Some changes come gradually, little by little, over time. Others come in a flash. The idea for Jean Theory was one of those flashes. I was driving up the South Carolina coast, traveling to visit family up North. The windows were down, my favorite classic rock station on, and the highway open. I had carved out a life for myself by the ocean in South Carolina, something I had dreamed of, but I was starting to feel like I needed a drastic change.
That road trip, and a pair of jeans I had purchased in NYC nearly a decade before, altered the course of my life. Like many women, I spent years on a seemingly endless hunt for not just a great pair of jeans, but THE jeans. Jeans I loved, jeans I WANTED to put on, jeans that would make me feel like I could conquer the world or at the very least my day. Maybe a little dramatic. Maybe a tall order for a cotton garment. But I had been taught to stand my ground and to never settle. So when I stepped into a denim boutique in Soho, where a salesperson was able to hear what I needed and find me that perfect pair, I was struck.
It wasn't long after I returned to the beach that I decided to recreate my Soho experience for other women. And after a few more road trips, and falling in love with Charlottesville, I signed a lease on a storefront on the historic downtown mall and began my big project. With the help of a couple close friends, Jean Theory was coined as a riff on “gene theory,” because we think your jeans should fit you as closely and intuitively as the genes you were born with. Except with our jeans, you get to choose how you inherit them - be it from one of our designers, or a customer who has sold back to our "inherited" collection.
Jean Theory isn't just about premium denim; it’s about expertise in denim fit. My Soho experience taught me that a team of knowledgeable buyers and staff are the backbone of a good denim store. I Jean Theory:'s first buyer and salesperson. I spent the first year learning about all of the best brands. I slept in the back of the store. I took buses up to New York for market and immediately got on the next bus back down to Charlottesville.
Today we carry more than 70 styles of denim from the most recognized designers, alongside a carefully curated selection of clothing and accessories. Because we want your whole outfit to be perfect, not just your jeans. We have ten years of experience and a whole staff of people who are crazy passionate about their work and their community. We have customers who trust us to make them look and feel good. And I am forever grateful for all of it.
Favorite Charlottesville dinner spot: The Junction
Most loved piece of clothing growing up and now:
Then – a yellow chipmunk t-shirt my Dad got me in Lake Placid, NY. Now – a black tank top
What do you do when you’re not at Jean Theory: You can usually find me on a dance floor!
What is the last book you read? A House in the Sky – lent from Maddie on our last trip to NYC.
Top 3 on your Bucketlist: Ski Europe, Surf Bali, Dance in South America
Go-to Coffee order: Coffee. Cream.
Where is your happy place? In a papasan chair on an outdoor balcony overlooking the ocean.
Guilty Pleasure: bubble baths + long showers
Most used emoji: 😂
Sprit Animal: Butterfly
Favorite Charlottesville dinner spot: Alley Light + Continental Divide
Most loved piece of clothing growing up and now:
Then – red high top converse. Now – Glittery high top Golden Goose. Have always loved fun sneakers.
What do you do when you’re not at Jean Theory: My favorite days are the ones featuring a day-long outdoor excursion with my boyfriend and puppy, during which I’ll dream up the meal I’ll cook when we get home. Red wine included.
Who is your celebrity style icon: Shelly Long, specifically as Phyllis Nefler in Troop Beverly Hills.
Favorite 90s jam: Return of the Mack
Go-to night out cocktail: Margarita
The last show you binge watched: Making a Murderer season 2
What is the last book you read? Conversations with Friends by Sally Roony
Top 3 on your Bucketlist: US road trip, see the Northern Lights, confidently ski any Black Diamond
Most used emoji: 🙌
Sprit Animal: Turtle
Goes by: Jae (we learned this after working with her for 8 months)
Favorite Charlottesville dinner spot: Got Dumplings. THE best dumplings.
One piece of advice you would give to your younger self: Don’t let your creativity be stunted because other people don’t understand it yet.
The last show you binge watched: The Office
Favorite Childhood Book: The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Go-to Coffee order: Caramel Frappe
Top 3 on your bucketlist: Skydiving, road trip across the country, African safari
What movie best describes your life right now: The Emperor’s New Groove
Guilty Pleasure: Peanut butter and Nutella sandwich. Has to be chunky peanut butter.
Most used emoji: 💕
Spirit Animal: Peacock
Favorite Charlottesville dinner spot: The Local
Go-to night out cocktail: Moscow Mule
Most loved piece of clothing growing up and now: Then – Converse sneakers. Now – Denim jacket
What do you do when you’re not at Jean Theory:? I spend my mornings working at the Virginia Quarterly Review as an Editorial Intern
Favorite 90s Jam: 3 A.M. by Matchbox Twenty
The last show you binge watched: Mad Men
Top 3 on your Bucketlist: Skydive, Backpack across Europe, Run a marathon
What movie best describes your life right now: Lady Bird
Guilty Pleasure: following celebrity drama on social media
Most used emoji: 🤷♀️
Spirit Animal: Golden Retriever