Through the middle to late 90’s, I was one of American Eagle’s biggest fans. I spent my hard-earned paycheck on their jeans and flannels, and their skirts and sweaters always made it to the top of my Christmas list. I had an American Eagle hand knit sweater that I treasured and wore all over campus during the bitterly cold western Ohio winters. But, the “freshman fifteen” and marriage and life in general hit and well… American Eagle stopped fitting my body twenty years ago.
Well saddle up, my friends, because the 90’s are back AND fashion sizing is becoming more inclusive! American Eagle has just launched extended sizes in their denim wall, offering up to size 24 in stores. At this point, the size expansion is limited to denim only, but hopefully if the plus community shops the heck out of it, the store will expand their size offering across all of their merchandise.
I stopped in the store at the St. Louis Premium Outlets to try on some of the new offerings and see which cuts I like the best. I will say, I only tried on the styles in one portion of the store, since the denim was more spread out than I realized before going in the fitting room. On my next visit I will try the other cuts and colorways. Since I have never tried them before, I grabbed a pair in both a 22 and a 24 for each style.
** For reference, I am about 5’8” and weigh 290. I am rather proportionately thick with no one part of my body being much larger than another. I would say I am apple shaped, carrying most of my weight in my middle. Typically, I wear a size 3X or 22. Also it should be noted that this was in an American Eagle Outlet. Some style names and fits may vary slightly at the regular retail store.
1. Kick Boot I was able to wear this pair in a size 22. There was a LOT of stretch and room in the waist of this pair. I don’t believe I could size down, but these would definitely become too big as the day goes on. On my body, the pockets puckered a bit with the way they were cut. I haven’t worn a leg opening this flared in quite a while either. Though these fit my butt well, I don’t believe they were the perfect cut for me. (Fit description: Fitted from waist to knee with wide leg opening. 9.5” rise/19” leg opening)
2. Hi-Rise Jegging My husband encouraged me to try the super light wash in this cut. I also wore a size 22 in this pair. Though they aren’t really my style, I did like the cut and fit of this pair. They don’t have near the amount of stretch that the boot did. And, I like the slimmer profile of the jeans. In a different wash, I would totally rock these. (Fit description: The slimmest, best selling fit. 10.25” rise/9.75” leg opening)
3. Curvy Hi-Rise Jegging Oddly, something that is called “curvy” was the most ill fitting on my body. I think that’s because they are designed for people with a more pear shaped, bottom heavy body. The way the waist is designed, they aren’t great for those who carry their weight through the middle. They have a thicker waist band, and a tighter fit. I had to size up to a 24 in this style. (Fit description: Narrow waist with more room through the hip and thigh. 10.75” rise/ 9.5” leg opening)
4. Curvy Hi-Rise Jegging (Black) Oddly, in this wash these jeans fit completely differently. This was the best fitting pair I tried! I was able to wear these in a 22. I purchased this pair, especially since I can dress them up and wear them to work! (Fit description: Narrow waist with more room through the hip and thigh. 10.75” rise/ 9.5” leg opening)
5. Super Hi Rise Jegging I needed to size up to a 24 in this style. I think with how high the rise is, I just needed more room in the waist. That being said, I really like this pair. This is the other one I selected to purchase. (Fit description: Slimmest best selling fit. 10.75” rise/9.75” leg opening)
6. Hi-Rise Jegging (Destructed) This was also a great fitting pair. For my proportions, I believe the Hi-Rise Jegging is my best fit. I don’t need destructed denim at the moment, but this pair is definitely on my list. (Fit description: The slimmest, best selling fit. 10.25” rise/9.75” leg opening)
Overall, I was really pleased with the denim selection at the American Eagle Outlet. I totally applaud their effort to expand their size range. They have some great, affordable jeans! I bought two pairs on this trip and will definitely be back for more. Though they don’t have extended sizes in anything else yet, I found that many of the tops were roomy and an XL fit me in several styles. I hope that American Eagle takes notice that their clothes are something the plus size community wants. Maybe with luck, they will offer tops, dresses, jackets, and trousers in a wider size range soon.
Seriously, if you are like me and haven’t shopped American Eagle in 20 years because you literally outgrew the brand, you should stop back in. Keep patronizing the brands that are trying to expand. Let companies know with your dollars that we want to be seen. These jeans are definitely worth it!