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- Universal Standard is a size-inclusive clothing brand that’s making high-quality, stylish basics for women of all shapes and sizes.
- The brand’s latest collection, Denim by (US) boasts a wide range of comfortable, cute jeans in sizes 00-40.
- A group of women at Business Insider had the opportunity to try the jeans for ourselves. Our size pool only ran up to a 16 because that’s who responded to our open call for volunteer testers at Insider Inc., but we’re confident our positive experience will apply for sizes across the board.
- You can find what we thought about the new line below, or get straight to shopping the collection here.
For many women, shopping with friends is just a fun way to spend an afternoon. For Alexandra Waldman and Polina Veksler, it was one of these department store excursions that turned the friends into cofounders of a fashion brand that’s championing inclusivity like you’ve never seen it before.
When shopping, Waldman couldn’t fashionable, high-quality clothing in her size. "I wanted to wear what was available to smaller women, and there was nothing like that on the market," she tells Business Insider. With recent data showing the average American woman is between size 16 to 18, the lack of stylish options in larger sizes signifies a huge hole in the market. Someone had to start filling the gap, so Waldman and Veksler got right to it.
Universal Standard is leveling the playing field by offering high-quality wardrobe staples for all women, with sizes ranging from 00-40. Over the past four years, the brand has been providing shoppers with the modern, high-quality, beautiful basics they deserve. Just a few months ago, they released a new collection, what Waldman says is the "holy grail item" of most wardrobes.
If you’re thinking denim, you’re right.
There’s nothing like slipping on a pair of jeans that fits perfectly. "It’s classic and the wardrobe equivalent of a comfort zone," Waldman says. Denim by (US) is the brand’s attempt at making great jeans that all women can feel good wearing — and after trying them ourselves, we think they did a pretty great job.
This collection is the largest size run of denim in the world, servicing women sizes 00-40, in regular, tall, and petite lengths. And, each size was created with all women — not just fit models — in mind. Universal Standard even realeased a new "See it in My Size" feature, that lets you see the pants worn on real women in any size across the entire collection. All of the jeans are made with a comfy high-stretch fabric, come in a range of washes and styles, and cost $90.
We were lucky enough to get to try the jeans. A group of eight women, spanning a range of sizes (though admittedly limited in nature since participants only included volunteers from around Insider Inc.), tried out different styles and washes to put this size-inclusive denim to the test. Though we recognize our review doesn’t encompass the entire size spectrum of the line, we’re confident that our positive experience with sizes up to a 16 will translate for everyone.
You can find our in-depth reviews below, but if you just want the spoiler, we were generally impressed with how comfortable, stylish, and flattering the jeans were across the board.
Hollis Johnson / Business Insider
Connie Chen, Insider Picks reporter: Seine High Rise Skinny Jeans in Distressed Blue
Universal Standard’s denim is the rare breed that I can say with 100% confidence I’ll be comfortable in all day long. Though it’s soft and stretchy with a forgiving waistband, it doesn’t look the part, meaning that I can look stylish without ever compromising fit and comfort.
Sally Kaplan, Insider Picks editor: Seine High Rise Skinny Jeans in Distressed Blue
These jeans are so comfortable that I wore them on an airplane the day we took these photos. An airplane!!! Normally I’d never venture past anything more restrictive than leggings for a three-hour flight, but behold: These jeans were just as comfy as my yoga pants.
They have a serious amount of stretch, and are the only pair I have that I’m not dying to take off by the end of the day. They also come in petites, which is a godsend for someone who’s 5-foot-1.5-inches (can’t forget that half inch!). I usually wear a size 8 or 10, and I opted for a 10 in these, which probably wasn’t the right call. There’s so much stretch that you can comfortably size down if you’re between sizes.
Hollis Johnson / Business Insider
Mara Leighton, Insider Picks reporter: Sava High Rise Flare Jeans in Black
I’m typically a committed high-rise skinny jean wearer, but I opted for the more adventurous Sava High Rise in black this time around. Universal Standard, with its comfy, flattering denim, was a good choice to go out of the box with — especially with its helpful "see it in your size" tool.
In person, the jeans are pretty beautiful, and they’re comfortable enough for all-day wear, traveling, and the odd lunge. The flare isn’t so drastic that it looks costume-y, and the silhouette is fitted though the hip, waist, and thigh in a way that kept me from being swallowed by the style. All in all, couldn’t be happier!
My one note is that the 78% cotton fabric may pick up more fuzz than a really stiff denim. This is also what makes them so comfortable so, if you’re okay with the little inconvenience, just plan to have a lint roller on hand for the black pair.
Remi Rosmarin, Insider Picks reporter: Sava High Rise Flare Jeans in Dark Indigo
I typically stick to stiff denim, usually in skinny or straight-leg styles. But, I’ve been seeing the retro flare jeans everywhere, and with no need for any more skinny jeans, I decided to give the Sava High Rise a try.
These are probably the most comfortable jeans I’ve ever slipped on, especially considering that they’re high rise. They’re surprising sturdy and stretchy, so they have the look of a really nice pair of jeans but the stretch of a yoga pant. That may sound extreme, but we were all able to bend, twist, and squat in these, comfortably. I found the legs to run a little long, but a pair of booties quickly remedied that issue. I love this versatile style — it’s fun for a Friday night, but professional enough for a Tuesday meeting.
Hollis Johnson / Business Insider
Megan Foster, Insider Picks intern: Logan High Rise 5 Pocket Vintage in Distressed Grey
I tried out the Logan High-Rise 5-Pocket Vintage jeans, which looked drastically different than any other pair I owned. I have a more traditional style and have veered away from the "distressed" look, but I was surprised to see that this grey pair was still professional enough to wear to work. They were stretchy but looked like your typical pair of jeans — unlike some leggings that resemble cotton more than denim.
So far, I’ve recommended this company to my mom, my best friend, my roommate, and the girl on the subway that was talking about jeans with her friend (I wasn’t eavesdropping, I swear). What I’m trying to say is that I finally found a pair of jeans other than my tried-and-true middle school brand that fit perfectly and made me feel confident.
Julia Naftulin, INSIDER reporter: Siene High Rise Skinny Jeans in Distressed Blue
As a size 12, jean shopping can be a major nightmare. Usually, the jeans will fit my thighs but be too baggy in the waist, or even if they would fit the waist, I can’t pull them up past my hips. That’s why denim with some stretch to it is an instant go-to for me. Universal Standard’s jeans offered a super stretchy and comfortable fit — probably the most comfortable I’ve ever felt. It felt like I was wearing leggings all day. Although I wish they were a bit less stretchy in the belt/crotch/zipper area (the fit felt a bit loose there), they were otherwise a great fit and probably the only pair of jeans I’d consider wearing on an airplane.
The front pockets were huge which I was not expecting, but could be a major plus for someone who loves keeping things in pockets. I thought they could’ve been a bit smaller but that’s just personal preference.
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