PLANNING WINTER WEAR IN TORONTO: EXPRESS FLEECE JEANS

Hi! I’m back. Hopefully I’ll be able to update this blog more. It’s been hard for me to create outfit posts because I’ve been working like crazy. I counted that I have seven jobs (some more legit than others, but…medical editing, teaching, private tutoring, freelance medical writing, shoe flipping, IG influencing, freelance creative writing), and all that work on top of trying to prioritize home life, health, and self-care (and bouldering!) has been a little much.

But I think I’ll stop worrying about creating “perfect” blog posts and just write frequent little updates and post useful heads ups on sales, products, and other random things that I fancy and that I think you might fancy.

So, the thing that I have been obsessing over lately is my upcoming trip to Toronto. Eddie is already out there on business (mixing a movie), and I’ll be joining him during the first week of December. Snowfall has already begun there. I heard that it doesn’t get crazy snowy there, but this LA cold-weather wimp is going to need some legit winter wear. Just for the record, anything below 77F is considered cold to me.

Even though I’ll only be staying in Toronto for 10 days, I have zero gear for serious winter weather, so I get to do a bit of shopping. Here’s my shopping list:

  • North Face down jacket
  • Snow boots in case of heavy snow or a day of frolicking in snow
  • Snow sneakers for everyday exploring without worrying about slushy sidewalks
  • Base layers
  • Fleece-lined jeans or jeggings ✅
  • Sweaters

Also, I’m on a tight budget, so I’m looking at sales, last year’s/discontinued styles, and thrifted items.

EXPRESS COZY FLEECE JEAN ANKLE LEGGINGS

Express fleece jeans were the first thing that I ordered after I bought my plane tix. I live in jeans, so I knew I needed warm ones. I picked these Express ones because they were 40% off (regular price $79.99), and seemed cute. Old Navy has some too that are highly rated and on sale right now.

Mid Rise Black // High Waisted Grey // High Waisted Button Fly Blue

I should start off by saying that I am a jeans snob. A loyal jeans snob. I pretty much wear only Frame Denim because they fit perfectly, are comfortable, and last forever. Also, I can always find them for a great deal on Posh and ebay (I’ll never pay $200 for jeans). I probably would never consider straying from my favorite brand, except that I got seduced by idea of the cozy fleece lining in these Express jeans. And I didn’t just buy 1 pair, I bought 3. But am I keeping them? Read on.

Feel this! Super cozy lining. All jeans should have this.

Don’t expect super thick jeans. The lining is pretty thin and fuzzy, which is good because your legs won’t look all swollen. Feels very good on the skin.

FIT: I bought size 0 Short in all of the Express fleece jeans. I definitely like the short length (I’m 5’1″). These are stretchy and roomy. Not a “skinny jean” or jeggings fit, but these would be good in case I want to wear a base layer underneath.

The high-waisted blue jeans are cute and pretty standard. Sorry, my camera washed out the blue. The denim is a true, darkish blue.

express cozy fleece blue jeans high waisted try on
The high-waisted blue ones are comfortable. I don’t care for the button fly

The waist is a little big on me (I usually wear a 24 in Frame jeans and the waist on those are perfect). At this point, I’m undecided whether I’ll keep these.

The waist is loose and there is a little bit of a gap in the back when I sit.

One of the main reasons I prefer designer jeans is because I like how they make my butt look. These jeans made my butt look okay, but something about the fit made me feel like I was wearing frumpy little girls’ jeans and not women’s jeans. Not super flattering. And I’m not feeling that great in them.

Next, I tried on the mid-rise black ones. I wish they were high waisted, but I couldn’t find high-waisted black on the site. These are okay. I mean, they fit (though the waist was big on these too). They look basic. Nothing exceptionally cute or special except for the lining. Just black jeans. Not sure I’ll keep these either.

Finally, I tried on the high-waisted gray pair.

Yucko! Maybe because they are gray and lighter in color, but the looser fit is just not flattering on me at all. And worst of all, they have these terribly ugly seams running down the sides of the legs, which make the jeans look very cheap and out of style.

The seams on the sides of the legs are a deal breaker for me.

No thank you. The gray ones are definitely going back.

WARMTH: The Express fleece jeans are definitely warmer than my Frame jeans. The cozy lining works, and I think the jeans would be great for something like camping or winter hiking where you don’t want to wear your finest denim. But I’m going to Toronto, a fashionable and fun, hip city. I want to look and feel cute. And still be warm.

So…I tried on my Uniqlo Heattech base layer underneath my Frame Ali High Rise jeans. These jeans are skinny fit and stretchy. It felt like “home” when I put these on after trying on the Express jeans. And these jeans + the base layer were warmer than the Express jeans. (I’m sure the Express fleece jeans + base layer would be the warmest. But not the cutest.)

OVERALL: After much deliberation, I decided to return ALL of them. I know myself and I know that I’ll always be reaching for my Frames (probably even when hiking) so there’s no need to keep these around. I decided I’ll just wear my Frames with the base layer in Toronto. I think the Express jeans would be a great choice for people who already love the Express brand and know that their jeans work for them. I’m just a little too in love with my Frames, and even the prospect of freezing my buns off isn’t enough to get me to stray.

I’ve actually never shopped on Express online. Apparently, they only accept store returns.

Well, that was fun. Thanks for stopping by! Do you have brand loyalty to your jeans too? Did you get what I meant when I said my jeans felt like “home”?


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