jeans (mostly women's fit and such)
August 2, 2012 5:37 PM   Subscribe

On the proper fitting of jeans. More: Mom jeans and the dreaded "long butt" - "Lydia and I ran a completely scientific experiment to prove that, indeed, it’s all about the pocket. But, while doing so, also made many other notes for you to help you avoid a Mom Jeans catastrophe altogether"; the follow-up post - "Hypothesis: That the condition known as “long butt” and proven as simply a wardrobe mistake in previous works can also be replaced with much more flattering looks even for more mature Moms, and that proper dressage in appropriate jeans can be potentially life changing"; & even more: Gateway mom jeans - Gap and Old Navy? Links include photos of bums in jeans. (found via youlookfab)

Videojug offers five videos on how to get the best fit in jeans for different body shapes:
apple - boyish - hourglass - inverted triangle - pear

*dressing room tips and a jeans sizes conversion chart at The Perfect Jeans
*a denim dictionary and archive of jeans Q&A on ButtTherapist
*how to wear different denim washes and finding jeans that fit at Wardrobe Oxygen; also re: jeggings and skinny jeans
*maternity jeans styles rundown (and DIY maternity denim fix) at Ain't No Mom Jeans

*WSJ "Cranky Consumer": a review of services that custom-make jeans (IndiDenim, MakeYourOwnJeans, Thimbler; and also Zafu, a recommendation service)
*a video tour of a jeans factory (also via youlookfab)
*you don't need fitting tips for PajamaJeans... as seen on TV (and now for men too!)

previously: 501 things to do with your 501s and raw denim
posted by flex (209 comments total) 267 users marked this as a favorite

 
First bras, now jeans. Bless you, flex.
posted by ambrosia at 5:42 PM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's awesome and amazing at how bad butts look in mom jeans, I had no idea the problem had a fairly simple solution. I really can't believe some of those photos are the same person in mom jeans and better fitting ones. Incredible.
posted by mathowie at 5:45 PM on August 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


Fantastic post (as usual). Thank you!

Still pondering the mystery of hourglass/low-rise jeans, though -- they always feel like they're going to slip off and they gap like mad in the back.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:46 PM on August 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


I believe the term dressage has become popular due to Mitt Romney's campaign. Unintuitively, it has nothing to do with wardrobe.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:47 PM on August 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


I thought this was brilliant until the part about the socks and the distressing/aging. Whiskers do not belong on my pants.
posted by queensissy at 5:47 PM on August 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


I may need to set up an anonymous email account just so I can send this to certain individuals I work with. I'd like to think that they will be grateful. I know I would be. Come to think of it, maybe I should check my in box.
posted by memewit at 5:49 PM on August 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


There is really no tactful way to share this with your significant other is there?
posted by iamabot at 5:49 PM on August 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


Hands up everyone who is going to spend some (possibly sombre, hopefully fruitful) hours in self examination today?
(34, Mum of 2)
posted by Catch at 5:52 PM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


The ass-leg separation must be maintained.
posted by cmoj at 5:54 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Need the dad version of this.
posted by iamabot at 5:55 PM on August 2, 2012 [25 favorites]


Thank you, this is lifechanging! I have never paid much attention to which kinds of jeans I buy, and I am never, ever settling for Gap or Old Navy again. The blogger looks like two different people.
posted by kellybird at 5:57 PM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Maybe it's just me, but I hate half of the choices in the first link. To me, highly visible stitching and whiskering just screams TRASHY TRASHY CHEAP ALSO MAYBE A TEENAGER. I also vastly prefer the look of skinny jeans to flare in all of her examples.

Otherwise, there seems to be some really great info here. Thanks, flex!
posted by phunniemee at 5:58 PM on August 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


Gap and Old Navy could be fine, kellybird! It doesn't have to be expensive; it just depends on your body and the brand.

But yeah - I don't think horizontal whiskering on the thighs does anything other than emphasize them, and the distance across them.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:00 PM on August 2, 2012


I've always wondered why there aren't more custom/bespoke jeans tailors. I've heard that denim is a difficult material to work with but still... If people are willing to throw down $200 - $500 for non-custom designer jeans, how much would they be willing to spend on jeans custom-fitted for their own butt?
posted by mhum at 6:03 PM on August 2, 2012


Give her something that says, "I'm not a woman anymore, I'm a mom!"
posted by gohabsgo at 6:10 PM on August 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Why there ARE custom, bespoke jeans tailors. They are in Mumbai. My partner gets custom jeans (and dress shirts, and dress slacks) for herself and her beanpole son who even American Apparel can't fit through Make Your Own Jeans. Happy customer!
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:12 PM on August 2, 2012 [16 favorites]


I could care about this. Or I could wear whatever jeans are comfortable and will stay up and won't break the bank, and other people could stop judging me by whether or not my rear end looks good enough to have sex with.

You know, just saying.
posted by gracedissolved at 6:13 PM on August 2, 2012 [23 favorites]


There is no fashion you can give moms that will make them look like non-moms, because daughters will always counter and they have more free time to work on it.

Also, except for the pocketless pants (ew on many levels), all those butts looked just fine.
posted by DU at 6:13 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a dude, I'm just waiting for super-wide-leg jeans to come back. I want a leg opening only marginally smaller than the waist.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:14 PM on August 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


The most important advice: "it is imperative that you KNOW YOUR OWN CRACK."
posted by hot_monster at 6:14 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The ass-leg separation must be maintained.

There's a lady I work with who I want to see naked. Not for any skeezy sexual reasons but because I'm curious exactly how legs can attach to a back without a butt.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 6:15 PM on August 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh man, I have a pair of denim shorts sitting on my sewing table, taunting me. I am adding rear pockets to a pattern without, and this will REALLY help with placement.

A few weeks ago, when I cut these shorts out, I spent the day wandering around San Francisco, checking out pocket design and placement. The day was half over before I realized I'd been staring at people's asses in a creepy manner all day.
posted by mollymayhem at 6:18 PM on August 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


Mom jeans were how I spotted Americans a kilometer away when I lived in Europe. That and the waddling gait and the loud, loud talking.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:18 PM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the best post contest might be over.
posted by 4ster at 6:20 PM on August 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


Need the dad version of this.

Never by beige pants. Easy.
posted by bonehead at 6:21 PM on August 2, 2012


Butt not to wear.
posted by boo_radley at 6:23 PM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


All I require from my jeans is that they COVER my butt.

Alfred Dunner. Ugly as sin but they fit.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:25 PM on August 2, 2012


Need the dad version of this.

I am not a dad, and I approve this request.
posted by Forktine at 6:27 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wish we could separate "jeans that do not flatter the body" from "things that remind us of mothers". I really dislike that whole "of course moms are frumpy and boring and have bad taste and are not sexy, and of course real women need to be sexy all the time anyway" thing. Especially because virtually everyone has a mother, a mother who was frankly probably both busy and broke during her childrearing years. Busy and broke need not equal ugly pants, but I'm not going to start hectoring my mom about her clothes and telling her that she has "mom" taste as if "mom" is some kind of insult. She is a mom. If she wants to care about jeans fit, that's fine; if she has other things on her mind, that's fine too.

I do like the empirical fit thing, though.
posted by Frowner at 6:28 PM on August 2, 2012 [64 favorites]


The other thing I want to add - I have a relative whose health isn't good and who can't wear anything but elastic waisted pants. She usually wears denim ones because they're sturdy and warm. I'm okay with saying "fitted jeans are more flattering" and god knows I'm in the dictionary next to "clotheshorse" but I really don't like the whole "elastic-waist jeans ew ew ew they are a sign of being a woman who is old" thing. When you're helping your relative dress, it really recalibrates your perspective on bodies and judgment and clothes.
posted by Frowner at 6:38 PM on August 2, 2012 [15 favorites]


There's a lady I work with who I want to see naked. Not for any skeezy sexual reasons but because I'm curious exactly how legs can attach to a back without a butt.

Oh god yes. There's a dude in my office who has so little butt that I think there may actually be negative butt, and that his two (surprisingly average-proportioned) legs just spawned one day fully formed from his asshole.

Our entire office has actually spent time pondering as a group how his asslessness is physically possible.
posted by phunniemee at 6:44 PM on August 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


I believe the term dressage has become popular due to Mitt Romney's campaign. Unintuitively, it has nothing to do with wardrobe.

Mitt Romney is a lot more kinky than you credit him being.
posted by sebastienbailard at 6:45 PM on August 2, 2012


Having been in and out of committed relationships for the past decade, I can honestly say:

Single Me - "Give me the hottest fucking jeans you have take all my money make my ass look amazing!" (and I'm a guy)

Relationship me - "What have you got on sale?"
posted by gagglezoomer at 6:46 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Frowner: "I wish we could separate "jeans that do not flatter the body" from "things that remind us of mothers". I really dislike that whole "of course moms are frumpy and boring and have bad taste and are not sexy, and of course real women need to be sexy all the time anyway" thing."

I think it's more a function of contemporary American culture where people of a certain age feel like they need to cover up their bodies in unflattering clothing. Mom Jeans is just shorthand because so many people's moms wear them.

If you want to delve even further into it, I think it's because so many people in the US are really, really unhappy. I ride the train every day with a bunch of fat, sad, unhealthy, bored, trapped people in Mom Jeans. They don't have opportunities to relax, to exercise properly, to eat healthily, to do what they really want to do. Wearing unflattering clothes is a kind of capitulation, because they feel like they don't want people to see what their bodies are shaped like. By doing that, they make themselves look even worse.

So the best thing people can do for unhappy Mom Jeans wearers and their body image is to buy them a pair of good-looking jeans. It really makes a difference.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:47 PM on August 2, 2012 [14 favorites]


Jean dressage is the casual equestrian event.
posted by klangklangston at 6:50 PM on August 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is one of the strangest sites I've seen in some time. I have no idea how these moms got their asses wedged into their jeans, or why.
posted by hincandenza at 6:54 PM on August 2, 2012 [16 favorites]


I have to disagree that these are an improvement. I don't see how these are any more flattering than normal "mom jeans". Is having pockets running from the butt down to your legs (oh - more useless pockets on women's clothing? GREAT!) more flattering?

Comfort and fashion are almost always at opposite ends of the spectrum. All people have to make a decision what's more important to them. Somehow a the simple decision to not judge or shame the people who chose differently from oneself is much, much more difficult.
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 6:54 PM on August 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm happy when I can find jeans in my size at all that are not completely dorktastic and either 4 inches too short or 3 inches too long. You'd think going from 30 to 32 length wouldn't make that much difference... :P

My favorite pair of jeans is now a holey relic, sadly. I've been avoiding my carpenter-style jeans in favor of khakis.
posted by Foosnark at 6:58 PM on August 2, 2012


Wearing unflattering clothes is a kind of capitulation, because they feel like they don't want people to see what their bodies are shaped like. By doing that, they make themselves look even worse.

I like to wear comfortable, baggy clothing.

Mostly because I like being able to move freely if I need to. On a smaller level, yes, it's because I don't want people to see what my body is shaped like, but that is because the only strangers that will actively want to see what my body looks like are creepy.
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 7:00 PM on August 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


"I think it's more a function of contemporary American culture where people of a certain age feel like they need to cover up their bodies in unflattering clothing. Mom Jeans is just shorthand because so many people's moms wear them.

If you want to delve even further into it, I think it's because so many people in the US are really, really unhappy. I ride the train every day with a bunch of fat, sad, unhealthy, bored, trapped people in Mom Jeans. They don't have opportunities to relax, to exercise properly, to eat healthily, to do what they really want to do. Wearing unflattering clothes is a kind of capitulation, because they feel like they don't want people to see what their bodies are shaped like. By doing that, they make themselves look even worse."


What. The. Fuck.

I am not wearing "mom jeans" as a capitulation. I am wearing them because I have a C-section scar that makes low-rise jeans uncomfortable, and because women in their 30s who have had children don't have the same bodies as younger nulliparous women. But more important, I'm wearing them because I do not have a lot of free time and I don't want to spend my free time shopping for jeans. I don't really care what the jeans I wear to the grocery store look like. I have children to raise, vegetables to grow, errands to run, forests to hike, holidays to plan, quilt squares to make, lectures on philosophy to give, statistical analysis to learn, student achievement data to study, intricacies of a $198 million budget to master, and angry comments on metafilter to make.

I'm busy having a life, and a family, and serving my community. I am not there for you to admire my ass on the train. I'm sorry that you see my jeans and think fat, sad, unhealthy, bored, and trapped. That's a really tragic way to go through life, judging people's lives by their choice in blue jeans. And it's incredibly tragic to add to the terrible pressures that say women have to be sexy to be in the public eye. Or even to be happy.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:01 PM on August 2, 2012 [175 favorites]


Comfort and fashion are almost always at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Ah, but stretchy jeans of the type you find in the junior's dept are so comfortable. I could do yoga or sleep in my stretchiest pair of jeans. Would never try that in "mom jeans"-- there's all that stiff material bagging up around you.
posted by geegollygosh at 7:03 PM on August 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Comfort and fashion are almost always at opposite ends of the spectrum.

The most stylish (dark wash, skinny) and (I hope) flatterinrg jeans I've ever had are also the most comfortable. Because they actually fit.

I always wore mid-low rise boot cut because that's what everything says someone with an hourglass shape should wear, but last time I went jeans shopping I grabbed a pair of natural waist-rise skinnies on a whim. Fit better than anything I've ever worn, and the added bonus of not having to asscrack-check myself every 5 seconds is great.
posted by phunniemee at 7:03 PM on August 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


All jeans look good when they're crumpled on the floor or hanging from the ceiling fan. Just saying.
posted by jquinby at 7:03 PM on August 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


I ride the train every day with a bunch of fat, sad, unhealthy, bored, trapped people in Mom Jeans.

Of these, the things that you actually know about these people are that they're fat and they're wearing Mom Jeans.

But what do I know, I'm a dad in a ring tee and cargo shorts. Where's the web site for us? We are everywhere.
posted by escabeche at 7:04 PM on August 2, 2012 [19 favorites]


Thank goodness jeans shopping for men is much more simple -- Levis if you want utilitarian and want to show a little basket... Wranglers if you want to show off your butt and maybe a bit more basket... and Carhartt if you want ultra durable and want to keep everyone's imagination working full time about what might be inside there.
posted by hippybear at 7:07 PM on August 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


That's a really tragic way to go through life, judging people's lives by their choice in blue jeans.

I think most people judge mom-jeans as meaning this about their lives:

I'm wearing them because I do not have a lot of free time and I don't want to spend my free time shopping for jeans. I don't really care what the jeans I wear to the grocery store look like. I have children to raise, vegetables to grow, errands to run...
posted by -harlequin- at 7:08 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


But what do I know, I'm a dad in a ring tee and cargo shorts. Where's the web site for us? We are everywhere.

We are legion.
posted by iamabot at 7:10 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The jeans in that first link all look equally bad to me. This is why I've stopped wearing jeans. Yay khakis! (stop telling me I look like I work at Best Buy)
posted by interplanetjanet at 7:11 PM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Some of the jeans she signs off on make those ladies look like they have inverted butts.

Also, not a fan of the whiskery holey washes. They have a tendency to give a look that screams "Hello, world! I just wet my pants!"

I can put wear and holes in my own jeans, thenkyewverymuch, provided I can find any that fit over my freakish huge thighs (which the superexpensive stitchypocket pants will never do. I don't even think I could fit them over my arms.)
posted by louche mustachio at 7:12 PM on August 2, 2012


I used to know a sax player named Long Butt Larry. He never wore jeans.
posted by Sailormom at 7:16 PM on August 2, 2012


I think my NYDJ probably have too wide of pockets but they're the most comfortable jeans I've worn in a decade. I'm short waisted and wear my shirts long over my wide butt and that's my strategy for dealing with this.

(Between those jeans and this post, I may throw the rest of my jeans out.)
posted by immlass at 7:18 PM on August 2, 2012


Finding a pair of jeans that is perfect for your body isn't superficial. It's transcendental.

Pulled my unwearable (due to crotch holes) perfect pair of jeans out of the closed for this thread
posted by oinopaponton at 7:19 PM on August 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


The most stylish (dark wash, skinny) and (I hope) flatterinrg jeans I've ever had are also the most comfortable. Because they actually fit.

Amen. This isn't about showing off your assets. It's about wearing clothes that fit because that's what clothes should do. I wore slightly oversized clothes for a long time, a lingering effect of being self-conscious about weight when I was younger. Over the past few years I've made a concerted effort to wear properly fitted, well made clothes, and the difference in how I feel about myself is dramatic. It really was as if I'd lost a lot of weight overnight.

And once you know what fits, shopping is no more time consuming than before - indeed it's less, as you don't waste time fussing around and being frustrated.

Finally, for man jeans I'd suggest trying Bonobos. A little more spendy than the Gap, but a very nice fit. Size down a bit for best results. Oh, for reference I'm 42 years old.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:19 PM on August 2, 2012 [19 favorites]


This reminds me a bit of Jesse Thorn's Put This On series, which I'm a huge fan of. Great post.
posted by Cash4Lead at 7:21 PM on August 2, 2012


A little more spendy than the Gap

Ah yes, The Gap and it's affiliated brands Banana Republic and Old Navy... sweatshop clothing at sweatshop prices.
posted by hippybear at 7:22 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think many of these jeans are kardashian-ugly with all the glitzy embroidery and weird "whiskers".
I just look for dark wash or black jeans that hug my butt and still allow me a comfortable level of breathing when I try them on in the fitting room at my favourite thrift stores. I don't look at the label, and if someone wants to be closer to my butt, they shouldn't care either.

And although I have never worn "Mom" jeans, even though I am entitled to, I certainly don't judge women who do as being unhappy. Maybe they just aren't worried what youngsters think about them, as odd as that may seem.
posted by Isadorady at 7:23 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth: "I like to wear comfortable, baggy clothing.

Mostly because I like being able to move freely if I need to.
"

Let me preface this by saying that I don't really care about what I wear so long as it won't get me arrested, and I feel the same way about other people. However, as a younger person I thought that only baggy clothing allowed free movement. I have since learned that properly fitting clothes also allow free movement, at least as long as you're not planning to do the splits, but are not really loose. For the longest time I thought the only choices were baggy and omfgthisissotighticanbarelybreathe.

Part of the problem is that mass market clothes in general are shit unless you happen to be the size of one of the actual people they designed the thing to fit. All the other sizes are just scaled up or down in seemingly whatever way the manufacturer felt like that particular day, so it can be difficult to find clothes that actually fit. That's when it's easy to resign yourself to buying whatever you can find that "fits".
posted by wierdo at 7:25 PM on August 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


I should also say that compared to how Americans dress, Europeans (even those from less-well-off countries) look like frigging royalty.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:25 PM on August 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Thank goodness jeans shopping for men is much more simple -- Levis if you want utilitarian and want to show a little basket... Wranglers if you want to show off your butt and maybe a bit more basket... and Carhartt if you want ultra durable and want to keep everyone's imagination working full time about what might be inside there.

I'd classify the spectrum into Uniqlo and Cheap Monday.
posted by acb at 7:29 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


.I think it's because so many people in the US are really, really unhappy. I ride the train every day with a bunch of fat, sad, unhealthy, bored, trapped people in Mom Jeans. (etc etc)

That is a... bold assertion. You're very confident about the mindsets of a huge swathe of people you see on the train but never talk to. It reminds me a little bit of my 22 year old friend and colleague this week. I had some clothes arrive that I had ordered online that passed muster with her, and upon inspection she says, "Good job, Smoke!", like she's praising a dog that didn't shit on the floor.

I had to chuckle - cause I remembered myself at 22 - before I told her, "You think I dress like I do, because I don't know any better. I do know better; I dress like this because I don't care."
posted by smoke at 7:29 PM on August 2, 2012 [16 favorites]


Aside from certain things that one simply doesn't buy second-hand, I shop exclusively at thrift stores. I live where a lot of rich people recycle their clothes regularly.

I found a pair of blue-black skinny BDGs at Goodwill last year, and damned if they aren't my faves. They seemingly go with everything. I've dressed them up and down and they are awesome. They don't bunch anywhere and they're comfy, like a hug.

Fortunately for me, I've found two other pairs of that brand in different washes at thrift shops. I was disappointed to learn that they are sold retail at Urban Outfitters, a store I will never set foot in.

I also like AGs.
posted by droplet at 7:33 PM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Amen. This isn't about showing off your assets. It's about wearing clothes that fit because that's what clothes should do. I wore slightly oversized clothes for a long time, a lingering effect of being self-conscious about weight when I was younger. Over the past few years I've made a concerted effort to wear properly fitted, well made clothes, and the difference in how I feel about myself is dramatic. It really was as if I'd lost a lot of weight overnight.

And once you know what fits, shopping is no more time consuming than before - indeed it's less, as you don't waste time fussing around and being frustrated.

Finally, for man jeans I'd suggest trying Bonobos. A little more spendy than the Gap, but a very nice fit. Size down a bit for best results. Oh, for reference I'm 42 years old.


Yeah 40 here too. I've never been a clothes horse and for several years barely got any new clothes due to budget constraints. My wardrobe though comfortable was getting pretty raggity. I never have really liked shopping for clothes either. My hubby, when the budget got less tight called my cousin in Toronto and arranged a weekend of shopping and sent me on my way with cash in hand. Gotta love a guy who makes you promise to spend all the money on clothes and not things I think I 'need'. lol

Anyways we got to the jeans and pants section. Cousin started grabbing things to try on and then assessed. Through this process I realized that most of the clothes I had been wearing and especially pants that I thought fit really didn't. It took a while for her to convince me as I was so used to a certain look. She was right though and since then it's been much easier to shop and I feel so much better in my clothes. Also the jeans I got were awesome, flattering and uber comfortable. They weren't what I would have chosen if I had been on my own though. I would have ended up with a bigger size.

It was my own little 'what not to wear' experience.
posted by Jalliah at 7:34 PM on August 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


I hate jeans. I'm a short woman with no torso and the kind of belly that only two c-sections can give you. Low rise jeans make my pooch spill over. Higher rises bump my rib cage and make me look like Ed Grimley. If I find a pair that look decent when I'm standing, they are invariably uncomfortable when I sit down. The whiskering and fancy pockets in most of the recommendations would make me look like a try-hard fashion victim. The plain butt jeans make me look like I'm not trying at all.

I wear a lot of skirts.
posted by jrossi4r at 7:34 PM on August 2, 2012 [16 favorites]


Never by beige pants.

Not even in the conservatory? With the lead pipe?
posted by IvoShandor at 7:36 PM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I really hate pants, and I especially hate jeans. I don't look good in them. The texture and weight of denim gives me the willies. I hate any pants that cross over my belly, and low-rise jeans expose my butt crack. The only jeans I have ever liked were very lightweight semi-bellbottoms that weren't too tight, rose just low enough, and had some stretch. Which is why I've been wearing nothing but dresses and skirts for years. People think I'm just fancy, or sometimes they think that I'm part of a religion that prohibits women wearing pants. But no, I just cannot stand jeans.

On preview: YES, jrossi4r, YES. My hate is different but of the same spirit.
posted by Coatlicue at 7:37 PM on August 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


If you really want to get crazy with the cheez whiz, try Blue In Green in NYC. Mad expensive Japanese selvedge denim, custom fit while you wait.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:39 PM on August 2, 2012


Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth: "Comfort and fashion are almost always at opposite ends of the spectrum. All people have to make a decision what's more important to them."

I usually try most days, some days I'm better put together than others. And then like, maybe once every few weeks things really align and I am wearing a truly outstanding outfit. Not only am I comfortable, I project comfort (and confidence) of such magnitude I think it makes other people's clothes slouch off their owners in shame. It makes me feel like I could walk into a stranger's house and just start ordering them around like they work for me. As if no place exists on earth that wouldn't love to have me be there with them.

It's superficial, it's temporary, and all in my head, but that doesn't make it any less real--and those days are when I get shit done.

...but yeah, that's totally not worth spending 20 minutes reading an article on the internet so that the next time you buy jeans you know what to look for.
posted by danny the boy at 7:39 PM on August 2, 2012 [12 favorites]


Thank goodness jeans shopping for men is much more simple -- Levis if you want utilitarian and want to show a little basket... Wranglers if you want to show off your butt and maybe a bit more basket... and Carhartt if you want ultra durable and want to keep everyone's imagination working full time about what might be inside there.

Have you been browsing in my closet?
posted by Forktine at 7:39 PM on August 2, 2012


Have you been browsing in my closet?

No, but I've been browsing men wearing jeans for decades.
posted by hippybear at 7:50 PM on August 2, 2012 [17 favorites]


The aspect ratio is so messed up on those photos that I can't tell what anyone looks like. Is that an artifact of my device or browser (iPad using Safari)? Because I didn't find those illustrations illustrative at all.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:51 PM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


The photos on the first link, I mean.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:54 PM on August 2, 2012


I'm confused because I thought conventional wisdom stated that small pockets with lots of embellishment make your butt look huge.

I just can't wrap my brain around spending twice the money I currently spend on jeans for one statement pair that'll go out of style in 12 months and I'm no longer a 27 year old size 6 anyway. I'm going to try and forget that there are people out there actively assessing (ha!) and judging my choice of jeans.

Eh. I quit. Onward to track suits!
posted by ladygypsy at 8:00 PM on August 2, 2012


I hate jeans. I'm a short woman with no torso and the kind of belly that only two c-sections can give you. Low rise jeans make my pooch spill over. Higher rises bump my rib cage and make me look like Ed Grimley. If I find a pair that look decent when I'm standing, they are invariably uncomfortable when I sit down. The whiskering and fancy pockets in most of the recommendations would make me look like a try-hard fashion victim. The plain butt jeans make me look like I'm not trying at all.


Yeah, this! ....and by the way just try finding ANYTHING that fits, much less fits well if you are a plus sized short woman.

I used to not want to look dumpy. But darned if I got tired of leaving stores in tears because NOT ONE FREAKING THING IN THE STORE FIT. Either it was too long or if it was the right length, too small. So I am stuck wearing old lady clothes and even then they don't really fit right.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:06 PM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think a lot of moms wear jeans as "work clothes." Let me tell you how gross it is when a kid wipes a wet dirty hand (or, ick, a runny nose) on your thin khakis and you can feel the GOOP on your thigh. The gross doesn't seep through in jeans and they stand up really well to washing. (They also don't look super-awful if they get permanently stained with a streak of paint; then they just look like "work jeans" and like you're handy around the house or something. With bright yellow paint.) But I feel like a construction worker or something ... they just have to stay on, be comfortable, and stand up to washing. When I'm with real adults, I wear clothes that look good and make me feel good and I like that. And shopping for those can be fun. But when I'm with someone who's going to wipe their nose on my leg, placement of butt pockets is not my first priority.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:07 PM on August 2, 2012 [13 favorites]


Dat Long Butt
posted by vozworth at 8:15 PM on August 2, 2012


"I think it's more a function of contemporary American culture where people of a certain age feel like they need to cover up their bodies in unflattering clothing. . . . I ride the train every day with a bunch of fat, sad, unhealthy, bored, trapped people in Mom Jeans."

I hate to do it, but relevant XKCD.
posted by ianhattwick at 8:19 PM on August 2, 2012 [14 favorites]


And then like, maybe once every few weeks things really align and I am wearing a truly outstanding outfit. Not only am I comfortable, I project comfort (and confidence) of such magnitude I think it makes other people's clothes slouch off their owners in shame. It makes me feel like I could walk into a stranger's house and just start ordering them around like they work for me. As if no place exists on earth that wouldn't love to have me be there with them.

This is how I feel when I wear my 3/4-sleeve Bratfest T-shirt with the grinning hot dog on it, but for some reason my wife doesn't agree.
posted by escabeche at 8:21 PM on August 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Internal Server Error - did we break it?
posted by Curious Artificer at 8:28 PM on August 2, 2012


Nthing all those comments about the juvenile embroidery and embellishments. I think she just found jeans that fit her.

As a mom of four, I'm looking forward to a full-blown return of the high-waist jean. I think the really wide-leg 40s pants returned briefly, and some of them had high waists, but I want a few decades of high waist. I'm tired of muffin-tops (including my own). The thing is, the high-waisted hotpants of the '40s-'60s supported the female form. It didn't expect you to get that hour glass by working out all day, and it allowed that a healthy female sometimes has that little bread basket (or maybe a big one).

But like someone else said above, skirts are better. Cooler in the summer, you feel pretty even when you're shoveling poop, and you look less like a field hand.

Concerning the generally slovenly dressing habits of the entire world (I don't believe America is unique--just unfortunately proud of it), I think what we're missing is support--proper undergarments and sturdy, well-tailored materials. Cheap clothes make us look awful, is what's what. A man once pointed out to me that the Greatest Generation dresses like toddlers (large t-shirt, baggy jeans, tennis shoes), even though in high school they all wore wool suits and dresses and button up shirts. The line between child and adult clothes is seriously vanishing (to the detriment of both children and adults--but that's another topic)
posted by katyh at 8:35 PM on August 2, 2012 [22 favorites]


This served only to show me that not only can I not really tell the difference between many of the jeans that are supposed to look good and those that are supposed to look bad, even my very aesthetic is totally skewed - as what seems to be meeting with approval is a butt that looks high but wide, especially in comparison to the narrow thigh. This is why my jeans selection is basically hopeless - not only can I not perceive the difference between two pairs of jeans, one of which is closer to the desired aesthetic, but I can't even develop an approval for the desired aesthetic. That looks bad to me.
posted by Miko at 8:42 PM on August 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am a guy. I don't even wear jeans every day, and not at all for 6-7 months out of the year. even so, on the occasion that I need a new pair, I often try on multiple pairs at multiple stores to get ones I like. and I'm a size 30/30, which seems to be the most common size..

I kinda hate jeans, too.
posted by ninjew at 8:42 PM on August 2, 2012


I think that my problem, mostly, is that features considered to be so terrible now was considered fine not so long ago, and will likely be so again; they're arbitrary, and completely subject to fashion, so it's hard to muster the degree of horror the authors are wanting you to feel. Give it a couple years, and this silhouette will look dated, too, just like my low-rise circa 2005 straight-legs.
posted by Miko at 8:44 PM on August 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


This blogger is just defining mom jeans for a new generation of moms.
posted by phunniemee at 8:48 PM on August 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Here's how you do a black right."

Are you serious? Really? Because these, to me, look like junk.

And they need to be hemmed.
posted by Miko at 8:49 PM on August 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


As someone who loves jeans, I'd like to join the chorus that finding jeans that fit you and your body shape are essential. As a girl who has a persistent tummy that will not budge, one which I am definitely self-conscious about, it was a revelation discovering that I can wear skinny high-waisted jeans that look fucking awesome (Cheap Monday--Sweden knows what's up), make my butt and legs look great, and are comfortable. I don't have to worry about any crack attack, I don't have to worry about emerging gut syndrome--I've got that shit on lock down. I can pair it with any kind of regular t-shirt or top and instead of having some kind of bulging muffin top I have an hourglass silhouette and that feels awesome.

I used to wear 'on trend' premium denim exclusively (always bought on sale at Nordstrom Rack), and was always tortured by the feeling that my jeans were falling off. I think it's incredibly unflattering to have to pull your pants up throughout the day, and what's more, it's really uncomfortable and not fun. I like to walk quickly and often and it's pretty awesome finding jeans that allow me to do so, sans belt, which also look great. With that said, I do have a pair of mid-low rise Diesels that are the most comfortable jeans of all time--I just don't wear a fitted shirt with them, lest the stomach reveal itself in all of its tubby glory.

Finally, I don't think that caring about the jeans you wear or actively seeking comfortable and well-fitting jeans is shallow or disrespectful/condescending to mothers/women. Plenty of 'moms' can wear nice jeans that aren't expensive, fit well, and don't have that horrible pocket effect. If you don't care about the kind of jeans you're wearing, that's fine, but then this post is obviously not for you: so many women have no idea how to dress themselves, and go through life wearing things like these hideous jeans simply because they don't know what to wear to suit their figure or size or lifestyle. These kinds of post are incredibly useful for this subset, and there's really no reason to shout them down.
posted by nonmerci at 8:53 PM on August 2, 2012 [18 favorites]


I live in jeans, because I have a toddler and as much as I love skirts, crawling after one isn't so fun when you're worried about showing the playground your underwear. I literally own a dozen pairs of jeans, in different colors, styles, etc., and the one thing I can conclusively say is that finding well-fitting jeans is hard, and the only way to do it is to try them all on. I love that she's taking some of the guesswork out of it, even if the ones she picked would never work on me.
posted by snickerdoodle at 8:56 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some thoughts regarding this thread:

1) Comfort and fashion can go hand in hand, very very easily. Everything I wear is comfortable, and I'm frequently remarked as "fashionable".
2) No, you shouldn't judge people for wearing something, whether it's different or similar. But a lot of the comments in this thread seem to lean towards "I've got better things to do than do stupid things like go shopping or wear trendy clothes."
You don't want to go shopping? Fine. You want to wear cut-off khakis and scrubs all day? Cool! But please don't turn the awful, awful, tone of the article [you're only worth as much as your pretty jeans!] into another awful tone [judging pants is stupid and shallow and so people who care about their own pants are stupid and shallow, too.]



That being said, here are my thought on the actual articles.

It's idea is ok, because sometimes people do want to look trendier [I refuse to use "better"], and don't know how, and tips like pocket placement and zipper length are easily translatable and easy to follow. At the same time though, you shouldn't fucking shame people who don't give a shit. Like, seriously, how hard is that?

Also, it kind of irks me that all these examples are of skinny people. And when I say skinny, I mean people who don't have to take a 10 mile trek to that back department hidden behind housewares to find clothes that come in their size. None of the rules she listed apply to fat people, like me. Yes, I said it. I'm fat. And no, I'm not also "sad, unhealthy, bored, and trapped" like the author might think. There's not a rule listed that I can apply to my fat ass that would magically make all things better. And though I don't have a body shaped like most people's-I'm a pretty extreme hour glass, I have a 8" difference from bust to waist, 15" difference from waist to hip- I doubt these rules would help any of my fellow "fatties". Not saying that us fat chicks can't look good in jeans. I own one pair, they're high wasted *gasp!*, elastic at the top *gasp* and skinny. But guess what? I look fucking hot in a bra and jeans.
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:59 PM on August 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


A few years ago, a number of size 10-16 loose fit boot-cut Chinese made mom jeans turned up in the middle east, no doubt part of the hoard refurbished for the Asian market after the US abandoned the small fanny standard, of previously 4-6. This was very significant, as nobody i've ever heard of (we're talking like a thousand years of ass man experience) had ever seen one of these in the marketplace, as there would have been no reason for the U.S. market to purchase these, as
A) they weren't of deliverable fineness
B) the act of releasing them into the marketplace would only set off speculation as to why?
It's hard to say what's what in regards to what's in the trunk, but the last time the contents were looked at, politicians that knew absolutely bubkis about the subject matter, were the experts picked to examine said contents...
posted by vozworth at 9:03 PM on August 2, 2012


I dunno... all those pictures, and the "good" were only marginally better than the "bad". If at all. Maybe someone's in denial, looking like they're wearing mom jeans because... they're looking a lot like a mom.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:06 PM on August 2, 2012


1) Comfort and fashion can go hand in hand, very very easily. Everything I wear is comfortable, and I'm frequently remarked as "fashionable".


Are you absolutely the most comfortable you can be in your fashionable clothes? I didn't say pretty things can't be comfortable, but, pretty much as a rule the more "fashionable" something is, the less comfortable it is. You can make something comfy look "good" but let's face is, a tailored blouse might be more comfortable than a corset, but it's not a t-shirt/tank/other lounging shirt.

2) No, you shouldn't judge people for wearing something....another awful tone [judging pants is stupid and shallow and so people who care about their own pants are stupid and shallow, too.]

So judging is wrong, but we shouldn't actually say it's wrong. Check!
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 9:11 PM on August 2, 2012


I didn't say pretty things can't be comfortable, but, pretty much as a rule the more "fashionable" something is, the less comfortable it is.

Someone's never heard of a maxi dress.
posted by nonmerci at 9:23 PM on August 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


oh god I think all my jeans have unflattering rear pockets. Shorts too. I even have one pair of jeans with no rear pockets.

ffffffffuuuuuuuuu
posted by egypturnash at 9:25 PM on August 2, 2012


While I appreciate that people will wear what they are going to wear, there is something almost uncanny to me about a pocketless butt.
posted by nonmerci at 9:27 PM on August 2, 2012 [7 favorites]



Are you absolutely the most comfortable you can be in your fashionable clothes? I didn't say pretty things can't be comfortable, but, pretty much as a rule the more "fashionable" something is, the less comfortable it is. You can make something comfy look "good" but let's face is, a tailored blouse might be more comfortable than a corset, but it's not a t-shirt/tank/other lounging shirt.


Well, no, a tailored blouse isn't a tank. But tailored blouses aren't the be-all end all for fashion. In fack, the outfit I get most compliments on includes a tank! I know, crazy, right?! Not to mention you weren't even talking about '100%, the most comfortable ever without being able to get more comfortable period." You were talking about straight up, just normal amounts of comfort. Because if you were talking about the supreme comfort, that would be naked in my bed. Which kind of outshines your tees and lounge shirt.


>>2) No, you shouldn't judge people for wearing something....another awful tone [judging pants is stupid and shallow and so people who care about their own pants are stupid and shallow, too.]

So judging is wrong, but we shouldn't actually say it's wrong. Check!


How the fuck do you get "don't call people stupid and shallow for caring about their own pants" and turn it into "you're not allow to call out someone for being judgmental"
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:27 PM on August 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Are you absolutely the most comfortable you can be in your fashionable clothes?

Look, if my job, common decency, or the Chicago winters allowed me to wear a long-sleeved t-shirt and no pants every day, we'd be having a different conversation. But as long as there is a requirement to pants myself, my fashionable jeans are about as comfy as it gets.
posted by phunniemee at 9:30 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's this "long butt" business? I always thought that the defining feature of mom jeans was front butt.
posted by asnider at 9:41 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jeans are the reason I joined mefi. I was attempting to track down another pair of the most perfect jeans ever. I'd bought them in Paris and couldn't find them online. Sadly, mefi failed me, but I stuck around all the same.
posted by desjardins at 9:57 PM on August 2, 2012


This does explain why all the new-style jeans have pockets that slide off the butt down onto the leg. I even have jeans whose pockets do this, but it still mystified me as a design choice, but now I can at least see the theory behind it.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:06 PM on August 2, 2012


Hi. I judge people based on their clothing. I do it because the clothes a person chooses to wear say a lot about them. Few of us are wearing uniforms 24/7 or have a wardrobe assigned to us by the local Government Standard Clothing Authority. We go to stores and buy things and we choose among styles, sizes and colors. It's a language.

And it's not about money except in extreme cases. A thrift store shopper can be a super sharp dresser and you can buy hideous ill-fitting clothes in many a high end boutique.
posted by chrchr at 10:39 PM on August 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


And that is why I wear low-rise skinny jeans even though I am a 41-year-old man, because I look younger and fitter now at 160lbs with those jeans than I did when I was 26, 145lbs and wearing loose jeans.

although I do sanity-check with girl friends occasionally, to ensure I am not embarrassing myself
posted by davejay at 10:46 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


you shouldn't fucking shame people who don't give a shit.

How can you shame someone who doesn't give a shit?
posted by davejay at 10:48 PM on August 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


I found it sort of obnoxious the site was called Grasping for Objectivity, and the articles are extremely non-objective, but especially bad was the Vault Denim party pushing. "OMG! I DO VAULT DENIM AND YOU SHOULD TOO!"

She should look into another domain.
posted by Samizdata at 11:08 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


davejay: "you shouldn't fucking shame people who don't give a shit.

How can you shame someone who doesn't give a shit?
"

And, keep in mind here that people with chronic constipation have feelings too.

Damn faecesists.
posted by Samizdata at 11:09 PM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


And, back on track, I wear what makes me happy (which is why I NEVER wear shorts). If y'all are going to judge me entirely on my clothes, I am quite sure I shan't be missing a thing by neglecting to include you in my life.
posted by Samizdata at 11:10 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really hate pants, and I especially hate jeans. I don't look good in them.

In my opinion; There is often a mass hypnosis of fashion going on. I think the secret is most women don’t look that good in jeans, or pants, and the ones that do would still look a lot better in a skirt or dress. That’s probably one of the reasons that women have worn those items for so many years. I don’t think it was a centuries long conspiracy to make women wear something dumb. Pants just aren’t made to fit and flatter women’s bodies the way skirts are.

People wear what they think they should wear, what they’d like to wear, or what someone else looks good in and think far too little about what actually looks good on them or works. Far too much theory and not enough practicality, even (or especially) among the "I wear what’s practical and I don’t care" set.

Oh, and 99% of people look stupid in skinny jeans but that doesn’t stop them.
posted by bongo_x at 11:11 PM on August 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


[Comment deleted; please do not derail this thread with your personal body preference/body shaming remarks. Thanks. ]
posted by taz at 11:24 PM on August 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Going shopping for jeans is almost enough to make me suicidal. Well, not quite, but it's close. I'm short, 5 ft 2, I'm curvy - though not overweight. I have a 28 inch waist and 40 inch hips and I have chunky thighs. The jeans that fit at the hips don't fit at the waist and the ones that I can pull over my thighs tend to stretch so much that by about half an hour in, they are saggy at the bum and loose on the thighs. I can sometimes pull the jeans off without undoing the waist, too. Like, seriously loose. Not to mention huge gaping at the back when I crouch down. Ugh.

This is the reason that I've taken up sewing. One day I dream of making myself a pair of jeans where the waist fits, the legs fit and are a flattering width with no bloody whiskering, and I can put my hips and thighs in, without massive muffin top.

One day.
posted by jonathanstrange at 11:34 PM on August 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


The only time I'm made to feel bad about myself and what I wear is by other women commenting on how my clothes are sexy or too fancy or are fashionable or whatever (and which is so crazy, I'm hardly a fashion plate!). Having someone look me up and down critically as I walk into work makes me shrink into myself, waiting for the inevitable comment designed to cut me down to size. I see similar comments here about how I'm not supposed to care about what anyone thinks of me and how awful it is to be fashionable nad how I'm just basically Doing It Wrong.

Fuck that noise.

Turns out all my jeans follow the rules laid out by these people. And they fit really well, are very comfortable and make my arse look really really great. Given I have a giant, fat, lumpy, protruding arse and treetrunk-like legs I consider this to be a really good thing. I'm not wearing them to make people want to have sex with me or to be fashionable, I'm wearing them simply because doing so makes me feel really good. Plus no arse crack showing when I bend over, bonus. Having someone point out what it is about these particular pants that makes them look so good and fit so comfortably can only help.

Why shouldn't I wear jeans that fit well and make me look attractive without being made to feel bad about myself by other women? I'm quite capable of coming up with my own body image problems without having to deal with other people's too.
posted by shelleycat at 1:06 AM on August 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


What. The. Fuck.
* * * *
I'm busy having a life, and a family, and serving my community. I am not there for you to admire my ass on the train. I'm sorry that you see my jeans and think fat, sad, unhealthy, bored, and trapped. That's a really tragic way to go through life, judging people's lives by their choice in blue jeans. And it's incredibly tragic to add to the terrible pressures that say women have to be sexy to be in the public eye. Or even to be happy.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:01 PM on August 2


AND it's Eyebrows McGee for the win, by about seventeen million, trillion, billion lengths.

Look, I like a woman in good fitting, flattering jeans as much (likely more, but what-evs) as the next guy, I'll go so far as to say that I'm A Butt Guy, in that a nice butt will turn my head so fast as to break my flippin' neck probably. But jesus h. christ on a crutch, that site is ... is ... I mean, isn't there something larger? (don't even think that) And I'm sure it's just one bit of her blog, and likely she writes about Important Issues and shit but the fact that it got here, and hasn't gotten crucified ...

Suppose *I* wrote a blog post about what pants a woman should wear, and which she shouldn't -- holy fucking dogshit, you all would be all over me in five seconds, you'd jump down my throat so far and so fast I'd not breathe for a week, and you'd be absolutely right in doing so. And I'd cop to it.

On top of everything else, those jeans that have pockets running down the legs are some of the most comical things I've ever seen -- wtf? I've been seeing them these past five years or so and just shake my head -- are thse people going ever to put anything in those pockets? How? What? Other than a folded up sheet of paper, I don't see it. Do any of these people -- guys or gals, I've seen both wearing these things -- do any of these flippin' people carry wallets? A pocket knife? Even a flippin' comb? No, they don't, and why, why? Because they can't, that's why, because they're wearing stupid pants. Fashion. Jesus h christ on a crutch.

Eyebrows McGee in a walk.
posted by dancestoblue at 1:57 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's definitely a given that functionality and appropriateness are one's primary concerns when choosing clothes. But, if you can fulfill those two requirements, then the issue is (as per TFA) aesthetics.

I don't know about all of you, but I only look at myself in a mirror once, maybe twice a day. It's everyone else who has to look at me. So I try to wear clothes that I know are not visually unappealing. And I don't think there's anything vain or anti-anybody in considering and researching that.
posted by digitalprimate at 3:30 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


"AND it's Eyebrows McGee for the win, by about seventeen million, trillion, billion lengths."

Yes, yes, yes yes!!! Just added my favorite to this one too. Big shock, women in their thirties and up who have had kids ARE moms, among many other things, and do not have the bodies of teenagers, which does not mean that they still can't be beautiful. I really could not see the supposed momentous differences in all those pics of asses in different jeans, and can't imagine worrying about something like that, or comparing the asses of other women that way. Jeans look good on some people, not on others. Big deal.

Wear what feels comfortable in the way of pants and jeans, and worry about your appearance in work or dressy outfits rather than what you wear around the house or to the store. It just is not worth it.
posted by mermayd at 3:36 AM on August 3, 2012


"Comfort and fashion are almost always at opposite ends of the spectrum. All people have to make a decision what's more important to them."

This is just so not true. 56 years old, fashion-loving, non-long-butt-jeans-wearing MOM here. Fashion is important to me because it's my daily little creative playtime, my armor, my expression, my show of good health after cancer, my connection to my mother and my connection to my daughters. And I am so much more comfortable in slim-fitting, stylish grown-up clothes than I am in baggy, nondescript, comfort-clothes which look to me like little kids' clothes and hide rather than celebrate.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:17 AM on August 3, 2012 [14 favorites]


I don't know about all of you, but I only look at myself in a mirror once, maybe twice a day. It's everyone else who has to look at me. So I try to wear clothes that I know are not visually unappealing. And I don't think there's anything vain or anti-anybody in considering and researching that.

Funny, this is exactly the reason I don't care what I look like. It's all the other people who have to look at me, so why bother dressing up for them?
posted by winna at 4:21 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought the blog was great and definitely wish she'd sort out us guys too.

Most of it was mainly just about buying stuff that simply fits you - something people seem to manage to do in, say, Italy but not much in the UK.

If you found it all offensive, you can go on wearing your current jeans and nobody will mind.
posted by colie at 4:47 AM on August 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


desjardins, I can't see the pics linked in your jeans AskMe – but as a general rule, clothes sold in sidewalk boxes at Paris shops are from Eastern Europe. (I could go into TL;DR about why this is so, but let's just say more than a decade of sidewalk browsing and chatting about things with European friends have confirmed. The only exceptions are sales periods at big-name stores like Galeries Lafayette.) You probably wouldn't be able to find the same brand. However, if you're into sewing, you could trace the jeans and use that as a pattern to make your own... though you definitely need a sewing machine up to the task.

As for the original post – I have an hourglass figure visually, but hips that are actually a full size larger than my waist and bust. Store-bought trousers of any sort laugh at me. Low-rise would be fine if I stood up all day and never had to bend more than an inch. Skinny jeans? Oh yes, brilliant, the thighs on them hug my cyclist calves just beautifully. Unfortunately, my waist is not situated at my knees. I have never been happier to see retro fashions with higher waists and wider legs make a comeback. Now, if vintage styles could just cross over to France some time soon in a form other than cupcake dresses...
posted by fraula at 5:13 AM on August 3, 2012


Adding my voice to the skirt brigade. Unless my pants are super-super baggy, they are super, super uncomfortable. I'm forever having to cinch in the back gap with a belt/ pull them up every time I bend over or sit down because they show my crack/ then pull them down again because they are crushing the living shit out of my crotch and it fucking hurts/ say fuck it and put a skirt on.

And not some tight tailored or pencil skirt that makes me all lumpy and weird and slightly hobbled so I can't run or hop over fences or anything- I'm talking a flowing 8-gore kind of number, or at least something gathered, so that I can move as much as I need to. I wear bright colours for fancy things and a plain, dishwater-brown one for casual or dirty-work kinds of things and it's always washed out fine. Knee-length.
)
My only problems with skirts are a) trying to find the styles I actually like, b) not feeling overdressed all the time (the current resurgence of skirt as fashionable is helping with that, but I know it's temporary) and c)winter.

I used to have this amazing ankle-length chevron wool skirt, 4-gore. It was like wearing a blanket. I fucking loved that thing. It was incredible- but it looked really, really weird because, well, people just don't really dress like that right now (or in the past 5 years). I was in a place in my life where I didn't want to look weird anymore, so I got rid of it. Now I miss it, and I don't know what I'll do when winter comes...


But yeah, maybe there are some women out there that can comfortably wear form-fitting jeans. I prefer the freedom of a skirt. Also, it's way better if you need to pee in the woods.
posted by windykites at 5:23 AM on August 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


I wasn't reacting to the original blog post, which I found reasonably amusing and somewhat interesting the first time I saw it several months ago. (I think she's right about the pocket placement, I think it does make a big difference.) I was reacting to the poster who went on about "fat, sad, unhealthy, bored, trapped people in Mom Jeans."

If you like to spend a lot of time finding the perfect jeans, I think that's great! I think there are few things better than a great pair of jeans, and it's as American as apple pie. And I am definitely a fan of snazzy clothes and own many myself ... just not in the jeans world these days. (Actually, I do currently have one pair I'm pretty happy with, which is unusual since I can no longer wear low-rise and those worked best on my shape, but it has an alarming tendency to gap at the waist when I bend over to pick up my kids.) I definitely, in my 20s, spent a lot of energy on great jeans and I loved them. These days, not so much. My work and volunteer commitments are too dressy for jeans, so I mostly wear them when I'm running around with my kids, or at home with my kids. So when it comes to fit, flatter, and functionality, flattering is low on the list ... it has to fit and function first. Add that to the a body type that's never been terribly jeans-friendly (I do mostly wear skirts when dressing up, it's much more flattering on me ... but not for everyday because my kids are still at the age where they think it's hilarious to lift up mom's skirt and/or hide under it), and a big scar right where the waist of the body-friendly jeans for me would go, which is wicked uncomfortable, and it's not really a great place for me to spend my effort.

I think people should get great jeans, and rock them! I merely object to people deciding that because my kid-chasing pants aren't sexy and flattering, I'm "fat, sad, unhealthy, bored, [and] trapped," when I am not there for your objectification in the first place and if the fit of one's blue jeans is going to be a moral judgment on one's character, we need jeans that fit way more body types.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:23 AM on August 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


oh, p.s.- I forgot to mention this, for other skirt ladies: if you wanna wear skirts, but you're concerned about them revealing things you don't want revealed because you need to do your life and that can get pretty active- I have found stretchy spandex bike shorts (summer) and translucent or opaque tights of various lengths (not-summer) to be a very comfy and helpful ally in keeping the world from enjoying a view of my underpants when I hop a fence or run or whatever I need to do just then.
posted by windykites at 5:30 AM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


The idea that you can't wear well-fitting nice clothes and do the work of being a mother, properly, again, not true and please! Please give me credit for figuring out how to do both, and of course, YOU don't have to, but don't assume I can't. I was a FTM and did not own a pair of track pants or sweats (until chemo, and then, only because my skin hurt) and wore jeans that fit and gasp skirts too (casual, lots of pockets, cool in summer, easy way to ramp up the style)! And cooked and cleaned and my kids had runny noses and my clothes were none the worse for it. It's called a washing machine.
posted by thinkpiece at 5:31 AM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I hate any pants that cross over my belly, and low-rise jeans expose my butt crack. The only jeans I have ever liked were very lightweight semi-bellbottoms that weren't too tight, rose just low enough, and had some stretch. Which is why I've been wearing nothing but dresses and skirts for years.

I'll join your religion. I recently went through my closet and got rid of all of my pants and it was GLORIOUS. I have weirdly proportioned legs with giant knees and tiny calves, so if I *do* wear pants, they've got to be flared a little bit or the "funnel effect" is just so grotesque as to make my thighs look 900ft wide. Much easier to wear maxi dresses/skirts in summer and mini/knee-length skirts with leggings and boots in the winter.

Also has the effect of other moms at playgroup sighing at me and saying aloud "I wish I could wear real clothes." Seriously! This happens to me all the time! Ladies, my skirts go through the wash just the same as jeans. A dress takes actually *less* time to put on than jeans and a tshirt. If you will it, it is no dream.
posted by sonika at 5:41 AM on August 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


The first link contains two of my worst fashion-writing pet peeves:

- It mixes odd (juniors') sizes with even (misses') ones. I know of no American clothing company that offers, for example, a size 8 and a size 9. (If one exists, please, go ahead and prove me wrong.) Sometimes you see a "9/10," which means the garment is roughly equivalent to either of those sizes; in theory a juniors' size is approximately equivalent to the misses' size one number higher, the difference being that juniors' sizes are cut for a slightly straighter body. And since sizes are inconsistent across brands, mentioning an odd size for one person and an even size for another shows you're not even bothering with any sort of standard measurement. It's not important what sizes the pictured butts are, but this is the kind of error that throws your credibility as a style expert into doubt.
- It uses "flair" instead of "flare." Only once (the rest of the time they get it correct, thank Citizens of Humanity), but still, it's such a basic error. It's like the fashion-writing equivalent of "there" and "their." How can I trust your judgment in clothing choice when you haven't mastered word choice?

Pedantry aside, it's otherwise a really good article. Although denim-buying advice always reminds me of the article I read in the early 90s that specifically recommended high back pockets to "give the illusion of a small rear." Plus ça change.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:41 AM on August 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm sorry that you see my jeans and think fat, sad, unhealthy, bored, and trapped. That's a really tragic way to go through life, judging people's lives by their choice in blue jeans.

That's a pretty facile conclusion to come to.

I see people who are fat, unhealthy, sad and bored Not everyone, but a lot of them. I see as well that they wear the modern equivalent of smocks, and I feel bad for them.
People work too much. They eat imitation food because they don't have time to cook. They don't get to do the things that human beings are actually supposed to do because they've got to keep up with their mortgages. It's a general trend in society right now.

I don't judge people for wearing badly-fitting clothes. I feel bad for them that their lives suck so much they don't think it's worth wearing something that looks good, because wearing clothes that fit you properly (jeans or no) helps your own self-image.

Regarding those who say they don't give a damn what they look like: My father-in-law buys Folger's coffee in giant containers from Sam's Club. He doesn't want to try anything better because it gets the job done and it's cheap. But he doesn't know what he's missing drinking that swill.
In much the same way, people don't know what they're missing when they dress like potatoes. When I last bought decent, new, good-fitting clothes, I was stunned by how much better people treated me.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:18 AM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


For me, jeans never again. Duluth Trading Fire Hose pants are comfortable, super tough and well constructed. Also great pocket/utility strap arrangements.
posted by MrBobaFett at 6:24 AM on August 3, 2012


My father-in-law buys Folger's coffee in giant containers from Sam's Club. He doesn't want to try anything better because it gets the job done and it's cheap. But he doesn't know what he's missing drinking that swill.
In much the same way, people don't know what they're missing when they dress like potatoes.


I think people are more conscious of their choices than you are giving them credit for -- they know that when they wear the tight sexy jeans they get leered at more and have to deal with weird rules for caring for selvage denim or drycleaning which costs money and takes time, and that when they buy the expensive coffee it means a drive across town, costs more money, and gives them heartburn, say. As eloquently expressed above, they may be valuing things like being able to bend over without showing their underwear, and get paint smeared on their clothes at work or by children, over being fashionable in a narrow sense.

That said, I personally invoke my right to feel judgmental when I see grownups shuffling through the grocery store in pajamas and slippers in the late afternoon. I'm sure it's comfortable, and I'd never say a word to someone, but I definitely raise my eyebrows.
posted by Forktine at 6:28 AM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


shuffling through the grocery store in pajamas and slippers

If their slippers fit properly, they wouldn't have to shuffle.
posted by JanetLand at 6:30 AM on August 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


Maybe we could all get someone to take pix of our butts in our favorite jeans and post them as a metafilter project... The Jeans-Butts of MeFi! We could vote on them, run statistical analyses.

Some of those supposedly better fits look godawful to me, but like everyone else's, my perspective is totally subjective.
posted by mareli at 6:33 AM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ah -- analysis! I'm not sure if I agree with every guideline given in the blog post (whiskering is for cats, I think), but it was nice to deconstruct how jean components can work together.

I have a couple of pairs of jeans in my closet that are reasonably flattering (cheap boot cuts from Mark's Work Wearhouse, amazingly enough). The ones that are too holey to wear in public any more have high pockets, but they're straight and small. I can definitely see how the lower pockets in the newer pair make the fit more flattering. So I'll be looking out for these features on my next jeans shopping trip some time after summer ends, which this year will probably be November. (I cannot fathom how anyone who isn't a cowboy wears jeans in the summer. Team Skirts!)
posted by maudlin at 6:35 AM on August 3, 2012


I live in jeans, because I have a toddler and as much as I love skirts, crawling after one isn't so fun when you're worried about showing the playground your underwear.

I have this problem and wear skirts exclusively - it's all about length and layering. If it's too hot to wear leggings, I only wear floor-length skirts.
posted by sonika at 6:35 AM on August 3, 2012


you shouldn't fucking shame people who don't give a shit.

How can you shame someone who doesn't give a shit? posted by davejay at 10:48 PM on 8/2 [4 favorites +] [!]


Wait, are you being serious? Because it was glaringly obvious, when you don't take my quote out of context, that I was referring to people who don't give a shit about their clothes. Especially in regards to the mark about the sad, fat nobodies who are trapped in their life. And still, it doesn't require the participation of the person being shamed in order to say that there's shaming going on. You think just because I'm not negatively effected by it means its not shaming when the media tries to guilt me into becoming twig skinny? I want a ticket to the magical world you live in.
posted by FirstMateKate at 6:41 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Regarding those who say they don't give a damn what they look like: My father-in-law buys Folger's coffee in giant containers from Sam's Club. He doesn't want to try anything better because it gets the job done and it's cheap. But he doesn't know what he's missing drinking that swill.
In much the same way, people don't know what they're missing when they dress like potatoes. When I last bought decent, new, good-fitting clothes, I was stunned by how much better people treated me.


I am just so tired of people doing this "you and your sad pathetic life, you don't know what you're missing because you don't [do this thing that I do] and you do [this thing that I find aesthetically unappealing". It's patronizing, it's incredibly self-centering (you, yes you are the arbiter of all values! Outside of space and time and culture, you stand alone!), it has a very ugly history of use in colonialism, racism and misogyny...jesus god, I wish people would do the emotional work to learn to not cathect on morally insignificant choices.

Just a little side note here: As I say to boring effect over and over again here, I am a queer butch person with oddball gender presentation. There are many, many straight people who read my short hair, pants (which, as we know from upthread, categorically do not flatter the female form - a surprise to me!) and unusual haberdashery as a sign that I am a straight lady who has sadly given up trying to get herself a man. They assume that because they want neither to be me nor fuck me that my choices are some kind of sad, defeated product of depression. If only I'd put on a skirt and heels, and grow my hair out and wear a little foundation, I would be showing "respect" for myself and "respect" for the various work and social institutions in which I participate. And of course, I could not possibly enjoy my haircut, my pants or my body, because since I am neither attractive nor aspirational to them, what I am and do must not be fun for me either.

Now, it's easy to say "but that's different because you are queer and you intend to look that way", but I don't think that someone has to have a non-standard sexual identity to be happy in their non-standard aesthetic choices, and I think it's pretty sad that I have to trot out the ol' "I am categorically uninterested in sleeping with you so I get to ignore what you think about my appearance" just to get people off my back.
posted by Frowner at 6:55 AM on August 3, 2012 [41 favorites]


The question isn't what kind of jeans to purchase, the question is WHY DO THEY STILL MANUFACTURE THE MOM JEANS?! If I am a clothing company, I wouldn't want to be known as the company that makes the jeans that make moms have an ugly ass, right? The mom jeans do not look good on any body type. So please, I beg on my knees, stop making the mom jeans. It is possible to make a comfortable and well fitting jean that makes you look good. I know because I have no behind and a big belly that I can't hide most of the time. On a side note, maybe my butt should trade places with my belly. Anyway, there are great and inexpensive jeans that make me have a butt and hide my tummy and have a little stretch in it for comfort for $20. : ) Keep making lots of those please.
posted by Yellow at 7:01 AM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Frowner, I totally take your point and agree wholeheartedly. Just like you, I enjoy
dressing the way that makes me happy.

I'm going to support your perspective by saying to those in this thread that assume caring about one's looks (and yes, shape) is some kind of moral defect, please don't assume that because I want my jeans to fit my ass, and I like dressing up that I am inviting "leering" and only trying to get myself sexual attention.
posted by thinkpiece at 7:07 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]



I am just so tired of people doing this "you and your sad pathetic life, you don't know what you're missing because..... on morally insignificant choices.


Okay, in looking back mere moments later that was a really mean way to say what I said. I apologize for being that snippy. I really want to work on being Less Mean On The Internet. I respond better to kind words than snippiness myself and should not use them on other people.
posted by Frowner at 7:08 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Comfort and fashion are almost always at opposite ends of the spectrum. All people have to make a decision what's more important to them."

Yes, there is a spectrum, which ranges from Comfort (Mom jeans and running shoes) to Fashion (couture heels and bandage dresses). Cute sneakers and flattering jeans are so close to running shoes and Mom jeans that the difference is negligible.

I liked the article and I'm a mom. I'm short on time and money. Am I going to toss all of my jeans and go buy new ones today? No. Am I going to twist around and take a picture of my pockets next time I'm in the fitting room? Yes.
posted by that's how you get ants at 7:16 AM on August 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I would like to point out that the blog post central to this discussion was written in 2009, three years ago. Thus, I agree with the above poster who pointed out that this post (with the pocket flaps, and all the embroidery and glitz, and the whiskers and weird fading) just defined Mom jeans for a new generation of Moms. This isn't about being a Mom, though- it's about getting older and sticking to the styles that were fine when you were 22, when both you and the styles have changed since then.

I remember looking askance at my coworker in 2001 who was just 6-7 years older than me (about 34 at the time, and not a mother) because she wouldn't budge from the faded Lee tapered jeans. They were perfectly reasonable when she was 22, but made her look oblivious at that time. Now that I'm 34, I know I get the same look from the college students on my campus, because I am obviously hopelessly out-of-date in my flared jeans, while they are all wearing skinny cuts. But I find it very hard to translate their look to my shape or style.

Being on a college campus means that I am very aware of my age and my style. I'm also at a point where I hate a lot of what is in my closet, and I just don't know where to go from here in terms of style (not just in jeans). It's hard to track the trends, and yet I don't feel like there's any such thing as classic style. Classic changes constantly! It's nice to have rules, like the ones the blogger here has in terms of pocket size and placement (though I loathe the glitzy embroidery). It's not that I want to look sexy, but I do want to blend in and not look hopelessly oblivious the way my coworker did to me 10 years ago. Can I help it, though? What is the point at which one gives up the regular jeans for the partially-elastic waist jeans and then just picks up the elastic-waist jeans? Or will this blogger still be looking for jeans with flap pockets and whiskers when she is 65?
posted by aabbbiee at 7:23 AM on August 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


I remember looking askance at my coworker in 2001 who was just 6-7 years older than me (about 34 at the time, and not a mother) because she wouldn't budge from the faded Lee tapered jeans. They were perfectly reasonable when she was 22, but made her look oblivious at that time. Now that I'm 34, I know I get the same look from the college students on my campus, because I am obviously hopelessly out-of-date in my flared jeans, while they are all wearing skinny cuts. But I find it very hard to translate their look to my shape or style.

See, I'd much rather just get my head right - I don't want to live in a culture where I am looking up at the older people and thinking "I'll never dress that frumpily, don't they see how they look?" and looking back down the years at the younger people and thinking "gotta be careful not to look clueless". It's part of the general age segregation and cross-generational hatred that is (IM-history-based-O) part and parcel of modern industrial capitalism.

I remember thinking about this when I was actually in high school - how I didn't want to grow older in a culture where older was associated with being clueless and boring, and I didn't want to have mean thoughts about how frumpy some teacher's shirt was.

I do think it's really important to sit with the idea of letting other people just be. Just, like, let them float. Don't imagine making them over, or tell yourself that they'd look better if only they [did thing], or wonder about how exactly it is that they have no ass. I would much rather focus all that fashion energy on what I want to wear, or on thrifting or trolling eBay or looking at fashion blogs. I also think that there's cruelty and fear lurking under a lot of this need to evaluate others - I think a lot of people are projecting the cruel, self-hating, judging, dreading-being-old-or-frumpy meanness that they would otherwise direct in towards themselves.

As someone who is sometimes Mean On The Internet and feels kind of bad about it today, I really want folks to be kinder to both themselves and others, and part of that is getting out of the habit of relentlessly judging and evaluating random people - that constant "is he a 10? Or only an 8.75 given the terrible shoes?" mindset that our culture prompts us to adopt is really hurtful.
posted by Frowner at 7:33 AM on August 3, 2012 [19 favorites]


Oh jeans, my nemesis! Being a shorter woman (under 5') and overweight, jean shopping is a nightmare, and I have to get them hemmed anyway. A few years ago, the industry decided that petite was two inches taller than previously, so even shopping in petite is futile. Never mind that most petite jeans are classic mom jeans.

Even if I find jeans that fit except for the length, the distressing is wrong is. Many jeans that have fading near the knees end up being at my lower shins, and it just looks weird. Thigh fading too.

Skirts aren't much of an option most of the time either; oh how I wish they were though. They're made for normal sized people, so they are too long and frumpy. Even hemming doesn't help because they're cut for taller women. Occasionally I find mini-skirts that are mid-to-lower thigh on me and I snap them up because they're the only ones that don't make me look like I'm a little kid drowning in mom's clothing.

But back to jeans. The hands down most comfortable jeans I have found a cheap juniors brand "Angels". I can get away with larger juniors because my small stature means even being overweight I can fit into some of the larger sizes. These pants are a dream. they have absolutely the right amount of stretch to feel like you're wearing your most comfy yoga pants. I have slept in them on numerous occasions, whereas most jeans I have to tear off or I can't sleep.

The down side? They are too low rise so I get muffin top and butt crack; which I try and cover with longer shirts and just accept that even that doesn't work so great. But if they ever make the rise a bit higher, and sizes for women, they will make an absolute killing as women melt into them.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 7:35 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


In much the same way, people don't know what they're missing when they dress like potatoes. When I last bought decent, new, good-fitting clothes, I was stunned by how much better people treated me.

Dressing like a potato ( an awesome phrase!) means I have lots more time and money to spend on things I actually care about. Fortunately for me, the way strangers treat me is also not one of the things I really care about.
posted by winna at 7:36 AM on August 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


All I know is that no matter what jeans you pick, they all make you have muffin top. Hate this low rise crap. And if you go high waste, then you're in fashion mom jeans hell.

I say fuck pants.
posted by stormpooper at 7:37 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, man, I had a total falling out with a friend who was always talking about people's clothing choices... plus always talking about food (how much she wasn't eating; it was a huge, HUGE topic for her). A lot of our conversation could be characterized this way:

Her: I'm so FAT!!

Me: You know I'm quite a bit heavier than you, right?

Her: I'm so OLD!!

Me: You know I'm quite a bit older than you, right?

Her: When I get bored standing in line I just look at people's shoes and laugh at them

Me: Buh Bye.

Okay, that last one was pretty specific – but yeah, seriously, that was pretty much the end of anything but a cordial acquaintance relationship between us. But the awful thing (to me) is that this was not a person who was so empty that they had to fill their ego maw with being thinner / younger /better dressed than other people.

This was somebody (actually quite lovely, if it matters) with real, true talent, who, in mixed company, was vibrant, smart, and amusing. With other women, though (me, at least), it was all about food, dieting, being fat (she wasn't), being old (in her mid 30s), clothes, complexion, hair, etc. Aaargh, just kill me.

This is also someone who maxed out all her credit cards with clothes and cosmetics purchases and ended up with crushing, debilitating debt.

I'm totally cool with people choosing whatever clothing makes them feel good, whether it's high fashion or comfort-first (me!), and spending exactly as much time thinking or not thinking about that as they want to. Judging other people on that shit (either way) makes me feel rage, though. I have no problem with the posted link, but suggestions that if you don't care enough to do this sort of forensic how-does-my-butt-look thing you are a loser at life... yeah, no.
posted by taz at 7:45 AM on August 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Sometimes I like to dress up.

Sometimes I like to throw on whatever the hell is on top of the pile.

In either case, I like people to leave me and my clothing choices the hell alone.

And in both cases, your narratives about me are wrong. Because you? Don't actually know me.
posted by kyrademon at 7:52 AM on August 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's part of the general age segregation and cross-generational hatred that is (IM-history-based-O) part and parcel of modern industrial capitalism.

hahahahahahahaha *breathe breathe* hahahahahahaha

No seriously, if you honestly think that it's only us modern capitalist industrial folks who are judgy towards our elders/youngers, you really need to read more.

Here's the thing: everyone, since the beginning of time, has been judgmental. It's how humans are. Suggesting that it's some new thing (especially some new thing invented by capitalists) is just silly.

I mean, for one teensy, way overused example, here's something Plato supposedly said:
"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they allow disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children now are tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”
Because moms old frumpy people fat people Folgers drinkers kids these days, amirite?
posted by phunniemee at 7:56 AM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


taz, I feel your pain. A group of my oldest friends are sensible, prudent, funny, intelligent people, but when we get together, inevitably they start moaning about how fat they're getting, how tempting food is, how difficult it is to find nice clothes, and how old they're getting....In the meantime, I (older, fatter, shorter BY FAR than ALL of them) sit there quietly with a stiff grin frozen on my face.
posted by Alnedra at 8:03 AM on August 3, 2012


I have this problem and wear skirts exclusively - it's all about length and layering. If it's too hot to wear leggings, I only wear floor-length skirts.

I should mention that I'm short and have spindly legs, so floor-length skirts make me look like a Christmas tree, unless they're cut narrowly, in which case I can't run.

Plus, I hear jeans hide a variety of stains and can go several weeks without laundering.
posted by snickerdoodle at 8:21 AM on August 3, 2012


Thanks for posting this, flex. I'm 44, in decent shape, but not skinny, and I've always had difficulty finding flattering pants. I'd never considered the whole pocket proportion thing, but will now.

I've found in general that shopping for less-trendy, more professional and classic-looking styles in the juniors department helps a lot. Yes, these styles without all the bling and flashy stitching/sequins/wear, etc... do exist. And juniors' jeans in general don't have that weird tendency to be skin tight on my thighs, and 6" loose in the waist on me. The jeans in the women's department? Every damn time.

And no, I don't look seventeen, or trashy, nor do I intend to. The dismissal and scorn in this thread kinda works both ways imo.
posted by lonefrontranger at 8:24 AM on August 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


No seriously, if you honestly think that it's only us modern capitalist industrial folks who are judgy towards our elders/youngers, you really need to read more.

No, no, there's actually some pretty good research on the concept of "generations" and how it becomes much more fine-grained/hard-edged with the rise of modernity and industrial capitalism - with the mass institutions of the school and the army, with legal codes that differentiate between ages and assign different responsibilities to them, with a change in history-writing as it becomes more coherent and linear...and I would argue with the contemporary obsession with neurological determinism (all those tropes about how neurologically-speaking you "can't" be a grown-up with good judgement until ever-later ages - now it's twenty-five! I mean, Alexander the Great was dead at 32...)

It's very much the difference between having an idea that is routinely but casually expressed by some people in some civilizations, an idea that is lightly reinforced by partial legal codes and partial customs, and having an idea that is thoroughly articulated, supported by very elaborate legal, social and medical codes and believed to be so rooted in human nature/biology as to be self-evident.

Consider the creation of the tween! I mean, we did not have tweens when I was eleven. Sure, we had 'people who were not yet teenagers but weren't little kids' and those people bought stuff and went through a process of being more-like-eight-year-olds and then becoming more-like-twelve-year-olds, but there wasn't a whole marketing apparatus dedicated to the market, there wasn't a whole cultural apparatus dedicated to the idea that "tweens" were a sharply defined age category with sharply defined needs. There weren't tweens in 1985. Now there are tweens, because we've decided that they exist and created a capitalist and cultural apparatus for maintaining them.

Believe me, in the modern world we do have a much finer-grained set of beliefs about age, capacity and behavior than existed in the past.

I'd argue that there is also far more intergenerational hatred - partly because of increasing segmentation according to age via school and marketing, partly because of the legal and financial structures that are used to pit generations against each other, partly because modern capitalism demands a lot of mobility and flexibility from each worker - so that it's virtually impossible to take care of the aging parents or the tiny kids as well as you'd like and it's very difficult to maintain the kind of family bonds that many people wish they had.

In a rather restricted way, I'm pro-industrial modernity - give me surgery under sterile conditions, 3-D printers, obscure music blogs and eBay, please. But it does have its drawbacks and when we become aware of them we at least have a shot at mitigating them.

Oh, Franco Moretti's book about the bildungsroman actually pulls together some research and theory about generational differences developing under modernity, although I suspect that the whole Philippe Aries/Braudel/History of Private Life axis of scholarship would be another rich starting point.
posted by Frowner at 8:25 AM on August 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


So, I don't really like jeans and jeans don't really like me either. As to the latter, I'm tallish and fat-ish and my body is a high-waisted hourglass (as at least one neighborhood heckler has noted: "Damn girl, you've got a high ass"). Throughout the first half of the 00s, when the whole premium denim trend pretty much had most of my friends believing that the only thing that separated a nice ass from a dumpy one was a 7/Citizens of Humanity/Joe's/Paige etc tag and about $180 retail. I ignored reason and got suckered in as well, and spent literally hundreds of dollars buying jeans that looked good so long as I maintained perfect posture and never sat down. My ass did look pretty great in the mirror, but in order to keep people from asking me for a plumbing estimate whenever I bent to pick up my purse, I ended up wearing these convoluted layers of tanks and t-shirts to prevent the inevitable, unavoidable slip. When the skinny jeans started creeping back into the general population, I was horrified* (I remember sobbing in the mornings before junior high when I realized my favorite jeans had recently come out of the dryer. It would take minutes of squirming as I tried to stuff what I still believed was baby fat into unyielding, no-stretch denim with ankle zippers. Did I really need to breathe in first-period Algebra? Debatable. Have I suffered for fashion? Heavens, yes.). I slunk back into a period of avoiding jeans entirely unless circumstances mad them absolutely necessary..

Which leads me to the former “I don’t like jeans” point. I find the global obsession with jeans sort of mystifying. It’s kind of arbitrary that they caught on the way they did, when it could have just as easily been kilts or plus-fours or jodhpurs or harem pants or whatever the fuck else. The global population of gold miners and cattle drovers has not (to my knowledge) expanded significantly over the last century. Denim may be more durable (arguable when much of it is cheap and made for pennies in some sweatshop nightmare), but I daresay most denim enthusiasts are not wearing said jeans in order to better outfit themselves for manual labor. Then there’s this assumption that jeans look good on everybody, which is just not true. Jeans look good on tall, lanky, long-waisted people with narrow hips. The fact that jeans are increasingly a daily uniform for a whole world full of people who do not conform to the tall drink of water body type might have something to do with why so many of us have body issues and effed up self esteem . And why an entire library’s worth of blog posts and magazine articles and fashion shows exist to try and get us to spend more money on some trend jean ** that might be slightly less unflattering than a pair of yoga pants. The fact is: if dressing your body in a flattering way is top priority, you might be better off avoiding jeans entirely.

As for me, I was the kind of kid that a regular library of books about costume by the time I was twelve years old. I have far more evening gowns in my wardrobe (many vintage, most second hand) than I have appropriate occasion to wear them, so I wear them inappropriately. I’m generally overdressed (though, as a freelancer, I spend far more of my day in gym clothes than the rest of the world will ever know). And I do find jeans kind of sad. Not because of the people who don’t care what they look like (I don’t judge you for your Mom jeans, and I like to think you don’t judge me when I wear a cocktail dress to Whole Foods), but because of the people that do. Because we live at a time in history in which you can pretty much get away with wearing anything, anywhere at anytime regardless of sex, age, class or ethnicity and out of everything out there, you’re going to spend countless hours and a small fortune trying to look just as meh as everyone else.

I’ve been there. And I know. It’s just not worth it.


*Full disclosure: I own skinny jeans now. They’re the cheap ones from Old Navy that, on my body, look pretty much exactly like the expensive ones I tried on at Off Fifth. And they’re basically like wearing tights with pockets.


** The low-rise, boot-cut, faux- worn, sparkle cowboy, hoe down embellished jeans featured on the above blog as a contrast to Mom jeans are at least four or five years out of trend and identifiably “Mom jeans” to the kind of people that are going to judge you for your jeans on the bus/subway. I mention this because if staying on trend is part of “looking good” in jeans, you’re much better off buying cheap jeans that loosely conform to style than dropping a couple of c-notes on something that’s going to make you look like a Sun Belt cougar.
posted by thivaia at 8:27 AM on August 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


Sun Belt cougar. Hey, I can dream, can't I?
posted by thinkpiece at 8:36 AM on August 3, 2012


something that’s going to make you look like a Sun Belt cougar.

You say that like that's a bad thing?
posted by Forktine at 8:37 AM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sun Belt cougar

Hey, thanks for name checking my band. We’re playing at Fuzzy’s on Wednesday night, kinda early.
posted by bongo_x at 8:42 AM on August 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


> I think my NYDJ probably have too wide of pockets but they're the most comfortable jeans I've worn in a decade

My mother recommended NYDJ to me. But if I bought them on her advice wouldn't it create some sort of hole in the universe?
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:18 AM on August 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


"If you can’t tell your front from your back, you are off the Grandma Jeans Deep End."

This is the best sentence I have read in a long, long time.
posted by 8dot3 at 9:38 AM on August 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Me: male, 28, 165-170 lb., 6', normative (not good-looking, not bad-looking) build. There is fat on me, just not a lot. I ain't no model, that's for sure.

I wear nothing but $10 Wal-Mart jeans I bought all at once on clearance 2 years ago. I also have a few pairs of linen pants, slacks, jeans that fit, etc., but the bulk of my pants wardrobe really is just a bunch of mass-produced jeans I got for $10 a pop. They look like you'd expect: crap.

That is, if you bother to look. Most don't. I also have a raggedy jungle-pattern newsboy hat, a bunch of doofy watches, and crazy-lookin' shoes and plaid shirts and t-shirts that are kind of crass, like this one I have with Jenna Jameson on it. That or I have sweaters and other stuff, and I generally just try to combine my wardrobe in a way that defies expectations. I have, and will again, wear track pants with a sport coat, but that's extreme. Judging people for what they wear is superficial, and I firmly believe that, so I try to dress in a way that throws judgement off just enough that you'll have to engage me if you want to make a judgement.

I understand that this is a luxury. 28, white, normative-ish body, male, freelance, disposable income, no marriage/family, I don't know how much more privilege I could heap on this. But there are better-looking clothes for me, and I categorically refuse to buy them. My girlfriend is very similar in her fashion choices. The other night, for a friend's birthday party, she showed up in a pleated, high-waisted skirt, tank top, and brightly colored Vans. Tank tops and high waists, or sundresses (none of which are particularly size-sensitive, if I understand correctly), are as signature for her as my newsboy hat collection, sport coats, flannel shirts, and work boots (also not terribly size-sensitive) are for me.

What I'm saying is, if you're dressing creatively enough, no one's going to be judging your body, they're going to be high-fiving you for having the guts to put on something so cool. Are you looking at the Wal-Mart jeans (that I have rolled up like I just got done wading through a river 'cause I look like Huck Finn sweet right) or the Casio calculator watch around my ankle? This, not making your ass look hot, is what fashion is for. Sure it screams LOOK AT ME, but it's on purpose, and with enough confidence, it works!

And for the record, I never put on clothes that aren't comfortable. I say, buy what works for you, then take the outlandishness up a few notches. Make it surreal. Not obnoxious, not rude, but add something unique to it, just because you can, and see how the world reacts. Pink shutter shades and a nose ring mean you can wear whatever the hell pants you want.
posted by saysthis at 9:48 AM on August 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


We’re playing at Fuzzy’s on Wednesday night, kinda early

let us know when you're doing the early bird special at the Rascal House.
posted by elizardbits at 10:39 AM on August 3, 2012


Consider the creation of the tween! I mean, we did not have tweens when I was eleven.

Frowner is right on about self-conscious generationalism. And let alone "tweens," even teens were a brand new concept in the early 20th century, shaped by money, marketing, population changes, and institutions. The trailer for the film linked above is lovely - haven't seen it, but it's based on a book about the "invention" of the teenager. More.
posted by Miko at 11:22 AM on August 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Wait, are you being serious? Because it was glaringly obvious, when you don't take my quote out of context, that I was referring to people who don't give a shit about their clothes.

Yeah, I was being serious. If you truly don't care about your clothes, then no amount of criticism should make you feel bad about your clothes, because you don't care about them. I don't care about being bald, and if someone came up to me and tried to make me feel like crap about it, I can imagine thinking "well, what a disrespectful asshole", but I certainly wouldn't feel ashamed of being bald all of a sudden.

I think that some people who don't care about their clothes (or some other surface thing) act as if they don't care about their clothes, or intentionally select clothes that provoke negative responses from other people (see Goths et al) because they feel insecure and expect to be criticised no matter what, so they dress in a way that enables them to shrug it off as something they could fix if they felt like it, but they don't care. And the truth is, some of those people do care, they're just deflecting the criticism to something within their control (ie "he may say I have a huge ass, but it is just because I don't want to bother wearing 'fashionable' jeans" or "...because I like wearing all black.")

So, if you truly don't care, you'll get angry at people because they're being disrespectful, but you won't be ashamed of yourself. If you're ashamed of yourself, you care.
posted by davejay at 3:52 PM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


note that I said "some", and there are lots of people who genuinely don't care about their clothes, or who dress Goth and such because they like it and don't care what other people think, but good luck shaming them, because they don't care.
posted by davejay at 3:55 PM on August 3, 2012


On top of everything else, those jeans that have pockets running down the legs are some of the most comical things I've ever seen -- wtf? I've been seeing them these past five years or so and just shake my head -- are thse people going ever to put anything in those pockets? How? What? Other than a folded up sheet of paper, I don't see it. Do any of these people -- guys or gals, I've seen both wearing these things -- do any of these flippin' people carry wallets? A pocket knife? Even a flippin' comb? No, they don't, and why, why? Because they can't, that's why, because they're wearing stupid pants. Fashion. Jesus h christ on a crutch.

Just puttin' this out there: in my skinny jeans pockets right now are my wallet, my house keys, my car key (huge Volvo fob.) I do however take my smartphone out of my back pocket when I sit down, but I used to do that with non-skinny jeans too, because, you know, back pocket.
posted by davejay at 3:58 PM on August 3, 2012


Lumbar Thought

Explains much noted in this thread. Androcentric, so revise "man" and "testicles" to "woman" and "pelvis" for female wearers.

Whenever I have to write or revise anything for publication...arrgh... I am not going to be wearing jeans.
posted by bad grammar at 4:04 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oops, Lumbar Thought
posted by bad grammar at 4:06 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


My mom specifically doesn't wear mom jeans. She's actually pretty shocked at all the women who have figures roughly like hers who dress in muumuus and talk about their imminent demise.

YOU AREN'T EVEN SIXTY YET! LIFE IS NOT YET OVER!
posted by dunkadunc at 4:30 PM on August 3, 2012


After awhile, butts in jeans start to look like faces.

I dare you not to see it, now.
posted by muddgirl at 5:54 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Elephant faces, to be precise, where the gap between the be-jeansed leg is the trunk.
posted by muddgirl at 5:56 PM on August 3, 2012


Yeah? You want jeans that look like faces? Try Winkers.
posted by redsparkler at 6:18 PM on August 3, 2012


I dare you not to see it, now.

I hate you.

not really
posted by jquinby at 6:42 PM on August 3, 2012


Even more butt-face-looking are pants with back welt pockets. The buttons are eyes, the pocket openings eyebrows. If you work in a business-casual office, on any given day most of your coworkers are sporting facebutt. Try not to dwell on this come Monday.

I once saw a person in pants with welt pockets that were tilted diagonally in a V, with the buttons placed at the inner ends. I couldn't help but wonder what had made their butt so angry.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:31 PM on August 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


From that "Lumbar Thought" piece liked above:

A garment that squeezes the testicles makes a man think differently.

No kidding. I happily can wear less constricting garments almost all the time, but every so often I have to wear something tighter, and I spend all day aware of my nuts being squeezed. An ongoing joke with my partner is how the main difference with men's and women's clothes is that men can have things fit the same (in terms of materials, looseness, coverage, etc) every day of the week, including work, working in the yard, and going out for a nice dinner; it's guaranteed that he will wear the same type of underwear for each occasion. But for women, that same week includes radically different materials, tight to loose to tight, skirts to jeans to dresses, and different underwear to match each outfit's coverage.

Talk about male privilege.
posted by Forktine at 7:57 PM on August 3, 2012


I was going to disagree with you, Forktine, but on reflection I think I would just put it another way - men often have the privilege of being unfashionable without committing a faux pas.
posted by muddgirl at 8:02 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


men often have the privilege of being unfashionable without committing a faux pas.

That's definitely true. But I meant something a bit different -- a man could wear a $5000 suit or a pair of $5 sweatpants from Walmart, and both will fit reasonably similar (not squeezing the nuts, about the same ability to walk), both cover the same skin, same underwear worn, etc. Select two outfits at random from a woman's closet, and chances are that one of them is backless and requires a special bra, the other goes to the ankle, one is tight, one isn't, one is sheer and the other isn't, etc. Men's clothing fits within a far small range in terms of fit, materials, and coverage.

And on top of that, as you say, men can show up in the wrong clothes without it being as wrong as when a woman does that.
posted by Forktine at 8:33 PM on August 3, 2012


My issue was that my husband doesn't wear the same underwear with sweatpants and with his suits - usually he wears boxers with the former and boxer-briefs with the latter. And I basically wear the same underwear with everything (sometimes I wear a camisole, but sometimes he has to wear an undershirt).

So yes, I think it is a fashion thing - baggy, non-pressed trousers under which one could wear boxers aren't generally fashionable, but men can get away with wearing them. I suppose that, no, men aren't expected to wear bras.
posted by muddgirl at 8:45 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


(I do agree that men have a very limited set of what is 'allowed', but I tend to see that as more of a mixed bag than a straight-up privilege. Sometimes fashion is more fun than constrictive. Even male fashion designers are almost expected to see personal fashion as more of a uniform than something they can play with from occasion to occasion.)
posted by muddgirl at 9:01 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


What puzzles me about Forktine is that he seems to think that nut-squeezing clothes aren't a good thing.

(Actually, the secret to wearing such pants is to LIFT and BRING FORWARD either before or after you close the fly. You end up showing huge basket, but at least you don't feel the horrible nut-squeezings.)

((I should note -- I generally don't wear underwear, so YMMV.))
posted by hippybear at 9:04 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


And on top of that, as you say, men can show up in the wrong clothes without it being as wrong as when a woman does that.

I don’t know about that. I’ve always seen it as the opposite. It seems to me there are lots of situations where a man has to wear a suit, period, and a woman has many options. A woman could wear the same simple classic dress to the grocery store, or a nice restaurant, or the park and look fine.

On the other hand, I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked "why are you all dressed up?" when I show up somewhere in more than jeans and tshirt, and I rarely wear jeans and tshirt. I had a guy ask me with a straight face, "so you like shirts with buttons, huh?". He wasn’t mocking, he was genuinely fascinated.
posted by bongo_x at 9:07 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's where flannel shirts are genius. They are shirts with buttons, but nobody ever accuses you of being dressed up when wearing them.
posted by hippybear at 9:11 PM on August 3, 2012


What puzzles me about Forktine is that he seems to think that nut-squeezing clothes aren't a good thing.

No nut-squeezing for me, thanks. (I do have one pair of Carhartts, though, that every time I wear it my wife says "Package!" Loose and package-emphasizing are not automatically opposed.)

That's where flannel shirts are genius. They are shirts with buttons, but nobody ever accuses you of being dressed up when wearing them.

Or henley shirts. Buttons, and yet the total opposite of dressy.
posted by Forktine at 9:14 PM on August 3, 2012


idest sometimes talks about Williamsburg hipsters (male) and their "girlfriend jeans". This, too, is a problem.
posted by Decani at 10:26 PM on August 3, 2012


Bongo_x, I see your point, and I am not disagreeing with you, exactly. But you need to understand that this "simple classic dress" of which you speak doesn't exist. It should exist. We're told that it exists. I have spent years of my life searching for it, believing that it exists, being told by various fashion authorities, merchandisers, magazines, tv shows, books, commercials, and so-forth that it not only exists, but is available at this store, this season.

That very same "simple classic dress" is alternatively: too dressy/ too casual/ to fancy/ too frumpy/ too dark/ too bright/ too long/ too short/ too revealing/ too prudish/ too old-fashioned or out of style/ trying too hard or fashion-victim/ too cheap/ too expensive for any and every occasion that you try to wear it. You keep trying to wear it, three or four times, feeling awkward and self-conscious each time, then decide that it must be the wrong dress after all. So you give up and it goes back in the closet and never gets worn and you keep buying dresses, seeking that holy grail that can never be found, the "dress you can wear anywhere". It's a lie. The dress is a lie.
posted by windykites at 1:04 AM on August 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


So you give up and it goes back in the closet and never gets worn and you keep buying dresses, seeking that holy grail that can never be found, the "dress you can wear anywhere". It's a lie. The dress is a lie.

I actually own this dress. Seriously. It's a black cotton wrap-dress that I bought for $30 at H&M about six years ago and it's still in good shape and the best $30 I've ever spent. I can wear it ANYWHERE and either dress it up or down based on the accessories. I will never, ever get rid of this dress. I will take it to the grave. I've worn it everywhere from playgroup to trans-Atlantic flights to fancy New Year's Eve parties. It is indeed the Holy Grail of dresses - I've never found another that's even half as versatile.

I only wish I'd had the foresight to buy two as if anything ever happens to this one... it'll be a tragedy of epic proportions.
posted by sonika at 6:20 AM on August 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I will take it to the grave.

I see someone needs to modify their will.
posted by hippybear at 7:05 AM on August 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cotton wrap is genius. You can get someone to make copies of it, you know. There was a shop here that made cotton wrap dresses and I bought a huge stack and wore them always. Unfortunately, one can get too fat for them. But I'm working on getting back to the right size. (Not skinny, nor tall, just wrap-dress size)
posted by mumimor at 1:44 PM on August 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can get someone to make copies of it, you know.

You were sent from heaven on the wings of angels, ADMIT IT.
posted by sonika at 5:18 PM on August 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't wear ill-fitting clothes because I don't care how how I look. I wear ill-fitting clothes because it's that or go around naked.
posted by Karmakaze at 6:58 PM on August 4, 2012


That very same "simple classic dress" is alternatively: too dressy/ too casual/ to fancy/ too frumpy/ too dark/ too bright/ too long/ too short/ too revealing/ too prudish/ too old-fashioned or out of style/ trying too hard or fashion-victim/ too cheap/ too expensive for any and every occasion that you try to wear it.

I’m going to suggest the problem may be; too self conscious, over thinking. If you look good everything else is second and all is forgiven. I’m not saying one dress can be always worn for every possible situation, I’m saying certain types can fit a wide variety of needs.
posted by bongo_x at 9:09 PM on August 4, 2012


Are you looking at the Wal-Mart jeans (that I have rolled up like I just got done wading through a river 'cause I look like Huck Finn sweet right) or the Casio calculator watch around my ankle?

I get that you think of yourself as someone who makes risky unconventional sartorial choices, but I just can't understand why anyone would wade through a river with a calculator watch around their ankle.
posted by milk white peacock at 9:17 PM on August 4, 2012 [6 favorites]



I’m going to suggest the problem may be; too self conscious, over thinking.

Nah, this isn't a consistent phenomenon with everything I wear; it's specific to trying to wear one of those supposedly versatile outfits (or, of course, other occasions where I'm inappropriately dressed by mistake. I say "by mistake", because I will often know in advance that what I'm wearing won't really fit in or suit the occasion, and be completely comfortable with it. I've gone through various styles in my life, some quite shocking by most standards, so I don't neccessarily have a problem with not quite fitting in, if I'm prepared for it).

People who care about fashion or style often develop a sense for whether or not what they're wearing is "right", and why or why not.


If you look good everything else is second and all is forgiven

That's a lovely sentiment. And sometimes it's true.
posted by windykites at 11:55 PM on August 4, 2012


If you look good everything else is second and all is forgiven

I tend to think if you're a kind, decent person, everything else is forgiven. Beyond that I could give a shit what you're wearing.
posted by Miko at 7:41 AM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


I tend to think if you're a kind, decent person, everything else is forgiven.

We’re talking about clothes.
posted by bongo_x at 6:43 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh dear. I couldn't see any difference between most of them when they were worn by the same person. At least half the time the body inside looked identical to me in all three side by side shots. I could tell the different pairs of jeans apart... but none of the jeans looked very good to me. They pretty much all looked like they fitted so badly that they had wrinkles from the stress...

Clearly I know nothing about how jeans are supposed to look.

And this from someone who exclusively wears jeans when she goes out in public. : (
posted by Jane the Brown at 7:29 PM on August 5, 2012


We’re talking about clothes.

Yeah, except we're not. I think it's abundantly clear that a lot of people are talking about something far beyond clothes - people variously think clothes represent self-respect, skill, fashion sense, desire to belong, status signals, respect for others, shallowness, self-expression, or whatever. If we were only talking about clothes we would most likely no longer be talking, because a significant chunk of this thread hasn't been about clothes, but about ideas and emotions.
posted by Miko at 8:35 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


no doubt part of the hoard refurbished for the Asian market after the US abandoned the small fanny standard, of previously 4-6.

I thought this was about cameltoe until I remembered what 'fanny' means in AmEng.
posted by mippy at 6:30 AM on August 6, 2012


But what do I know, I'm a dad in a ring tee and cargo shorts.

I don't know what a ring tee is.

But cargo shorts are the BEST. Also, cargo pants. And cargo skirts. And what my SO calls an "archives vest" aka the vest with six million pockets.

Because the value of clothes can be measured directly from the the number of pockets each item has.

and that is why someday I will find the person or person who first thought that "women don't need pockets on their clothes" and I will tear them into little bitty pieces and then PUT THOSE PIECES IN MY POCKETS.

(on my men's cargo shorts, of course, because you can't get women's clothes with pockets any more)
posted by jb at 7:32 PM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I used to eschew cargo pockets, on the theory that my thighs have plenty of bulk of their own, thank you very much. But now running around after two little boys, I love them. Cargo pockets, yes! Bike jersey, yes! Traveler clothing with extra pockets, yes!

Love the cargo pocket. Love love love. Don't care anymore if they make my thighs look like a speed skater.
posted by ambrosia at 7:47 PM on August 7, 2012


The seamstress at dressaday adds pockets to all her dresses and skirts. Unless I’m making that up. I have no idea why dresses and skirts never come with pockets. I guess something to do with the giant purse thing.
posted by bongo_x at 9:16 PM on August 7, 2012


Dresses and skirts don't come with pockets (except when they do) because pockets add bulk, and interrupt the oft-coveted sleek line. Fashionistas often have slash trouser pockets sewn closed to keep the line tight against the body. Not advocating, just sayin'.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:34 AM on August 8, 2012


Also if you put something heavy in a skirt pocket, it can drag stuff out of alignment. Frankly, I'd rather have the option and take the risk for myself, but...

I had, for a while, a pair of something bike-short-ish but with some side pockets. I had a habit of wearing it under skirts. Made walking more comfortable, prevented any accidental flashing, and provided handy phone storage if I didn't want to do the cleavage tuck. I have, of course, never found that item for sale again.
posted by Karmakaze at 5:31 AM on August 8, 2012


not only is my purse not giant, but it's awkward to be wearing when all I want to do is walk around the house listening to my mp3 player. I've had to master the underarm squeeze to hold it and/or my ebook, or stash it in my bra (which works, but is not terribly secure).

Irony is, if I have my costume history correct, pockets were originally worn by women under their skirts, and men carried purses.

but I am getting sick of the lack in trousers/skirts made for women.
posted by jb at 6:01 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dresses and skirts don't come with pockets (except when they do) because pockets add bulk, and interrupt the oft-coveted sleek line.

I was aware of this - and it does make sense.

It makes less sense when the same principle is then applied to my favorite very generously cut skirt (practically a circle) or skirts with gathers, which are far from sleek to start with. Pockets do cost more money to make - but cheap men's trousers still have them.

But there is also the tyranny of fashion: someone, somewhere decided that X looks good on everyone, and that's all that will be available for purchase for the next X years. Thus I can't buy cute pumps with a 1-inch heel, but have to choose between flats or 3-inch stilts that will kill me. (also: in the "jeans that fit video" - heels with jeans? really? that's just so WRONG). So I walk around barefoot.

Someday, I'm going to be the capital and mastermind behind a fashion house that makes good looking clothes without regard to contemporary fashion. We'll go out of business, of course, but we'll be well-dressed hobos.
posted by jb at 8:28 AM on August 8, 2012


It's also just cheaper to make garments without pockets, and in our age of disposable clothing and planned obsolescence, that often plays a part in the design process. Anyone who's made clothing with pockets can attest that it takes almost as long to make and fit a pair of pockets into a skirt as it does to sew the major seams of the skirt itself. For the sweatshops and mass marketeers that provide us with most of our clothing, that's a choice to deliberate over.
posted by Miko at 9:55 AM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Saying I had not idea was…incorrect. I’m sure it’s a combination of the design and money, but I’m going to with what what Miko said; I think it probably takes more time, money, and skill to design pockets that work. Add that to the extra time and money to actually install them.

I had, for a while, a pair of something bike-short-ish but with some side pockets.

That sounds like a thing that should be available.
posted by bongo_x at 10:07 AM on August 8, 2012


Miko: good point - but there is definitely a gender-bias in effect, as even cheap men's clothing continues to have pockets. I also remember a comment here sometime ago where a mefite was complaining about how even her baby son's clothes had pockets (and what's most disposable than baby clothes worn for maybe a few weeks?) while hers did not.

I don't know if men would put up with pocketlessness - no one seems to have asked them to.
posted by jb at 10:57 AM on August 8, 2012


there is definitely a gender-bias in effect,

I totally agree with that. I suspect there's just a "cut corners where you can -- women will put up with it, men won't" thing to it.
posted by Miko at 11:36 AM on August 8, 2012


I suspect there's just a "cut corners where you can -- women will put up with it, men won't" thing to it.

I was shopping in Vancouver and a lot of the stores were two story. I noticed that the men’s clothes were always on the ground floor. Someone told me that’s because the men won’t go upstairs as easily as the women will.
posted by bongo_x at 1:23 PM on August 8, 2012


That's not a Vancouver thing, that's a department store thing -- every one I've been in has been like that, as far as I recall. Women are brave and will walk through the men's department, but men see the women's clothing and go "not for me" and walk away. Sort of like how women will see movies with men in them but men won't see movies with women in them, or girls will read books about boys but boys won't read books about girls.

Not that men or boys are given the opportunity... this is just something We All Know.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:35 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Women are brave and will walk through the men's department

Not only that, but women actually are the buyers of some non-insignificant percentage of men's clothing.
posted by Miko at 6:43 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know if men would put up with pocketlessness - no one seems to have asked them to.

If you first get them to carry purses man-bags, I think you could go after the pockets. But until then, where would I put keys/wallet/phone? Oh, and my wife's items when we are going out, she is wearing clothes with no pockets, and doesn't want to carry a purse -- fairly often, my pockets are providing for two.

Not only that, but women actually are the buyers of some non-insignificant percentage of men's clothing.

I thought there was an article about that recently, and the percentage was very high. I buy my own clothes, but I am pretty sure that almost every man I work with does not. New clothes magically appear, and they wear what they are given. I'm sure they have all bought a few pieces of impractical lingerie on special occasions, but that's about it for the reverse.
posted by Forktine at 6:51 PM on August 8, 2012


Yes, I doubt my dad ever bought a piece of clothing in his adult life. A big chunk of men either aren't that bothered (which is why men's clothing departments always seem pretty dull in terms of the colour palette - it's safe) or just feel uncomfortable shopping. And men in the main aren't conditioned/encouraged to think of fashion and shopping as a fun leisure activity, more something you do when you need to do it.

You know the cliche about men having had the same pair of underpants for two decades? I think that's why. And it's why over here the middle-classes have made Boden a fortune, and in the US Land's End, because they can order their husband's clothing from a catalogue and know it's relatively tasteful.
posted by mippy at 4:36 AM on August 10, 2012


Wow, is Boden considered the Lands End of the UK? That's surprising to me because ordering dresses from Boden is very popular with the women where I work. THey're uncommon in the US so they don't have that "I got this at the mall" look, and they sort of have a certain cachet.
posted by Miko at 5:34 AM on August 10, 2012


And Boden is all "green and purple florals worn with herringbone!" and Lands' End is "Navy. Khaki. If you're feeling wild and crazy: red."
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:34 AM on August 10, 2012


And Boden is all "green and purple florals worn with herringbone!" and Lands' End is "Navy. Khaki. If you're feeling wild and crazy: red."

This is why I love them. (I used to like Land's End but their quality has slipped. But I grew up preppy and that's still my native idiom--preppy with a side order of Anglophilia.)
posted by immlass at 7:41 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


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