Over Analysis: REI Trailsmith pants

Welcome to the Over Analysis.  In this series, I go over an item in great detail – positives and negatives. Sometimes I spend way too much time going over small ridiculous details about clothes, skincare, makeup, anything else most people consider shallow. This series can be about as deep as a puddle, so enjoy!

This past winter I became increasingly interested in functional, durable work apparel. I was diving deep into the hipster horticulturalist/potter/shop girl look and was quickly getting obsessed. So for Christmas, I asked B to get me a pair of Carhartt overalls. He laughed at me and said “For what? What kind of work do you think you do?” I wanted them for working in the garden, but to be honest I really wanted them for the aesthetics. B and I are always out working in the garden, especially in summer. We grow heaps of vegetables, maintain a few fruit trees, and we just like to keep our garden neat and clean with beautiful perennials and annuals. I wanted something rugged I could wear everyday and not worry about scraping up my knees kneeling in the mulch. Most importantly though, I wanted something that would keep my butt crack in check when I’m bending over weeding – overalls!

Ever since I got my overalls, I started noticing how cute work pants were for everyday. I did a bunch of browsing through Carhartt’s website, but wanted something a bit more everyday and less cowboy. I picked up a pair of Topo Design’s Chore pants when I found them sale at a local shop, but they fit terribly on my curvy body. Then I spied these pants at REI when they first released their spring items in March. The Trailsmith pants were exactly what I was looking for so I snatched them up the moment they had a $20 off for members coupon come through. I’ve been wearing these pants regularly since then and I can honestly say I have no regrets. If they made them in other colors, I’d get a second pair.

From the REI site: “Like your favorite work jeans but better, the women’s REI Co-op Trailsmith pants have added stretch, durability and mobility so you can build a deck, boulder or shoot pool in comfort.

I really like the look of these pants. The brown color is reminiscent of Carhartt brown, sticking with the work pants vibe. The thighs are double layered to below the knees, again giving them the work pants/duck pants look. The fabric is thick, warm, and rugged without being too scratchy and stiff. The front pockets are deep enough to fit my whole hand ensuring my lip balm will have a hard time falling out. The back packets are large enough to fit my phone in them without worry that the phone will hook on something. The length is long enough so the can be worn as pants, but can be cuffed to flash some ankle while still looking proportional. The waist is fairly high which I absolutely love to help balance out my long torso. I wanted something specifically with a high waist, helping bridge the aesthetic gap between real work pants and everyday fashion-y pants.

The downsides: the fabric doesn’t really stretch even though REI claims you can boulder in them. They also shrunk a bit in the dryer – or maybe I’ve gained a few pounds since purchasing them – but they have softened up a bit. The fabric is durable, but after only about 10 wears and 3 washes, there are faded (patina?) areas at the zipper fly and along the seams.

All in all, I love these pants and it seems like many others do too according to the reviews on REI’s site (though there are mixed feelings about the high waist). I chuckled a bit reading through the reviews and what people wear them for…”I’m a petite archeologist!” and “I work outdoors in swamps and mud”. I’m busy wearing them to work inside a classroom, and to the brewery!

sweater: uniqlo – shirt: mont bell – pants: rei – shoes: vans

Over Analysis: Levi’s Ribcage Jeans

Welcome to a new series on this blog: the Over Analysis.  I spend way too much time going over small ridiculous details about clothes, skincare, makeup, anything else most people consider shallow. This series is about as deep as a puddle.

I love high wasted jeans.  They help balance out my long torso-short legs proportions. So when Levis came out with their new Ribcage Jeans, I immediately had high hopes.  I have a few of their wedgie fit jeans already, so I figured these would just be just as good, if not better.  Well, they are, and they aren’t.

First of all, they don’t stretch, at all.  I like that a lot about these old school Levis styles and that is one of the reasons why I buy them. The thickness of the denim really holds everything in and creates a very streamlined look that I love (just check it out on the model). The problem is that I’ve put on a few extra pounds (kilos) this past winter, and they’re really, really, tight now.  If the denim had a bit of stretch, it would be no big deal.  These on the other hand with a 12″ rise are very unforgiving and will jam into your waistline like no other after a large meal. No food babies allowed, and no seconds at dinner especially when sidelined from anything active due to a shoulder injury.  The only thing that keeps me from feeling like a stuffed sausage is the wide leg, which brings us to the next thing.

The legs are a bit too wide for my liking, and they make me feel like I’m veering into Jnco Jeans territory. I know I’m totally exaggerating here, but I’m really used to my skinny jeans, and straight leg cuts are as wide as I feel comfortable.  These I feel like go a bit too straight/wide, making me look a bit stumpy (admittedly, I’m 5’11” so it must be all in my head).

Now on to the good stuff, things I love about these jeans and why I decided to keep them and wear them.

They don’t stretch. I know, I know, I just complained about that in a lengthy rant above.  But the fact that they’re 100% cotton means you can wear them over and over and they will never bag in the butt or the knees. Saving water FTW! They will never pull/stretch out of shape or get premature holes in the back pockets if you’re a back pocket key stasher like I am. 

I love the color and the lack of distressing or whiskers. I’ve been wanting a pair of plain classic blue jeans for a while now, and these fit the bill perfectly.  I’m a bit over the distressed look and really over the whiskering in the crotch area. They’re like runways pointing straight at the reproductive bits and I just don’t want that kind of attention while I’m teaching physics. These jeans are tight AF right now though so they’re pulling at the hips weirdly and making whisker like folds, so…at this very moment I’m reconsidering wearing these again till I can properly get back to my usual F = ma. Anyways, I get a bit of a 50’s vibe from these jeans, which I love. 

Lastly, these jeans are made of selvedge denim.  I’m not sure what that means, but I think it has something to do with the edging of the fabric.  Other than the white piping on the inside seam, I honestly can’t tell the difference between selvedge denim and regular denim. I guess they’ll never unravel!

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cardigan and shirt: madewell – jeans: levis – shoes: sven – watch: fitbit