we reached out to a few long-time wearers of imogene rigid, asking them to share their personal experience with the jean over time.
reading their responses, we knew we needed to share ’em.
must have been July of 2009 just when imogene + willie opened on 12th South in Nashville.
yes, i do. i felt like a stuffed sausage! carrie promised me if i was patient they would stretch and become fitted to my body.
honestly – ouch. it hurt to wear them at the beginning. then once some room was achieved, i loved them. i felt like a woman – not a teenager trying to wear the latest trend. i loved the size of the back pockets. i loved the way my butt looked in them!
not too long... maybe a month.
the butt! the larger back pocket size. i cannot stand jeans with small back pockets.
i like how i must exercise patience and trust they will be better than i expect once they whisker and soften and become fitted to my body.
BE PATIENT and trust the folks of imogene + willie to size you properly.
really as little as possible. i’ve long overcome the notion they are not clean – they are just coming into their own the less i wash them. they might get washed 1x every three months. often that means in the tub on my body!
gosh, they mean so many things.
they remind me of the day i met carrie and matt long before the store opened. i remember their infectious generous spirit and their determination to develop a neighborhood jeans shop with soul.
they always bring up feelings of love and loss. michael pontes who is no longer with us loved carrie and matt and they him. for my 40th birthday he set up a custom fitting appointment for me at imogene + willie. that birthday was a time when things were good. a time of sweet love and family. the shop on 12th Ave will always remind me of him and what it looks like to grow a deep friendship and the bond he shared with matt.
“If These Jeans Could Talk”
first pair? shit, i think i own the first run (aside from the original 250)... vintage button and all.
i don't remember vividly the first time i put them on, aside from the fact that i had never tried on denim that nice before (at the time i was wearing cheap stretchy jeans and had no idea what salvage denim was).
trying on your first pair of rigid jeans is a lot like deciding to work out because you pray you will see results eventually.
at first they are so TIGHT and unwelcoming leading to temporary bruising and shortage of blood flow and air supply.
give it a month and those babies are second skin. they take on your body shape and say "i am here for you! i embrace you!" no matter how tall or thin or big boned or bootylicious you are.
the best part of imogene rigid... the ASS!
i am pretty sure i own nearly every fit made by matt and carrie and believe me i celebrate the day they introduced imogene stretch, but the ass on the rigids - nothing compares. it took my little big booty and sucked it right up, all the while giving it room to push back and say "i belong here!"
to all of the women scared of rigid, buy them so tight you can't breathe. wear them every day for a month. work in them! remember, jeans are meant to be worked in, not just to make us pretty or sexy. sexy is wearing a durable pair of jeans and not being afraid to wear them and work in them. denim that's built to last is sexy. a woman not afraid to get a pair of jeans worn in because she's actually working in them scrubbing floors, serving burgers at a local bar or photographing a wedding... that's even sexier.
i never wash mine! eek! (sorry not sorry)
imogene rigid is the first pair of imogene + willie jeans i have ever owned and they hang lovingly in my closet next to the other 15 pairs. this brand is primarily all i wear. from rigid to stretch it's like saying i love one child more than the next.
that's my word. but here is what i will say about imogene rigid...
the first time i pulled those jeans on i heard the word “acceptance”. i was a girl plagued with eating disorders and body dysmorphia for many years, afraid of the ways the clothes i wore exposed my imperfections. those jeans came into my life and said very lovingly that i was the boss of them. that they would answer to me and make me feel beautiful because they were tough, yet flexible. that they were a pattern, waiting to come to life in their own special way for me. those jeans would beautifully and poetically represent my story and body from that day forward.
i got my first pair of imogene rigids about eight years ago or whenever carrie and matt started selling them out of their home on Main St. in Henderson, Kentucky.
yes, we tried them on at carrie and matt's home. i was so excited to finally have a custom pair!
i thought they were too tight for my body and i really started wondering if carrie had taken my measurements correctly. they were so stiff that i felt like i looked like the tin man trying to walk in them. but she assured me that they would mold to my body and fit me perfectly after a couple of wears.
probably after about four or five times of wearing them.
the waistline. it's perfect for me. so many jeans may fit you in most areas but usually the waistline doesn't work. imogene rigid fits me everywhere.
the classic look and the fact that i get compliments almost every time i wear them.
imogene holds your body in place and is much more flattering than stretch denim. they do not stretch out and become droopy. they truly mold to the curves of your body.
be patient when getting used to them. they will NOT disappoint. i would trust the staff to fit you even if it's not the size you think you'd wear.
hardly ever... maybe three times a year. and when i do wash them, i NEVER dry them.
they are my favorite, go-to jean. without a doubt, the best fitting jean i've ever worn. i feel lucky to get to wear them and i plan to still be wearing them when i'm 80 years old!
“A Unique Commitment”
i got my first pair of imogene rigid in September of 2009 - almost seven years ago!
yes, i remember getting the full history of jeans and selvage and matt and carrie from ian first. then he went over to the metal bins to grab me the stiffest jeans i had ever touched!
my first impression was that there was no way i’d ever get them over my butt much less button them! after a little coaxing and squeezing i finally got them on!
although they were horribly tight, i could already appreciate the shape and form of the actual jeans. carrie and everyone in the shop that day assured me that they looked great and soon they would feel great too.
i think the back pockets and the way they are positioned are the most flattering parts of the imogene rigid. i feel like the back pockets work on ANY body type, and i think it’s the most ingenious design aspect that matt and carrie had in the beginning!
i really do like that they become your own. i feel like rigid jeans just have such a unique shape to them once they form to your body, that is much more ‘set.’ it is hard to describe.
i would say trust the process and wear them a lot.
i think in seven years i have maybe washed them seven times at the very most.
for whatever reasons (like the ones mainly in my head – i’ve always thought i had bigger thighs or the length of the jeans was never right), throughout my life i have never found the perfect jeans. i never felt like the jeans i wore were flattering in all areas, until i tried on my imogene rigids. i loved the way they fit my butt and thighs. i loved wearing them in and seeing my own ‘lines’. being able to help matt and carrie in the beginning with different fits, for me was like coming full circle.
this pair of jeans reminds me of a time in Nashville when everything was new again. even though i am not a native, i could still sense something special was happening. there were a handful of artisans and creatives that were doing their thing, making amazing products but also at the same time, they were giving Nashville a new sense of community. it seems like Nashville is changing again, but these jeans will always remind me of that special time when everything was golden.
it was probably around three years ago.
honestly, that they were too tight! but i loved the fit. the imogene rise is the best!
not long at all. everyone told me to just wear them - so i did. often. and they started taking on my shape pretty quickly.
the butt for sure. imogene rigid sits right over my hips which i love and the back pockets are the perfect size and position for showcasing your curves... i love that.
most every other pair of jeans i own has a little stretch to them. i love my rigid jeans because they become completely yours. you won't see two pairs that look the same. also, once they're worn in, they are super comfy!
the beginning stages are different because a stretch pair will be comfortable right off the bat.
a rigid pair takes time but it’s totally worth it. i've noticed i get more complements on my imogene rigids than any other jean.
trust that they will stretch out and become your favorite jeans!
in three years i have washed mine once.
like i said, i love these jeans because they are completely mine. i worked to get them to where they are now and i’m proud of them!
the autumn of 2009. the year i+w first opened in Nashville.
the fit was snug and firm. i felt safe and yet adventurous.
i was ready to start writing my own story in the creases and folds... looking forward to making an "impression" on my first rigids, so to speak.
the rise, and the curve around my waist. even though i bought them snug, they stretched more than i anticipated. i should have bought them so tight that i would have to lie down to zip. they are a true boot cut, so i have to pair them with stout boots or chunky shoes to achieve the right scale.
they feel rugged and yet forgiving. in this fast-paced world, to cultivate a project that involves delayed gratification is a rare opportunity and quite a satisfying labor of love.
stretch denim jeans are softer and lighter, but have little character. they feel like a veneer of maple, while rigid jeans have a quality like solid mahogany.
buy skin tight. i can't overemphasize the degree to which they stretch. i don't put mine in the dryer, so that's a major factor.
twice a year. i wear them once a week.
infrastructure. they are the backdrop to my personal style. my imogene rigids began as a blank slate to record movement as i make my way through life.
on my first day with the company, July 18, 2013, the manager, alex said it was time to get my first day jeans. he said i would have to choose wisely because he wasn’t going to let me get a second pair until my first ones looked awesome. he suggested imogene rigid.
once i managed out of pure stubbornness to get them over my thighs, i still didn’t think i could near buttoning them. alex had told me it was totally normal for people to lay down to get the zippers and buttons done, so i did. i heard him asking where i’d gone while i was on the floor of the fitting room holding the pockets together enough to get the zipper done. i yelled out from the floor once i suffered into them and he came over, saying they were perfect.
i was not convinced, but they looked pretty dang good.
my jeans represent what i’ve been up to for the past three years. all the years of hating jeans was because they were too low and too stretchy and i had finally found jeans to love that would love me back.
the knees broke out first from kneeling on the floor to pin customers in their new jeans. my left back phone pocket has been patched a million times. the right outer thigh is lighter than the rest of the jeans because apparently i wipe everything off there, who knew?! my favorite thing on them is a weird little swoop that broke in on one of the front left whiskers. i do not have them in my hands right now i just know these jeans as well as they know me.
getting into rigid jeans, especially as a woman with hips, thighs, and a butt, can be intimidating, awkward, and uncomfortable. sometimes they can be so tight that you think they’re going to flatten your butt, give you a muffin top, and bruise your hip bones, BUT when you think about all the jeans in your closet that just sit there. or all the jeans you wear once a season so that you don’t have to feel guilty that you spent money on them. or all the jeans that you want to wear all the time, but you can’t because they’re always in the laundry to shrink them. all the weird whiskers and distress marks that don’t match up to anything on Your body.
if you decide you will make a commitment to wear rigid jeans for a couple weeks straight, and i do mean at least five days a week for at least a month, you will find that you never want to take them off. you won’t have to. you can wear them with everything, every day. you can take all the time you spend thinking about your wardrobe, whether it’s five minutes a day or an hour, and you can have that time back because you’ll know you look great and feel great.
even though i wasn’t super stressed out about getting dressed every morning, i did have to think about it. these jeans allowed me to develop my personal style in a way that incorporates my personality, which does not want to stand in front of my closet when i could be making breakfast or reading a book.
i don’t know what i’d call them. maybe i’d call them “Peggysue” and finally change my regular name.