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Good Genes… Or A Great Pair Of Jeans?

By on August 5, 2014

Test Driving the Jeans That Promise to Make You Look Photoshopped



Photoshopping, which, personally, I would rather refer to as retouching, is a pretty controversial verb in media these days. Just a few weeks ago, Colbie Caillat took on the taboo subject in her video for her song “Try.”
However, as someone who often gets her photo taken, I’m rather partial to a heavy-handed edit if you know what I mean. But beyond the debate of whether we should or should not use Photoshop, I think that it’s pretty safe to say that everyone wants to look her absolute best.

The denim market has finally decided to capitalize on the world’s fascination with Photoshop, introducing a range of jeans that promise to make you look like you’ve been airbrushed to perfection. Because I’m very picky about how my denim fits—and looks on my bod—I was the perfect person to try this out.
Firstly, I have a hard time finding jeans in general; my waist is very small but my butt is very big. Typically, I have every single pair of jeans tailored to fit my body because it’s so difficult to find anything that works right off the bat. For the purposes of this experiment though, I didn’t alter the jeans in any way.
I also, for the record, am not retouched in these photos whatsoever—never let it be said that I am not always 100 percent committed! I mean, I saw myself from behind and it was pretty alarming. Armed with just my jeans, my butt, and my knowledge of how experiments work from high school honors bio, I set out to compare all of the “Photoshop” jean styles with a very flattering pair of pants from J.Crew that I used as a control for comparison.

J.Crew Toothpick Cone Denim Jean, $125;

Joe’s Jeans

Joe’s Jeans Flawless High Rise Legging, $189;

Before they even had their “Flawless Collection,” I always felt that Joe’s Jeans’ high-waisted denim styles were the most flattering to my body. My favorite part about Joe’s is that they’ve mastered the ratio of stretch to denim and thus, they’ve eliminated the gap between the back of my jeans and my actual back, which is a very specific issue that other girls with ample junk in the trunk will understand.

The “Flawless Collection” promises to “hide and lift imperfections for your most flawless silhouette ever” Ever! Well, I’m sold. I like these particular jeans because the stitching is tonal and very subtle, which means they’re easy to wear with pretty much anything. Although I’m not sure that I’ll ever look truly flawless in a pair of jeans, I will say I feel like these narrow my waist and lengthen my legs…and if that’s all I can get, I’ll take it.


Citizens of Humanity

Citizens of Humanity Rocket Highrise Skinny, $218;

I love these jeans because a cropped style is my favorite. If I was wearing some of the other jeans outside of this experiment, I would have to have all of the ankles tailored, but these were just right.
The other thing I like about these jeans is that they have whiskers similar to my control pair from J.Crew, which I think also has a slimming effect.
The Citizens of Humanity press team told me that with this style, although not specifically named to be a “Photoshop” jean, would not disappoint. “The rocket shape is high-waisted meaning they are highly flattering—they cover your muffin top and go over your hips,” I was told in an e-mail.
“The fabrication is our most famous and best selling ever fabrication—the 818 stretch. This is a super forgiving fabrication with stretch to accommodate you but hold to keep you in.” No muffin top and smaller hips? Check and check.


Spanx The Slim-X Straight, $148;

Spanx announced a few months ago that they would be getting into the denim game. As someone who has avoided wearing Spanx for years, I think I’ve finally reached the point in my mid-twenties where they have become a necessity.

That said, I had some high expectations for these jeans because those undies are pretty magical. Sadly though, the Spanx denim, which debuted two weeks ago, still needs some tweaking.
Firstly, the fit on me was not ideal. The waist-to-hip ratio did not account for anyone who falls closer to a Kardashian on the bum spectrum, so these pants were always dangerously close to indecently exposing the crack.

Yikes. Secondly, the bootcut leg felt dated and was not a particularly flattering silhouette for me. The engineering of the jeans means that they are designed with Spanx already inside, so around the hip area there’s a lot of stretch, but not much anywhere else. The denim is pretty stiff and doesn’t allow for much give. But most importantly, instead of making me look Photoshopped, I feel like I’m looking at my reflection in a fun-house mirror. The buckling under my butt and my thighs draws some negative attention there, instead of you know, just hiding it, which is what I essentially want all of these jeans to do.


7 For All Mankind

7 For All Mankind The Second Skin Slim Illusion Skinny Contour, $189;

I have a soft spot for 7 For All Mankind. After all, they were my first designer jeans—that little back-pocket squiggle meant everything to me in 2003.
Anyway, 7 For All Mankind has developed their “slim-illusion” technology, which is constructed from a “Japanese fabric that has an amazing slimming effect.” Japanese you say? Well, everyone knows the very best denim comes from Japan. I was very excited for these.

As you can probably tell, these guys were a little tight. Ugh! I knew I should have abstained from that cookie. The stretch though, I have to say, was incredible and the retention even better. They stretch but don’t really move. As part of the “slim illusion” promise, they don’t ever lose their shape, which meant that I probably should have sized one up. But in keeping with consistency for the purposes of this experiment, each jean was a size 27. I do like the crop of these as well. From the side, there are no seams to stretch that would call out that these jeans are actually too small. Love that. Hide all the flaws! Ugh, in case you are wondering, seeing myself from behind is not getting any easier.


J Brand

J Brand 8040 Photo Ready Tali Zip, $259;

J Brand’s promise is that these jeans are “photo-ready.” They say, “Our new coveted fabric with slimming stretch technology lifts and contours to your body. It makes for a picture perfect silhouette.”

Well, I don’t know about “picture perfect” for me, but I do feel very comfortable in these jeans. They’re very similar to my control pair in the rise, crop, and wash. They also feel very much like denim, which is a reservation that some fashion people might have to some of these jeans.
Just a few weeks ago, the Man Repeller herself, Leandra Medine, informed’s editor, Leah Chernikoff, that stretch denim was out. What she didn’t take into account was girls like me, who need to be somewhat, ahem, contained by a healthy mix of Lycra and denim. Amirite, Kim K? I do like the lift that these give my butt and the wrinkles are minimal on the thighs as well, unlike some of the other denim styles I tried which started buckling. If no one’s there with a little Photoshop wand, then that is a major no-no. I would say these jeans pass the test.


TemptTations, we’re asking… has anyone tried any of these brands of jeans. Do they really photoshop hips, butt, thighs and calves? Please SHARE.

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