When you buy jeans, remember it could be worse.

September 25, 2014


I went jeans shopping today.

Can you think of anything worse? Maybe dental surgery. Dental surgery is worse than jeans shopping. Unless there is full anesthesia, then dental surgery just becomes a long nap with consequences and a long nap with consequences is not worse than jeans shopping.

I had been putting it off for nine whole months. I was waiting for that magical time when I’d be that magical number and fit into those magical sized pair of jeans that make me look like Beyoncé. But like many well intentioned people with an affinity for Mexican food, this did not happen. And even if I had lost the weight, jeans shopping would still not be fun. I have been very thin and very big, and no matter what–there is something truly terrifying about pouring yourself into denim under bad lighting.

I went anyway. Leggings and maternity capris can only last so long, and with winter coming I was starting to worry that I might get, you know, cold.

Our local Old Navy is twenty minutes away, and on the way I rallied my inner strength by promising myself two important things:

1) To not try on jeans I know will not fit.

2) To remember the worst thing that could happen is that I leave crying and buy jeggings on Amazon.

I also listened to a lot of Taylor Swift.

When I got there, I repeated my mantras, took two generous sizes of each style jean, and confidently tried them on while my nine-month-old daughter chewed on hangers and tried to break my iPhone.

Here’s the good news: I walked away with one pair of long, dark, moderately flattering jeans and zero emotional breakdowns. They are not a size I ever thought I’d be. They are not a style currently featured in In Touch Magazine. But they are comfortable and forgiving and will keep me warm in the winter. 

This afternoon my three-year-old son asked if he could rest on my “warm, soft” belly while he watched Curious George. How could I say no? There are some really wonderful things about being thin, but there is a certain joy in providing your kids a soft place to land.

Recognizing we don’t need to be a certain size to be happy is not a rare or once-in-a-lifetime realization. Instead it’s a truth we have to repeat over and over to ourselves as our bodies morph with time, babies, or the occasional sleeve of Oreos.

May we buy jeans with confidence. With gratitude. With the purpose of staying warm and dancing with our loved ones on our kitchen floors.

We are so lucky.


34 thoughts on “When you buy jeans, remember it could be worse.

  1. Tiffany

    Hi Kate! I’ve been reading your blog for a while and you are amazing! You always seem to find the right words and find the perfect balance of honestly and optimism. It’s a refreshing take on parenting and how hard and rewarding it is to be a mom. I love what you do and look forward to reading what else you have to say…

  2. Meg G

    Old Navy gets their dressing room mirrors from out-of-business carnivals. Same as Target. This was exactly what I needed to read because I was getting down on myself for not fitting into my pre-pregnancy jeans 11 weeks after I having baby #2. You say Oreo sleeve, I say Rice Krispie Treats. xoxo

  3. Kara Gleghorn

    I always buy my jeans at ON because I like their variations of styles. The “sweetheart” is awesome for curvy ladies like me, because I fit into a full size smaller than the “rockstar”. I know, it’s just a number. But deluding myself into feeling a bit thinner makes the shopping experience less detestable.

  4. Laura

    This is the best. Jeans shopping really is the worst, no matter what size you are. The good thing is that your jeans size doesn’t make a lick of a difference in how good of a mom you are.

  5. Liz

    I just love, love your writing….you have the best way with words and I 100% agree that jean shopping is THE worst…ugh! I mean I may rather have dental work done, just maybe!

  6. Kelsey

    Post baby jeans shopping is no treat! I think it is in a close tie with bra shopping after breastfeeding three kids, because when I did that a few months back I looked in the dressing room mirror and could have swore I looked like something from national geographic!

  7. Katie

    I dread bra shopping more than jean shopping. Since they are saggy, empty tube socks. I’m basically scared I’ll scar all the victoria secret 18 year olds from ever having children and/or breastfeeding. Jeans. Jeans I can deal with. But these boobs of mine………

  8. Sydney

    Oh, I identify with this so much. Jeans shopping is the worst. And what seems even worse than the worst is that you can never stop. You are always on the search for a better pair. And, truly, dressing room lighting manages to make literally nothing look flattering on you. I always buy jeans, check the return policy, and then try them on endlessly (while asking my husband if they look good-as though he wants to answer that loaded question) until I ultimately decide to keep them or return them. Denim and I have a love-hate relationship. I am glad that you were able to find a pair-may they keep you warm and stylish this winter!


  9. Abby

    I was at a local thrift store the other day and decided to try on some jeans “just to see what size I am” at 8 months post baby.
    At some point in the process I realized I just wanted a pair of jeans that I could move around in without dosing my butt crack. Oh, and that I’m becoming my mother.

  10. Julani

    I cannot bring myself to fit jeans. Instead I grab a reasonably sized pair of the rack and when they don’t fit (not if, cause they never do fit) I simply wear those suckers into submission… Its not very mature but it does save time& emotional turmoil…well some

  11. Christine

    Jeans shopping is never fun, but I find thrifting for pre-worns less scary. Something about the broken-in quality that’s friendlier even though the lighting is terrible. But I get it, yes. And we are lucky — you’re right about that.

  12. Dakota

    I have found only one pair of pants at Old Navy that work. They are rockstar (not diva or sweetheart – and trust me, I have tried on them all) black skinny jeans, mid-rise (not high-rise) talle (not regular, but also not long) 10s (not 8s). Yet, they are always jumbled with the opposite. They even have the same specs in a different color, yet they are 2 inches shorter than the black pants I found that have worked. I guess Old Navy needs a new system. All of this to say that shopping that includes trying on clothes pre-baby, post-baby, no-baby, should be a much more fun experience than it really is (for me anyway). Those who can order online and have everything show up and it all fits perfectly and looks cute? Not me – and I am okay with that. My goal is to make shopping more of an adventure and one that doesn’t need to happen too often :) And if you happen to know of a good brand of flats or heels (pretty sure I have tried every brand out there), I am all ears.

  13. Kimberly

    My baby was really sick last week. Four days of a fever only to find out on day 5 that it was roseola. I hate that you never know until it’s over. But while he was sick he would only sleep on my chest. And I took a “selfie” just to see if he was awake or asleep and I noticed how my soft full belly made such a comfortable bed for my sweet boy. Chubby moms are the most comfortable moms.

  14. Margo, Thrift at Home

    I used to hate jeans shopping the way you described, and then I figured out that I needed MY SISTER the stylish one who is patient and funny to come with me. Works every time. I don’t get upset and I come out with at least one pair of really nice jeans. She is my ace in the hole.

  15. Lisa

    It’s important to remember two things.
    First of all (at least for me), it’s not important to be thin but to feel good in your skin, which for me means eating mostly healthy, working out some (which I never get to do cause I work too much), and pigging out every once in a while. No matter what size, that makes me comfortable.
    Second of all, and this one is the more important one: clothes are there to FIT YOU. It’s not that you’re supposed to fit into them, they’re supposed to fit you. If they don’t, they’re wrong for you, not you for them. Jeans are designed by men who have never seen a woman in real life, and they are no judge of beauty. You did very well with your mantra, congrats on finding a comfy pair, and I love that Taylor Swift helped :)

  16. a morning grouch

    I am willing to pay any dollar amount for jeans that fit properly. There is nothing that makes one feel more comfortable in their own skin that jeans that fit the waist, the thighs and butt. Doesn’t matter what size!


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