I blame Pinterest. For weeks I’ve been pinning outfits like this.
I love the look of skinny jeans tucked into tall brown boots. It’s a classic, effortless look that’s casual yet stylish. And that is right up my alley. Here’s the problem though – I’m not skinny. I tried on skinny jeans once before and vowed that I would never subject myself to that humiliation again. I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that this look just wasn’t in the cards for me until my friend Carrie urged me to give it one more chance (she had just bought some skinny jeans and boots herself and looked great!).
Skinny jeans weren’t the only obstacle to this look I love though – I also have short legs and large calves. I don’t know if it’s just genetics or because I am a runner, but the two pairs of boots I have are so tight and uncomfortable on my calves that the thought of the extra bulk of jeans tucked in seemed unbearable. But I was determined that once and for all, I was going to explore every option to see if I could make this look work for me. So last Saturday, with my delightful daughter along for moral support, I set out on my quest for a pair of skinny jeans and tall brown boots.
First things first…the jeans. Assuming that I could find boots that didn’t cut off the blood circulation to my calves, this look wouldn’t work without skinny jeans. I had seen an advertisement for a new “denim boutique” near my house and decided that it might be just the ticket to finding a well fitting pair of jeans that I could tuck into boots. I was going to bite the bullet and spend the extra money on a pair of designer jeans hoping that the higher price would pay off in a better fit. And although the “boutique-y” aspect of this shop intimidated the hell out of me, I decided to put on my big girl panties and go in with a positive attitude.
I knew I was in for trouble the minute I walked into Chi-Chi Jeans Boutique.*
(*names have been changed to protect the innocent)
Kelsey and I were greeted by the lovely shop owner who was maybe all of 28 years old and had the kind of figure that designer denim was made for. She asked, “How can I help you today?” and I joked, “Hi, yes, I’d like a pair of skinny jeans that will make me look 10 years younger, 20 pounds lighter, and 3 inches taller.” (My LAME attempt to ease the tension I was feeling.) I then told the gal that I would like to find a pair of skinny jeans that aren’t super low-rise and not super stretchy like jeggings. I gave the lovely shop owner my size and then she proceeded to pull several pair from the wall-o-jeans. I then went into the fitting room praying to the jeans gods for a miracle.
The first pair of jeans I tried on was a “cigarette jean” by AG. It’s not a skinny jean per se, but it has a slim leg and is a bit shorter in length which I thought might be a good sign considering I’m on the petite side. The result – I could not get these jeans over my ass. The second pair I tried on was a classic skinny by AG and these jeans I could not get past mid-thigh. It was about this time that the lovely shop owner calls out to me in her chipper little voice, “How are we doing?”
“We” had started to sweat and “we” were cursing under our breath.
The last pair I tried on was by David Kahn. They were a classic skinny as well and I was starting to feel encouraged because I actually got them up over my thighs and butt. I even got them buttoned but they were a little tighter than I liked so I stepped outside and asked the gal if I could try on the next size up. She looked at me with her empathetic brown eyes and says, “I’m so sorry, but this is the largest size we carry.”
I. WANTED. TO. DIE.
Needless to say, I didn’t buy jeans there and I left feeling worse than I did when I went in.
So here’s the thing…I am about 5’3” tall and I am a size 10. I exercise five days a week and eat a very healthy diet 85% of the time. My blood pressure is 105/65 and my cholesterol and blood sugar are well within normal limits – I am a healthy woman. Sure I could lose a few pounds (if I lay off bread, pasta, chocolate and wine I can wear a size 8 ) but I seem to have settled into this size and weight without too much effort.
My question is this – since WHEN was a size 10 considered to be at the top end of the size spectrum?? Seriously! Are cute jeans only meant for supermodels? WTF! I’m not hating on the gal who owned the shop…she was as nice as she could be. But I do think there has to be something wrong in the world if a size 10 is the largest size a store carries. I mean COME ON, is it too much to ask that an average 43 year old woman be able to find a stylish pair of jeans without being completely humiliated?
I was done. I figured it wasn’t meant to be. My delightful daughter, however, was not going to let me give up and encouraged me to try one more place. So the next stop was Upscale Department Store.*
I immediately felt more at ease due to the friendly, approachable sales gal. On top of that, she was near my age and was more my size. I told my lame-ass joke again and the sales gal actually laughed and said, “I know exactly what you mean.” She picked out about five pairs of jeans and I tried them on one by one – all but one actually fit. The jeans I liked best were Joe’s Jeans and the style that fit the best were the Skinny Visionnaire. These jeans have a tiny bit of stretch for comfort, but not so much that they felt like leggings. At first I was reluctant to try them on because they are considered “high-waist” but I soon discovered that’s what they call normal rise jeans these days.
As I stood in front of the three way mirror, I asked Kelsey and the sales girl at least 128 times, “Are you sure these look OK? Do you promise I don’t look stupid? Do my thighs look huge? Are you sure I’m not too old?”
After all of that, I finally bought the jeans and was feeling pretty confident. And after trying on every blessed brown boot at the mall, I found a pair of boots that accommodated my skinny jean, encased calves. Later that night, I put on my new outfit to go out to dinner and the lovely compliments I received from my dear husband and delightful daughter were the perfect antidote to the ego-crushing experience from earlier in the day.
I’m not going to lie, it’s taken me a little bit to get used to wearing my skinny jeans as they are a far cry from the relaxed fit, boot-cut jeans that I normally wear. I guess if I have any advice for jeans shopping of any style, it would be to try on a bunch of different brands and styles until you find something you like. And a positive attitude and sense of humor definitely helps.
So I’d love to know, do you have a favorite brand and/or style jeans? What’s been your experience shopping for jeans?
Please tell me I’m not the only one who thinks that average women deserve to have jeans that fit.