When I am shopping with my mother, she often says she doesn't know what style of clothes she should wear because she's still attracted to the clothes and sizes she wore in her late teens and early twenties. She doesn't know how to shop for the current trends or her current body (which, frankly, sickeningly, isn't that different than it was in her early 20s, though she doesn't believe me when I tell her this).
When I was in my late teens and early twenties and started having this conversation with Mom, and I didn't get it. Now, at 36, I am starting to.
I can still technically fit into the clothes at Forever 21 and the juniors section in Target, and I can also still pull off a lot of it. There is one trend, however, that has thwarted me to date: the skinny jean.
I know that these pants are billed as "universally flattering." But you look around, friends. You know it's not true. There is no cut of jeans that looks good on everyone. And I do not think these look very good on me. Especially in the trendy bright colors. I don't like to draw attention to my bottom half as a general rule. Or more specifically, the top half of my bottom half. From the knee down, I'm fine.
Jeff and I have both been struggling with the new narrow pant. This summer, we bought him a blazer at H&M (he tried it on, it looked awesome). And then without trying them on, I talked him into the matching skinny trouser.
At home, he tried them on. They looked awesome. But he could not bend his knees -- like, at all. And his calves, still pretty darn muscular from decades of soccer playing, were pulling out the side stitches.
We were in stitches. We imagined out a conversation with his then-engaged sister about how he got a great new suit for her wedding, but he was sorry, he would not be able to sit down for the ceremony.
A week later, we were once again in stitches -- actually, laughter turned to tears -- as Jeff had to rescue me from my boyfriend-cut skinny leg cropped jeans. I had rolled the hem up one roll too many, and tried to hitch it up over my calf to put lotion on, and then I couldn't get them back down. In fact, they stuck on my calves halfway down like a tourniquet, even with the lotion.
"Stop flexing!" my husband yelled as he tried to pull them down for me. "I'm not flexing!" I yelled back. "But I have been working out!" More giggles (cause my calves are extremely small and I never work them out), howls of pain, and then I went out for a girls night feeling sweaty, sore, and not particularly trendy.
And yet, despite all these obstacles, last week I bought two pairs of Rock Star denim from Old Navy, where all skinny jeans were only $19. How could I resist? I checked with all the sales girls to make sure I wasn't too old to wear these. I got one indigo pair, one navy. Then I realized that indigo and navy are pretty much exactly the same. My sister in law came over wearing green skinny pants. I noticed a mom at school in red ones, another in robin-egg blue.
So I returned the navy ones and got teal instead, checking again with the sales girls to make sure I wasn't too old. I discovered that in bright colors it's best to go a size up, because if something is going to be buckling across your back thighs, it should be doing it in a subtle color. I came home and wore them immediately before I had a chance to lose my nerve.
(If my mom is reading this right now, she's probably cracking up and feeling great, since she credits me with a lot more certainty and self-confidence than I actually have and likes to see me be taken down a notch. In a loving way, of course.)
Jeff liked my bright, tight new jeans. But when I joyfully told him about the "one size up" discovery, he rather unsupportively said, "You bought a pair that is tighter than these?"
Dang it. Back to Old Navy for me. Apparently I'm going a size up in all colors. But I'm doing the exchange at another location so they don't put a picture of me up in the staff room of the Irvine location: "Warning: this Woman too Old and Indecisive for Trendy Denim. Do not help her. She will just bring her pants back."
Tune in next soon for more misadventures. My next fashion goal: learn to braid my own hair. I started today. It's not going well. But this wonky braid on my crown does take the focus of my thighs.