By: Amber Leventry
Becoming a mom has given me a pretty good excuse to look like a slob. The hat covering bedhead, the dirty, inside out shirts, and the overall appearance of not having showered for days are par for the course. We’re parents, not slaves to fashion. But we really need to draw the line when it comes to ill-fitting, out of style jeans. Not because your jeans’ wash was only popular for 15 minutes six years ago, but because you deserve to feel better. And is there any better feeling than slipping on a pair of jeans that go perfectly with whatever top you find on the floor, while simultaneously not cutting off your circulation when sitting? Here is a 10-step guide for buying new jeans.
Step 1: Admit that you need new jeans. Unless you recently purchased a pair that make you feel awesome, you need new jeans. My reasons were two-fold: they were dated and let’s just call them snug. Since my last shopping spree in 2011, I became Mama to three kids. I now have two pair of pants that fit—technically I have five, but I am not counting my sweats or the lesbian version of yoga pants: lined athletic warm-ups. My go-to, non-lounge pants were purchased somewhere between 2007 and the last holiday sale at Dick’s.
Step 2: Make a plan. Mine consisted of waiting for a weekend when I could escape the house for a few hours by myself and get the most bang for my Gap Reward Points through coupons and sales. Unicorns have been seen more often. We can barely afford the preschool tuition which is paid for using the Gap Visa Card, which racks up the $45 at a time to be used at any of its affiliated stores. For us, Old Navy is our only other option. We don’t dare yearn for high-priced clothing at Banana Republic. But I wanted to treat myself to clothing college kids piss their money away on as quickly as they drink kegs of cheap beer. I went to the Gap.
Step 3: Drive to the mall. Accept the mixed feelings of guilt and elation of leaving the house alone. Know that your partner, spouse, or friends would do it for you.
Step 4: Arrive at the mall. Is the mall always this busy? Why are there so many god dammed cars in the parking lot? When was the last time I was at the mall? Are there always this many people here? What could possibly be in there that is driving so many people to be in my way? How the hell do I get in? Go in through Kohls; that seems safe.
Step 5: Take a moment. The smells, the kids not belonging to you, the weird lighting, the walking aisles which seem to take you in circles, it’s all a lot to take in. Take a deep breath and walk forward. And while you are walking remind yourself of why you are in the mall in the first place. It is not to buy stuff for your kids, even though they would LOVE the My Little Pony Chutes and Ladders game, which is on sale by the way. You are not there to look at books you do not have time to read. It is not to buy an Auntie Anne’s pretzel.
Step 6: Pick a store, any store. You probably want to avoid Justice, though. But who am I to judge? You do you. Just make a solid commitment to a location.
Step 7: Settle in. Forget the image of the Chinese woman using a string to pull the eyebrow hairs of a 300 pound man lying on an unsteady table. Stop wondering why you were disturbed by the little boy in a Cub Scout uniform vibrating in a quarter massage chair. Ignore the sights and sounds of premature Christmas paraphernalia.
Step 8: Give in. Admitting you need jeans may mean you also need a new style and/or a bigger size. If my taste in beer can mature, I can let go of the notion that low rise boot cut jeans are the only ones for me. The beer is what got me into trouble in the first place, so I also need to accept that my body will feel better in the next size up. Grab a pair from every category, style, and wash. Except for the ones with the holes. That’s just dumb.
Step 9: Try not to focus too much on how your ass looks in your potential new jeans. Your ass is what it is. As long as your ass checks are not squeezed in so tight that they are overlapping or lost in too much fabric in your attempt to hide it, your ass probably looks just fine. If you find a pair of jeans that look good, feel good and make you feel good, buy them. If you are still not sure, ask for an opinion. Since my partner was at home wearing her athletic warm-ups and dealing with our three kids, I asked two lovely 20 somethings if my new slim cut, dark denim jeans looked okay. Though my insecurity and need to mention that it has been a long time since I had been shopping made me feel like I was about to have sex for the first time with a new partner.
Step 10: Buy the jeans. Wear the jeans. Be the jeans. It took three weeks to find a window of time to drive your new-pants-needing self to the mall. It took three hours to walk out of the store with a paper bag filled with hope, relief, and the promise to give you some breathing room at Thanksgiving. It took laser-like focus to avoid the Taco Bell in the food court and incredible restraint to not tell the teenage girls to put on more clothes. You did it. And it may be a long time before you do it again. Rock those jeans.
Buying jeans should not be about accentuating thigh gap (who the hell has that and who started that disgusting notion of what a body should look like?) or eliminating all signs of muffin top (you earned those extra inches). It’s about making time for yourself, dragging your wardrobe into the present, and staring dumbfounded at the number of people willing to stop and look at the stupid, not funny but supposed to be funny, screen printed t-shirts set up in the middle of the mall.