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Why I Don’t Wear Jeans…..

Alayna’s Note: If you want to skip my personal rant about jeans and the acquisition of them, just read the article that inspired this story. It’s really funny, if you’re a woman who isn’t 110 pounds and hates shopping for jeans. :)

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you have heard this story or had this conversation with me before. So, before anyone calls me out on account of not being interesting and telling the same stories repeatedly, here’s your warning: This post isn’t for my lifelong friends and closest confidantes. It is purely for the amusement of everyone else.

Among the many questions people ask me about the things that make me weird and bizarre, or simply write about me in a derogatory fashion on their own blogs, is “Why don’t you wear jeans like a normal person?”. While the answer is clearly “I am not a normal person”, it’s a little more complicated than that. So, here are the reasons I don’t wear jeans on a regular basis.

1)Personal style. Everyone has one, and I think part of the art of dressing well and looking stylish is knowing where you fit on the spectrum. My fashion sense is a little glam, a little boho-chic, a little hippie, with the occasional Gothic-inspired thing thrown in there. I’m not a simple jeans and t-shirt kind of gal. And if I were, I’d spend a lot of time shopping for jeans. More about that later. I do actually wear jeans on occasion, but mostly, it’s just not how I express myself. I think the “Sex And The City” ladies would approve.

2)Jeans are not comfortable. Anyone who tells you they are says this because they have the perfect body built for jeans, without any excess anything anywhere, and never feel constrained by one of the world’s least flexible fabrics. The idea that jeans are casual, comfy, and a great alternative to dressing up is perpetuated by curve-free women who have not yet been introduced to PJs. If you don’t believe me, see how long it takes your wife or girlfriend to get into that $200 pair of skinny jeans (if you’re a guy), or take a 12-hour flight wearing them (if you’re a girl.) Jeans are not built for every shape and size, even the ones that say they are.

3)Body shape. If there were a living embodiment of the clothing designer’s worst nightmare, it would be me. I have an odd body shape in which every single part of my body is a different “traditional size”. I am petite (read: really short), curvy (read: J-Lo booty), and busty. (That one’s kind of self-explanatory.) I also have tiny shoulders, delicate wrists and ankles, and feet the size of the average 8-year-old. (and all this was true before I went and gained 23 pounds on (prescription) drugs, something that’s caused a whole new set of problems.) Shopping for jeans is a day-long event for me. I have never found a style or manufacturer of jeans that fit my body in a perfect, comfortable way. If I ever feel the need to invest in cosmetic surgery to redesign the shape of my body, I’ve probably been trying on jeans.

This, of course, leads to the story many of you have heard before, also known as “Why I Hate The Gap”.

So, as gleaned from the title, I hate The Gap. Not for the same reasons I hate, say, Banana Republic, but with the same level of passion that makes me cross sides of the mall to avoid it. Fortunately, these stores aren’t really reflective of my style, and you wouldn’t find me shopping there anyway.

About two or three years ago, I needed jeans. And if you’re a middle-class, average-looking white girl from the suburbs who doesn’t require anything special about jeans other than they fit and cost less than $50 a pair, you’re going to go to the Gap.

I spent 2 hours trying on jeans at the Gap. I tried on everything from a size 6 to a size 14, and nothing fit. Boot cut, classic, skinny, curvy,petite, regular…nothing fit me the right way. I emerged from the Gap almost in tears and in the early stages of an eating disorder. I thought I was a fairly normal person, yet, I learned I was way fatter than I thought. (again, this was 23 pounds ago, so you can imagine how completely I’ve given up on jeans by now.)

So, I walked around the mall, and ended up at Lane Bryant. I’d like to clarify that I, at the time, did not realise this was the store for “plus-sized women”. I just noticed the mannequins were curvy and thought they might have jeans that fit me. The woman at the entrance of the store asked if she could help me, in the way that happens at a club you don’t have the password to gain entrance to. I explained my dilemma with the jeans and the Gap, and she explained their store was for women who wore a size 14 or larger, and they wouldn’t have anything for me there, since I appeared to be about a size 8.

Fortunately, she was a very friendly and understanding African-American lady, and reassured me I was not fat, I just needed to stop shopping for “white girl jeans” (apparently, what you get at The Gap.) Through being denied entrance to Lane Bryant, I learned about Apple Bottom and Baby Phat, who seemed to have a better comprehension of hip bones being part of the female anatomy.

Another great find on the jeans front was, surprisingly enough, Old Navy. For a really long time, I hated Old Navy. If you know me, you know I hate stuff with a bright, kitschy aesthetic, and a world full of yellow, lime green, stripes, and orange fuzzy socks is not a place I want to be. Even their commercials made me not want to set foot in the store.

However, for a brief period of time, they put out a line of “curvy” jeans that actually did fit me perfectly. I learned that low-rise, flared-leg jeans were actually cute on me, were comfortable enough to live with, and I bought a whole pile of them. (then I went and got fatter, and now none of them fit. Sigh. I’m assuming that one day, I will be able to wear them again.) This restored my confidence in Old Navy so much that I amassed a closet full of t-shirts (note: size Medium really means size Large at Old Navy), hoodies, capris, and even some of those obnoxious sweater socks.

I am sad to report that Old Navy’s simple approach to finding jeans that fit you has gone by the wayside, and they’ve now given all their jeans “cute” names, leaving you totally perplexed as to what style and size of jeans you should wear. The easiest way to fix that is to Google the name of the jeans you bought at Old Navy two years ago, and see what they’re called now. This is why I buy 6 pairs of jeans when I find ones that fit me.

In my humble opinion, this is a lot of work and a lot of damaging your self-esteem for “casual wear” that’s not even that cute or comfortable. So, I don’t wear jeans. Maybe if I manage to lose 40 pounds, or they put out a line for retro-glam girls, we’ll talk about the shopping for jeans together…but somehow, I really doubt it. There gets to be an age where maybe jeans shouldn’t be the staple of your wardrobe, and I feel like I’m rapidly approaching that one. :P

I have a friend who looks cute in jeans no matter what. We can go to the swankiest club on Earth, and she’ll look just as glamourous in her jeans and cute shoes as I will in my far more high-maintenance choice for the evening. While I’m envious of her, I realise that she doesn’t get to pull off multi-coloured wigs, fishnet tights, and body glitter, so it’s a trade-off.

Meanwhile, when I’m at work or want to engage in comfort, it’s leggings and yoga pants for me. It’s not sophisticated, but hey, at least I’m not wearing a track suit.

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