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The Expert

Denim Diva

Ilana Kashdin, 30, jeans connoisseur and owner of B. Scene (7725 Tuckerman Lane, Potomac, 301-299-0194)

Sunday, January 23, 2005; Page M03

THE PERFECT PAIR: When I graduated from college in 1996, I went straight to work for a company called Buffalo Jeans in New York. Before premium denim labels became popular, Buffalo Jeans were the "it" jeans. I was really their only sales rep, so I would travel across the country learning about washes, fits, rivets, pocket placement -- anything that had to do with jeans. During this time, I noticed that the D.C. metro area didn't have a suburban store dedicated solely to denim. I was getting tired of all the travel and, coincidentally, my mom had a boutique in Cabin John Mall. She was at the point in her career where she needed to get out or move to a bigger location. So we decided to pair up, and the rest is history.

BOOTYLICIOUS: The first thing that most people look at when they're buying a pair of jeans is the front. But if the butt looks bad, they're not going to make it to the checkout counter. A butt should simply look appealing. That's why the whole "pockets shouldn't go past the rear" hype is silly. True Religion prides itself on oversize pockets that hang well past any normal-size derrière, and they look great. (Though if you're a little more J.Lo, you should stay away from them.) For the droopy butt, try jeans without a back yoke, the triangle thing below the belt loops -- darts give the appearance of lifting. For those who don't have a butt, I recommend smaller pockets that make your behind look bigger.



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BLUE RIBBON: When you find the right pair of jeans, you just know. The waist should fit contoured -- no gaping. The length should be long and, above all else, the jeans should be comfortable. People love Seven jeans because they're so ahead of the game. This fall they introduced jeans with Swarovski crystals, which flew out of the stores.

ON THE RISE: If you want a nice pair of premium jeans you can expect to pay $80 to $200. I love different brands for different reasons. Paige Premium Denim will probably be the next "it" jean. The woman who started them was a fit model for just about every high-end denim line you can imagine. Hudson jeans have more room in the waist and are very narrow through the leg. Rock & Republic are great for the really tall and skinny. My favorites are Citizens of Humanity for their basic comfort -- the rise in the back is somewhat higher, so my underwear isn't showing when I bend over to pick up something. Although I definitely own some Saturday-evening jeans, too. As told to Karen Hart


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