Universal Standard Denim Review & Discount Code

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Universal Standard is a favorite apparel brand of mine; offering their entire collection in sizes 00-40, Universal Standard makes quality clothing I find great for us grown-ass women. Workwear, loungewear, coats, dresses, activewear, cashmere and tees… but Universal Standard is best known for denim.

Woman in a burgundy turtleneck sweater and Universal Standard Seine skinny jeans
Wearing the Universal Standard Seine skinny jeans. I no longer own these, but did find them very comfortable and a great fit for many years.

The Universal Standard denim collection is extensive, with a fantastic range of cuts, styles, and washes, and a few styles are also available in lengths. A quality weight, but with so much stretch you could nap in them, Universal Standard jeans are stylish without being too trendy and have plenty of deep functional pockets. Able to see the jeans on a range of body sizes (the denim home page shows styles on sizes 4, 18, and 22) and ages (from 22-72), you can get a feel for what Universal Standard denim will look like on your body.

I am updating this post from 2021 because, since its publication, Universal Standard has introduced many new denim styles and retired a few. I wanted to update you with their current offerings and promo codes to help you save at Universal Standard through March 31, 2024.

Universal Standard Promo Codes

I have two different Universal Standard promo codes for the Wardrobe Oxygen community to celebrate the denim collection. One is for new customers, and one is for those who have previously shopped at Universal Standard.

Universal Standard New Customer Promo Codes

Want to see what all the hype is about Universal Standard denim? Through March 31, 2024, use code INFS-ALISONBOGO and get a free T-Rex or V-Rex t-shirt ($50 value) with any denim order. Visit this link to see the shopping instructions and peruse the denim offerings.

If you don't want the tee but are a new customer wanting to save, use code INFS-ALISONDENIM50 for $50 off denim available at this link.

Save 15% at Universal Standard

Whether you are a previous customer of Universal Standard, or if you just think this sounds like a better deal for your order, use code INFS-ALISON15 for 15% off your order through March 31, 2024. This is a great way to try the new denim or stock up on favorites. This promo can also be used more than once in case you forget something with your first order.

woman in neon yellow linen shirt, white tank, and white Universal Standard Etta jeans
Wearing the Universal Standard Etta jeans in white

What is Universal Standard?

Universal Standard was founded by two friends who were heading to a networking event and one had nothing to wear. Being plus-sized, she knew she couldn't just head to a store and find something to wear. She took her straight-sized friend with her to Fifth Avenue in NYC to see the dismal offerings available in her size.

The two agreed there needed to be universal wardrobe staples of great quality and fit available to the 67% of the female population that wears a size 14 or larger. And with that idea, Universal Standard was born.

Since its start, Universal Standard has expanded their size range to sizes 00-40 with some styles in petite. Because the brand began with size 10/12 the smallest, that is why Universal Standard's size range may seem unusual.

Woman walking down a sidewalk in a green tweed doublebreasted blazer from J. Crew and Universal Standard Seine skinny jeans. She has brown leather flats from Ally NYC on her feet and she turned her head to look at the camera.
Wearing a different wash of the Universal Standard Seine skinny jeans

What Size I Wear in Universal Standard

For reference, I am 5'3″ tall. with brands like Talbots, Madewell, and Old Navy, I usually wear a size 14 or 32 jean. With Universal Standard denim, however, I am almost always a 12. Universal Standard has a size chart on each product page specific to that garment; do not rely on your standard size elsewhere but instead take your measurements to get the best fit with their denim.

Universal Standard Denim Review

This is not my only review of Universal Standard denim. I have shared the best Universal Standard jeans for petites, and I also did a Universal Standard denim haul with six different styles. For this Universal Standard denim review, I am focusing on styles that are currently available (and not on clearance/final sale), and that I personally own so I can share my honest thoughts.

Universal Standard Bae Jeans

When thinking about the best jeans for petites at Universal Standard, one of the best options is the Bae jeans. Such a popular fit, the Bae is now available in a 26″ inseam and a 30″ inseam and a plethora of denim colors and washes.

Woman in a black baseball cap, navy and white striped Breton top tucked into the dark selvedge wash of Universal Standard Bae Jeans. New Balance 327 sneakers on her feet.

IMO, the Bae Jeans from Universal Standard run large. Above, I am wearing the 26″ crops in size 12 and I think I would have been more comfortable in a 10. They don't stretch larger, but they sat on my hips and I feel in the selvedge wash they would have looked better with a trimmer fit.

Woman in a New Order t-shirt and a faded pair of the Universal Standard Bae cropped jeans. She is wearing white Birkenstock sandals and walking down a sidewalk in a suburban neighborhood.

I also have a pair of the faded Baes and they are too a 12; while they seem to be less loose on the waist I think because they're distressed they don't look or feel as obviously roomy. If in doubt, size down but expect to fall in love with the “boyfriend” fit, stretchy but solid denim, and the deep pockets.

Universal Standard Dakota Denim Skirt

Woman wearing a black and white striped Breton with a denim skirt and red suede pumps

Denim skirts never look right on me. As someone with a soft belly and a butt, they often look more like a lampshade than a garment, snug over the body and flaring out below the rump. I was curious about the Universal Standard Dakota Denim Skirt since US is so good with working with curves.

Woman wearing a black and white striped Breton with a denim skirt and red suede pumps

With the same quality stretch denim as the rest of the collection, this denim skirt is incredibly comfortable, has deep pockets, a slit that isn't so high it will show something by accident, and works far better with my curves thanks to strategic side panels. I am wearing a 12; it's snug but not uncomfortable. I am curious how a 14 may work, if it would be a straighter fit or end up too roomy or long.

Universal Standard Denim Chore Jacket

I think I wore denim jackets so much I got them out of my system. While I still have several from the past (including the Universal Standard Kelsey in distressed) I never reach for them… except for the Universal Standard Denim Chore Jacket. The fit feels very now, and the look is really premium.

Woman at an outdoor concert in a brown and white graphic print silk trapeeze maxi dress, a cream felt western hat and the Universal Standard denim chore jacket

The Denim Chore Jacket runs big; mine is an XS and I can fit a bulky sweater under it. It's supposed to be oversized and long and relaxed. With buttons on the sides for design as well as function (far more comfortable when sitting, create a different effect, etc.) and a heavier less stretchy denim that looks as though I found it at a thrift store, I find this denim jacket fits better with current fashion trends.

Universal Standard Etta Jeans

The Universal Standard Etta Jean is a high-waisted straight leg that is deceptively stretchy in all directions while looking like premium denim. Available in an extensive selections of colors and denim washes, the Etta Jean is available in regular (28″) and long (31″) lengths. I am wearing a 12 Regular in Aged Indigo.

49 year old woman in a white crewneck t-shirt and medium wash straight leg jeans. She has on a black leather western belt and black boots and is leaning against a brick pillar

If you want a classic 501's style jean but with stretch and comfort and size inclusivity, the Etta Jean is for you. A high but not too high waist (remember I am 5'3″), a leg that is straight, and two lengths so you can go ankle or full length; this is a really versatile style.

49 year old woman in a white crewneck t-shirt and medium wash straight leg jeans. She has on a black leather western belt and black boots and is leaning against a brick pillar

The Etta Jean is one I say if in doubt, size down. Since going through perimenopause and the passing of my mom, my body is in flux and the size 12 fit me when my body is larger and are a little loose when I am my most consistent size and shape.

Universal Standard Joni Jeans

The Joni Jean from Universal Standard is a slim-fit jean designed for curvy figures that have over a 10″ waist to hip difference. With hidden stretch in the premium denim, these are jeans that will move with you without shimmying down or bagging out by the end of the day.

universal standard joni jean review

The Universal Standard Joni jeans are available four washes/colors, and two inseam lengths of 27″ and 32″. I am wearing size 12 with the “regular” inseam.

universal standard joni jean review

Three years later, these jeans are still in my closet and worn regularly. Even as my body has changed and fluctuated, I still find them comfortable and the wash looks good. They're a favorite with an untucked linen shirt and sneakers or sandals; I also like them with boots and chunkier sweaters.

Universal Standard Farrah Jeans

I was hesitant to share the Universal Standard Farrah jeans in this review because the wash I have is on clearance, Final Sale, clearly being discontinued. There are still two darker washes still being replenished, and these are by far my most worn Universal Standard jeans, so I decided to include them.

Woman in a navy and white stripe Breton top and a faded pair of the Universal Standard Farrah flared jeans

If you are too short for most flared jeans, you may too fall in love with the Farrah. With a 31″ inseam, for me they are the perfect alllllmost ground-skimming length with boots and platform sneakers.

woman standing in a parking lot at night, the headlights of a car illuminating her. She is wearing a tan teddy short coat, a navy sweater with red stripes, and a faded pair of the Universal Standard Farrah flared jeans

I have washed these jeans dozens of times, half of those times in the dryer and they still look and perform great. I have heard the darker washes of the Farrah jeans run a bit more snug; the 12 is perfect for me in the faded but I would consider ordering a size larger if I got another pair in the darker washes.

new universal standard denim review

Hearing from the Wardrobe Oxygen Community

Now I'd like to hear from you! What Universal Standard denim do you recommend? When you share your feedback (recommendation or PSA), please share some details about the body wearing the jeans. Height, shape, and age; even type of shoe you wear (heels or flats or sneakers) are factors in determining what denim will work for whom. Thank you for helping to make Wardrobe Oxygen an even better resource for apparel shopping!

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. I agree with commenter Leu2500 about feeling overwhelmed with US denim. So many styles, too much complexity for feeling confident in ordering. Also — every single style has that obnoxious metal button at the stomach. Not sure why retailers can’t replace that thing with a more comfortable closure!

  2. I have the Bae Cropped Boyfriend jeans in True Blue, & they are fabulous! I actually ordered them a year ago when US was having a denim sale at that time & have been so happy with them. They are incredibly stretchy & soft; they don’t feel like I’m wearing jeans at all. Perfect for long days. The wide leg looks good but definitely remember to yank those legs up a bit when in public restrooms! If it wasn’t for that, I’d love to wear them when I’m traveling. I went with my true size at the time I ordered them (8), even though some reviews suggested sizing down. Now, with my size fluctuating a bit, they are still super comfortable & fit well. Great denim!

  3. I have always been a denim hater. My wardrobe consisted of workwear (business formal and casual) and workout wear. Universal Standard changed my mind. US is the only denim I will actually wear and find comfortable, with their deep pockets and plenty of stretch. My favorite US denim is the bae boyfriend cropped jeans. I am 5’3″ and wear an 8 in this style. I have them in both light blue and vintage indigo selvedge. In response the the OP about the Stevie, the bae selvedge looks on me like the Stevie looks on the US model, but the inseam length works better for me as a petite than the longer length Stevie. I wide cuff them and wear them with combat boots or Onitsuka Tiger high tops. I recently purchased the Elastic Waist Weekend Jean, and have only tried them on and have not worn them all day yet. They are true blue and I purchased a size 10. I would not recommend sizing down on these. They are advertised as mid rise, but are quite high waisted on me. The length is a perfect ankle length, and they feel a bit snug in the waist and hip, but will probably relax with wear. I have also worn the Seine in a size 8, which is a good fit but a bit too skinny for my current tastes. In addition to traditional denim pants, I own the Kelsey denim jacket in light blue and had to size down to a 2XS. It is a great denim jacket but as much as I love the look on others, I have never quite been able to embrace denim jackets and don’t wear it that often.

  4. Has anyone tried the US barrel jeans in the black. I am very interested how they fit and especially on a plus size 18 woman. Thanks. Since I live in Canada these jeans become very expensive with duty and shipping (30.00), but I love the fit of their clothes and how well made they are.

  5. I have the Etta’s, and they are a very comfortable jean, but as someone with thinner thighs and legs, I don’t feel like they’re a great look on me. There’s just a lot of volume in the leg that looks a little frumpy.

    I recently got the Farrahs and I like them but I definitely advise you take your true size in them. I also have the Rivieras and I like them even better. The Riviera is quite high waisted so good for my big tummy, and it also has a lot of give in the waist. But the hem is unfinished, which some people might not like. Also, the Riviera is heavier denim than the Farrah and the Farrah to me are a dressier looking jean. Farrah are also a flare, Riviera more of a bootcut.

  6. Alison, thank you for these in depth reviews of US jeans that include pictures of you wearing them. I am usually overwhelmed with US’s releases of clothes, especially denim. So overwhelmed that I don’t even try to make sense of it all & just don’t order anything.

    from your info, I can see that I might be interested in the Etta jeans.

    And I’m glad that they still carry the Joni jeans. They fit me better hip to waist than the Seines do. & I don’t think I have that much of a waist.

  7. Allie have you tried the Riviera jeans before in a dark wash? I’ve been looking at those vs the Seine jean, trying to figure out what the difference is. Any idea?

  8. I received the Joni curvy fit jeans in my mystery box and I absolutely love them! They are so comfortable and soft while still keeping their shape throughout the day. I received a size 12 in these and would probably have been fine with a size ten ( I am a 10 in the seine). The soft black is something I would not have purchased on my own but am glad that I received this color! I might try the Etta jeans based on your comments. Thanks for the review.

  9. I saw those overalls, and I was so excited that I decided to splurge and immediately bought a pair of the blue ones! I have been on the lookout for a pair of overalls for a very long time. With a 30 inch inseam, I know that I will have to get them shortened at a tailor, but I factored that into my decision.

    I love US, but their prices are a wee bit above the amount of disposable cash that I have for clothes. I have picked up my pieces at sample sales and through Poshmark mostly, but that just makes me treasure the pieces that I do have even more.

    1. Their overalls are awesome; I have the past two versions yet am still thinking about getting the new ones too! I recommend you check out the Universal Standard B/S/T group on Facebook (Wardrobe Oxygen also has one) where there are a lot of US pieces for sale that are NWT and in like new condition!

  10. Thanks for the thorough review as always. I really wish US would bring out some longer inseams. Even 32″ is a bit too short for me, and I’m not that tall.

    1. Agree, and I wish their petite wasn’t so incredibly short; I think I’d have to be 5′ or under to make them work. I can only hope that if they succeed through the ‘demic they will have the funding to do all the expanding they had planned to do.

  11. Allie, while high-rise jeans are not my jam, I wanted to give you a big thanks for helping me rehome my Joni jeans I received in my Mystery Box from US. I tried your FB group (lovely people) as well as the FB US B/S/T group, where I had swift success. I realize that designers are not going to always produce pieces that match my preferences (as much I wish US would) so I’m glad someone else can get use out of them. Besides, I’m looking forward to the warmer months when we can live in dresses 24/7!

  12. I was intrigued by US’s denim promo touting the design of a curvy jean for people with more than a “10” waist-to-hip difference.” What does that actually mean, I wonder. So, I went to the site and looked at all the jeans on all the models and I just don’t see it.

    I feel dumb in that I don’t even understand the concept — is it basically intended for women with larger hips, butts, and thighs? Isn’t a 10″ or greater difference the norm in pretty much all clothing?

    In fact, as an aside, that’s why I can’t wear most jeans b/c I”m an apple shape and none of these proportions even remotely make sense!!

    1. I think the assumption that is as you get bigger/more ‘plus size’, you tend to have a smaller difference between waist and hip, and become more apple-shaped. So most of their denim is cut for that shape, whereas their curvy cuts are assuming that you still have a smaller waist relative to your hips and thighs. So you’re right that the assumption is for around 10″ difference in “straight sizes” in other brands, but not so much for Universal Standard’s sizing which goes up to much larger.

      I’m still a pear at size 16 so I don’t have any recommendations, but I’m sure there are some great resources out there for finding jeans for an apple shape.

      1. I am apple shape and wear jeans. Stretch is the key. I would think US jeans would be great. I wear mostly Paige, but have had luck in the past with NYDJ, Everlane, AG and Mother. (On sale or eBay mostly).

        Rosey Beeme on Instagram and blog, did a round up of plus size apple shape jeans.

    2. I think Laura is correct, a lot found the Universal Standard Seine jeans to be too straight up and down for them so the Joni is a “curvy” alternative, and Donna is for the Etta. I think of ELOQUII which has two fits, I think this is their concept of the same thing.

  13. I may be missing it, but are there any pics of the Stevie jean on someone who is ‘t very slim? It looks like a great jean but I would like to see some idea of how it fits someone with fuller butt and thighs. Internet searches are coming up empty.

    1. I went looking for the same and wasn’t able to find any either. I have such a hard time envisioning certain styles on a more curvy body and really appreciate when retailers show them on multiple body types.

    2. I’ll get a photo of me in them for Friday Shop, but I am hoping to see some bodies in them on Instagram since they sent their jeans to a lot of influencers!

    3. I got the Stevie in my Mystery Box (which arrived on 3/19/21…. so VERY late). I am 6 feet tall and wear a size 18/20. I am typically an 18 in US and that’s what size I have. I have a pretty straight figure with a belly. I LOVE the Stevie. I couldn’t believe that I ended up liking them, but they are great.

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