Is it just me, or does it seem that most women these days wear incredibly tight jeans? This is coming from someone who grew up in the 80s and remembers Brooke Shields, who famously asked, “You wanna know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”
And it’s not just jeans. It’s all pants. (Don’t even get me started on yoga pants. Or leggings. Neither of which are pants.)
When skinny jeans became more popular a few years ago I swore I wouldn’t wear them. I do now, but it was gradual. I first bought them to wear with riding boots.
Being a very tall and thin woman, finding jeans has always been a struggle. As a teenager, I wore men’s Levi’s because they were the only jeans I could find with a 36” inseam. Try finding jeans with a 28” waist and 36” inseam. That’s one skinny dude! And even though they were long enough, the waist never fit right, so I had to take in the back waistband to get rid of the gap.
Later I was able to find extra-long jeans online from Banana Republic/Gap/Old Navy. Still a 36” inseam, and a better fit, but I still had issues with the butt getting baggy. They fit in the store, but after wearing a few times, bagginess. Part of it was that jeans used to be 100 percent cotton. Most all jeans now have spandex in them, so that helps them spring back into shape.
A magazine article revolutionized jeans for me – it suggested buying jeans one size smaller. Why didn’t I think of that myself? It worked! That, combined with some spandex, and no more baggy behind.
But back to the tightness. I notice it a lot at work. Some of the younger women wear only skin-tight pants/jeans. (We can wear jeans on Fridays.) They are so tight you can see every ripple. They look incredibly uncomfortable. I am all for pants that fit well, but I don’t need to see all your business. What happened to trouser jeans? Or a good straight-leg or boot-cut jean?
A couple funny jean stories. The first from my niece, Megan. One of her college friends was in town earlier this year and they were getting ready to go out. Anna told Megan, “You need to get a new pair of jeans. Yours are getting saggy.” I have never known Megan to wear saggy jeans. And hers aren’t ultra-tight either. Anyway, I went home and looked at my jeans and decided that Anna would probably tell me it’s time for new jeans. Which prompted me to buy a newer pair of Old Navy skinny jeans.
The second story is work-related. I was at a work retreat and wanted to be comfortable, so I wore my thrift store Buckle jeans, which are somewhat flared at the bottom. I always thought they fit me well. During a break, a younger female co-worker came up to me and said, “I’m glad someone else wore baggy jeans today. I just wanted to be comfortable.” I smiled and nodded, stunned. I wish I could’ve seen my face as I thought, “These are baggy jeans?!”
I wear different jeans for different occasions. I rarely wear skinny jeans to work because the knee area is so tight they are uncomfortable to wear all day with my knees bent at my desk. I also avoid them at sporting events for the same reason. I usually wear them when my top is a little longer or looser fitting, to which the skinny jeans balance the outfit. And I wear them with riding boots or my rain boots. In contrast, I like to wear a tighter-fitting top with a “looser” fitting or flared-leg pant.
For both skinny and straight, I have my “good butt” jeans that I save for wearing out on weekends. I don’t want to stretch them out too much.
Like Stacy and Clinton used to say on “What Not to Wear” – just because a store sells a certain piece of clothing doesn’t mean you have to buy it. And just because seemingly everyone is wearing skinny jeans, doesn’t mean you have to. Wear jeans that are most flattering for you and that you feel most comfortable in. We don’t have to see all of your business.