This Week I Love …

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Karen Kane denim.

I’ve been doing style consults for nearly five years now, and have started to notice some recurring themes with my clients: Many are leery of accessorization, most benefit from tips on how to be intentional with black and white, and the vast majority hate their jeans. I happily point many to Lee and Talbots, but just about everyone gets sent some Karen Kane links.

You’ve seen me wearing my Karen Kane skinnies and denim leggings to DEATH for years, so you know I’m not just blowing hot air, here. But let me tell you why I’ve become a bona-fide ambassador for this brand’s denim offerings:

Their skinnies are actually skinny

Most of the “skinny” jeans I’ve tried fit closely to the leg, but tend to bunch up when tucked into boots, especially around the knees. I know there’s not a lot of jean-tucking going on at the end of June, but I’m speaking as a person who lives through six months of winter. Karen Kane’s denim manages to be stretchy and comfortable, but also close-fitting enough to slide into boots unbunched.

Their denim doesn’t sag after hours of wear

Another common complaint about jeans! And this one applies to all styles: Seems like most brands that add stretch to their blends create fabrics that fit great right out of the dryer, but bag and sag after a few hours of active wear. (I’m looking at you, Gap.) I have never experienced this with any of my KK jeans.

Their jeans have marvelously high rises

I know that mid and low rises are still what the cool girls wear and I don’t give a flying rat’s ankle. I am a high rise gal to the end, and my Karen Kane skinnies and denim leggings hit me right where I want: At my natural waist.

They consistently stock plus sizes

No petites or talls, I’m afraid, but skinnies through size 22W. Word.

They stick to the classics

You’ll see the occasional colorful wash and a few pairs have slight whiskering, but generally speaking Karen Kane sticks to the tried-and-true: Dark-wash skinnies, classic bootlegs, simple straight legs. No embellishments, prints, bells or whistles. You can count on this line to offer comfortable, sleek, versatile denim season after season.

I know, I’m gushing. But seriously, I think I’ve recommended this denim line to at least 20 clients so far this year, and most of them have come back with rave reviews. I’ll be wearing mine for ages, and recommending them to anyone looking for comfortable, durable, high rise denim options.

Anyone else out there a fan?

(Exact pair shown above can be found here.)

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33 Responses to “This Week I Love …”

  1. LQ

    Good to know! I can use a NYDJ alternative. They have size range, classic options, and that great high rise, but they aren’t boot-skinny and they do stretch out.

  2. Emily

    Hi Sally! How’s the wear / endurance of the denim? I continually cycle through jeans that I search ages for, finally find, and then have to bid farewell to because I wear out the inner thigh, I am just too luscious for them. I guess I am asking, Sheryl-Crow-like, are they strong enough to be my…jeans?

    • Sally

      Emily. great question – and the endurance is AMAZING. I have two pairs that are going on three years and look absolutely brand new. One pair of skinny jeans, one of jeggings. And when it’s cold out, I wear them and wash them every week so they’ve held up to wear and laundering.

      That said, I don’t tend to wear my jeans hard in specific spots (knees, thighs, etc.). My impression is that this is seriously durable denim … but I want to be honest with ya!

    • RM

      That is my problem, too! If I decide I like a pair I have to buy 2 and then they have to be cheap because I’ll wear them out quickly with my luscious thighs.

  3. Channon

    I’ve never tried them, but evidently, that needs to change. I just hope they offer petites…

  4. Elizabeth

    What about curves and pockets? I currently wear Levi’s because they have a super curvy cuts and are the first jeans—no, the first PANTS of any kind not to gape behind my back. But their pockets are barely big enough to hold one of those old Nokia bricks. They really aren’t up for a smart phone. If I could have pockets and fit on the same pant, I’d switch in a heartbeat.

    • Sally

      Oooh, hate to say it, Elizabeth but the pockets are really shallow on my pairs. And you’re probably better off with the Levis for fit – these jeans do have a high stretch content, which means they may conform to your figure, but they’re not specifically cut for curves. Sorry!

      • shannon

        Sooo, on the lack of pockets (a major pet peeve of mine–why do women’s clothes have zero pocketage!!)…if you’re at all crafty, I have a suggestion…my solution has been to, ahem, extend the pockets. It’s pretty easy, just slice open the bottom (and sides, if you like more width) of the pocket and stitch on an appropriately larger square (or whatever shape) of fabric (try to match the weight and type of fabric to the existing pocket liner). I recommend french seams for attaching since they will not fray and tend to lay pretty flat (no post-pocket-enlargement bulges!). Once you have the extension attached to the former bottom (and/or sides) of the pocket, sew the bottom shut on the new pocket.

  5. Patti @ NotDeadYet Style

    I like them too, Sal – esp the higher rise. Not just cause I’m a Woman of A Certain Age : > but I have a long waist and it’s hard to find a decent rise. Great review!

  6. Maura

    I was reading this post with steadily increasing excitement until you got to the “no petites” bit… My hopes are dashed, DASHED I say! A day will come when I will find the perfect petite dark-wash skinny jean… but it is not this day, apparently. SIGH. You would think that a person who wears normal size tops would be able to wear normal size jeans, but of course that would be too easy.

    • Annabeth

      We’re in the same boat. KK may make a great product, but I guess I’ll never find out for myself.

    • Coleen

      Tall girl here. My hopes are equally dashed. Lee seemed to have some decent pickings when I popped over there.

    • alice

      I was also so excited that I popped over to the website only to find that their smallest size will not fit my small-boned pencil frame. Sadness.

  7. Frances Joy

    I really want to try these, but I’m clicking on the link and it’s not working. I mean, I could google them, but I’d like you to get the credit for click throughs (which I’m assuming happens?)…

  8. Amanda

    Do they look okay from behind? My big issue with finding jeans is rear pocket size and placement- if I can find a pair with a high enough rise, the pockets are usually small and placed oddly enough that my rear-end looks like it’s a mile long and super flat. Will have to keep an eye out for this brand so I can give ’em a shot. đŸ™‚

    • Sally

      Hmmm, good question, Amanda. I’m sure there will be some variation from butt to butt, but I just pulled mine on and the pockets are medium-sized, unembellished, and placed right in the middle of the … cheek. On me, anyway.

  9. No fear of fashion

    Good review and funny as well. That “rat’s ankle”… LOL Being Dutch, that was a new one for me.
    I don’t know the brand and I have a boyish figure. Fo me 7 for all mankind is very good and J Brand and Not your daughter’s jeans.
    Greetje

  10. A.B.

    All I saw were skinnies and a few boot cuts. No trouser jeans for those of us uncomfortable in skinnier pants?

    • Sally

      You’re right, A.B. In all the years I’ve been a fan, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Karen Kane do a trouser cut, in denim or in pants. Slim cuts are definitely their specialty.

      • A.B.

        At least they stick to what they do well. I can’t fault them that.

  11. Coleen

    Are there any jeans companies that could provide hope for a very tall (34-35 in inseam) and very curvy lady? I’ve run into issues now that I gained weight and am officially plus-sized. Lee had only one pair of tall skinny-ish jeans.

  12. Jennifer Essad

    where can I find a pair or two? I haven’t worn her denim in years, it’s time I get rid of my lucky brands jeans and look like a million bucks! I’m impressed with what you are describing. I don’t like it when they sag, I have jeans by EF that sag after a short time and the same with Talbots

    • Sally

      Jennifer, there’s a link at the very beginning of the post to buy online, or you can buy Karen Kane at Macy’s!

  13. Keilexandra

    I’m in the opposite camp of strongly preferring low-rise jeans (7-8″, 8.5″ is my limit) so I won’t be trying out Karen Kane. But I do want to put a plug in for my new favorite denim source, Lucky Brand–their “Straight” and “Slightly Curvy” cuts fit my body amazingly well. I’m thick-waisted and narrow-hipped, but with a curvy butt and thighs; the super stretch fabric flatters my rear curves without sagging through multiple wears. It’s the first stretchy denim I’ve found that actually lives up to its claim of not stretching out during the day.

    Caveat: don’t order online! Both sizing and length is really inconsistent. It’s best to try them on in-store and try multiple pairs of the same size/style if necessary. I wear an odd inseam and have been successful finding some “short” 30″ jeans that are actually an inch shorter than advertised.