Universal Standard Jeans Review: After 1 Year of Wear

When I buy clothes, I want them to last.

I’m trying hard to move away from fast fashion and invest in quality pieces for my wardrobe that will stand the test of time. But I also don’t have multiple hundreds of dollars to invest in each and every piece, so it’s a balance to find pieces that are high-quality, long lasting, stylish — and within my budget.

That’s why I reviewed my Rothy’s shoes after a year of wear. (P.S. Those shoes are still going strong 3+ years later!)

I bought the Universal Standard Seine High Rise Skinny Jeans 32-inch in November 2021, so it’s been just over a year of hard wear (on average, at least twice a week).

I’ll compare them to a similar pair of jeans I bought a few months before I got the U.S. jeans, this pair from Nicole Miller. (Similar.) I got the Nicole Miller jeans at TJ Maxx, so I didn’t pay full price.

The challenge of finding plus-size jeans that fit

As a woman on the cusp between plus and standard sizing, it can be challenging to find jeans that fit the way I want them to. Jeans typically gap in the back for me even when they fit well everywhere else. I prefer a high-rise fit, but because of the fit issues, they often slide down over the course of the day. I tend toward jeans with a bit of stretch for a comfortable fit, but too much and they get baggy and fall down by the end of the day.

Trying Universal Standard jeans

Universal Standard jeans aren’t inexpensive; the Seine jeans run $98. I bought mine on sale last Black Friday at about half price. But they are high quality jeans that last a long time, and you can feel good about supporting a company that has strong values of radical inclusivity, anti-racism, and giving back.

They also have a revolutionary Fit Liberty program on some of their basics; if your size changes within a year, they will replace your item in your new size for free. That’s pretty incredible.

What’s amazing about this company is not just that I can find jeans in my size — but that someone who wears a size 00 or someone who wears a size 40 could buy the exact same jeans. That’s rare to find.

So how do Universal Standard jeans actually hold up after 1 year of wear?

The Seine High Rise Skinny Jeans have held up wonderfully despite a year of hard wear. I work at home and wear jeans almost daily, so I estimate these have been worn and washed every week for the past year.

The indigo color has barely faded, which is a definite plus. You can see some fading around the edges of the piece, especially near the button and zipper and the tops of the pockets, and some on the inner thighs but I think that’s well within expectations. When you want a dark jean, you want it to last! I haven’t noticed any color transfer from these when washing, either. And, in the past, I had problems with color from other brands of jeans (NYDJ in particular) transferring to the upholstery of my light-colored office chair! Not so with these.

A big problem for me with any kind of pants is wear and tear on the inner thighs. After a year of wear, these have zero pilling or thinning of the fabric. As you can see in the photo, there is some slight stretching in the fabric, but almost nothing compared to the lower quality Nicole Miller jeans.

Major pilling and thinning of the fabric on the Nicole Miller jeans
Much less wear, but a little fading, on the Universal Standard jeans.

The 32-inch inseam are slightly long on me (I’m 5’6″) with regular shoes, but they look amazing with heels and boots, and I simply roll them up for a cuffed look with flats. Living in Colorado, where it can get pretty cold, I find the longer length more versatile than cropped jeans. But the Seine jeans also come in a 27-inch length and a mid-rise style, as well as a bunch of colors.

Universal Standard jeans as part of a plus-size capsule wardrobe

As I note in my forthcoming capsule wardrobe post, a pair of dark-wash skinny jeans is a must in my capsule wardrobe to wear dressed up or down (despite Gen Z declaring that skinny jeans are out!). If you’re looking for a pair of jeans that will stand the test of time, I highly recommend these Universal Standard Seine jeans.

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