The ex-boyfriend jean

The boyfriend jean is one of those fashion trends that I thought I’d forever have to admire from afar.

On longer-legged, taller women, these unstructured cropped jeans always seemed to look chic. But whenever I’d try to replicate the look on my petite pear-shaped frame, I’d just get swallowed up  by the baggy fabric, and stunted by the proportions. I stuck to my dark-wash slim jeans and chalked it up to one of those trends that simply wasn’t for petite girls.

Until last fall, when I was jean shopping at Jeans, Jeans, Jeans (one of my all-time favourite stores… review forthcoming) and I just couldn’t resist anymore. I wanted the trendy casual elegance for myself. So I dragged about a dozen different boyfriend jeans into a dressing room, and tried pair after pair. Most of them looked awful. But then I stumbled on these AG “ex-boyfriend” slim jeans, and I couldn’t resist picking up a pair.

They’re a mid-to-light rinse jean in a butter-soft denim, cropped length. More importantly, they’re slim fitting, unlike the typical baggy boyfriend jean. If you’re petite, going with a slimmer version is a good way to make this trend work for you rather than overwhelming you.

Here how these look on the 5’10” model:

And here’s how they look on 5’1″ me:

They’re pretty casual, but I can just about manage to dress them up a bit, with a lightweight blazer and heels.

What I like

  • They are sooooo comfortable. The fabric is soft, and the style, while slim, is just baggy enough to feel cozy. Compared to my skinny jeans, these feel like freedom. No wonder the style is so popular. Heck, I can even wear them on airplanes, which is something I almost never do with my regular jeans.
  • They’re slimmer than typical boyfriend jeans, so they work better for a petite frame than a typical baggy jean would. When it comes to making the boyfriend jean trend work on a petite pear, these are probably as good as it gets.
  • With a cute pair of heels, they actually look pretty good. I love the slightly silvery denim colour, and the fit is nearly perfect.

What I don’t like

  • The light rinse, combined with the whiskering detail, definitely makes my hips and thighs look bigger than I like. It’s not a great look for a petite pear; I’m usually trying to balance out my proportions by doing the opposite — darker solid bottoms, with lighter colours and details on top.
  • The length is awkward. Rolled to cropped length, they’re slim enough to actually work quite well. But if I unroll them, they’re just slightly too short to be convincing as full-length jeans, but far too long to be deliberately cropped.
  • They’re more casual than a dark-rinse jean, so I can’t wear them to work. They’re strictly weekends only, which limits their potential quite a bit.
  • The shoe conundrum doesn’t have an easy solution. In the summer, I can wear them with sandals. But let’s face it; it’s usually too hot to wear jeans in the summer. If they were just an inch longer, I might be able to unroll them and pull them off as full-length jeans with a bootie or closed shoe in spring or fall. But they’re just a bit too short for that. Since I live in a climate where open-toe shoes are really only an option for a few months out of the year, these are pretty much just staying in a drawer for most of the colder months.

The verdict

Ehhh, mixed. Comfort-wise, I love these, and probably wear them more than I should. Style-wise, they’re not as flattering as my usual darker, full-length skinny jeans. They emphasize my hips a bit too much, and they shorten rather than lengthen my legs. But on casual summer weekends or evenings, when I don’t feel like wearing a skirt or a dress, they’re easy to throw on with a t-shirt and a pair of sandals.

I’ll never have the casual chic elegance of those leggy models wearing boyfriend jeans and baggy shirts. But I’ve found a way to make this trend work for my petite frame. Ex-boyfriends, look out.

Jeans: AG Jeans, size 26, $135 (40% off)
T-shirt (purple): Lord & Taylor from The Bay, size PXS, $20
T-shirt (olive): GAP, size PXS, $15 (old)
T-shirt (striped): Banana Republic, size PXS, $45
Onze, size S (old)
Sandals: Naot, size 36, $140


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