In the March/April issue of Best Health, we showcased the newest looks in denim for spring; and, our May issue’s "Love Your Body" theme is all about embracing and accepting your own unique body for what it is, without judgment or reservation. But, with a seemingly endless array of brands, fits, and styles of jeans on store racks these days, finding that elusive ‘perfect pair’ can be a challenge. So, when Toronto denim institution Over the Rainbow offered me a personal fitting session and interview with women’s denim buyer I could think of no better way to tie the themes of our previous two issues together, while also getting my wardrobe set for spring.
Located in Toronto’s Yorkville shopping district for just shy of 40 years (They opened in 1975), Over the Rainbow boutique specializes in jeans and casualwear. The store carries a multitude of denim brands and has a reputation as being experts in both trends and fit. Just how extensive is the store’s stock? According to Women’s Denim Buyer Genia Albi: ‘At any given time, we have over 4,000-5,000 pairs of jeans stocked in the store. When it comes to denim, we make sure we are covered’ with a full range of sizes and styles.
Upon arrival in the shop, veteran salesperson Monica showed me to the ‘Denim Wall,’ and asked what I was looking for in pair of jeans. I decided to forgo the trends of the season (full disclosure: I already own too many pairs’both classic and trendy’to count), and instead chose to update a classic: I made the simple request of a pair of black skinny jeans. I told Monica my usual size, and she deftly scooped up an armful of styles from premium brands like Citizens of Humanity, Fidelity and J.Brand and showed me to the nearest fitting room.
While I tried on each pair one after the next, Over The Rainbow women’s wear buyer Genia joined us to provide her take on the fit and style of each. She and Monica were immensely helpful in offering suggestions of yet more jeans to try next based on what worked and what didn’t.
Key fitting areas Genia looked out for on my figure:
- ‘ The rise and fit of the waistband; pocket placement
- ‘ Creasing on the back of thighs indicating a too tight fit
- ‘ Bunching of excess fabric at the knees
- ‘ The fit of the leg opening at the ankle (in my case, this actually meant a few inches above where the current hem fell’ At 5’4′ with a 26′ inseam, it was a given that anything I tried on would need to be hemmed).
After trying on and evaluating the appearance of my rear (fun!’ not) in about 8 or 9 pairs, I decided upon on a pair of sleek black skinnies by Citizens of Humanity: The ‘Rocket’ style in Black Diamond has a high 9 1/2′ rise, and fit smoothly on me though the leg, without any too-loose bunching around the knees or too-tight creasing in the thighs. (Ironically, they of course happened to have actually been the first pair I tried on). A size bigger than I’d usually grab, Monica assured me that the super-soft denim fabric of these particular jeans (made from a blend of cotton and lyocell with added stretch) holds it’s shape with little risk of stretching out over it’s lifetime, as can happen with cotton-and-spandex only jeans.
Next, Monica pinned up the hem and filled out an alteration ticket. Over The Rainbow has an in-house seamstress, Tatiana, who works magic: Along with hemming, they also offer more complex alternations such tailoring the waistband of jeans for those with curvy hips or adding elastic maternity panels for pregnant customers, or swapping a button fly for a zipper. An interesting fact: The store actually orders in spools of thread directly from the denim brands they carry, to ensure a perfect match.
A few days later, I went back to pick-up my freshly hemmed jeans. They’ve quickly become a staple in my closet since, thanks to their comfortable and flattering fit and go-with-everything silhouette.
Do you have a go to brand for your perfect jeans? What denim trend are you most excited to try this spring? Let us know!
Over The Rainbow is located in Toronto at 101 Yorkville Ave.
Interested in the jeans I picked out, but aren’t in Toronto? See Citizen’s of Humanity’s website for a list of national retailers.