Shopping for Skinny Jeans: The Good, the Bad, and (Mostly) the Ugly

One of my favourite scenes from the movie Grease is when Sandy agrees to let Frenchy pierce her ears at the Pink Lady sleepover. The two girls are in the bathroom, needle poised to earlobe, when Sandy suddenly starts screaming and begging Frenchy to stop.  In response, Frenchy simply shakes her head and says:

“Sandy, Sandy… beauty is pain.”

While in that scene, Frenchy may have been referring to having one’s ears pierced with nothing but an ice cube, a virgin pin and a prayer, to me, she could just as easily have been talking about skinny jeans.

Skinny jeans: they can be a woman’s best friend, and her worst enemy. Sure they look great, but both  finding the right pair, and getting the damn things on (or off) in the first place, can be a struggle.

I bought my first pair of skinny jeans about three years ago, and while I have repressed most of the memories surrounding that shopping experience, I recount just enough to know that  I was in no hurry to do it again. So much so in fact, that when the seams of my beloved skinnies began to fray, and the belt loops, weakened from continuous hoisting over my ever-expanding muffin top, ripped off, I continued to cling to those bad boys like  Rose Dawson to an old door frame. I simply could not face the prospect of doing it again.

Well this weekend I decided that enough was enough. No more excuses. No more waiting till I lost those last 5 pounds. I was going jean shopping.

As I neared the store, I gave myself a little mental pep-talk.  You can do this, I said to myself. A pair of  jeans do not define you. But all of that quickly flew out the window when I walked in and was accosted by 10 different long-haired, 19-year-old, sales associates, all asking me if I  “needed help with my denim ”

You have no idea.

Two salesgirls quickly took me by the arm and led me around the store on a whirlwind blitz, piling pairs of jeans into my arms.  It sort of felt like the makeover scene from Clueless. 

Before I knew it, I was in the dressing room with  a dozen pairs of jeans to try. I  decided to start out with something called “jeggings”.. which are basically a lightweight jean that can be worn almost as a legging. Sounds pretty amazing, right? Well, as soon as I put them on, I thought so too. I felt like I was wearing pajamas. In heaven. And they looked great, too…….. from the front. Unfortunately, as soon as I turned around… well let’s just say they took the expression “business in the front, party in the back” to a whole new, unwanted level.

Since the junk in my trunk precluded the possibility of jeggings, , I had no choice but to move onto the standard denim. In an effort to preserve my fragile ego, I had decided to try every pair in a size bigger than I normally wear. But even then, getting these death traps on was still a huge ordeal.  My calves were having none of it, and let me know this by fighting their denim captors every step of the way. Finally, after a bit of wiggling and yanking. and a lot of prayer, I finally got them on.

“They look good” said the sales girl. “but you’re going to want to go down a size, because they stretch out”.

DOWN a size?? Are you f*&*king kidding me??

I stood in the changeroom, sizing up the smaller pair like a welterweight about to face Muhammad Ali. Knowing I was going to have my ass handed to me, I considered throwing in the proverbial towel. F*&k skinny jeans, I thought. Sweatpants are so 2012. But then I heard Frenchy’s words, spinning through my head like a  dream reel: “beauty is pain, Breezy… beauty is pain….“.

Armed with my new (and probably f*&ked up) mantra, I yanked those bad boys off the hook, and began the encasing process. To say it wasn’t pretty would be an understatement. I won’t go into all of the gory details, but let’s just say that a lot went down that day. Fabric was negotiated with. Zippers were coaxed. Tears were shed. Water breaks were taken. By the time I got to mid-thigh, I was sweating so much, I worried my perspiration would cause premature dye-transfer.

Finally, in a tornado of limbs, sweat and fury, I yanked the curtain back and emerged: hair soaked with sweat, pride laying somewhere on the floor. Expecting to look like a product of Oktoberfest,  I braced myself for the onslaught of my own reflection.

Huh. Not half bad. I thought. I mean, if you ignored everything above the waistband, and of course my face, which was already beginning to exhibit signs of PTSD. “I’ll take them”. I declared. “But can I wear them out? Because if I take them off, it might be another 3 years before I get them back on”.

Question of the Day: How do you handle jean shopping?


29 thoughts on “Shopping for Skinny Jeans: The Good, the Bad, and (Mostly) the Ugly

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  1. Haha! Another hilarious post.

    Although, I do feel the need to insert the obligitory “beauty is in eye of the beholder” or some other such nonsense. I wear what’s comfortable and what I like and could care less what Ambercrombie and Fitch think about it.


  2. Seriously, I think the government should pass a law making the installation of fans in dressing rooms mandatory for any store that sells skinny jeans.
    This is a real issue folks…who’s gonna back me on this?
    I’m thinking protests, strikes, petitions….


    1. I’ll lobby for your cause my dear sister. I’m thinking some threatening letters and e-mails… perhaps I could even use my legal prowess to request a few injunctions. Of course though, the first step will be to report them. We will have to confer with mom to determine the proper authority..


  3. Ugh Jean shopping is such a pain in the butt. I am unfortunately a fluctuator, and jean buying either makes me really sad or really happy… skinny jeans however look really good.


    1. it’s true- they really do look so good when you find the right pair.. why does it have to be so hard? I need to find a body double and pay them to do such tasks for me….
      I think I may have found my next blog post..


  4. I would LOVE to have people offer to help me with my denim. But I usually buy my clothes at Goodwill. The best I can hope for is a cashier who leers at me waiting for me to steal something.


  5. What is it with going down a size in jeans? The first time I tried on some skinny jeans, I was convinced that the clerks were just trying to head-fake me by telling me to buy them smaller than I thought I needed. I was pretty sure that I would buy these too-small jeans, never be able to fit in them, and be remembered by the clerks as the Most Gullible (and now Broke) Shopper Ever. Who knew that they would eventually look (and feel) great? (Granted, I never want to go skinny jeans shopping EVER AGAIN– the pain! the suffering!– but the ones I have now are awesome.)


    1. I know- you’ve gotta go through hell first to get to skinny jeans heaven apparently. I wanted to wear my new jeans out that night, but they were so tight that I had to walk around my apartment doing lunges for a good hour to loosen them up first! haha


  6. Hahaha, I love this post. I have so much trouble jeans shopping, it’s ridiculous! I have the issue that I have a small waist with big hips and I’m short. It is so frustrating because I’m a different size in every store and usually jeans shopping ends up turning into a 2 or 3 hour trip with lots of angry sounds and swearing. What would be great is if every store sized their jeans by measurements, because then I would have no trouble. I know which styles and cuts I prefer so I always just have trouble with sizing. Also, they make jeans for only tall people it seems, so then they’re all too long. It’s all very frustrating!


    1. I have that too! Jeans are always gaping at the back but fit everywhere else, and they are almost always too long! Ruins the look of skinny jeans when you have about 10 yards of excess fabric pooling at the bottom… lol.


  7. I haven’t bought jeans for a while actually. Although it’s infinitely easier for blokes than you ladies.

    To be honest, I am not really a fan of those skinny jeans that are like leggings; I think the close-fitting type are better for women. Jeans look weird if they grip the lower leg and ankle like that.


  8. Just the words, “skinny jeans”, gives me heart palpations! I have yet to find a pair made for girls with monster calves and curvy hips. Oh it’s such a nightmare shopping for skinny jeans… I always err on the side of caution and go a size up. Glad you found some humour in the situation – and a nice pair of jeans! :p


    1. Agreed! Skinny jeans are not made for athletic girls sadly. Have you tried just wearing your tri shorts out on the weekends instead? bet that would go over well 😉


  9. I have my own pair of skinny jeans. For some reason everyone in my family thinks I’m either really fat or really thin. They buy me clothes in that same manner. My skinny jeans are only worn on rare occassions. It leaves nothing to the imagination.

    Remember, it’s the woman that makes the jeans. Not the jeans that make the woman. You need to go out there with those jeans on and gain some confidence. Just be careful about bending over the first few times or at all.


    1. Haha you’re right- bending is precarious at any time.. as is sitting.. dancing… walking.. standing. They are basically a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen.


  10. I hate pants shopping in general. One, small waist, big hips and thighs. Two, tall/long legs that they shrink and they’re too short. And Three. Depending on the brand, my size varies between 3 sizes. So. much. hate.

    I laughed my way through this blog. Definitely hit follow, I’ll be back. 🙂


    1. thank you!! 🙂 I’m with you- pant shopping is a nightmare.. especially work pants. I mostly always wear dresses because they are so much easier and way more comfortable!


  11. Great post! I must have to say I despise jean shopping. period. I’m great with any other shopping! Just take a look at my bank statements and you’ll be able to see that clearly. But jeans? I can honestly say it’s been 2 years since I’ve bought a pair. They are my tried & trusted jeans. I still have jeans from highschool that I wear! I think that the age of them has allowed them to expand and fit over my ever expanding body! My cousin has a few skinny jeans & I’ve tried them on. I’ve realized the key to it is all about the shirt & shoes. If the shirt is too tight or short it makes me look like a stuffed burrito & if I wear the wrong shoes well it just looks like I’m Sideshow Bob off the Simpsons. I may one day venture out into the realm of “skinny jean shopping” but for now I think I’ll stick with my ol’ reliable jeans!
    Thanks for the great read!


    1. I’m the exact same way- I excel at all other forms of shopping besides jeans haha..You’re right about the shirt- It has to be long enough to cover the waistband area and a little bit flowy.. and for shoes I think you need to go with either ballet flats, heels, or boots to the knee- then you’ll be golden 😉


  12. LMAO!! Too hilarious! I have to admit that jean shopping is more of a struggle for me now than it was in my metabolism-glory-years 😦 Shopping generally is a bit of a war with me. I know what you mean about taking water breaks in the change room! hahaha =P


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