“You have to try on a pair of Cookie Johnson jeans,” Jessica the PR maven at Neiman Marcus says to me during one of the store’s promotional events. “I promise, you’ll fall in love.” Skeptical, I traveled to the second level of this favorite department store and tried on a pair CJ by Cookie Johnson jeans. My relationship with denim is a love/hate relationship. I love the way denim looks on other women. Skinny women. I hate the way denim looks on me.
As I eased my way (yes, eased, not struggled) into a pair of cropped jeans from Ms. Cookie Johnson, I found my lower body lovingly hugged by smooth, soft and stretchy denim fabric. The jeans felt good on. Then I looked in the mirror. Mercy. The jeans looked good on, too. Jessica was right. I fell in love.
Now this may be “TMI,” but I have to tell it to you straight so that you will understand why I am so in love with Cookie Johnson jeans: this blogger has got junk in the trunk. Mad junk. So much junk that most premium jeans can’t handle it. But CJ by Cookie Johnson can.
Normally, when I put on a pair of premium jeans, I either look like a sausage, have muffin top or a big gap along my lower back. And for some reason, of all the premium denim designers out there, Cookie Johnson is the ONLY one who knows how to solve my premium denim problems.
“At one point, I just said, ‘You know what? It’s not me. It’s the industry. They just don’t design for my body type. And I don’t think it’s fair. So I’m going to go and make a pair of jeans,'” the designer, and wife of NBA champ Earvin “Magic” Johnson, explains why she decided to design her own line. She knew there were other women in the world just like her, so with passion and determination, Johnson utilized her resources and connections to create CJ by Cookie Johnson in February 2009.
Today, the line exists in several locations of popular department stores, including Neiman Marcus. The fact that the line has grown so much in just a year and a half is telling. “That just goes to show you that there were women just waiting, like me, to find something that would fit,” Johnson conveys.
CJ by Cookie Johnson is a premium denim line designed to fit curvy women. While other premium denim lines have chosen to ignore this market, perhaps with a mentality of believing that curvy women are not part of the premium denim market anyway, Johnson instead embraces it. “I’m saying, yes we can.”
The response has been overwhelming. “I’ve had women in the dressing room crying, because they have tried on jean after jean and couldn’t find anything that fit them. But then they put on my jean and say, ‘Oh my god. I look good.’ It’s like a self-esteem booster,” says Johnson.
While my experience in the dressing room did not involve tears (I firmly believe there’s no crying in fashion), it did, in fact, involve that self esteem boost that Johnson speaks of. Just look at my Outfit of the Week in the post prior to this one. Doesn’t my butt just look fabulous? Skinny is one thing I am not, but I actually feel skinny in a pair of CJ by Cookie Johnson jeans. I feel outright sexy. It’s like there’s a little bit of magic in the denim. “No pun intended,” Johnson laughs as I say this to her.
Other premium denim brands are adding a curvy line to their collections, but in my opinion, none can compare to Cookie Johnson’s jeans. “I’m really careful about what fabrics I use. Comfort is important to me. We purposely pick fabrics that are soft and stretchy, but that don’t stretch out,” Johnson reveals. “We also design the back to be a little higher, so you can sit down and not worry about everything showing. But yet, we keep the front stylishly low, so it still has that contemporary style to it.” Johnson goes on to explain that other brands that claim to fit curvy women merely bring the waist up. “You end up feeling like you’re wearing your grandma’s jeans. So we brought it up just a little bit, but not too high. So it’s still contemporary.” Two more design elements to love about CJ by Cookie Johnson jeans are that there is plenty of room in the thighs and the jeans don’t need to be specially dry cleaned. Wash with your other denim or colors.
Right now Johnson is sticking to pants and jeans and enhancing her collection by adding other fabrications. For the holidays, shoppers can expect to find velvet and corduroy designs. “We want to keep giving our women more to wear. We work really hard to give variety to our customers,” says the designer. But eventually as the brand grows, Johnson would love to do a collection that includes other apparel. I’m sure when that happens, more tears in the dressing room will flow and more self esteems will receive a boost. I know my own will be among them.