who the hell can fit into these delicious, godforsaken jeans?

A version of this piece also appears on Huff Post


I want to know who the women are who can fit into jeans.


Because I don’t understand. They cost like $70. Sometimes they cost even more. But they are selling. Someone is buying them.

They are all skinny now, tiny brilliantly colored leg tubes, like pipe cleaners. They come in such inviting shades. Jewel tones.

I forget if I already said this somewhere, but Bear said, “If I ever hear the phrase ‘jewel tones’ again…” as though after that he would either jump out of a window or kill everyone first and then jump out of a window. Because I love jewel tones and I want to paint our new walls with them and I am agonizing over how many to use and I have finally settled on that bold, screaming pink and emerald green, and now I just have to decide how to divide them up and I can’t help but explain and justify my reasoning.

I am clearly unoriginal. I probably only want jewel tones because of all the skinny jeans. They look delicious! I want to eat everyone’s legs.


But I don’t understand everyone’s legs.

Or rather, something is wrong with mine.

No, more than just one thing. Everything is wrong with my legs.

I know, because I have tried jeans on. I did it just the other day.


I took four pairs, to be safe—each one a different size. One of them, I thought, logically, had to be the one. Fuchsia, of course, and candy red, and royal blue, and mustard. I would be dashing, I imagined. I would successfully wear dizzingly high heels for the first time, under the clipped ends of the jeans, and above there would be some gauzy, playful, devastatingly chic tunic belted with something involving faux alligator skin maybe. Huge earrings, fierce lipstick, and cheekbones. Yes. I would suddenly have cheekbones, in these jeans.

I struggled with the first pair, putting up a valiant fight. Almost, almost, just pull, dammit, just pull harder, you pathetic weakling. Just get them over the thighs. Shit. They aren’t meant for it. No thighs allowed. These are half-leg pants, like hobbles. Very fashionable. You wear your best underwear and some upper thigh jewelry. Ha ha. OK, so, no.



Not losing hope. Still with plenty of spirit. Good things are going to happen here. I can feel it. I still believe.

These go over my ankles without any protest, so that’s promising. I can almost get them to my crotch. I am sweating with the effort. I am not in shape. I am bending over forward and I’m naked from the waist up because of course I was wearing a dress when I came in so you can’t try on jeans without taking it off, and I catch sight of my breasts sliding in the bra, as always, like bats fluttering in their own personalized caves, plenty of space. And in a flash my mind goes

Shoulders are too broad for size of breasts waist too thick for length of neck

Before I straighten up and cut it off.

I lean backwards now, yanking. It’s just as hard to get them off me. I wonder what it’s like, for the millions of women removing their skinny jeans all over the world right now. Are we all suffering the same way? Sisterhood!


These I can actually get over my butt, so it’s a great moment of triumph. But I’m not really feeling it, because there’s my belly, squishing obscenely above, a pillow of inappropriateness. I feel like my butt is being compressed and I can clearly make out the contours of my vagina. Vulva. Whatever. I try standing differently. I cock one hip flirtatiously. It’s not flirtatious, and now my vagina/vulva/that magical place between my legs hurts faintly.

(yeah, um, no…source)

Damn. Damn. Next?

It takes me a while to get out of the last ones.

Here is my final chance. There’s no way I’m going out there for other options. This is it.

It becomes immediately clear that my legs are embarrassingly short. So short that no one who has ever made jeans has ever even imagined that legs could be this short. If someone suggested to any of them that this could happen they would bite their lips, elegantly puzzled, and finally say uncomfortably, “I hear there is a surgery for this that they do in China…”

But I refuse to get it! I am proud of who I am!

Or, actually, I didn’t even know how bad I was until now.

The problem is that I have this friend who loves to shop and she always gave me her worn-in hand-me-down jeans, and they were only a little too long and not very skinny and so I never had to go jeans shopping and anyway I want to buy things prettier than jeans if I’m going to spend that much money so I rarely even think about them. Which I now realize has been integral to my self-esteem over the years.

I am a biological failure. Standing half naked in a fluorescent lit shoebox fitting room. It is shameful. I cross my thick arms over my slender breasts. My face looks twenty years older than it is and that seems sort of miraculous, in a terrible way. There are no cheekbones.

I have learned a lot. In fact, I now know everything that is wrong with my legs:

Too short, the ankles aren’t long enough, or slim enough, bulky knees, too thick, a weird shape around the hips, too curvy

There might actually even be more.

I will never be able to buy jeans. At least not the ones that people like to wear these days (although even the non-skinny variety are going to be too long).

Walking out of the store, I vaguely remember how much I loved my legs when I was a teenager. You know, back when I was homeschooled and doing slam poetry and feeling like I was about to conquer and redecorate the whole world. I used to sit naked in front of my mirror, sketching myself, being all pleased and obnoxious and admiring the lines of the body that was all mine. I was proud of those legs. I loved their curves. They were compact and sweet.

They still are, actually.

It’s just the damn jeans.

And all the assumptions they make about how my legs should fit into them.


*   *   *



Unroast: Today I love the way I look in a chunky, bold bracelet. And a flowing dress. No pants in sight!

Guys. Getting down to the wire with this discount from eShakti. Here’s the special code for ETDC readers: KA23KZS . You get 10% off whatever you buy on eShakti, even stuff that’s already discounted 40% (the only section of the site that’s off limits is Overstock). You can use the code multiple times.

Things you can get that aren’t jeans:







Kate on July 29th 2012 in beauty, being different, body

82 Responses to “who the hell can fit into these delicious, godforsaken jeans?”

  1. RobinH responded on 29 Jul 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    Thanks for this post! I have similar feelings when it comes to trying on jeans and have recently found something worse – jean shorts. They either gape at the waist, cut off circulation in the thighs or are just crazy expensive. As a younger sister who lucked out with old clothes from a sister with the same body type, it never ceases to amaze me how difficult shopping can sometimes be.
    As a side note, I did eventually find a pair of kick-ass jean shorts (with my awesome sister at my side).

  2. Rapunzel responded on 29 Jul 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    I just went jeans shopping yesterday. I actually went PANTS shopping, but I’d take what I could get. Because, literally, I’ve been wearing the same much-too-large pair of jeans every day for about two weeks now (and wearing PJ pants in between during washings at night). Pathetic.

    So I was desperate to find pants. Particularly some nice pants to go with some nice shirts I have, because cruddy jeans just don’t look right with the pretty tops. And I do have more jeans, and if I lost 10 pounds I could probably fit back into them….so, the hunt was on for professional-looking pants.

    I found some pants that I really liked–loved the material and pattern, but alas, there was almost no hope of them fitting me. They didn’t even come in my size, not even close. Because it’s hard to find pants that are above a size 16 anymore. Occasionally I can squeeze an 18 if I’m super-duper-unbelievably lucky, but never a 16.

    I cried 3 separate times that day, in 3 separate stores (or just outside them, in my car), because I failed in finding any acceptable pants. The only place I found any that actually “fit” (as in, I could get them around my waist), was at Walmart and they just didn’t fit right. I would never wear them. Tight at the waist but swimming around the thighs? No thanks.

    And always, always, ALWAYS way too long. Even the “short” or “petite” pants I tried on were too long. So I know how you feel about that…nobody appreciates our short legs, do they? At least, not clothing designers, that’s for sure!

  3. Stephanie responded on 29 Jul 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    This. This is exactly how I feel every time I try jeans on. Except, instead of stopping at my thighs, the jeans usually stop at my calves. My healthy calves that have a little too much muscle for my tastes.

    If it helps, I have short legs too! I find Express jeans fit me best, but they don’t carry above a size 12 in stores, which sucks.

  4. Maria responded on 29 Jul 2012 at 10:18 pm #

    Levi’s. Levi’s, levi’s, levi’s. They are MADE for girls with curves. They have a quiz you can take to see which style “curve” is best for your body and IT WORKS.


    I’m usually a size 4-6 ‘short’ in jeans, and according to Levi’s measurements, I was a 10. I almost didn’t buy them because I was so offended, but I had heard such good reviews that I did it anyways. Um. They are so perfect. Order them. Love them. Over and out.

  5. Passerina responded on 29 Jul 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    Haha … I had the same experience a few times before I gave up the idea I could ever wear “skinny jeans”. I know very few women who can fit into them, and even fewer who look good in them. Personally, I love a good pair of high-waisted wide-leg jeans. Why aren’t they ever offered in jewel-tones? I would love a pair of orange or purple ones! Maybe they think that if you can fill out a pair of curvy-fit jeans, you must be ashamed of your behind and want to clothe it only in the most drab of shades.
    In terms of length, though … OF COURSE you have to hem them. 99% of women need to hem their pants. I mean, it sucks that they are not offered in different lengths very often. I’m glad that I’m short, though, b/c at least there is plenty of fabric left for me to hem!

  6. contrary kiwi responded on 29 Jul 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    You can get lots of different styles of jeans! I only wear skinny jeans (totally “wrong” for my body type too, since I’m short and have big thighs and a sweet-as big butt) and they look amazing on me, but I HAVE to wear high-waisted jeans. I don’t even look at most jeans because as soon as they aren’t high-waisted, they will never work. I have the rise (the bit between your crotch and your waist) of a 6’5″ lady, but I’m 5’1″. High-waisted pants don’t even reach my bellybutton, let alone my waist, but low-rise jeans don’t even reach my hips.

    Is there something wrong with my body? Hell no! I have really shapely legs, even though they’re shorter than everyone else’s (long rise + short legs, oh yeah), I have a great butt and high-waisted pants look great on me.

    Here is a great blog post mentioning the different jeans that June has come across, some of which might help you out. In fact, her blog is simply amazing for body “problems” and how to find clothes that work with your body instead of against. http://www.bralessinbrasil.com/2012/06/hip-situation-back-gap.html

    PS. If your boobs are sliding around in your bra, you might be wearing the wrong size. Properly fitting bras are like properly fitting skinny jeans. They start off feeling very firm, and then they relax into being body-hugging, supportive beauties. You could consider getting a Skype bra fitting from here? http://blog.butterflycollection.ca/

  7. Loren responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 12:00 am #

    The problem is that ladies have a lot more variation in the waist to hip ratio than most jean designers plan for. One of the tricks (and I’m totally serious) is you have to find the store that has the right ratio for you. Mine is The Gap.
    There is not a single pair of jeans in all of Old Navy/J Crew/Aeropostale/American Eagle that fits me correctly. I have extra wide hips, and short little legs, but anytime I need jeans I know that I can walk into the Gap, pick up a pair of size 2 ‘Ankle length’ jeans, and I am good to go. I spent a long time finding the store with the right ratio, but now I’m pretty sure that my skinny jeans are the most amazing pair of pants I’ve ever owned.
    I have a pair of bright red skinny jeans & sea foam green ones too and they are awesome!
    Buying pants that fit is hard. You are not alone.
    Also spring for the expensive jeans that fit you really well & that you love. Wearing them all the time, every weekend for 5 years will make up for the price tag.

  8. Aditi responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 12:33 am #

    I can fit into those jeans and there is nothing wrong with my legs. Just like there is nothing wrong with your legs too.

  9. camelshoes responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 12:53 am #

    My favourite pair of pants of all I’ve ever owned was a pair of red corduroy jeans with a slight flare that I bought in 2001. I wore a hole in the knee, then sewed a patch and continued wearing them for years until they were threadbare and the arse wore out (then sadly had to give them up).

    Since then, this is the first year I’ve seen exciting coloured jeans, but almost all of them are skinny leg. :( I just want average-leg jeans in colours. Why is that too much to ask for? I would love a red pair, purple pair and sea foam green pair.

    As I grow into a more womanly shape (I now have hips and thighs that my teenage self didn’t), I struggle to find well fitting jeans. If it fits my thighs, way too loose on my waist. If it fits my waist, my thighs are squished in tightly and uncomfortably.

    I used to buy cheapy jeans at K-Mart or Target but on my Mum’s suggestion I tried ‘Levi’s curve ID’ and to my surprise I found some great jeans. My latest jeans wearing secret is that I bought 3 of the exact same jeans – all ‘Levi’s curve ID’, “bold curve” in the classic rise straight leg. I went to the outlet store so still didn’t pay full price. (Sadly not trendy fashion colours, though. Still looking for those that aren’t skinny-leg)

    I also liked that the Levi sizes were in inches rather than the arbitrary sizes (2, 4 etc.) so I just measured my waist rather than having to take 2 or 3 different sizes in because I don’t consistently fit one size. More accurate to say the sizes are actually not a consistent between brands/stores; my body is just fine, thanks!! I find this so annoying because shops usually restrict you to 3 items and for me that’s 3 potential sizes of one item…grrrr! This is a whole other kettle of fish, and I’m going to stop now!!

  10. katilda responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 12:55 am #

    this….seriously….i was giggling out loud in my room. my poor roommate has to deal with that, but maybe it’s better than the half hour i just spent practicing my violin. poor roommate.

  11. camelshoes responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 12:57 am #

    P.S. I have always been too short for jeans and I had to get all 3 pairs of my new Levi’s taken up at a local alterations shop.

  12. Kay responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 1:24 am #

    I second/third/whatever the Levi’s curve ID suggestion. And yes, you will probably be a bigger size in them than you’re used to; the sizing chart is not vanity sized at all and accurate in more cases than not. The bold curve jeans worked for me, except that I’ve “outgrown” my pair and they now make painful marks on my thighs. I have really big thighs…this is why I generally can’t wear jeans. Also, I wish I could time travel and buy 3 more pairs of the petite curvy fit ones I found at Ann Taylor 2 years ago that they seem not to want to make anymore…sob.

  13. Rachel Cronin responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 4:57 am #

    My life has been one long miserable quest to find the perfect pair of jeans. At one point last year I counted 32 pairs in my wardrobe. Madness. Only about half of them fit properly. I had a massive clear out, got rid of 20 pairs and the ones I wear the most are a knackered old pair of Gap Long and Leans that are about 10 years old. I do love them though, they are like home and I feel like me when I wear them.

    If I suggest to my mum that we go shopping for jeans, she actually turns a little pale and has to sit down for a bit. I have lost count of the times I have stood weeping changing rooms, one leg stuck in a pair of skinnies and this seems to be an experience common to pretty much all women- it’s completely mental. Now I have a mantra when I go shopping for jeans (hell, any clothes really)- if they don’t fit I remember to say to myself “it’s not my body that’s wrong, it’s the jeans”.

    Oh but those jewel coloured skinnies. They are beautiful. Sob.

  14. Karen responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 5:04 am #

    Ugh. Jeans shopping is the worst. I spent three hours with my mum trying to find a nice coloured pair in March and in the end we gave up and spent a lot of money at McGreggor for pretty, nicely fitting and non-skinny jeans. Hehe. Best pile of cash I ever spent.

  15. impossiblealice responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 6:51 am #

    I wear jeans a lot. But I like wide-leg or flared jeans, much easier to find ones that fit. Also, I’d never spend that much, usually around £20, which I think is about $15.

  16. Aezy responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 7:10 am #

    My favourite pair of jeans are an old pair of an ex boyfriends with rips at the knees and the crotch nearly worn away (does anyone else find that with jeans/trousers? It’s upsetting!). I didn’t pay for them, they aren’t skinny and I have to roll up the cuffs on them because they’re far too long. But I love them.

    If you are looking for an alternative to brightly coloured jeans can I suggest you look at all the leggings out there? You get even more choice about colours and patterns too.

  17. Alpana Trivedi responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 7:13 am #

    Don’t worry, Kate. I haven’t worn jeans in about five years. I don’t know what size I’d be now if I started again.

  18. Amanda responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 7:39 am #

    Have you tried a store that has different lengths in each size, such as Gap? They have ankle (short), regular, and tall for any given size.

  19. Maja H responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 7:40 am #

    *Reveals herself* I guess I’m the one buying those jeans. I’m all legs and I absolutely love them, except when the fabric is too thin or when the hips sit too low or when even I can’t get them over my relatively thin ankles. I actually prefer them high-waisted. There’s always a funny, wobbly little dance required to get them on and off, but that I can live with.

    I think jeans are a pain for everyone though. On me they’re always too short, on others they might be too long, or too narrow, or too loose in the waist or too tight over the butt. Finding the perfect pair is like finding the holy grail. I always buy two pairs if I find a style I like, because they will without fail be sold out when you need another pair!

  20. Maya responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 7:49 am #

    I own one pair of jeans. I bought them in high school, when they were a bit too loose on me. They now fit just perfectly, verging just barely on snug. I wear them only for outdoor or heavily physical work, and rarely even then, because I just don’t like jeans much. Mostly I wear skirts and dresses. Occasionally, I wear black pants.

    But I hate buying pants, and I don’t really need to wear them much, so I don’t. I had brightly colored jeans, that I loved, in 6th grade- courtesy of Goodwill. Since then? I haven’t even tried. I really don’t think I could deal with skinny jeans- and I won’t even try. I admire your attempt, while having no intent to emulate you on this one.

  21. Kerry responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 8:53 am #


    I am right there with you. My “rise” is such that nearly every pair of pants I try on creates a completely unflattering V-arrow-looking thing right to my crotch. It’s maddening, since I have worked for a long time to get my abs/thighs/butt to a good place, and they are there, and STILL the pants don’t look amazing. It is easy to start feeling bad about one’s vulva in this situation – which is unfair and also ridiculous. It is not you, it is the pants.

    The best type of jeans I’ve found for the short-legged are Joe’s Jeans “provocateur” style, which are designed for petites. They are expensive. It’s a conundrum.

  22. Aurora responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 9:24 am #

    I wear lots of jeans, and I swear by my Old Navy Sweetheart Cut (the highest rise) Size 8 jeans. They’re the only kind I buy anymore.

    Skinny jeans are not for everyone, and certainly not all jeans are skinny. I buy from Old Navy because they have high-waist non-skinny jeans and all my fat goes straight to my upper hips/lower waist. (High waist double as control-top jeans, which is pretty awesome.) You can get jeans in petite if you’re short, and worst case, buy the size that fits your waist/butt/hips complex and hem the ends.

    If you don’t want conforming jeans, buy men’s jeans. Seriously, they look about the same, unless you do want crazy colors, and they have deep pockets to boot. Alternatively, buy larger women’s jeans and wear a belt.

  23. Leila responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 9:43 am #

    Hmmmmm….well I’ve had an odd experience with jean for my entire life. In recent years I became increasingly irritated with the skinny jeans trend. I’m short and athletic, muscular but with curves….I lift weights. Big heavy ones. I’m that chick you see doing pullups in the gym. Anyway, my thighs are HUGE and I was sure that I’d never, ever be able to pull off skinny anything.

    Alas, I was seduced by a pair of the jewel toned skinnies: a fire engine red pair!!!!! Figuring I had nothing to lose by trying them on I toted a pair of size 4 to the fitting room in the discount store….WHOA!!!!!! They are smoking hot and hug my muscled thighs and curvy hips and booty. They are actually a tiny bit big after wearing for a while and they get stretched out, particularly in the waist. Problem solved: I have this bitchin’ black leather and chain maille Michael Kors belt.

    I wear them to work all the time, sometimes I cuff them and sometimes not. Sometimes I wear them with boots. They’re fun and I am so happy that I gave the skinny trend a try. Converted, I have some other skinny pants that I wear now and even though I’m not skinny, I can rock the skinnies and feel sexy and that’s all that matters!!!!

  24. Sheryl responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 10:07 am #

    Jeans can be a headache and a half. Once I find a store that sells jeans that fit me decently I’m loathe to try jeans on anywhere else (this, I guess, is why I’m still wearing Old Navy jeans even though I’m not a fan of Old Navy’s business practice.)

    My biggest pet peeve has always been the zipper. Why oh why must the zippers be so short, always? I’ve tried on dozens upon dozens of jeans in the past that theoretically would fit me, that have enough fabric that they should be able to get over my hips and rear … except for the fact that the zipper is too short to allow me to pull them up all the way. An extra inch of zipper, and suddenly I would have no problems.

    Or at least I tell myself that it’s the stupid zipper. Easier than disliking my body for not fitting the jeans.

  25. Kate responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 10:42 am #

    It is without a doubt the zipper

  26. Kate responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 10:43 am #

    I always learn something here!
    I didn’t really know that different stores sold totally different types of jeans, with different sizing plans. Now I’m really curious about trying Levis.

  27. Mandy responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 11:09 am #

    I have an Asian hip-to-waist ratio, rather than European–which means that no matter what my weight is, there is only four inches difference between my waist and my hips. Makes finding pants that actually fit in both places VERY challenging.
    Especially in the 80′s and early 90′s: the pants were very high-waisted, and actually hit at an inch above my navel! So, I was very pleased when the waists of most pants came down an inch or so–the jeans fit me a lot better–a good fit at the hips without cutting me in half at the waist.
    But the trend continued until we had ultra-low rise jeans, that wouldn’t even cover my hip-bones, and that even in the dressing rooms, felt as if they were in danger of sliding down even further.
    And then there was the issue of the dreaded muffin-top–with which I still have issues. My weight has gone up since my teens and early twenties. Nothing wrong with my weight, but I have extra around my wasit now–which most jeans I try on gleefully showcase.
    So, now, I’m hoping that the rise on the jeans is going back up–just a little–so I can buy enough pairs to last me the next twenty years.
    Full circle. How ironic!
    But the lesson I’ve taken from all of this is that I buy what fits and flatters, and the hell with fashion trends. And I won’t even look at jeans that aren’t stretch.
    And I, too, endorse the Levis brand. They have consistently made enough variety of styles that I have always been able to find one style that works for me. And, I’m looking forward to trying the style ID.

  28. Maya responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 11:14 am #

    I wouldn’t worry about the length – I’m 5 foot 11, practically live in skinny jeans, and am always surprised by how often I can buy them ‘straight off the shelf’ (ie not from the tall section). I’ve always wondered why they make them so long (not that I’m complaining)! According to my more petite friends, some shops offer free hemming :)

  29. Kate responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 11:16 am #

    Yeah, why are they so long??

  30. Sara responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 11:58 am #

    Try jeggings! I don’t wear them but one of my friends swears by them :)

  31. Maya responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 12:01 pm #


    I always assumed it was because designers wanted them long enough for models to wear on the catwalk? Never made much sense to me though to be honest! :)

  32. Maggie responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    For what it’s worth: I can wear those jeans but I can’t wear dresses! I know, it sounds crazy, because dresses are supposed to be all easy-to-wear and universally flattering and such, but I have a straight (aka boy’s) figure and most dresses just don’t look right on me. I dislike summer because I see all these women in cute sundresses, and here I am pining for fall so I can revert to pants and boots and cardigans.

    Point being: we all have our demons. I also find it helpful to remember that when clothes don’t fit right it’s usually because of our basic body shape, not because of weight gain or loss. Thinking in terms of anatomy, for me at least, is less fraught than thinking in terms of thin.

  33. Paige responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    My secret: leggings

  34. Gina responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    I loathe jeans shopping. I’m pretty sure it’s because the jeans that fit me great aren’t the jeans I WANT to fit me great. My favorite pair of jeans is from American Eagle (but I WANT my favorite pair of jeans to be my expensive, designer jeans). I’m a weird shape (just like everyone else I suppose). I am only 5’4″ but I need to buy “long” jeans because I have no waist and hella legs.

    I’ve tried on colored skinny jeans more times than I can count. 90% of the time I have the same experience as you. I had some luck with Old Navy…they’re not quite jeans material, they’re softer and more pliable. I went up like 2 or 3 sizes to get the fit I wanted but I did end up with a pair of emerald green jeans that I love. And I don’t usually do well with Old Navy. ;)

  35. Susan responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    Kate, Everybody’s legs are too short for jeans! That’s because the manufacturer assumes that you are going to wear platform shoes with heels high enough to give you altitude sickness and they figure those women sane enough not to wear them will shorten them. Can’t make them longer.

    As for skinny jeans, only shrimps can wear them and look good; but you’re right, the only thing that’s worse to shop for is a bathing suit.

  36. Rebecca responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    Earlier this year I tried on some skinny jeans, there was this one particular pair,they were goldenrod, and I wanted them to work out so badly, but it wasn’t meant to be.
    I tried on a pair that was 2 sizes larger than what I would normally go for and I still had the same issue I had been having since skinny jeans came into fashion, my calves are far too bodacious for most skinny jeans. I’m okay with it though, my legs are sturdy and strong. In the event of a zombie apocalypse they will carry me effortlessly to safety. That is more important to me than cool colored jeans.
    Besides, I look freaking awesome in trouser style jeans!

  37. Erin H. responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    I’m short and I carry all of my extra weight in my hips and thighs, so I can definitely feel your pain. I just tried on a pair of khakis at the Gap the other day and found myself standing in about eight inches of puddled fabric. When did Amazon become the average?

    I also have a rather painful history of jean shopping. Many tears and muttered profanities. I’ve had success with Old Navy jeans (the Sweetheart style mentioned above), but be ye warned– they shrink up and wear out fairly quickly, and even once you’ve got your perfect size and style figured out, you can’t just dash in and grab a couple of pairs off the shelf. You must try them on EVERY time, because the fit can vary pretty wildly from one pair to the next. I guess that’s the trade off for “cheap” jeans.

    Although I didn’t care for the fit (or price– I border on miserly) of Levi’s for years and years, I’ve actually found a couple of pairs recently that I like. They’ve really expanded their selection of styles and shapes in the last two or three years.

    Good luck on your quest, Kate, and know that your short, big bootied sisters are with you in spirit.

  38. ladykatya responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 1:26 pm #


    I’m 5′ 8″. Just tall enough to be on the tall side of “average”, but just short enough to not be “tall”.

    I have 3 jeans headaches

    1. My waist is tiny

    2. My hips are huge

    3. I have a 34″ inseam.

    I fall about a 12W on the “Size scale”. Alas, no one makes a 12W jean. Did you know this? I’ve NEVER found one…

    BUT, conversely, a Missy’s 16 will fit, but will gape in the waist and be far too snug at the hip (if it goes over them).

    THEN a “long” is far too long for me to wear with flats.

    BUT an “average” is too short after one washing!

    AHHHHH!!!! Tyipcally I grab *EVERY pair in my size … none will fit. I scream and yell about how designers suck. Try not to cry about how fat they make me feel and then leave empty handed.

    I do, however, now swear by (the VERY EXPENSIVE) Not Your Daughter’s Jeans. They are awesome.

    – lk

  39. Melanie responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    I look good in very few brands of jeans. I have found that the Calvin Klein plus size suit me the most. I can’t wear Old Navy ’cause they aren’t cut for curvy gals. I wish I could wear them ’cause they are so cheap!! I also think only really thin ladies look great in skinny jeans, and no boys look good in them at all. I like a really dark, straight or boot cut. But I usually have to try on like ten pairs before I find one I like. Don’t give up. You have inspired me that maybe I need a bright pair of denim!!

  40. Haley responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    I’ll also raise my hand as one of those freaks who fit into the skinny jeans. But I have chicken legs (weak and spindly) and joint problems, so you definitely shouldn’t be jealous. I resisted the skinny trend for a while because it seemed like everyone who was rocking them had slim hips, while I have the kind meant for child-bearing (I figured thin legs protruding from wide hips would look weird). I gave in when I realized that skinny jeans are the answer to my anxiety about inseam length (spawned in high school before I found specialty shops that cater to the tall – don’t get me started about the disparity between “petite” and “tall” clothing availability). The magic is that skinny jeans can be a bit too short and it looks intentional, while too-short flares just look absurd. My point: each fashion trend is good for some and awful for others, everyone is screwed eventually!

  41. melissa responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    I usually wear jeans that aren’t REALLY denim. Honestly I never shop for clothing. I have about a week’s worth of clothing and that’s it. I have gone years on only one pair of pants at a time.

    The last time I bought jeans I didn’t even buy them. My aunt pulled me into a Reitman’s and took some jeans off of a rack in the petite aisle and ushered me into the changeroom.

    She gave me three and every single one of them fit perfectly. But that’s the beauty of “stretch” jeans. Even perfect in length… I have short and stubby legs but that’s what “petite” is for.

  42. melissa responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    to clarify, I would never wear skinny jeans. It’s not for everyone and it particularly looks stupid on me. My hips are much too dramatic for them.

  43. Melissa responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    Jeans are the devil, and unfortunately, the answer is spandex. Stretchy jeans are way more forgiving, but on the other hand, they are usually way thinner and more likely to fall apart.

    As far as skinny jeans go, I have a pair of jeggings I love–not leggings made to look like denim, but the kind that is definitely jeans, with a whole lot of stretch. This notion that larger ladies can’t wear skinny jeans is total crap–I wear an 18/20, I’m short-legged and pear-shaped, I don’t look anything like the tall, willowy models, but I still look fabulous in skinny jeans. And I’m so going to try out the colored skinny jeans at Old Navy and try not to be sad when they won’t go over my calves, because MUSTARD COLORED JEANS OMG.

  44. morgaine responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    Lately I love the cuffed “boyfriend jeans” thing. Men’s ease of fit, but cut for a woman’s body. Also, cuffs. They really balance out one’s thighs (or mine, at least).

  45. Kelli responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 2:09 pm #

    I rarely comment, but just wanted to say that your legs are fine, & jeans shopping is in my opinion one of the hardest things ever!
    There are so many body types so to only try on 4 pairs of jeans & hope one might be the right ones…well, it just doesn’t happen very often! I’m pretty curvy but not overweight, & I personally think that any woman can rock the skinny jeans. You just have to find the right ones! My husband found this company called PZI last year & I have a few pairs of jeans from them. They fit perfectly! Great for women with a small waist & curvy hips & thighs.
    Compared to the $200 jeans I was buying before they are cheap, too. Good luck, but don’t give up! The perfect pair is out there!

  46. Kate responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    So people are suggesting jeggings/spandex stuff. I have to say, I’ve tried these and I look OBSCENE in them. I have definitely seen women rocking them and don’t understand how this works either (there’s so much I don’t understand about the world). You can clearly see the lines of my underwear (and I can’t bring myself to wear a thong), and they just seem scandalous.

    I ended up buying some yoga pants instead and those are thicker and look cute. So now I should probably get back to actually doing yoga…

    Also, @Kelli- $200?? Holy shit. I guess this can make a certain amount of sense if you are going to wear them forever. Really well made boots can cost this much, too. But I have never looked good enough in jeans to justify that kind of money. I like that you think that anyone can rock skinny jeans though. I think I believe that in theory, just not relating to myself at the moment. But I am going to try some of these suggestions and see where they get me.

  47. Nycole responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    Levi’s 515 and Lucky Brand.

  48. Kate responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    You guys really know your stuff, btw. I’m impressed.

  49. Katrina Blanchalle responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    I am confused now because all my life, pants have been too short. I mean starting at age eight or so, maybe earlier, I have not been able to get pants that fit my middle AND fall to my ankle/foot. So I spent my entire childhood/teenage/adulthood wearing either flood pants or droopy drawers. This is the main reason I took up sewing so that I could FINALLY get some pants that effing fit me.
    The reason I bring this up is if ready to wear pants/jeans are too long for Kate and those of you who commented, and too short for all of the rest of us, who the hell are the pants made for????

  50. Kate responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    Therein lies the question… :-)
    Are you tall?

  51. Sarah the Violinist responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    I only reliably fit into such jeans when I was in the throes of an eating disorder. I also looked ten years older (not what I want in my mid-thirties!). This summer I’m a recovered twenty pounds heavier and have sworn off tailored waistbands for the summer. Yay for maxi dresses and jersey draping. And ice cream. :)

  52. Kate responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    I second that yay!

  53. Anon responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    I always have to hem my pants, including jeans, because I’m short. I can only find jeans that fit properly in the waist & legs (width) at Target or JC Penneys. I hate the way skinny jeans look. You might as well just pant your legs with liquid latex.

  54. Bridget responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    Kate, you’re too funny! After trying on twenty pairs of jeans and coming up empty handed (I’m a bit more persistent than you, apparently), it’s easy to think the problem is my body, not the pants. Twenty pairs of jeans couldn’t be wrong.

    And yet there are countless women — with different body types — experiencing different issues, but the same feelings. I have no problem pulling on skinnies, but that doesn’t mean they fit right or that I feel good in them. Body image is so complicated!

    A pair of jeans has to fit in so many places. (I don’t count length, since that can be altered easily). Sometimes you have to hunt around to find the right combination. The closer your measurements come to the industry standard, the easier the task. Fortunately and unfortunately (depending on how much patience you have) there are an increasing number of options out there. Once you find your style and brand, you’re good.

    I know those jewel toned skinnies have your eye right now. But if you haven’t been jeans shopping in awhile, do yourself a favor and try on a bunch of styles. Forget about what the media is pushing this hour, and see what makes you feel great. My guess is when you find it, you won’t care about those ill fated skinnies you left behind.

  55. Courtney responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    Glad it’s not just me! It’s rare that I can get skinny jeans over my thighs (and sometimes I can barely get them over my calves). The worst part is when I do manage to get them up they’re often loose in the waist. Really?! No fair. Who are these made to fit? Ug.

    I do have one pair of Calvin Klein skinny jeans that were gifted to me and that fit perfectly. They’re skinny, but not skin-tight so I don’t have to deal with a ton of wriggling to get them on.

  56. San D responded on 30 Jul 2012 at 8:07 pm #

    Three suggestions from a lifetime of jean trying on:

    1. Men’s jeans–they fit me fine, and come in lengths as well as waist sizes.

    2. Learn how to taper your own jeans to make ‘em skinny. You alter the seam, and in NYC there are tailors usually at dry cleaners that will do that for you for a small fee. (They hem as well for cheap).

    3. Don’t get hung up on a “size” number. Buy what looks good and FITS, not the size.

  57. Andrea responded on 02 Aug 2012 at 12:11 am #

    Levis Curve ID
    I *love* the Bold Curve

    Jean/pant shopping has been difficult since I went through puberty with every trip shaming me for athletic thighs and an ample bottom. Gapping in the waist, the constant need for hemming – no more!! I shimmy into some Bold Curve skinnies and good-gawd-damn I look ridiculously sexy.

    I wish I could shimmy my ass in front of my ex who once said “maybe you’re just one of those girls who should only wear dresses”. FU Ex.

    All the damn pants need is some stretch and variability. For goodness sake you can customize just about anything in our overly self-branded society. Get the ladies some pants that fit!

  58. Mary responded on 02 Aug 2012 at 10:58 am #

    As a tailor, I have to say that taking in the waistband of a pair of jeans is something that EVERYONE should consider! Not just hemming (which is also necessary on non-skinny jeans) but actually taking in the back of the waistband so it doesn’t gape. My price for this runs from 20-25 bucks, so for your cheapie Forever 21 jeans, it may not be justified price-wise. But if you can find a pair that fits well through the seat & thigh, snap them up and get the rest of the jean altered.
    I have never, not once in ten years, bought a pair of jeans and worn them as-is. You will be amazed at the difference!

  59. Kate responded on 02 Aug 2012 at 11:05 am #

    This is really good to know. Are you in NYC, by any chance?

  60. Dane responded on 02 Aug 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    Sad to say, my jeans secret is that I’m descended from long-legged scandinavian people, so they usually fit short on me :/ Opposite problems.

  61. Kate responded on 02 Aug 2012 at 10:40 pm #

    That sounds happy to say to me :p

  62. Toni responded on 03 Aug 2012 at 7:32 am #

    I think skinny jeans aren’t meant for everyone..and really, I didn’t wear them the first time they were around in the ’80′s so I plan not to wear them this time either…

    First, I try on like 3 different styles in a range of sizes..I have a hard time with the waist always gaping, the “crotch” area being too big and making me look like a guy, and of course the length…when I find a pair I love I get them hemmed…a good tailor or seamstress is a girls best friend…The last time a was trying jeans on the sales girls recommended a certain style and lo and behold they are the ones I buy now..expensive, but I shop with a coupon so can get them a little more reasonably.

  63. Kate responded on 04 Aug 2012 at 3:16 am #

    You are incredibly beautiful, and I find it so tragic when your inner dialogue is inexplicably cruel. I know you might cringe at the name, but try abercrombie’s colored skinny jeans and double cuff them (they are sort of designed for it).

  64. Liz responded on 04 Aug 2012 at 10:09 am #

    It’s winter here in Australia, and I have been searching high and low for my perfect jeans.
    I’m 5 ft 10, so length is often an issue, as well as having large calves/thighs/bum/hips, but a (comparatively) small waist.
    All I want is a nice pair of dark wash flared jeans with a high rise. Why is it so hard???
    If I ever got that though, I would absolutely love to own some bright red flared high rise jeans.

    And a pair of jeans that don’t stretch out after wearing for half a day. That’s just upsetting =(

  65. Willow responded on 04 Aug 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    Oh god, jeans were definitely a major trigger for the serious body image I had from junior high up until my freshman year of college (3 years ago almost, wow!). I am delightfully pear shaped, wide hips and big thighs, which I’ve grown to love but HATED when I was a teenager. Then at some point when I was about 18 I started wearing dresses a little more often for some reason, and I realized that I looked smokin’ in little dresses and miniskirts and I loved the way my body looked in them. I had never really worn them much before,and luckily around this time I was having a simultaneous awakening of body luv. Now I don’t have any jeans and the only pants I own are several pairs of black booty shorts, because duh.

    So basically, I say screw jeans :)

  66. Zellie responded on 05 Aug 2012 at 11:14 am #

    When I find a style that looks good, I buy 5. I’ve tried Levi’s and many brands but only fit into Old Navy if I want no gap in back or derriere flattening. I try every single one on since there is variation in the fit. They have short, regular and long.

    If a pair of jeans doesn’t go over your thighs, it’s not meant for you. No offense to your body or the jeans. That’s just how it is. You have to find the brand and style that works for your unique figure.

  67. Eat the Damn Cake » checking out other women responded on 05 Aug 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    [...] want to admire her. I notice everything. The way her jeans fit, the line of her shoulders, her jaw, her ears. I am into her beauty. That’s probably the best way [...]

  68. Cat responded on 08 Aug 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    My question: why skinny jeans at all (other than the spiffy colors) for most women over, say, fifteen? They seem to flatter about 2% of the adult population, being utterly unforgiving to any body tissue that is not made of bone, and they never look easy or comfortable even on those whom they do flatter. What happened to boot cut jeans, which for my money were an incredibly flattering shape for all kinds of bodies AND don’t leave track marks on the skin inside the inseams? Why are these instruments of torment so bloody fashionable? I know that’s probably a rhetorical question, but still. Really. These things are bizarre.

    And, apropos of nothing but fashion generally, good tailors ROCK. Nothing renders a button-up wearable for a generously endowed woman like having the placket stitched together.

  69. Seo responded on 09 Aug 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    Have you tried Gap 1969 jeans in a size short? Lots of room for booty.

  70. Mary responded on 09 Aug 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    @Kate —

    In case you are still monitoring this one, no, I’m not in NYC. Chicago Land is my home. I’m sure you can find someone reputable in town that you can communicate well with! Also – since you are a writer, I’ll throw this out there: creating clothes (like designers do) & editing clothes (like tailors do) are two very different beasts. Yelp accordingly.

  71. Jenn responded on 09 Aug 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    I also have hips and waist that are only a few inches different, so I struggle with finding jeans that are tight enough to stay on, yet loose enough (or sit correctly) to not cause awful muffin top. My biggest pet peeve, though? Jeans that fit straight out of the wash, but are falling off an hour later.

  72. Alex responded on 11 Aug 2012 at 9:20 am #

    hahah, amazing..I too want jewel tone jeans but imagine that my legs are too big, thighs to thick, legs too short…only skinny, or macrobiotic women can be lucky enough to wear jewel tone delicious jeans…argh….but…I haven’t even tried yet….

    Unroast: I love the way my body feels in leggings and a tank top while I am dancing my butt off!

  73. Amanda responded on 21 Aug 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    I have only one trick for finding jeans that fit me (I am 5’1 and 150 pounds) and that is thrift stores. I try on fifteen pairs of jeans, and usually find one or two that fit, sometimes I’m lucky and will have five or more to choose from. (I figure at these ones that there must be someone exactly my size donating their clothes, thank you!!) I have found skinny jeans, wide leg jeans, colored jeans, and capris this way. Yay!! And the best part is they are usually about ten dollars each! Good luck everyone

  74. Eat the Damn Cake » my skinny friend and the women who judge her responded on 26 Aug 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    [...] (me, at 16 or 17, not particularly wanting to be thin at all, and wearing annoyingly large pants that would in a few years be too tight to pull past my thighs) [...]

  75. Eat the Damn Cake » introverted woman in a tutu dress responded on 24 Sep 2012 at 1:02 pm #

    [...] this sense, from being alive and stuff, that we are all probably supposed to have great hair and cute skinny jeans and be at least relatively witty. And that being a better woman involves being more social. There [...]

  76. sid responded on 26 Sep 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    So last summer my friend and I were losing weight. Neither of us were fat, but we wanted to be, well, perfect-er. We didn’t make a pact or anything, but we both had the common goal, so we ran together, constantly obsessed together about our bodies, off-limits foods, etc. But we really didn’t eat that much either. I dropped to about 98 pounds (I am 5’3″ 1/2)…. A combination of running a LOT and an immaculate diet. Not good. I am a healthy 113 now. I still eat well, but in order to maintain my weight (not drop too much) because I run so much. I am stronger, fast, etc.–but that’s not the point.
    But during this,we went to the store, finally happy that we could FINALLY–just maybe–at last–look good in the clothes at Kohl’s and look like the girls in the pictures/catalogs.
    Things still looked BAD. Some of the shirts? I still either looked a lot heavier, or just awkward! Jeans? I lost my butt, and the waist still gapped, even in my new, small sizes.
    I now never base my confidence how something specific, (no matter how much I love it!), looks on me, b/c even when I was skinny enough to look like the models, either my bone structure or just being ME got in the way…
    It may sound negative, but really, you just have to find what works for you. I have a good body–but I work at this!
    What works for me: I stick to tight, nicely fitted tees and skinny jeans. Slightly alternative, down-to-earth… You can never completely ditch your eating disorders or obesessions, but I am closer than ever to actually being comfy in my own clothes and skin.

  77. NADDYY responded on 29 Sep 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    OMG YOU MADE ME LAUGH SO HARD – i laughed all along… :D thank you so much for this post.

    How incredible, we criticize ourselves – we allowed this to be a part of our life. This even shouldnt be there!

  78. fred responded on 08 Dec 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    women are better off wearing skirts and dresses – makes them look much more feminine and pretty – easy to put on – easy to wear – wake up women

  79. Kate responded on 09 Dec 2012 at 11:56 am #

    They ARE easy to put on!! You should probably try them yourself! Might make you less uptight

  80. Clare Rulz responded on 13 Dec 2012 at 10:40 pm #

    I read my first taste of your writing yesterday, about your hypersocial mother and your own inclination towards inside-ness. Reading about your jean-buying attempt had me laughing out loud at my desk which is unhelpful when you are trying to pretend to work. These are half leg pants, like hobbles. I have sent all my favourite friends the link to this. Thanks for your wonderful writing.

  81. Operation Skinny Jeans: My Fave Skinny Jeans (And Other Cute … | Skinny Jeans responded on 08 Feb 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    [...] The problem is that I have this friend who loves to shop and she always gave me her worn-in hand-me-down jeans, and they were only a little too long and not very skinny and so I never had to go jeans shopping and anyway I want to buy things prettier than jeans if I'm going to spend that much money so I rarely even ….. I dislike summer because I see all these women in cute sundresses, and here I am pining for fall so I can revert to pants and boots and cardigans.Read more [...]

  82. Sheila responded on 10 Feb 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    Try Maurices. My daughter is 4’8″ tall and about 100 pounds. She fits into a 1/2 size, extra short pair of jeans that costs $29 at Maurices. She is 14, so buying “womens” jeans is a major have-to for her, especially with her height deficit. She is a tiny thing, but she doesn’t want to look less teenager-y by having to wear Hannah Montanna t-shirts and little girl pants that won’t fit very well anyway with her curves.