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Why Don’t Jeans Fit?

Posted by tinako on February 6, 2010

I am going to digress from food for this posting.

I went jeans shopping yesterday.  Have you noticed that women’s jeans no longer fit?  I know – if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re thinking the problem is that my body has changed.  But I still fit into my old jeans. I have Levis I have been nursing along for the last 12 years.  They come up to my waist and they fit everywhere.  During the beginning of this period I wavered up to the next size for several years, so that helped make these last so long, but mostly I have just been really careful with them ever since the low-rise fad came along.  I don’t have a problem with fads, except that this is the Fad That Ate The Jeans Industry.  There was a good 5 years, at least, when there was no such thing as non-low-rise jeans.  I figured I’d just have to make do until people realize those stupid jeans look terrible on most of us.

Little did I know the lasting power of this fad.  It morphed from jeans that would show off my 30-year-old post-pregnancy belly to the current situation.  Now there are options, probably thanks to women everywhere who pointed out to the industry that, um, after a certain age we don’t want these.  I have no opinion on what that age is or should be for other women, but that age most certainly exists in our own minds.  For instance, while shopping yesterday I talked to a slim woman of about 65 shopping for jeans and almost as exasperated as me.

As I was saying, women’s jeans are now labeled “at the hips,” “just below the waist,” etc.  Great!  The problem is, even the ones that claim to be “at the waist” are not.  I can compare them directly to old Levis, and they are about an inch low, which means they still have that feel for me of wearing an upside down cone.  I like the comforting feeling that it is not just friction holding up my pants, but my hips, when the pants curve back in over the hipbone.

I could live with that.  I can have faith in friction, and in time these jeans will probably feel natural.  What will never feel natural is the 4″ gap at the top back.  I even try on smaller sizes, and when I can barely pull them up my legs and they are very tight in the front, there is still a gap in the back.  My old jeans fit perfectly, snug but not too tight, all the way around at the top.  Every pair of jeans I have tried on in the last 5 years, ever since “waist” fits came back, has a minimum of 2″ of extra material at the back.  It’s like they all forgot how to make them!  It’s drafty and uncomfortable, makes me look fat, and my shirts untuck every time I lean forward.  I hate them!  I look in the mirror and try to imagine who these would fit. It would take the equivalent of about two packages of margarine stuck to my lower back for these to be comfortable.  ???

I used to sigh and buy them and just wear a belt, but I don’t like belts and I don’t like the “wadded-up-paper bag” feel of cinched in fabric.  About 2 years ago I swore an oath that I would never purchase another poorly-fitting pair of jeans, and so my poor old jeans soldier on.  I scour second-hand stores for the old styles, too – they still fit!

I know I’m not alone in this.  Almost every woman I have spoken to about this over the years has agreed that they hate the new jeans.  That one friend who did not agree about jeans not fitting any more is my age but she said she loved how comfortable the low-rise jeans were.  I said they didn’t make me look good, and she said, “Oh, yeah, my belly hangs over but I just cover it up.”  I would like to think that we can do better than this.

Here is an article from the New York Times on this issue.  I suppose I should rush out and try these NYDJ jeans, but frankly I’ve been down that route before, trying out so many different stores and brands.  It’s aggravating and exhausting.  I need some time to heal a bit from yesterday.  But when my eternal optimism in supply and demand returns, you’ll see me picking through the jeans racks again.

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One Response to “Why Don’t Jeans Fit?”

  1. tinako said

    I was in a department store today and noticed that a mannequin was wearing jeans that appeared to fit well. I peeked behind and saw that the waist had been pinned tighter by a good 4″. What does this retailer think the rest of us should do?

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