Friday, February 03, 2006

The heartbreak of Jeans

I've been feeling homely lately. Most of my clothes are a few years old, showing signs of fraying or are permanently stretched out of shape. It doesn't help that I've gained about 10 pounds lately, despite 6 months of fairly consistent adherence to a running program.

It has recently come to my attention that the vast majority of my wardrobe falls into one of two categories: office clothes and workout clothes. The pickings are pitifully slim for something appopriate for a night out on the town. A nice pair of stylish, comfortable, good-fitting jeans would fill this gap admirably.

Unfortunately, I don't have such an item in my wardrobe. I even question the existence of such mythical jeans. The one pair I currently own are so horrendously uncomfortable in the crotch and waist that I only wear them if I know the event I'm attending will last less than 2 hours and no sitting down will be required.

I hate shopping in general, and shopping for jeans more specifically, mostly due to the consequences of what I call the FABB phenomenom (Fat Ass, Big Belly).

Exhibit A: the FABB in action, comfortably draped in workout pants:

Let me just state, for the record, that the FABB are my friends, my faithful companions in life. I hold no grudge against their bountiful charms and have mostly fond feelings for them. But a girl can only wear yoga pants so many times to a bar before she starts feeling sadly deficient in style and good taste.

The FABB one-two punch, however, makes it virtually impossible to shop quickly or with any semblance of enjoyment, due to the Pooching, Offensive Waistband (POW!) syndrome, which will be detailed momentarily.

But first, these are my minimum requirement for jeans, which also complicates the search:

  1. boot cut or straight leg, none of that flapping flared style, please
  2. a stretch/denim blend for the all-important crotch comfort
  3. dark wash because it seems more sophisticated
  4. petite leg length so I'm not tripping over yards and yards of denim
  5. mid-rise because low-rise can only be worn correctly by 2% of the population, though, sadly, this rule is flagrantly violated on a daily basis
  6. no wierd rhinestones, distressing, white fade-outs or deliberate rips/holes/shreds because I'm not 12.

So today I set out to shop. Who would win? Sheer persistence on my part or the FABB?

Up first, a contender from the GAP Curvy line. Quite acceptable straight on:

But then, POW!:

On to Lane Bryant (by doing so I have broken a years-long boycott based on their tendency to design clothes that would only fit women who are 6 feet or taller. It's wierd). Here, the waistband gap was less obvious, even workable with a long shirt, but the jeans failed to pass the crucial squat test:

At Mervyn's, the Gloria Vanderbilt Jeans were a lovely dark wash but were still vanquished by the FABB:

At Dilliard's I tried on some Calvin Klien low-rise jeans to demonstrate the absolute absurdity of the dominance of this trend, as my butt is practically falling out of the pants:

I also tried on Levi's, Lee's "One True Fit" label, and some no-name department store brands. It all ended the same, with a resounding FABB victory. I would show you some more photos, but I figure you've seen enough of my underwear already.

FABB clearly walked out of the mall as the winner today, not I.

I suppose the problem might be solved with strategic use of a belt, assuming for a moment that I can get over my hatred of belts. When you have any kinds of hips, unthreading the whole damn thing in order to get your pants down over your hips is a colossal pain, especially for me since I mainline water and visit the restroom a jillion times per day.

Taking jeans to a seamstress for waistband alteration is also an option, though I have my reservations about what the final product would look like.

Truly, I don't expect ready-to-wear, mass-produced clothing to fit everbody, but surely the FABB phenomenom is not limited to just me. Surely, somewhere out there is a pair of jeans that will embrace the FABB. A girl can dream.

Round Two: boobs vs. the button-down shirt.


At 6:47 AM, Blogger Lara said...

Clothes shopping is misery! I'm sorry you had a disappointing day.

At 9:15 AM, Blogger Tiffany said...

I'm glad you're back! Although sorry to read of shopping annoyance.

Do you have an Old Navy? I think most of my jeans have come from there.

At 1:36 PM, Blogger chaos said...

Damn, do I ever know this pain! I searched for jeans for TWO YEARS. Before I finally found them at Old Navy. Boy cut jeans. $15. Who knew?

At 5:08 AM, Blogger neca said...

Apparently, if you have hips or a butt, you must also have a large waist. Luckily I know how to sew and I take up many waists. Most of my jeans are years old, made back when women were allowed to be curvy.

At 4:42 AM, Blogger vj said...

Megan, oh, I feel your pain. I just broke down and bought a pair of jeans at Lane Bryant, stretch, and they are snug after washing and then super-stretched out about ten minutes afterwards, like I'm wearing clown pants. And I had to hem them, of course. And wear a belt.

This is the opposite of super-sexy, but I think from here on out, I'm just going to wear my sweetie's jeans. They don't fit right but they're not supposed to, and that makes all the difference (to me). vj

At 8:18 PM, Anonymous tracy said...

i have 2 comments...well, 3.

1. no matter their size, ALL WOMEN have trouble finding clothes to fit.

2. like they say on What Not to Wear, pay no attention to the size on the tag. Fit is waaaaay more important. Find something that is flattering no matter the number on the tag.

3. If you find something that is too long but fits otherwise, no worries. Have it hemmed. I learned how to hem jeans the way Nordstrom does... it's AWESOME, and it's possible (and should be cheap). SO be not shy of having something altered. And let me know if you want me to shorten some for you. I have short legs and alter allllllll the time. I'll cut you a sweet deal. Bring your jeans to Austin, hang out and watch Oprah with me while I hem your jeans.

At 5:19 PM, Blogger sister smile said...

I'm pretty small, and most jeans end up offending me too. My ass and I have a gentleman's agreement: I won't offend it by stuffing it into anything white, and it won't embarrass me in public. It took us years and marathons to get to this point.

Nice blog, btw. You funny. I'll check back again.

At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Annalisa said...

Ugh. Even without the BB, I still have the too big waist problem - no matter what brand of jeans I try on. This is why I always wear or bring a belt when I shop for jeans/cords/etc. It really helps.

At 2:37 PM, Blogger M@rla said...

I vote for the Gap Curvy - I thought you looked hot in them! But, I guess I have pretty low standards for clothing. If it will button or zip, I'll wear it. I know, that's pathetic.

Button-front shirt? Don't make me laugh.

At 12:52 PM, Blogger Nan said...

hey, I have the same problem with jeans, but I did recently find a pair that fit well at Sears... the brand was Covington :o)

At 1:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Girl you got it goin on in the hips! Even if noone else thinks so, just remember you have a fan in NJ!!! Delicious!!!

At 1:15 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

I usually have my jeans altered at the waist and they come out just perfect. My hips are 41" and my waist is 28" so I feel your pain. The seamstresses removes the waistband stitches in the rear, inserts a dart on each side and shorten the waistband in the center, then reattach it. It's pretty unnoticeable unless I show people, when they ask where I buy my jeans.


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