denim -- in goodness knows how long. One has to dig their way through an abundance of jeggings to find the real, unadulterated thing. 

 

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Jeans have always held a sort of poetry for me, because they feel a little bit like rebellion. Not so much in the historical sense -- yes, jeans are slicked-back hair and cigarette-holding and lounging on cars, they are grainy images of our parents in denim that flared out almost as much as their hair. But I was brought up to believe that jeans were the most casual of garments, even a little disrespectful. My mom finally agreed to buy me my first pair around the age of eleven, while my friends had been wearing jeans since kindergarten. And they weren't allowed to be too tight; we usually went up a size or two (to this day I still struggle with instinctively buying pant sizes too big).

My mom had been brought up by her parents to dress well for the day-to-day, of which jeans had no part. She passed down her childhood legacy of white stockings and dresses to me. I vividly remember wearing a dress and white tights on the playground, in the winter time, underneath a puffy coat and snow boots. We laugh affectionately about it now though, and my mom did come to accept jeans (she even let my twelve-year-old self buy boot-cut jeans with patches of brown and beige suede and an embroidered horse on the flares. Looking back, I desperately wish she had said no). But I will always appreciate her desire to elevate the everyday, and to dress respectfully. I think that has stuck with me. Even now, I only wear jeans on my days off, on weekends. And it feels a little bold, a little playful, when I do. But I digress.

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So, jeans. Everlane jeans, in particular. There's been a lot of hype surrounding their so-called #damngooddenim, which piqued my curiosity. I've always loved Everlane from afar -- appreciating their radical commitment to transparency and ethical practices, but never actually being able to swallow the price difference between CAD and USD, plus shipping. 

But I was in need of some real denim. I have never actually owned anything really resembling real blue denim -- I grew up with stretchy, mixed-fiber pairs. Black jeans, coloured jeans, dark-wash jeggings, $20 H&M light wash jeggings that stretched out of shape. But these -- these are a first for me. 

After months of patiently waiting to stumble across the perfect pair of second hand jeans -- a moment that never came (I truly believe you can find most things second hand, but well-fitting high-waisted jeans are elusive) -- I decided it was time to invest in a good pair of ethical denim. And at $68 USD, even with the exchange rate bringing them to $100 CAD, Everlane's jeans were sort of affordable. All things considered. 

And my conclusion is... that they were worth it. 

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Yes, I am now an Everlane denim convert. Nothing is perfect, but these come pretty darn close.

I chose the high-waisted, light wash, regular-length jeans. There are plenty of other cuts and colours to choose from, but these were my favourite. Spring-ready, but versatile.

With a high-waist and slim cut, they are a perfect harmony of retro and modern vibes. They are light wash, but not faded; playful, but classy. They hug you in all the right places, and despite being a stiffer material, don't cut off your circulation (I'm looking at you, ghost of skinny jeans past). It's a denim love affair, but I think this one will last.

They make me want to wear pearls and order a milkshake at the counter. Or walk around in a black leather jacket and heels. Or throw on a chunky knit sweater and a thick belt. All of it, or none of it. These jeans would make anything look good. 

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The Details:

Fit: I would recommend sizing down, especially if you're in-between sizes. I'm wearing a size 27, which fit fine, but I probably could have even made a 26 work after several wears. Everlane claims that they fit true to size, which is probably the case when you first put them on, but they do have a bit of give. I noticed at the end of my first day wearing them that they already felt roomier. Not in a bad way, though -- it just means they're really comfy. You can move freely in them without feeling constricted. But I can't see them stretching out much more than they have; it is still a pretty sturdy material. 

Length: I'm 5"7, and the regular length hits just above my ankle. I was debating going with the slightly shorter ankle length cut, but these are actually pretty close to being an ankle jean for me already. If you're on the tall side, you might want to consider sticking with the regular length. You can always hem them or get them tailored if you decide you want them shorter. 

Style: Although these are technically skinny jeans, they're not skin-tight. I'd say that they fall somewhere between a skinny jean and a straight leg, which is a very flattering look. As for the height of the waist, it feels just right. At least, I wouldn't want it any lower -- I like my high-waists to reach my belly-button, and these just graze it. Excellent for tucking! 

Price: If you're American, you really can't beat $68 for these jeans. That's a great price not only for jeans in general, but especially for ethically-made jeans produced in an environmentally conscious factory. Do it. If you're Canadian, the price does get a little steeper, but I can still say with confidence that your money is well spent. Ask a few friends if they want to order anything from Everlane, and you can split the shipping.

Durability: Beyond the initial stretching, they're actually quite sturdy. The fabric is slightly stretchy when you tug on it, but it feels how denim should feel. Ever tried on a pair of vintage Levis? Yeah, like that. 

Production: Made in Bien Hoa, Vietnam, in a LEED-certified facility that recycles 98% of its water. Denim is one of the most polluting and water-consuming aspects of the fashion industry, so this is a very encouraging step in eco-conscious manufacturing. 

I hope you've found this review helpful! Any questions about these jeans, how to style them, or anything else on your mind? Leave me a note in the comments below, I'd love to chat. 

View Everlane's denim collection here.

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This post was produced in partnership with Everlane and contains affiliate links. When you purchase items through the links above I may make a small commission from a sale. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Ally C Tran! As always, all opinions are my own.

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