Want Non-Designer Jeans that Fit? HA!

**This post is related to the My Battle with Abolishing Baby Weight post. Both are inspired by last night’s frustrations.***

I spent ninety minutes last night shopping in an attempt to find a pair of jeans that fits.

It was an utter fail.

Somehow – thanks to my quest to get back into shape and to my pre-pregnancy weight – I have put myself into an a category more difficult that “Between Sizes.”

I fall into the We Don’t Carry What You Need Because People in Your Size Don’t Exist.

Which simply is not true.

Before you plot torturing me by tying me to a chair, sewing my eyes open, and forcing me to watch Barney until I beg to put out of my misery, please hear me out.

I worked my ass off to lose my pregnancy weight. Twice.

There were a few brownie pans of setbacks and it took nine months.

But I made it.

I waited to shop for clothes until I hit my “bottomed out” weight.

Unfortunately for me, this was in August when stores throw their summer clothes into clearance and bring in the winter stuff for “back to school.”

They do this in Texas, too.

Which is ridiculous.  It was still over 100 degrees outside. Fall doesn’t show it’s face here until the middle of October – a full two months later.  So I shopped, but I didn’t have a ton of success finding shorts – all the sizes I needed were picked over or designed for juniors and I cannot wear shorts that short anymore.  I managed to find some tops and skirts: all in the juniors department.  That was it.

So why I didn’t see the Jean Shopping Fiasco of Fall 2010 coming, I don’t know.

Cool weather finally arrived a few weeks ago.  I grabbed my favorite pair of jeans – the ones that used to fit me like a glove before I ever had children.  The ones I’d exercised so diligently for so I could finally wear them again. I put them on.

They were too big now.  The exact opposite problem than twelve months prior when I’d found myself with a newborn and too fat to fit into any non-maternity pants.

And yes, I do prefer the Pants Are Too Big to the I Can’t Even Button These Things problem.

It doesn’t make the problem any less.. well problematic.

So last night following dinner, I set out on my own – a much needed circumstance – determined to find my favorite jeans in a smaller size.

At first, I tried the same size, feeling that donning my old jeans during my previous “Post Pregnancy” stages had stretched them beyond their normal range – hence the lack of proper fit.

Those were too big.

I tried a size smaller.

Too big.

I tried another style.

Still too big with odd pooching in the torso.

I asked a sales person for a lower size, as I hadn’t seen any on the shelves.

They laughed.  “We don’t carry sizes that small.  You’ll have to shop in the junior department.”

What???

I know, I’ve shopped in juniors before – just last August – but I’d been certain that was a fluke thanks to season close outs and the smaller sizes being gone.

Not the case, as it turns out.

So I drag my very non-junior self into the junior’s section of Kohl’s department store – because they carried my previous favorite style of jeans: Levi’s 515.

A number which does not exist in juniors.

No, juniors currently have three styles based on the Kohl’s selection.

  1. skinny jeans
  2. really damn skinny jeans
  3. jeans that aren’t skinny but have “junior” decorations including but not limited to:  holes, odd embroidery, ridges and/or odd coloring to make the pelvic region looked wrinkled, and the appearance of just being dragged from a dumpster

At my age, I can’t pull off decorative tween style.

The ones with minimal ridge coloring from Levi’s would fit in boot cut style, except in my butt – which is supposed to be flatter – and would be if I was still 13.

And skinny jeans…. Dear God, skinny jeans.. They are for 11 year olds who have just shot up in height and have toothpicks for legs.  If they were large enough to get over my I Do Strength Class Once a Week with a Squat and Lunge Loving Drill Sergeant thighs and calves, they were too big around the waist.

About 90% of junior’s jeans fall into the “skinny” and “really damn skinny” categories.

Once again, based the sample size of Kohl’s.

A very kind employee helped me attempt in vain to find something that fit, as I began with larger sizes – unsure how juniors would translate in relation to adult sizes.

I wore a size 7 in high school. I weigh slightly more now than I did then. So I started with size 9’s, following logic.

But there is NOTHING logical  or standard for Women’s clothing sizes.  Or Juniors. They are completely, totally, 100% arbitrary.  Sizes aren’t even consistent in the same brand, much less across all labels.

It is the very reason I despise clothes shopping.

Size 7’s of the previous decade are smaller than the size 7’s of today’s jeans.

Which makes no sense. A size 7, should be a size 7.

Whatever that is supposed to mean.

When I go shopping with CG, my jealousy emerges at the ease of finding his jeans. Men’s pants go by inches and length: then loose or snug fit.

That’s it.

Why aren’t Women’s clothes labeled this way? Are we so ashamed to actually know how many inches/centimeters our waists measure around?

Why aren’t the smaller clothing sizes carried in department stores? I’m not talking about a negative number here or a zero – neither which should exist. I’m talking about The Current Size Two, which I’m guessing was a size 6, fifteen years ago.  I see a lot of people throughout the day who are my size or smaller.

Which means A) They shop designer brands, which I cannot afford nor do I think a pair of denim should cost more than an iPod or B) They too are forced to shop in juniors – like one of the gym’s childcare workers I bumped into in the junior’s changing room last night.

And while juniors can give me some cute tops and skirts, skinny jeans will never ever work.

Unless I use stilts.

I’m frustrated. I worked hard to get into shape. My body still has many flaws, like the lovely stretched out skin on my abdomen that had to expand to carry two good sized children – thankfully not at the same time.

I just want a pair of jeans that fitsso I can show off the parts of me that don’t bludgeon my self-esteem into dust.

I don’t want to fall into this There is NO Department Designed for You to Shop In: Only Your Couch Potato Counterpart or Your Teenage Child category. I can’t afford to shop at expensive places. 

What would What Not To Wear’s Stacey and Clinton say about this conundrum, other than give me $5000 to spend on designer clothing and throw away 99.9% of my wardrobe?

Give those of us who have worked so hard to get into shape some clothing in our appropriate age brackets… please?  Without breaking the bank.

A little consistency between sizes would be nice too. A standard. An actual unit of measurement implemented to determine size.

That’s not asking for much, is it?

Does anyone else have horror stories of shopping for jeans?

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About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos (www.writingwithchaos.com) sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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9 Responses to Want Non-Designer Jeans that Fit? HA!

  1. Pingback: My Battle with Abolishing Baby Weight | Dances with Chaos

  2. Vicky says:

    I’m 40 so I’ve spent, what, 23 years or so searching for a pair of jeans that fit, that mythical perfect fit. They’re not out there. Not pre-children or post-children. I’ve given up. Skirts are in.

    • Kelly K says:

      Jeans have changed so much in those days – since I was a teen even. You would think the elasticity of today’s jeans would enable a perfect fit compared to just 10 years ago when the rigid denim made such a thing a guaranteed impossibility..

      I used to despise skirts – a confirmed tomboy. I now embrace them in Texas summers. I still need playground appropriate jeans for chasing/playing/sitting with my little monsters. 🙂

      Thanks for reading!

  3. Katie says:

    I hate to say it, but you’re looking in the wrong place for jeans. These days you are NEVER going to find a pair of women’s jeans that fit a small size at Kohl’s. Sorry, but you just aren’t. I don’t even bother looking. I had the exact same problem after I lost my baby weight from Jake. I got down to pre-pregnancy weight, and then dropped about 30 additional pounds. I now wear the size that I wore in high school — when I WAS a junior. (know how hard it is to find XS maternity clothes?!). Most department stores don’t carry women’s sizes that small. The smallest women’s size Von Maur carries is a size 4 — too big! That’s why for dress pants I shop almost exclusively at Banana Republic. Cliche I know, but their pants go down to size 00, jeans too (no, I don’t need pants that small, a size 2 usually suffices). Ann Taylor also has sizes that are small enough and fit me pretty well. And both also have great sales racks, which is where I do my shopping:)

    For jeans, right before I found out I was pregnant again, I got two amazing pairs of jeans from Von Maur. Yes, they are designer jeans (one pair is Seven for All Mankind, the other is Joe’s Jeans), and yes they were expensive. But, they are sized like men’s jeans (waist size in inches then inseam), and they go down so stinkin’ small you can hardly believe that actual human beings fit them. No sequins or jewels or other silly things you find on junior’s jeans. One pair were even bootcut trouser jeans. They fit like a dream. And even though they were expensive (I won’t tell you how much), I won’t have to buy another pair of jeans until I hit the menopause-era weight gain. At least not once I get the weight off after THIS baby! (oh and BTW, Banana Republic jeans are also measured in inches). I can’t afford loads of expensive clothing either, but it used to be that I’d have 5-8 pairs of jeans, all of which just fit okay. Now I have learned that I’m happier spending a little more on 1 pair of jeans that actually fits me well. I may only have 2 pairs total these days — a pair of classic bootcut or trouser jeans, and then a pair of dark wash skinnies to wear with boots.

    So, sorry to burst your bubble, but Kohl’s is simply not going to have what you want. If you want a good pair of well-fitting jeans, get thee to a department store with quality (probably designer) jeans, or hit a shopping center with stores like Banana Republic or Ann Taylor. You may spend a little more up front, but they will fit and you’ll be happier with them in the long run.

    If you really do need a pair of cheap jeans, check out http://www.alloy.com. Their jeans aren’t the highest quality, but they lack all the junior frills and go down to size 1, and they’re cheap.

    • Kelly K says:

      Thanks for the tips, Katie.

      What I want to know is WHY they don’t carry jean sizes that small. It’s not like those sizes don’t exist in this world. It’s particularly frustrating as I know the Levi 515 cut fits my body shape, which the Jr 518’s do not. You’d think they’d want to cater to all sizes….

      I had Seven jeans recommended to me yesterday by a friend at the gym when I told her how awesome her jeans fit. I about had a heart attack when she told me what they cost. I think The Husband might have an aneurysm if I spent that much on a single pair of jeans. She does say you can find them online for cheaper, but I’d have to find out what size/style fits me first.

      It would be nice to have some cheaper jeans that fit for excursions to the park where I sit in sand/rocks/dirt. I’m just leery about buying any pair of jeans that I haven’t verified fit – so online shopping for that makes me leery.

      Then again, I found the most awesome Lands End catalog bathing suit – when every single of the 100 bathing suits I tried on last spring/summer made my new body still look like a fat cow. A friend had one and I tried it and it was like the birds came out to sing – amazing. The measurements I took were dead on for sizing me properly.

      For anyone looking for a bathing suit to hide the weird way your body looks post having kids
      , this is what I have, and they have plus size versions and patterned versions. I have it in the purple color.

      Now to continue my jean searching quest… Thanks again for the tips, Katie.

      • Katie says:

        I agree, it is really frustrating. As for the why, I think it’s all a matter of supply and demand. There aren’t many women who want to look like they wear women’s clothes (as opposed to junior’s clothes) who are that size. Certainly not enough to make it cost effective to stock them. And then there’s the simple fact that teen and pre-teen girls drive the fashion industry.

        You can find Seven jeans a lot cheaper online. When I first graduated from law school, I got a pair online (after I had figured out my size in the store) and they cost about half what they did at Nordstrom. The higher-end department stores will carry them — Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Saks, Nieman Marcus. I’m sure Austin has one of the above. Same thing can apply for Banana Republic jeans. Just go to a store, figure out what size you are, and thankfully their sizes are very consistent. Once you have your size, shop their online sales.

  4. so first of all this totally brought out the clinical level of depression i feel when I really think about my body post-twins. my skin hangs and…my ab muscles are so severely separated I need surgery which will either be out of pocket to have a plastic surgeon do it right, plus fix the umbilical hernia, or if going to a regular surgeon, will create and scar running from pubic bone to breast. Nice.

    so I avoid looking at my body, stay in the dark when naked, stay covered, and make damn sure my shirt is LONG when I’m at the gym. And as for finding jeans…well, I detach from all reality and emotion, slip into the gap once every 4 yrs, buy 2 pairs and get the hell out of dodge.

    let’s not even start with swimsuits….

    • Kelly K says:

      Yeah, pregnancy is not kind to our body – and you just listed why I was thankful to not have twins.

      Still, I think you have the potential to get your own reality show, and then perhaps you can get a kind surgeon to pro bono the surgery – one the only times I’m in favor of plastic surgery – to fix what child birth messed up.

      I swear by that style of swimsuit. It’s the only one I’ve actually felt good about my body in – all others I felt like a creature from a horror movie.

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