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For anyone who doesn't fit into a narrow spectrum of sizes, shopping for jeans is about as fun as a dental appointment. To avoid hours of frustration, stick to places where the salespeople are genuine experts in the different brands, like Nordstrom, the Blues Jean Bar, or Out of the West. Now I can add another destination to that list: DNA 2050, a denim boutique that recently returned to Chicago (after a seven-month test run in Lincoln Park) with new digs in the 900 Shops.
DNA 2050 carries about 30 brands, for men and women, helpfully arranged by brand and style—everything from truly cheap Cheap Monday to pricier and lesser-known lines approved by the denim cognoscenti, such as Jean Shop. If you like basic dark denim without any bells and whistles, they've got those, as well as jeans bleached in patchwork patterns, pairs with hook-and-eye ankle slits, and denim leggings (or "jeggings").
A friend who's a size 12 recently asked where she could find a pair of basic jeans. Most brands don't make anything larger than a 32-inch waist, so if you're above a size 10 or so, you're out of luck (as is the case with most higher-end clothing). But the brand Not Your Daughter's Jeans offers the same variety of styles, washes, and adornments you'll find in other denim lines. The brand's promise of "lift and tuck" technology is probably less relevant than the fact that sizes go all the way up to 24. You can find them at the Dressing Room and Nordstrom.
If, like many women, your "problem" is that you have hips, Joe's Jeans is a good brand—they even have a skinny jean for the "voluptuous silhouette." You'll find the best selection at the company's Bucktown store (1715 N. Damen).
What's your favorite place to find jeans?