just say no to jeans!–or how I got over my body image issues

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Sometime during the last century, at least in America, pants–mainly jeans–became a woman’s wardrobe staple.

Heaven help us, that was a mistake.

Lest this post come off as anti-jeans, let me be clear.

For my sisters out there who love jeans, keep on lovin’ ’em. If the feminist revolution taught us anything, it’s that we have a right to choose. So if you choose jeans, if you love jeans, if they’re working for you, then by all means, embrace that.

For myself I have come to a great awakening.

Ya’ll know I’ve embraced my curves, & with that, I’ve had to get real honest about what types of clothes I’m comfortable in AND look flattering (those two are not always one & the same).

Take yoga pants for example.

Yes, everyone from soccer moms to grandmas are wearing yoga pants these days (or their close cousins–“active wear”) not just at yoga class, but like, as clothes. May I suggest that this may not always be in our best interest.

I know, I know.

Yoga pants feel like you’ve slipped into something effortless.

That somehow by wearing them (or any other poly-cotton blend piece of active wear), you’re stronger, more fit. Just basically somehow more holistic & centered. It kinda gives you the feeling you just worked out (even though you perhaps haven’t stepped inside a gym in months). These are all nice things, I suppose.

But as one who lived in yoga pants & active wear for the better part of 6 years (in my past life as a fitness instructor teaching morning, mid-day, & evening classes every day), it’s over rated my dears.

Side note to all my fellow moms:
If there’s one thing I want to fight against as a mother of 5, it’s the stereotype that moms look a certain, negative way. In particular–frumpy, disheveled, a little rough around the edges. Look, I get it. I’ve been either pregnant or nursing for over a decade & my sleeping patterns for a third of my life have revolved around my kids (ie. I understand infant/child induced sleep deprivation in all it’s forms). Being a mom is no walk in the park & IT’S HARD TO FIND TIME TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. (That last bit is in all caps so you know how much I know your plight.) That said, you owe it to YOURSELF to take care of yourself. And your husband, kids, friends, & even the cashier at the grocery store will notice & appreciate it. In short, do your best to resist the 24-7 yoga pants trend.

Here’s the thing about my body.

I’ve got a lot of things going for me. Thanks to my Swedish/Nordic roots, I’ve got height on my side (though I admit to feeling slightly Amazonish around all these petite Okinawan women!). I’ve got a long torso, long arms, a long neck. And I like my eye color & hair.

You can’t have it all though.

I have short legs, & when I’m healthy & well-fed, my derriere is plump. Which makes wearing jeans, a nightmare. Okay, I’ll stop being melodramatic. Not quite a nightmare. But let’s just say I don’t want to draw any more attention than absolutely necessary to my bottom half. It doesn’t need accentuation (the jeans with all the embroidery on the pockets are the worst!!).

But I didn’t realize until I moved to Okinawa (this past summer), where the weather is hot & humid for most of the year (we’re finally dropping into the high 70’s now), & I began mainly wearing flowy skirts & dresses, that, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG with my body. I was just wearing the wrong clothing all along! Jeans can be flattering for some (& to be honest, in my ultra-skinny stage, I don’t mind wearing jeans), but for many, maybe even most of us, I think skirts & dresses are more flattering & comfortable, & really, prettier & more feminine.

Of course I’m partial to the pro-skirts movement (what with my pear shape body), but I guess more than that, I’m partial to women wearing clothes that fit them!

Why squeeze into tight, clingy, uncomfortable clothes that nag at you all day long?

“My clothes are too tight! I must need to lose a few pounds.”

Wait, maybe you’re just wearing the wrong clothes, the wrong size??

So there’s a great scene from The Mindy Project where Mindy is showing Danny her boyfriend, some of the clothes in her closet. She goes through various types of clothing & then she gets to her “aspirational” clothing section–tiny, tiny dresses & shirts. Danny’s response, like most of his comments, shows the delusion in the sentiment. He says, “That’s not aspirational, those are kid’s clothes!”

Let’s all get real with what fits, what’s comfortable, & what actually looks good on our body type.

I’m not a fashion blogger by any stretch, but after a few gentle prods from some readers, I thought I’d show you a few outfits that I wear on a regular basis.

I really am out of the fashion loop–are bootleg jeans still in?–but I do like to think I have a sense of style.

I’d describe my style as classy, feminine, & practical.

I only wear heels for 3 hours on Sundays at church, or on the occasional fancy date. I like classic staples like black & brown skirts, but I also like pops of color & the occasional floral print.

All of these pieces were purchased on clearance from either Kohl’s, the Exchange (military department store), or J.Crew.

I had all the skirts & the dress altered–they were all ankle length & I had them altered to just below the knee or calf length because, you know, when it’s 90 degrees out you don’t want that extra length.

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This outfit is soooo comfortable. I can fake longer legs by wearing a high waist. The skirt smooths out my bottom half & it’s light & airy–not clingy in any way.

I wear my Chaco sandles about 90% of the time. I only wear socks when I work out.

Tee is from J.Crew (love their tees because they tend to be long) & skirt was originally past my ankles but I had it altered.

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Extra fancy because this was for church.

The skirt cost me $2. (I think it was like 85% off.)

Love the lace extender tops (believe it’s by Grace & Lace).

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This was a long maxi dress, altered.

My hair is usually pulled up into a messy bun with a headband–too hot otherwise!

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Hey look, I can even ride a bike with a skirt on!

The shirt, from J.Crew, is one of my faves because it’s extra long.

Final note…

I recieved the following note from Katrina, a bring joy reader. After I posted on facebook about how much I was loving skirts & dresses she writes:

Hi! In follow up to your post a few weeks ago about dresses and how comfortable they are, I wanted to tell you that you have converted this jeans addict! I have a long waist and have such a hard time finding dresses that fit. After you raving about the comfort of dresses, I remembered I knew of a company that sells “play dresses” for moms. I decided to take the leap and bought two. I have worn them with leggings so many times already, it’s ridiculous. They really are SO comfortable! They dress up and dress down easily. I even wore one to a fancy dinner and a musical! Their new line comes out in a week or so and I will definitely be splurging. In the meantime, every day I think “can I wear a dress again today or has it not been long enough yet since the last time I wore it?” So thanks so much for that post!

The company she is talking about is Sonnet James (“play dresses for playful moms”) (NOT an affiliate link). I haven’t had a chance to buy one of their dresses yet, but I have had a chance to browse their store & I’m impressed with the focus on quality, style, & comfort, with moms, in particular, in mind.

Further reading:
You might want to check out How to Never Look Fat Again (affiliate link), by Charla Krupp. Pay no heed to the title. It’s not a diet book or a fat-bashing book. This is a book that will help you find clothes that fit your body type.

Do you like jeans? Do you ever wear skirts & dresses? What do you feel best in?

 

Other bring joy posts to read:


Comments


  1. Melissa
    on November 25, 2015 at 4:29 pm said:

    I love the comfort of dresses, but the reality is that they make me look pregnant. I would wear more skirts, but my fat (yes, I say fat because they are) thighs rub together in a friction-ful way that causes the equivalent of a rub burn between my legs within a very short period of time. Long-underwear (ahem, you know the type) helps prevent this, as does wearing spanx – but really, then we have a whole other set of issues including being in a near-corset and the retention of heat that spanx just does because its synthetic. So, by comparison to jeans, wearing a dress or a skirt is much more work and not necessarily more comfortable. For me.

  2. Crystal B
    on November 24, 2015 at 11:20 am said:

    Interesting. I am the complete and total opposite of you. 🙂 I work in an office and I can’t stand dresses. Maybe it’s because my legs are kinda wide, but dresses make me feel like I am hiding in a tent. And I am so short, dresses are generally out of the question because they make them for tall people. Also, the chafing is no fun.

    I dress up in straight leg slacks and heels (if I have to) and dress down in straight leg jeans and tank tops. I layer for my office and during winter. I am always so uncomfortable in dresses, adjusting this or that, keeping the hem down, etc. I just feel more comfortable and confident in pants.

    It’s awesome though when you find something that fits like a dream. My mom always said, if the clothes or shoes fit buy one of every color! I certainly follow her advice about my pants 🙂

  3. Katie
    on November 21, 2015 at 2:14 pm said:

    On a note about Sonnet James, my friend owns a few dresses and she wore them at 41+ weeks pregnant because they stretch so well. So, it’s pretty versatile.

    Looking great Janae! I’m tempted to get some dresses now…

  4. Anna-Lena
    on November 20, 2015 at 3:05 pm said:

    Hey Janae, you look great, particularly in that blue dress. Although me too I tend to wear yoga pants ans Jeans, I feel much more confident and feminine wearing skirts and dresses.
    I like your bike!

  5. mischele
    on November 20, 2015 at 11:00 am said:

    Janae, you look so great!! So fun to read about your adventures overseas. I’ve known you for many years and I’ve always loved that you have your own style. I’m a girl who loves dresses as well, especially the comfy kind, and I love feeling more feminine!

  6. Cadry
    on November 20, 2015 at 9:15 am said:

    I so prefer dresses for all of the reasons you mentioned. They are often more comfortable, I don’t have to think about what shirt to match it with because it’s a complete outfit, and you instantly look more pulled together. The only flaw for me is that I live in a place with extremely cold weather. When I lived in LA, I was in dresses all the time, and in the summer, dresses are my go-to. However, in much of the fall and winter, it’s too cold for that, even with tights. During those times, I really miss my dresses.