Ananas carries denim by Cookie Johnson, including a rockin' pair of red skinnies and these fabulous flares.

Finding the perfect pair of jeans can be, well, a little tricky. It’s like fashion algebra, with so many variables involved. The right fit, the right length, the right wash, the right price…where do we start?

Renowned fashion designer Michael Kors calls this “fashion math.” I set out to work on some fashion arithmetic over the last few weeks; I was hoping to find a flawless pair of jeans at a price that won’t break the bank, and here’s what I found.

Denim Conundrum: Being nearly six feet tall, with short legs, I often find myself in somewhat of a pickle fit-wise. I’m usually standing with a pool of excess denim at my ankles in the dressing room.

Denim Habits: I’ve worn flared legs and wide legs, dark washes and light washes. I like my jeans to commit, I’ve never been a boot cut gal. This cut seems a bit confused; not quite straight, not quite flared, as though it’s trying too hard not to offend anyone. 

Straights legs are great to wear with flats, sandals, and even Converse or Tretorns, but I am finally relenting on my resistance to the skinny.

So I was on a mission to find a pair of high-quality denims with a contemporary cut, I was open to a skinny (previously, I was very attached to my straight legs, but let’s face it ladies, you can’t shove a straight leg or a boot cut into your boots), but nothing too tight (I like to breath and I’m always on the go, so I need to be able to move in these jeans). I want what we all want: I want jeans you can wear anywhere with anything. I’m sharing the best of what Oak Park has to offer.

Here’s the skinny:  

Chameleon of Oak Park offers the best skinny at the best price, hands down: the Mavi jean. Mavi means blue in Turkish and they seem to have mastered the perfect hues of blue; it’s a line founded in Istanbul, and I’m so glad they’ve made it across the pond and into one of my fave boutiques in good old Oak Park. You can find low rise, mid-rise, straight leg and skinnies at Chemeloen (and jeans for men).

True story: I only tried on one pair of jeans here. I picked up a pair of low rise (lower in the front, higher in the back, thank you), dark indigo, super stretch skinnies, and the chemistry was undeniable. We’ve been together ever since. At only $78, these will become my wardrobe staple this fall and winter. Dress them up or dress them down, these are as versatile as they get.

Ananas of Oak Park carries Cookie Johnson’s line of casual cool jeans all made in the USA (yes, the designer is Magic Johnson’s wife). You’ll find the most amazing pair of fire engine red jeans (shades of scarlet were all over the runways for fall collections) and you’ll also find the perfect pair of high rise, flare leg jeans, with front welt pockets – one of my favorite trends of the season – in a light wash.

A nod to the 60’s and 70’s, the flared look is fun and playful (and they stretch!). The cotton textile is a tad heavier than most, so you’ll be thankful come the chilly fall nights and Antarctic-like winter days. Not everyone is comfortable in this look, but the cut can have a slimming and elongating effect for many body types. And of course, they have a wide variety of skinnies on hand.

The red jeans scream fresh and modern, and retail for $145. If you’re looking to update your wardrobe with a modern and fashion-forward pair of jeans and you’re willing to spend a little more, these jeans hit the fashion sweet spot.

MUSE of Oak Park features Hudson jeans. Now, the first time I tried on a pair of these jeans, I was genuinely surprised. It was as though someone had washed them, worn them, and lovingly left them on a rack for the rest of us to enjoy. Really? Can jeans be this soft? I never knew!

The popularity of denim is due in part to its durability, originally made to withstand wear and tear, they were practically indestructible; and over time they’ve evolved to become the ultimate multitasking garment, so sometimes we’re willing to pay. A little prickly, a little tickly, we manage. But here’s a jean that you don’t have to wear down before actualizing the most comfortable and relaxed fit.

Muse carries skinnies, straight legs, and an amazing wide leg jean in the softest, stretchiest fabric. Ladies, these jeans are an investment at $178, but they’re well worth it.

Sanem’s of Oak Park carries jeans by Chicago based designer Henry and Belle. Are you ready for this? Did you ever think you’d find a pair of jeans comfy enough to practice yoga in? Well, you’ve just found them. I tried on a pair of their skinny jeans in a dark, yet vibrant blue hue expecting to feel mummified in a cocoon of tight denim, but instead I felt as though I had slipped on a pair of favorite pajama bottoms.

I suddenly felt the need to do squats to verify the unprecedented suppleness of these jeans. These came home with me. With my height, the length fits like an ankle cut, and they also look great cuffed. At $141 these are worth every penny.

You’ll also find a great flared jean by Henry and Belle in a light wash with flap back pockets. These are a non-stretch denim, so you won’t be executing any cartwheels or aerobics in these, but you will be looking extremely stylish.

I am happy to report a sea of blue denim choices that will leave a smile on your face and a spring in your step. And who knows, maybe you’ll find a pair so flexible, you’ll be motivated to do a few unexpected squats.

Stop back next week for another fabulous Friday Find or more Style Inspiration from friends and neighbors. Until then, I’ll see you around town and in the shops!

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