By  on August 31, 2011

DALLAS — When Nancy Bolen fell in love with the sparkle of Miss Me jeans but disliked the muffin top they cut into her size 10 hips, she did what any self-respecting designer would do: she made her own.

“I really wanted a pair of jeans like these, but they didn’t fit [me] at all,” said Bolen, an industry veteran who liberally applies novelty and detail to her City Girl misses’ sportswear line. “My fat was falling over the jeans.”

Los Angeles-based Bolen pitched the idea to Ed Vierling and Sam Klapholz, her managing partners at Sharon Young Inc., the Dallas-based sportswear company that produces City Girl and other labels. Klapholz, senior vice president of sales, researched the denim industry before the company jumped into jeans, which he considers “a universe unto itself.”

“Of the 613 denim brands in the U.S., only 5 percent are embellished,” Klapholz asserted. “Only this one little glitzy niche of premium denim is doing unbelievably well. The research said…do a huge assortment of pockets.”

Focused on fit and fabrication as well as embellishment, the trio came up with Tru Luxe, a sort of Miss-Me-for-moms featuring sparkling and embroidered back pockets. Since shipments began in February, it’s been a hit.

“Tru Luxe is filling a void in the growing demand for what we call the contemporary woman-soccer mom,” observed Jeff Glik, president and chief executive officer of Glik’s, a Midwestern chain of 54 junior contemporary and young men’s stores. “To us it’s an attitude, not an age, and that’s exactly what Tru Luxe is — an excellent-fitting jean in nice washes and good design that retails under $100, which is the sweet spot for where the customer is purchasing. And obviously, with the obesity we have in America, it’s not just for the contemporary woman — it’s for the younger girl who does not have the junior fit.”

Meanwhile, Miss Me continues to gain enthusiasts and registers 10th in Facebook “likes” among denim brands with more than 300,000.

Tru Luxe is already sold in about 600 specialty stores and is expected to double its business to $4.5 million in wholesale volume next year, according to Vierling, Sharon Young’s chairman and ceo.

Offering boot-cut, slim-crop, straight, skinny and wide-leg silhouettes, each of them named for a global fashion capital, every Tru Luxe jean has a 9.5-inch front rise, a 15.5-inch back rise and fancy back pockets. Its bestseller is a dark-wash sanded and whiskered boot-cut jean with a fleur de lis embroidered and studded onto the rear pockets. For spring, Tru Luxe added solid hues of turquoise, red, yellow and several shades of white, plus shorts and more pocket variations.

Front and rear views of each style are available at the collection’s Web site at Next month, the company will begin offering e-commerce on the site as well.

Bolen developed the denim, a blend of cotton and 2 percent spandex, with a mill in southern China that’s near the factory that produces the jeans.

“I wanted a really stretchy, soft fabric so you could wear it all day long and it was as comfortable as a knit legging,” she said.

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