Old Navy's New Denim Line

I think I have the opposite problem of most girls when I shop for jeans. I usually wear a size somewhere between 0 and 3, so I'm pretty thin and I don't have to worry as much about minimizing the hip and thigh area. Yet I'm still very particular about the fit and look of my jeans because I don't have much of a butt. Back pockets that are too large or placed in a funny position can make me look as though I have no rear end altogether.

Finding jeans is also difficult because of my cheapskate streak: My everyday jeans range in price from $20-50 and my one splurge was the Banana Republic skinny jeans I wrote about in a previous post. In the end, I just want what every other girl wants: a pair of reasonably priced jeans that make my legs look long and lean and my butt look amazing. With that in mind, I stepped into Old Navy at Coquitlam Centre last week and tried on the jeans that had looked so enticing in their most recent commercial.

The commercial advertised three new fits--the Diva, the Flirt, and the Sweetheart--but in reality they're three different rises: low rise, mid-rise, and classic rise, respectively. For each rise, there were a variety of styles (boot cut, skinny leg, straight leg, trouser, wide-leg) and washes available. I steered clear of the Diva and its low rise, deciding to try on the Flirt and Sweetheart in a dark wash boot cut. The placement of the back pockets on the Flirt was terrible, but the Sweetheart pair fit well and the back pockets were just right. At $34.50 ($5 off the regular price), the price was just right as well. I was also psyched because I'd managed to get a pair with a short seam and wouldn't have to get them hemmed.

I was so excited about my new jeans that I tried them on again at home three times, then cut the tags off, washed them, and wore them to work the following Friday. They looked great when I left the house in the morning, but less so as the day wore on. Even though I wasn't doing anything more strenuous than sitting at my desk, by 4:30 or so the waist, butt, and thighs of the jeans had stretched out of shape. The jeans began to resemble bits of blue elephant skin instead of figure-hugging denim. I had no idea they would stretch out this much.

Dissatisfied, I did some quick Internet research and called the Old Navy I'd bought the jeans from, and that was when I discovered their extremely lenient return and exchange policy. Defective merchandise could be returned any time to any store without a receipt as long as it was returned in its country of purchase. New merchandise could be returned within 90 days of purchase. The clerk I talked to was extremely helpful and agreeable when I explained the situation and asked her to put a pair in a smaller size on hold for me.

The next day I went to the mall and tried them on. They felt a bit snug but I looked amazing in them and I could still move in them. Plus, knowing how much they would stretch out, it was probably a good idea to buy them snug. The inseam was regular length and I'd need to hem them, but in the end they would still be under $50.

So, what have I learned from this? First, not all denim is created equal. I'd never bought a pair of jeans that had stretched this much before and didn't think that I would have to take the stretch factor into account and buy them a bit too small. Second, it's a good idea to buy jeans from a retailer with an excellent refund and exchange policy if possible. I was really impressed that Old Navy would take back merchandise that had already been washed and worn. Its sister stores Gap and Banana Republic are more stringent and specify that merchandise must be unwashed and unworn when returned (understandable given the higher price points in those stores). Nonetheless, all three guarantee that customers have 90 days to decide.

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