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Comfort is probably the most important quality that clothing can have. So when I sized out of my jeans earlier this year, I knew I had to look for replacements. This time, though, I decided not to settle for average, fast fashion jeans. I wanted to actually feel good in my jeans without needing to take them off first thing when I get home. I needed jeans that won’t dig in, jeans that actually stay on my waist without me having to adjust them all day. That’s when I discovered Universal Standard, my new favorite brand.
Obviously, I’m not a fashion blogger (you can’t be one if you only wear t-shirts and jeans, right?). But because I’ve fallen so deeply in love with this brand, I decided to dedicate a blog post to them and their jeans, which are the most comfortable pair I’ve ever owned. So with no further ado, let’s talk about Universal Standard and why they’ve got me hooked.
About Universal Standard
Universal Standard is a brand that’s filling in the gap for plus-size women’s essentials with a classic, minimalist aesthetic. Think capsule wardrobes, but for women sizes 10-28. Think Everlane basics, but designed with bigger women in mind. Less emphasis on seasonal, “trendy” pieces and more on versatile clothing meant to last.
Their stated mission is to “break the plus-size fashion industry” by offering slow fashion alternatives for women sizes 10-28. They run on a direct-to-consumer business model to ensure fair pricing. They develop their own fabrics to ensure comfort and good fit for bigger women, and they consider technical factors like pilling and bounce-back for longevity. Most importantly, they acknowledge the social pressure pushing plus-size women to view their sizes as temporary, and they try to alleviate this pressure through their Universal Fit Liberty program.
In terms of their policies on ethics and sustainability, there isn’t as much detail as I would like. Their FAQs state that their co-founders have personally vetted each factory to meet ethical manufacturing standards, and they’ve stated that they track the carbon dioxide emissions from their shipments. It looks like these issues are on their radar, so I’m hoping for more transparency on ethics and sustainability practices from them in the future. (I’d also like to acknowledge that there is a shortage of ethical, sustainable, and slow fashion brands that are also size-inclusive. So I appreciate Universal Standard for hitting the slow fashion mark.)
Universal Fit Liberty is changing the game in the fashion industry.
Universal Standard has a program called Universal Fit Liberty for items in their core collection. If you buy something that’s UFL-eligible and it no longer fits within one year after purchase, you can exchange it for your new size for free. And Universal Standard will take your old clothing and donate it to charities supporting women.
I love UFL because it’s the first time any clothing brand, plus size or not, has ever addressed size fluctuations. When I shop, I get anxious trying to compensate for what my size might be next year—because it’s always changing. With UFL, I don’t have to worry because I know I’m covered for the next year.
Other little things I love about Universal Standard:
They show you what their clothes will look like in your size. For each clothing item, you can click on “See It In Your Size” under the main photo to see how it looks on models of different sizes. This is so basic, so bare-minimum… yet most brands don’t do this. So I appreciate it that much more when Universal Standard does.
Free shipping and free returns in the U.S. Universal Standard cuts retail costs by being direct-to-consumer, which means they don’t have their own physical store. And figuring out what’s going to fit you online can be tricky. Hence, free shipping and free returns. It makes the online shopping so much easier and lower-stakes.
About the Jeans
I bought the 32-inch inseam Seine Jeans in dark indigo. These jeans come with two inseam options (27-inch and 32-inch) and three color options: distressed blue, distressed black, and dark indigo. They cost $90 a pair and are a part of the brand’s core collection, making them eligible for Universal Fit Liberty. Yes, this means that if my size changes within the next year, I can get my jeans exchanged in a different size for free. Win.
As someone who loves to online-shop, getting my order in the mail feels a bit like Christmas. I know it’s not a big deal, but I appreciate packaging that wows. And Universal Standard gets an A+ on that front.
My jeans came in a beautiful white box with a magnetic closure (and yes, I’m keeping it). Inside, the jeans were wrapped in black tissue paper with a #nowyoucan sticker (their branding hashtag). As a bonus, I also got a black tote with the Universal Standard brand. It felt like a present to myself.
For more minimal packaging, you have the option of checking “skip the box” when you place your order.
I titled this blog post “The Most Comfortable Jeans” because they are. The high-waisted design makes them sit comfortably on my body without me ever having to pull them up. And when I sit down, they don’t dig into my belly like every other pair of high-waisted jeans has done. They contain the perfect amount of stretch to move with my curves rather than constrict them. Yet unlike many stretchy clothes, they don’t feel cheap.
I love the relaxed skinny fit of these jeans. They taper down towards my ankles but leave enough room for a casual, comfy look. And while I’m almost always going for casual, the dark indigo color can easily be dressed up with the right shirt and accessories. Bonus points for versatility.
The 32-inch inseam is a bit long for my height, but I prefer to cuff my jeans anyway, so it actually works out great. It just so happened that their 27-inch inseam was out of stock and I desperately needed new jeans.
One last thing awesome thing about these jeans: They come with real pockets, meaning I can fit my entire iPhone in these pockets, vertically, and still have extra room.
According to the website, the jeans do run large, so keep that in mind if you’re interested in getting them! (Then again, I guess you don’t have much to lose with free shipping and free returns.)
The price point
As someone who’s only shopped fast fashion until recently, the $90 price tag was high for what I’m used to. But compared to other slow fashion brands, it feels reasonable. Given that these jeans were designed to fit bodies like mine, and they’re covered by Universal Fit Liberty, I’d say I got more than my money’s worth.
There’s a difference between jeans designed for bigger bodies and jeans designed for thin bodies that were simply scaled up in size. I’ve never felt that difference so clearly as when I first put on these Universal Standard jeans.
Gone are the days of squeezing my butt into jeans that clearly weren’t designed for my body shape and size. I’ve found something way better.