Jeans have been at the center of my wardrobe since I was a sneaker-loving teenager that could easily transition between talking to the boys about the next Jordans dropping to chatting with the girls about the latest gossip that was making waves around the school.
As long as they were skinny, it didn’t matter whether they were dark denim, sand blasted or destroyed – jeans never failed to perfect an outfit I wore to school or while out visiting friends. They were the most important piece of clothing in my wardrobe, they started and finished the outfit. Growing up, I wasn’t exactly a tomboy or a girly girl so they fit my personality just right: I was able to leave something to the imagination while my curves and shape were shown. I didn’t have to feel awkward about showing skin like if I were to wear a dress or skirt.
Although jeans were right by my side in any fashion or social situation, I couldn’t help but notice all along they were betraying me. As I got older and starting to form a more womanly shape, no matter how many times I tugged and pulled them up, they would not stay on my waist.
I became so self-conscious that I was metaphorically “selling crack,” every time I would have to walk up a flight of stairs, my jeans would be pinched in the back between my index finger and thumb to be sure it didn’t seem as though I was dealing. If I had a long shirt or jacket on, I would smooth the shirt over at least five times before I reached the top of the stairs. If I had to bend down or over because I dropped something, I would get on the ground in the most uncomfortable way or look for a wall with no one near it so my backside wouldn’t be facing any peeping eyes.
I tried many of the usual stores and brands where teenagers would shop but no pair of jeans could measure up. I pulled all of my jeans out of my closet and couldn’t help but notice they were all straight at the hips. It was obvious that a majority of jeans were made for either white women or women that had straight hips, which did not include my black friends or me.
Then, in 2003, when hip-hop clothing was in style, Apple Bottoms came out with jeans that curved at the hip, and was just for a black women’s body— it was something that no other brand attempted to create. Admittedly, the Apple Bottoms jeans did curve at the hips and didn’t leave that gap between my stomach and the front of my pants like I was taking a picture for a Weight Watchers commercial. Unfortunately, wearing hip-hop backed clothing was a trend and after a few years it was no longer cool – not even Flo Rida’s song could bring them back.
So, I was left with jeans that were in style but didn’t fit correctly. Lately, my style has changed and I’ve become more interested in heels instead of sneakers. Also, with the increased frustration with jeans that don’t fit, I’ve switched to wearing those dresses and skirts that show a little leg. Until I get a chance to try out the expensive brands of jeans that are supposed to provide the “perfect fit” I’ll have to do with showing a little bit more skin and replacing jeans with tights and pants.
– Michelle Veal