Jeans
The enemy. Grrr.
You spot them across a crowded sales floor, maybe a congested thrift store rack. Denim works of art. The perfect pair of jeans, if such a thing even exists. Beautiful cut, lovely wash—even the little rivets have panache. You swoop down on them, terrified another stylish shopper will make eye contact with them first, and scuttle them back to the fitting room, ready to make love to your mirrored image from the waist down.

Except they won’t come up past the middle of your thighs. Or they do this weird creasey thing across your hips. Or they pucker out so far at the waist, you look like you’re a little tea pot, short and stout. There is your handle and there is your spout. 

If I never had to shop for another pair of jeans, I’d do two cartwheels, a round-off and a Tae-Bo kick across the mall parking lot. Jeans are a fashion staple and are wonderfully versatile, but next to bras (which belong in the seventh ring of hell), they’re my least favorite thing to look for and sometimes, my least favorite thing to wear. They look nice on the hanger but once I go about putting them on, I set myself up for disappointment.

That’s because the fit is always so ding dang funky. I’ve broken nails trying to zip them up. Played around with sizes because someone, somewhere along the line, thought a size 12 should really be cut like a size 6. Analyzed my hindquarters from every possible angle under the unkind glare of department store fluorescent lighting. Liked the way they fit my legs but hated the way they rode up in the crotch. Liked the way they fit around the waist but hated the way they flattened my rump. Squatted down in them to manufacture some give when they’ve been damn-girl-can-you-breathe? tight. Heck, I’m getting flustered just writing about it and I’m draped in the comfort of my PJs. For now.

If you’re a woman with curves, you’ve probably experienced the deflating realization that most designers have visions of Angelina Jolie or Kate Hudson dancing through their heads when they strike out to create a new line. But newsflash: for at least the last five years, and probably longer than that, the average American woman has been rocking a size 14. You wouldn’t be able to tell by the waif-like sizing of most jeans or the obvious lack of models with meat on their bones.

Someday soon, as Americans get bigger and more women fall into that “full-figured” category, which, at this point, is more the average than the exception, designers are going to have to kick that old school thinking to the curb that jeans need to be straight cut with no flexibility for the hips, thighs, and booties some of us are packin’. Heck, even my skinny and athletically built friends are having trouble finding true-to-size cuts. One is so devastated that she had to go up from a 6 to an 8 that she’s sworn off all kinds of foods and subjected herself to a round of colon cleanses. I’m trying to convince her that it’s not her, it’s the jeans.

Ah, but who’s listening? And for now, it doesn’t matter anyway. Warm weather is almost here, and I’m patiently looking forward to swirling and twirling in the floaty freedom of sundresses and breezy, billowy skirts. For at least three months—if we’re having a real mild year, maybe five—I don’t have to worry about sliding into the evil denim as often as I do in the cold, covered-up time of year. But still, proactivity in the sister of success, so I’d be better off kicking off my search for a brand I can depend on sooner than later and keeping them in the closet for the fall. DKNY used to be my go-to line but something’s awry there now and Levi’s Curve ID was a big disappointment, so I’m taking recommendations from fellow curvy gals.

What jeans work for you? What brands or lines do you think are the most flattering?


Image via Jamiecat */Flickr