There are few greater staples in a woman's wardrobe than a well-fitting pair of jeans, but what do you do if you can't find a pair that fits?
It can be especially hard to find well-fitting jeans once you hit your 40s - particularly if you suffer from bloat, weight
fluctuation during a period, or have fibroids, or are simply an apple
shape where you carry weight on your middle, as many women do after the menopause.
A lot of women in mid-life and above prefer a higher waist, which has become a rare beast, and there is also the question of how your jeans feel. I know, for instance, that I like my jeans to hold my legs and backside tight but there are particular times of the month when I really don't want any constriction at the waist - I'm sure this comfort aspect is one of the things that sends many women screaming back into leggings.
Well, the answer is, you can easily cheat. Here are four good options.
Bootcut denim leggings
These are my go-to 'jeans' for everyday wear - they look pretty much exactly like jeans as long as you wear your (long enough) t-shirt or blouse outside your pants. Evans do navy bootcut denim leggings (£18) with
elastic all the way around from size 16 and above, and BHS do
flat-front straight-cut or bootcut denim leggings (£16) in navy and black,
with a flat front but a more gathered back. Note, btw, that these
leggings are extremely cheap compared with jeans because they lack construction details - they don't have pockets and there are no flat-fell seams down the outside leg, for instance. As ever, our US sisters are much better served - these Metroland leggings pictured come in seven different colours from Amazon.com whereas over at .co.uk, Brits have to make do with skinny leggings that make you look like a pig on stilts.
A secret boon for post-menopausal or apple-shaped women, but one you might not have thought of. A pair of maternity jeans and a long top looks perfectly normal from the outside - correct stitching, proper pockets, bottom of a fly etc - but gives you a huge amount of comfort at the waist. If you're handy with a needle, you can even adapt your favourite jeans using an old t-shirt and the results are equally professional.
For a larger budget (though still cheap compared with 'name' jeans such as Levis) these knitted jeans from Orvis look exactly like normal jeans, with the fly front, half pockets, etc, except they're knitted and therefore incredibly comfortable. £42 reduced from £69. I assume that these jeans won't haul anything back into place, though, given their amount of stretch!
Most of us have never thought of making our own jeans but there are lots of patterns for jeans available from all the leading companies - those shown are from Vogue. If you're not up to making your own, check out having them made by a dressmaker. This is not a cheap option (though a LOT cheaper than a named brand) but the advantage here is that if you get the fit right, they could be the most comfortable jeans you ever own, and you can have them customised, such as no pockets, different pockets, elastic in the back, etc. You can also have an endless selection of fabrics, including fashion denims in a huge colour range, or with prints or sparkle, or jeans in other fabrics such as linen twill.