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US Denim Consumers Value Comfort Over Fashion, Report Says

For an item that is as universally loved as jeans, finding the right pair and size doesn’t come easy—and a new report finds consumers just want to feel comfortable and confident in their jeans.

Data from YouGov Omnibus found that 46 percent of U.S. consumers prioritize comfort when searching for jeans, followed by cost and style.

The fact that comfort trumps fashion may indicate that consumers have been burned one too many times by buying jeans based on fashion trends as opposed to how they feel wearing them. YouGov reported that 56 percent of Americans have at least one pair of jeans that no longer fit.

One in 10 consumers report having just one pair of non-fitting jeans in their closet, while 17 percent reported owning two pairs that don’t fit. Meanwhile, 8 percent said they have six or more pairs of jeans in their closet that don’t fit them.

The fit problem may begin in stores. Despite services like personal shopping and fit guides and wider availability to brands with inclusive sizing, YouGov found that 46 percent of women say they are “not very confident” or “not at all confident” that they know their size when they initially go into a store. Men fare better, with 24 percent saying they are not very confident that they will know which clothing size will fit them best.

Online shopping presents even greater uncertainty for both genders. Of the women surveyed, 63 percent said they are not confident about finding the rise size when shopping at an online retailer for the first time, compared to 43 percent of men.

That uneasiness wanes once a consumer is familiar with a brand or store. YouGov found that 81 percent of Americans say they are “very” or “somewhat” confident that they will know the clothing size that will fit them best from somewhere they’ve shopped before.

Once consumers find a jean that fits, they tend to stick with it. Sixty-nine percent of consumers surveyed said they buy one to three different brands over a typical one-year period. The percentage of people who buy four to six pairs drops to 13 percent.

However, they don’t necessarily feel loyal to the brand itself. Thirty-five percent of consumers said they feel “somewhat loyal” towards clothing brands that they buy jeans from, while 19 percent said they are “not very loyal” and another 19 percent said they are “not at all loyal.”