In 2004, Lauren Conrad ran around Laguna Beach in denim that was very much of the era—skin-tight super-flares with an ultra low-rise. Present-day Conrad, however, doesn’t have room in her closet for those, or really any interest in them.
“Everything I wore in my late teens and early twenties was just so low rise,” Conrad tells Glamour, looking back on her early-aughts wardrobe. (We know.) “And at this point,” she says, “I just can’t.”
She has a legitimate excuse for disavowing the denim that was broadcasted into homes across America on MTV: Conrad says a low rise just isn’t suitable for her lifestyle as a mom: “I have a kid, so I’m constantly getting down on my knees or something. I couldn’t wear them just because they’re not full-coverage. I would just be like tugging them up all the time. I can’t pull off the low rise.”
In her updated denim collection for LC Lauren Conrad, available now at Kohl’s, comfort is prioritized over nostalgia. There are a few nods to her favorite early aughts styles—like a pair of “barely boot” kick-out flares—but the majority of collection includes of-the-moment tapered legs and mid to high rise waists. (All pairs are offered in a size-inclusive run from petites to plus, no less.)
While Conrad’s taste in denim has evolved over the years, there’s one pair from that televised era that’ll always have a place in her heart: “I remember in high school I wanted a pair of Miss Sixty jeans so badly.” The style was very 2004: a low-rise, stretchy flare. “I literally would visit them in the store. But I had to buy my own clothes, so I was saving up because they were very fancy then.”
Back then, Conrad couldn’t let those jeans go. “I worked at a clothing store and I saved up […] and I finally went and bought them for myself,” she recalls. “I was so excited. I thought, I look so good in these.”
Her dream denim didn’t last long: In a scene from every shopper’s worst nightmare, Conrad’s jeans were ruined the same day that she bought them. “I went out that night to my friend’s house, and his dog came up and wrecked my pants and ripped them.” She assures that her jeans couldn’t be salvaged. “[It was] not a repairable rip. He destroyed them. I tried to stitch them up and they looked crazy.”
Nowadays, Conrad has a somewhat formulaic approach to her own denim use: “I wear jeans most days and I wear them to every situation,” she says. Her absolute go-to outfit, she adds, consists of high-rise skinny jeans and a T-shirt. Some fashion editors may have predicted the end of slim-fit denim, but per LC it’s not quite time to get out the Goodwill box. The low-rise flares, on the other hand? Those can stay in 2004.