Jeans are up there with bathing suits on the list of least enjoyable things to shop for, thanks to wildly inconsistent sizing between (and even within) brands and limited options for anyone who doesn’t fit the so-called “standard” body type.
That’s why a new direct-to-consumer denim company wants to take size out of jeans shopping altogether. Neems makes high-quality jeans that are custom-designed for your body — no trip to the tailor required. All you do is pick your jeans style online, submit your measurements and poof! Jeans made specifically for you will ship to your door within two weeks.
Neems jeans don’t just promise a better fit; they’re also better for the planet, thanks to sourcing from sustainably minded mills, a US-based factory and packaging made from 100% recycled or compostable materials. Because Neems’s jeans are all handmade to order, there’s also no risk of overproduction, and returns get donated or recycled as home insulation.
As a woman with a human body, I’ve struggled my entire life to find denim that fits off the rack. Intrigued by the promise of jeans that didn’t have a waist gap yet also didn’t threaten to cut off circulation to my thighs, I decided to put Neems to the test.
How Neems works
Custom-made jeans require more upfront work than traditional shopping, but Neems makes the process pretty painless. After deciding on the style, weight and color you want (more on that below), you take nine different waist and leg measurements. It’s not as daunting as it sounds: Short videos walk you through each step, and Neems will even mail you a tape measure for free if you need it. Just plug your measurements into your Neems profile, and you’re good to go.
There’s also the option of gifting someone a “Lasso Box,” which comes with a branded tape measure, gift card for however many pairs you want to give and a guide to setting up a Neems account.
Neems’s denim styles
Neems denim comes in four go-with-anything colors so far: classic blue, deep indigo, white and black. Women can pick from four silhouettes (or grab one of each for a well-rounded denim drawer): straight, skinny, wide leg and mom fit (each $189; neemsjeans.com). The straight leg and mom jeans also offer your choice of fabric weights: a 13-ounce low stretch denim for a vintage look, or a more forgiving 10-ounce comfort stretch denim.
Men, meanwhile, can choose from slim or straight fits (each $189; neemsjeans.com), and they also have the option to upgrade to 11-ounce raw indigo Japanese selvage denim ($225; neemsjeans.com), which Neems guarantees for life.
Ordering with Neems
For the sake of comparison, I ordered two very different Neems styles: light blue mom jeans in 13-ounce denim ($189; neemsjeans.com) and comfort stretch indigo skinnies ($189; neemsjeans.com). After inputting my specs and placing my order, the company quickly reached out to ask about any preferences beyond measurements — like how big I wanted the back pockets and how many inches above my ankles I wanted the jeans to fall.
Neems’s customer service, we should note here, is impeccable; the company responded quickly and helpfully to all my questions. With my decisions made (standard pockets, 2 inches above the ankle), my order was sent off to get handmade at the company’s LA factory.
When the mom jeans first arrived, they looked great — so great, in fact, that I wanted to pretend I didn’t have to give up breathing in order to wear them. Alas, it seems I’d pulled the measuring tape a bit too tightly around my waist in my initial measurements/refusal to accept that I’d overindulged in quarantine. I emailed Neems to describe the areas that felt too snug; they replied within a day and got another pair under production almost immediately.
This updated pair arrived in about two weeks and was perfection. Despite having no plans to leave my apartment, I wore them for a full week (yes, I am very dedicated to my research), and was thoroughly impressed. Not only did they fit me to a T, but the fabric hit that elusive jeans sweet spot: sturdy enough to hold you in, yet not overly restrictive, and comfortable enough to wear for hours while somehow always holding their shape.
They washed beautifully too (though I avoided the dryer), no weird fraying or warping to be found. They are, without a doubt, my new favorite jeans, and I hope Neems starts offering the style in more washes and fabrics.
The skinnies, which I’d ordered after my initial pair with my updated measurements, fit great from the get-go. They hug my body without highlighting cellulite and are so comfortable that I wouldn’t mind wearing them while working from home when my sweatpants need a break. The lighter fabric did loosen up substantially more than that of the mom jeans over the course of the day, but that wasn’t surprising given that it’s stretch denim. The fit, rich indigo color and pajamalike comfort made me a fan nonetheless.
Flaws but not deal breakers
At $189 a pop, Neems jeans aren’t budget denim. But given the quality of the materials, the company’s commitment to sustainability and the fact that you may never have to step foot in a horrifically lit dressing room again, they’re a worthy investment. Neems’s prices are on par with luxury denim brands like Agolde and Citizens of Humanity. Also, keep in mind that you won’t have to pay for any alterations.
The other drawback of Neems jeans is that they require some patience. Getting custom denim is always going to take longer than ordering a ready-made pair off a site like Shopbop, and things get even more drawn out if you have to send your jeans back for tweaks. That said, having a US factory (as opposed to an overseas one) grants Neems some of the quickest turnaround times in the industry, and they’re worth the wait.
The bottom line
Neems is a game changer for anyone who’s struggled to find the jeans of their dreams (read: everyone), and I’m a customer for life.