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We Found Representative-elect Marie Gluesenkamp Perez’s Jeans

Photo: Amanda Lucier/The New York Times/Redux

Rarely do I see a political candidate whose personal style I envy. Of course, there are many whose clothing choices I admire — including Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Ayanna Pressley. But when I first saw a photo of Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, the newly elected Democratic representative from Washington State’s Third District, who won in what is widely considered the greatest upset among House races, my first reaction was, Damn, that’s a good outfit. In the photo, she is campaigning and wearing a pair of deep-indigo double-knee jeans, an expertly worn-in chambray shirt, and a pair of Blundstone boots. It is, head to toe, something I would absolutely be wearing right now if I weren’t seven months pregnant and too big for non-maternity jeans.

The real surprise is the specific choice of her jeans. Very little searching was needed to ID them. In fact, my editor and I recognized them immediately as Rudy Jude Utility Jeans from the fit, placement of the patches, and how the patches have a small opening at the bottom that allows for padding to be inserted should you be kneeling a lot to do masonry or auto repair — a distinct possibility for Gluesenkamp Perez, since she and her husband own their own auto-repair shop.

I could pick out a pair of Rudy Jude Utility Jeans on a crowded Brooklyn street from blocks away. They are high-waisted, slightly barrel-shaped, and though they are unisex (and look great on many different body types), they have a magical taper at the waist that follows the curve of your hips like no other jeans can. They are pretty hard to score, as the Maine-based brand sells them on a preorder-only basis and rarely has any extra stock. A big part of the appeal of these jeans is that they’re made using sustainable practices, but that means you might have to do some internet sleuthing to find a pair. Poshmark is awash with ISO (“in search of”) and FTO (“for trade only”) listings from people looking to swap for or find a pair in their size, but there are very few pairs for sale even at the original price.

Rudy Jude’s biannual Utility Jean preorder went live on Monday, November 21, and sold out in a little more than an hour. But preorders are now open again for Utility Jeans, which will ship in January 2023, giving all of us a chance to snag a pair.

If you can’t wait that long, this pair of pre-worn, size-3 indigo Utility Jeans is available on Poshmark. They probably won’t last long, but if you check back often, you’ll definitely be able to find more in different sizes. For reference, a Rudy Jude size 3 is equivalent to a 30-inch waist. Prepregnancy, I usually wore either 29- or 30-inch-waisted jeans, and the size 3 Utility Jeans were perfect for me, while size 4 still fit and looked cute but sat lower on my hips and gave me a much more casual vibe.

The two pairs I have took a lot of work to get, but I currently own one in deep indigo and the other in off-white with tan knee patches. So does Gluesenkamp Perez, I discovered, while searching for photos that clearly show the Rudy Jude brass-logo button to fact-check myself (I reached out to her team for confirmation and am awaiting a response). In a photo of her and her opponent, Joe Kent, she is wearing the white-contrast knee jeans with chunky knit socks and beat-up clogs — the crunchy-mom fit of my dreams.

Both the indigo and the natural Utility Jeans are currently sold out, but here are a few worthy alternatives you can buy while you wait for the brand to make more.

The next best thing to a pair of Utility Jeans is a pair of Utility Cords. These are cut just like their denim counterparts and made from 100 percent cotton wide-wale corduroy. They come in two colors: natural and moss.

Another solid alternative, from ethical fashion brand the Hey Gang, is this pair of 100 percent cotton five-pocket jeans with knee patches. Like Rudy Jude, the Hey Gang makes clothing for kids and adults focusing on durability and function. I haven’t tried its jeans, but I own a pair of its overalls, and I would say they run somewhat more slim through the hips than my Rudy Jude jeans.

Or you could consider this classic pair of carpenter pants from Carhartt WIP. They are made from 100 percent ten-ounce denim and feature a double knee and a straight, slightly tapered fit.

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We Found Marie Gluesenkamp Perez’s Jeans