Poll: What Were Your Embarrassing Middle School Jeans?

The week’s winding down and office conversation has turned nostalgic… this morning’s conversation about platform flip-flops–and their ubiquity on late-90′s, early-00′s middle school black tops–soon became a series of confessions about the terrible jeans we all wore in eighth grade. The mall jeans, the outlet jeans, the dated cuts, the high waists and exceedingly low waists, the heavily branded “premium” denim, etc.

For some, it was flares from Wet Seal (though wasn’t it for everyone?). For others, the bargain low-rise at Charlotte Russe. One colleague was unable to part with a tattered pair of super dated bell bottoms from Miss Sixty. We, for example, wore the occasional baggier, boyish pairs from Guess and–along with many other teen girls–coveted 7 For All Mankind, which were pretty aspirational at the time.

So! We wanted to ask: what was your denim of choice in middle school? Would you still wear the brand now? Tell us what brands we forgot…

Sorry! This poll is now closed.

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    • Jamie Peck

      L.E.I., baby. Bell bottoms. Oh yes.

      • Ashley Cardiff

        I *absolutely* had some L.E.I.s.

        And I haven’t thought about that brand in years.

      • Sam

        Oh yes indeed! My favorite pair had smiley faces going down the sides. I rocked those babies.

      • Fabel

        Yesss L.E.I was the first brand I thought of when I saw this post.

    • Abi

      Not a brand but I had a pair of patchwork flares that I waited months to get and wore to death once I did!

    • porkchop

      In 5th grade, I had baby pink Guess that were TO DIE FOR.

      • lemona

        I had Jordache jeans in HOT PINK. The brightest, hottest pink you’ve ever seen. And I wore them with a Bugs Bunny shirt that had hot pink and neon green stars on it.

    • Claire

      Mine were Paris Blues. Come on, I can’t be the only one. Am I that old? I’m 24! Sevens weren’t even a thing when I was in middle school.

      • Ashley Cardiff

        I remember Paris Blues!

      • Claire

        Phew :)

      • mm

        I’m 20 and they were definitely a thing when I was in middle school

    • lexie

      i’m surprised so many people wore guess/7′s. both would’ve been way out of my price range as a middle-schooler. furthermore, seriously, sevens at that age?! my goodness…

      • KeLynn


    • Arnie

      I always wanted Billabong jeans, but my mum wouldn’t fork out for anything other than jeans from The Warehouse (kind of like a New Zealand Target) or Farmers, and there’s no way I could’ve afforded the extra hundred for a shiny label on my own, so I never got my overpriced surf store jeans.

      I did, however, have the coolest pair of bright blue (so bright they still turned a load of washing blue six months later) pants, that I wore nearly every day for about a year.

    • Tania

      No name brands from cheap stores because my mom was a student.

    • NotThumper

      I’m amazed you guys remember! I’m only 27 and I haven’t the foggiest idea what I wore in middle school. Hell, I couldn’t tell you definitively what I wore in high school either! :)

    • Steph

      i still wear some of those brands.

      • NotThumper


        Seriously, I shop at Marshalls and TJ Maxx-I buy whatever fits, is comfy, and is $20 or under. I can’t be bothered spending $$$ on jeans since I know what happens to them.
        Occasionally I’ll shop at Old Navy if they are having a decent sale. I used to love Gap jeans, their long and lean style but the price is ridiculous now!

      • Steph

        NotThumper: I buy jeans at Express and American Eagle. I am nowhere near a place where I can buy designer jeans, and even if I were, I wouldn’t buy them. I have more important things to spend my money on.

      • NotThumper

        I agree! There’s loads more things I’d rather buy… :)

      • Ashley Cardiff

        Oh, this by no means was meant to shame people for buying cheap jeans–I exclusively wear a brand that costs $48 and I wear them until they fall apart and I have to buy new ones. We just wanted to reminisce about some of those brands we haven’t thought about in years, like L.E.I.

      • NotThumper

        @ Ashley
        No worries, I didn’t even think that until you mentioned it. ;) It’s just how I think of jeans, well clothing, in general. Cheap=more clothes to me, lol. (and by cheap I mean the sale rack, I never buy anything full price!)
        I feel no shame! :)

    • Sarah

      Mine were Pepe….you HAD to have those and Z. Cavaricchi!!!

      • Ashley Cardiff

        Z. Cavaricchi makes me laugh every time I think of that brand, without fail.

    • Ella

      GX jeans. Everyone in my grade wore those or JNCO’s.

    • TheAssistant

      Don’t remember the brand, but I bought all my jeans (and most of my other clothes) from 5-7-9. Where they proudly sold sizes 00-9 petite.

      And then puberty walloped me.

    • Aimee

      Aeropostale… embarrassing.

    • Celia

      Paris Blues and BONGO, baby!

    • mm

      Starting in 7th grade nothing but Sevens, Rock and Republic, and True Religions. I grew out of True Religions by my senior year because they’re disgusting, but I wore Sevens today (NOT the kind in your picture, the understated dark wash ones that look nice). I had this awful pair of light wash Rock&Republics with a turquoise RR on the butt. I still have one pair but they’re dark w/ baby pink Rs and I haven’t worn them in 3 years. I think Citizens are the best, they were my favorite then and still are. Classy, not gross like Bekham R&Rs, and super comfy. I realize that wearing $200-$400 jeans at the age of 13 and on is ridiculous but I grew up in a really wealthy area, where any less than Sevens was absolutely unacceptable. ha.

    • leighburg

      i remember receiving an outfit from my grandmother of black, denim, highwaisted Bongo shorts and cropped, white Bongo sweatshirt.
      i never got fancy jeans until i graduated college. meanwhile, my bratty little sister NEEDED silver jeans for school.

    • Veronica

      Mine were from limited too. I think I win hahahahaha.

    • Nancy

      In middle school I didn’t even know there WERE different brands for clothes. I ordered all my clothes from the boys section in the Sears catalogue… I still have never owned any of those brands. I can’t figure out what to think of this poll.

    • KeLynn

      I don’t think anyone at my school paid attention to jean brands (maybe they did and I had no idea – I wouldn’t be surprised to hear I was out of the loop on one more thing) but I head these bell bottoms I LOVED that had embroidered black swirls up the sides seams. Aw, now I miss them.

    • Megan

      *checks tag* Yep, I’m wearing American Eagle RIGHT NOW. And I’m 28.

      Not embarrassed. AE jeans are fabulous. I hoard their jeggings.

      I am, however, slightly blushing to admit that I got my middle school jeans at

      (wait for it)

      Kids ‘R’ Us.

      I was tiny, my mother had no fashion sense, and I was wearing high waists and tapered ankles when the other girls were catching on to low-rise flares. Yep. Kids ‘R’ Us.

      I win.

    • Jen

      I wore Levi 501′s all through middle and high school… still have a couple pair… and I’m 50 now.

    • Cassandra

      Angel(s)? Brand jeans were the big thing when I was in middle school, with glitter on them so they felt nice and stiff

    • Lisa

      Hand me downs and a pair of DKNYs that was discounted. Never understood why a certain brand of jeans was so important to anyone, but now that I’m older I do appreciate a pair of jeans (or any garment) that fits really well.

    • Cate

      Mudd jeans, often with laces up the legs. I had one pair of Miss Sixty jeans with poppies painted on them, and those were lovely, but everything else was just godawful.
      I don’t own a single pair of jeans now, and do not plan to ever again.

    • MissMo

      JNCO and KikGirl…lots of huge, billowing, wide-legged “raver” (as one wore them to raves?) jeans, as they were called back then. Didn’t even wear flares or bootcut type until high school!

    • Kat

      I wore a truly horrendous pair of wiiiiiiide leg jeans from Delia’s. *shudder*