Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The search for the perfect pair of jeans. Alternate title: The grass is always greener on someone else's thighs.

I am at war with my body.

After two kids and almost 37 years on the earth, not to mention the winter and long, cold, wet spring we just went through (or as I like to call it, Nutella-Palooza, '08 - '09), things don't look quite the same as they did back in the day. "The Day" being when I was a size 0 and my legs looked like tree branches. Skinny, knobby tree branches. Skinny, knobby tree branches that then were the source of much teasing but are now in style. Fucking tree branches.

I'm having difficulty reconciling the fact that my body is different than it used to be. I was always very skinny, naturally so, and I never had to work out (though I did, it's much more enjoyable when you don't have to) and eating a Quarter Pounder with Cheese with a side of large fries and washing it down with a 10 piece Chicken McNugget was something I never gave much thought to.

(Nary an extra pound nor bout of heartburn to contend with. Ah, memories.)

Do you hate me for writing that*? It's okay, I kind of hate me right about now. More to the point, I kind of hate the 22 year old me (and 19 year old me, and 15 year old me and...) for not liking the way she looked back then. I'd like to go back in time and shake her by her slender neck (the one that didn't have the beginnings of a waddle hanging over it) and tell her to lose the negative body image thing (Because, really? You're 110 pounds and 5'8. Suck it up, Buttercup) and enjoy going into any store she wanted to and buying whatever type of clothing caught her fancy without ever needing to try it on. I'd kind of like to tell the 30 year old me the same thing. I'd also tell her to wear more sunscreen.

My body, though still on the slender side, has changed. Things that were once flat are now bumpy and things that were once firm are now jiggly. Which is fine if you're a jello salad but not so much if you're a woman with body issues.

Pants don't fit the same and Spanx is not something kinky one does in the bedroom. And I certainly don't have the luxury of going into clothing stores and buying things without a trip to the dreaded changing room, with their flourescent lights (very flattering to dimpled thigh fat, by the way. If I wanted a diorama of the Grand Canyon I'd make one out of a shoe box and some modeling clay, thank you very much.) and institutional paint job designed to make sure you don't get all cocky in those new clothes.

But believe it or not, this post is not about negative body image.

(Really Tania? After all that this isn't just you bitching about your body? No really, you should thank me. What I've got on that subject could fill the entire internet and if I did that there would be no more room for videos of cats falling off of pianos, so I'll save it for now. You're welcome)

No this post is about denim. Or more to the point, the search for the perfect pair of jeans.

Like ROUS's, I don't think they exist. (Gosh, that joke never gets old, does it?) At least not for less than the price of a used mid-sized sedan. But still I search. I try on. I squeeze and tuck - you know, got to put the muffin top somewhere - and grunt and groan. And then I get frustrated and pig out on french fries.

All I want is a decent pair of jeans that don't make me look like I'm smuggling watermelons in my thighs. Except for cupcake top around my middle (I know it's a muffin top but cupcakes are sweeter. And they have frosting. And I love them with all my heart. And that may be why I have a muffin top.) I'm still on the smaller (read: medium) side and my hips aren't too bad, it's my upper thighs that always get me. I keep hearing Stacy and Clinton say, Look for a pair of pants that hits you at your widest point and then goes straight down from there. Yeah, THEY DON'T MAKE THOSE.

Two words - Skinny. Jeans.

Two more words - Fuck. Off.

Still, they have to be out there somewhere. I shop, I buy, I come to my senses, and I return. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. That's how I roll.

But let's take this step by step, shall we?

So here is how I shop for the perfect pair of jeans, in 18 easy steps

(Okay I know - 18?? It was 29 but I edited. You're welcome.)


Step 1: Go through your entire wardrobe and try on every pair of jeans you own. Chuck out the old, the tired, the out of style, the "What in the Sam Hell was I thinking?" and the "Not in a million years and an eating disorder will you ever fit in these again". Realize you're down to one pair of jeans that fits and you're only keeping those because picking up your child from preschool whilst nearly naked from the waist down is probably not going to win you any friends.

Step 2: Cry over the death of your youth and then give your children the stink eye for ruining your figure. Then hug your children because you feel badly for thinking that way (Oh, you're totally still thinking it, but with love.)

Step 3: Decide to shop for jeans online because poking at your thighs and squeezing your belly flap is more socially acceptable while standing in your own bedroom. While popping Hershey's Kisses.

Step 4: Ask lovely people on Twitter where they shop. Love the people on Twitter. On Twitter no one knows your thighs aren't as thin as they once were. Unless you tell them. Which you will because it's TWITTER.

Step 5: Take suggestions and then search every website known to man. Make disparaging remarks about the anorexic models and their nonexistent hips. Words "bitch" and "bite me" may be used. Liberally.

Step 6: Put a a bunch of jeans that don't scare you in your virtual shopping cart. You can always return the ones you don't like, right? Gasp audibly upon seeing the total while checking out. Decide you could stage a coup in a small third world country for that amount of money and delete a couple (read: all but two) from your cart.

Step 7: Wait for cute UPS guy to deliver a package. Chuckle over the word "package" in relation to cute UPS guy because you're a 12 year old boy. A twelve year old boy with 36 year old hips.

Step 8: When UPS guy shows up 5 days later with your package (heh) answer the door side ways to give the illusion of smaller midsection and smile winningly. Try to ignore his bemused expression and his quick exit. Take box, slam door (but first, watch UPS guy's butt as he makes quick getaway), and then run to bedroom with box in breathless anticipation for Best. Jeans. EVER.

Step 9: Break a nail opening box. Swear. Lie about what those words mean to impressionable four year old who was helping you open the box.

Step 10: Take jeans out of box. Look at them quizzically. Hmm, they looked different online (after two glasses of wine).

Step 11: Try on jeans. Try to find place to put the jelly roll that is your tummy. Above the waistline? Below the waistline? Decide to try to tuck it in like blousy shirt.

Step 12: Detach flesh roll from zipper. Apply Neosporin.

Step 13: Look in full length mirror. Hmm, kind of tight in the thighs. Typical. Maybe heels are needed. Yes, heels are much better! Makes legs look slim! Grunt while running to closet to find pair of heels that don't hurt your broken toe. Give up and decide pain is worth it. Limp back to mirror. Ah, much better. Excruciatingly painful, but better.

Step 14: Decide to take pictures to send to husband who is in California (or Michigan, you forget at this point) to get his opinion.

Step 15: Look at picture in camera screen. Consider Photoshopping your legs before sending picture. Also wonder if your camera is broken. Or maybe your mirror.

Step 16: Cry while on the phone with your husband. I'm sure they look great, he says. Refuse to send him picture. What does he know? He's in Michigan. Or Florida. You forget.

Step 17: Package jeans to return. Suck up shipping fees both ways. Realize that was your iced coffee money for two weeks.

Step 18: Get frustrated. Feel hopeless. Decide after much denial you have no choice but to go to the Mall.

Oh yes, the Mall.

Sometimes, a woman has to do what a woman has to do.

And that is enough for now, lambs.

Tune in next time for THIGHS. IN. SPACE. Er, MALL.

(Okay not really, just part two of The Search for the Perfect Pair of Jeans. Or, If a 100 pound sales girl is murdered in the dressing room of an upscale department store and she totally had it coming but no one is around to witness it, will anyone mourn the loss?)


*And careful about what you say about size in relation to image problems. Many, many years of teasing has made me what I am today. You picking on me for hating the way I look sometimes will only get you a beat down of epic proportions. Also, I'm fragile.


Her Bad Mother said...

Ah, the bumpy and the jiggly. WE HATES IT.

I have one pair of jeans that work. ONE. And I have given up finding others until they invent Spanx Jeans, and make them in extra long with a waist that accommodates extra muffin top.

Anonymous said...

This post was hysterical! I definitely relate to your 22 year old self- I can eat whatever I want and not get fat...(don't hate me, please) but I'm always nervous it'll come back and haunt me later. And I know I only met you briefly at the blogher Boston bbq, but you're totally cute, so stop worrying!!

karengreeners said...

HELL YES. I nodded the entire way through this post. The entire way.

It kills me that I am not the self I was a mere 5 years ago. And yet, I do nothing about it.

Sallie said...

Misery LOVES company. Ditto, sista. : )

Anonymous said...

Chicky Chicky Baby, I think you are so funny. You are so "real" I follow you on Twitter. Keep it up girl. You say things how they really are. I am the same way. I appreciate it and like hearing you.


Sarahviz said...

I just want you to know that your Step 12 made me laugh out loud. At my desk. At work.

And now people are looking at me.

You totally crack me up. Will you pretty please do a bathing suit post after you're done with the jeans?

AnnetteK said...

Snort. Thank you for making me laugh about this. I needed it! I think we all have our body issues no matter what size we are.

Let me just say though, that you are beautiful inside and out and I hope that deep down you do know that.

Maddy said...

In the current heat wave it's cotton sundresses or die for the time being.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I finally gave away my really skinny jeans that I had held on to for so long. It was pretty obvious that the only way I'd ever fit in them again is if my body was ravaged by disease and dying, and that seemed like a pretty disturbing reason to keep them.

Sarah said...

Personally, I hate it when I think I've found jeans that fit, only to have them stretched out half way through the day. Really? Because they fit when I put them ON this morning, but now they would fit two of me. What's up with THAT?

Cait said...

Ann Taylor Loft (and regular Ann Taylor too) saves my big thighed self from having to wear skirts daily. I've always had these disproportionately large thighs. Dude, I'm 24 and no kids but my god, something's started happening & I am getting a tummy & the thighs? They are growing! Imagine what's to come if I already have the watermelon thighs - regardless of what I eat -and this is pre kids. I need a cookie. Oh wait.... maybe that's a bad idea....

Anonymous said...

Yes! Yes yes yesyesyes. Ahhh, thighs. The bane of my existence as well! Horrible!

I also was super skinny in high school (105lbs at 5'10") and was made fun of. Ahh, to be that skinny again. Okay, not really...because I like my curves and having a woman's body. Or at least I would if I could find pants that fit my monster thighs. I've split pants down the inside seam because of these babies.

I have discovered that the only things that fit me anymore (because even the supposedly "curvy" pants at Gap don't work anymore) are the Eva style at Express. And they are only $50-$75 depending on the wash. Now if only they made dress pants too.

Mama Kayla said...

Ah....You always make me laugh.

Boston Mamas said...

Damn, and you are one of those enviably TALL girls.

Jeans are SO hard. If you haven't tried Lucky brand though, I'd recommend. They're contemporary, seem to fit people with normal sized thighs, yet also have a decent enough rise in the back so you aren't hanging ass crack. (Unless of course, you like to hang ass crack.)

They have individual stores but I just got another pair at Macy's for way less.

xo Christine

Classy Fab Sarah said...

I second mrssoup's suggestion of Express jeans. I think mine are actually the Mia pair (which have a higher rise that helps to contain my jelly roll. Or cupcake top.). But even though the salesgirl looked like a total bitch when I first went into the dressing room, she pulled me sizes and different washes until I found some that were not completely unfortunate.

Good luck on your hunt!!

And if they are too big in the waist (which is usually a problem because I buy to fit my biggest part - my thighs) Jennifer wrote a lovely post on taking in the waist of her jeans here:

Molly said...

J crew! My short legs, thick thighs and booty tend to love J crew jeans

and also ROUSES. love you for that reference!

Anonymous said...

Ohhhh, I just loved this. This was me trying to find a suit last year, so I totally get it. Did the jean thing too though mine was not as exciting, since I went to the mall and skipped the fun. :) I found these at Kohls, which I LOOOOVE now, because they have elastic in the waist without looking like elastic - nice and forgiving. Look at the ones in tailored denim - EXACTLY what Clinton and Stacy say to wear:

TwoBusy said...

Yeah, I'm gonna go with "funny as hell" on this one.

Heather said...

LOVE this! I can't wait to hear part 2, is it wrong that I am rooting for the 100pound sales girl to be found dead in the dressing room.

It is. Okay well, then I won't say it.

The_EmilyB said...

Ahhh so (painfully) true! I've actually never been a jeans girl because if they fit in the hips then they're too big in the waist and I've always (even at my skiniest) had a wee bit of a belly so hipsters were never going to work.

I can't imagine when I finally get this baby out what horrors will be beholden in my mirror. The only time I've ever gone jean shopping successfully is this: I had a day to myself, had my hair done and looked good before I hit the store. I then, literally, tried on 36 pairs of jeans promising myself that I would buy, regardless of the price, whatever 1 pair fit me. Turned out that pair was actually from the Gap (so I made up the price difference between them and the pricey jeans in other clothes as a reward for being so patient). I figured one pair that really fit was worth 20 pairs that didn't!

Looking forward to part 2!

Chickenbells said...

Lucky Brand Jeans...honestly, they cost a BIT of money, but they have SO many styles and really seem to fit a woman's body...honest!

Katie said...

Ok, loving this post. Been there. Living that. First I went to law school -- add 10 lbs. Then before done with law school I had a baby -- add 9 lbs. Then, 7 months later I had another baby. Here I am 7 months after second baby and 5 years after I started law school and I'm TWENTY FIVE POUNDS heavier than when I started!!!! Ugh.

So, here's what I do. I go into the stores in person and buy three sizes of each pair of jeans that looks like it may fit. Then try on at home and bag up the ones that don't fit.

I have found that the Gap Essential fit jeans do the trick. They are supposed to be a wide leg fit, but when you carry all your weight in your upper thighs they tend to look a bit more boot cut. But, they fit and they do that thing where they hit the widest part and go straight-ish down. And way cheaper than Lucky Brand!

Good luck!

Lindsay Jean said...

I completely understand what you're going through. Most jeans-shopping expeditions send me to cower under the covers and weep. I have had a lot of luck with Levi 529 - curvy cut! Made for women with a certain amount of shape.

Jill said...

Exactly! I just bought what were the "perfect" jeans in the dressing room but when I got home and tried them on again my ass was still there as were my thighs. What *was* I thinking? I settle for they fit semi-nicely and don't scream "Mommy Jeans." Oh, and a little Yummie Tummie action doesn't hurt either...

Hannah said...

"If a 100 pound sales girl is murdered in the dressing room of an upscale department store and she totally had it coming but no one is around to witness it, will anyone mourn the loss?"

You are brilliant. This made me laugh out loud. I have completely opposite body type to you - 5'3", hourglassish - and I can't find jeans to fit, either.

tracey said...

apparently there are many of us out there just like you tania- mourning the old body, adjusting to the new, jiggly, less stylish one, and searching for the perfect jean. it is a timeless saga for mothers everywhere, isn't it.

i second the jcrew jeans though. love them.

sam {temptingmama} said...

Step 11: Try on jeans. Try to find place to put the jelly roll that is your tummy. Above the waistline? Below the waistline? Decide to try to tuck it in like blousy shirt.

OMG Bwahahahaha! *tears streaming*

HILARIOUS and so sad because it's SO true.

Ali said...

this was hilarious.

but I have to say. I am a big fan of designer jeans. Yes, they are expensive...but they are SO WORTH IT. try 7 for all mankind. the DOJO style. They are the PERFECT jean. they miraculously hide all those things you want hidden!

Amo said...

I still have my pre-pregnancy jeans from 6 years ago. They have made three moves and are still laying in a box, anxiously awaiting their impending awakening! Which is never happening at this rate.

I hope the chicks at Goodwill will appreciate them as much as I did...if they ever make it there.

P&P Fit said...

I know you've had a ton of great comments, but here's mine! (Love your blog, BTW)
I went to Nordstrom's and basically threw my pitiful (I can't find jeans I love, fit me well and don't stretch out by day's end) self on the sales lady.
She took one look at me and brought me a few pairs to try (her service was FREE even though it was very 'personal shopper' like).
I looked at the first pair and was, like, "Are you nuts?" She said, "Trust me".
I did.
She was right.
I have a pretty flat stomach with a booty and thighs-I teach fitness so they are SERIOUS thighs.
David Kahn jeans. P E R F E C T.
I will never buy another pair and, thankfully, I have one pair for flats and one for heels.
They DO NOT stretch out by day's end, they wash very well and fit like a dream. Pricey? Yes but WELL worth it.
LOVE them, love Nordie's!

Kelly said...

This was my first time reading your blog and I nearly lost it I was laughing so hard!! Cant wait to read more!!!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lyndsy said...

It is IMPOSSIBLE to find jeans that fit. Complete. Disaster. I've been a *bigger* girl for years now, and I went on the Hunt. Turned up empty-handed. I get by with Lane Bryant jeans, so maybe Express for someone not of "womanly" proportions.

It just makes me rageful thinking about trying to find jeans!

WorkingMom said...

Tania, I would have to add to #1: "Calculate the amount of time it will take for your thighs rubbing together to wear through the threadbare one pair of jeans that still fit. Begin to panic because there is a good possibility of them ripping as you are walking into said preschool. Contemplate why housedresses that some grandmothers used to wear have such a bad rep."

Jenn said...

Oh goodness! I'm a first time reader of your blog and here I am de-lurking already! Your post was *THAT* funny.

Just know you're not alone.

I've had the best luck with Old Navy's Sweetheart boot-cut jeans.

NY&Co's WestSide (or maybe Downtown? I can't remember!) boot cut also fit well - like you, I worship at the altar of Stacy & Clinton and LAUGH at their suggestion of "the widest part, yadda, yadda."

Thank you for the smile. I have some more reading to do. :)

Anonymous said...

This post is exactly what I have been carrying around for a few years now. I was too very skinny. 105-110 5'7. Now I am to the point that I have gained 25lbs and can't wear a stitch of my clothing. I even look at my seven year old niece and think, " I wish I had your metabolism and I wish I did appreciate my body back then more. After my heaviest at 165lbs, I drank green tea and walked everywhere and got down to 115 and also I was not starving. Going back to green tea. Visulizing my favorite pair of jeans and gettin started on my PX90 workout!

louralann said...

I realize that you wrote this post months ago but I just found your blog today and going through your archives I found this post and just had to comment.

I am, what my best friend calls, voluptuos (she loves me lol). Anyway, we were browsing the internet together, since I also think fluorescent lights were made by the devil and I refuse to go anywhere near them, and we found the most amazing site.

It's called Hips and Curves. It has mostly plus sized lingerie (a really great selection of too) but it also has regular wear including shirts, skirts AND pants!!! And they fit REALLY well.

The sales rep are fantastic, if you call and have a problem or a question they're really patient and helpful.

Good luck with the Jeans issue :) (I'm a fan of nudity...but apparently people are easily traumatized so clothing isn't really optional lol)


Elliott Broidy said...

Hilarious. I love it! Always such a struggle.

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