Q: I'm 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighed 115 pounds before my pregnancy three years ago. I gained a lot of weight at that time and still tip the scales at 145 pounds. I used to wear slim-fit, low-rise jeans, but as you can imagine, those days are gone. Can you suggest some other brands that might offer me a comfortable, flattering fit?
A: Jeans shopping is a bit like swimsuit shopping. You usually have to try on a great many before you find the perfect fit. (Tip: Once you do, stick with it.)
Start with stores such as the Gap or Old Navy, which offer their own brands in a range of styles. Select styles you think will work for you, and take two or three different sizes of each style to the fitting rooms. Try them all on, making sure they're comfortable when you sit, crouch and bend. Select whichever pair feels and looks best -- not the one that is the size you think you should wear.
Another approach is to shop the off-price stores, such as T.J. Maxx or Stein Mart, and outlet stores, such as Saks Fifth Avenue's outlet, Off 5th Avenue. There you will find a wide range of brands. If you find a brand that suits you, you can then go looking for that same brand in department and specialty stores.
Also, check the jeans at Chico's, a store that caters to women whose figures are no longer teen-perfect.