I stand in my room surrounded by a sea of denim. Waves of light wash and dark wash splash around my ankles and grow taller and taller as I try on and discard each pair of jeans. My pointed toes slide into the leg trying to avoid obstacles of rips and holes. I shimmy my legs as I pull and stretch the constraining fabric over my thighs. It’s finally time to tackle the buttons. I suck in my stomach and begin the tedious process. Ouch––broke a nail. And with one last button, the jeans are on. I take a hopeful look in the mirror and then glance back down at my feet to see inches of extra fabric cascading past my toes. I turn around to check the waist band. While the denim perfectly forms to my legs and butt, the waist has a gap big enough to see down my back. “Another return!” I say to my mom as I struggle to slide the pair back off my body.
This is a process I have become very familiar with. You see, jeans are my biggest enemy when it comes to clothes that fit my body. For as long as I can remember, I have always struggled to find my “perfect pair of jeans.” No matter the wash, size, or style, I am constantly faced with a fit that is just slightly off. Whether it’s the legs that are way too long for my 4”11 sized body, or the waistband that either cuts off my circulation or is far too wide, there is always something. And the worst part is that I absolutely love how jeans look. I mean, they are such a closet staple! Especially as a college student, jeans are probably my most worn clothing item––other than sweatpants, of course. So, as I came to the unfortunate realization that I was never going to find a pair of jeans that were perfectly shaped for me, I decided to make them myself. Before you begin to think that I’m cool enough to learn how to sew my own jeans from scratch, let me stop you right there and explain.
I scoured the internet for tips and tricks on how to tweak your jeans. And with each pair I bought, the better I became at the art of denim customization. I’ve learned exactly where to cut off the bottom of the pant legs without even measuring. I even became an expert at fraying the freshly cut fabric myself using the inside edge of a scissor. I also learned that I can sometimes avoid this problem completely by buying already cropped jeans, as they are usually full-length on me. As for the waist size debacle, button pins have become my best friend. I first heard about these on the beloved TikTok, and I seriously think that they are the best hack to come out of that app––and they sell them on Amazon! They are designed to allow you to move the top jean button to wherever fits your waist the best. Genius. I’ve also tried tying a shoelace through the back belt loops or weaving the top button through a belt loop, but the button pins seem to work the best for me. My resilience to the plague of an awkward-fit continued to grow until I no longer frowned at the common sight of a new pair of unfit jeans.
I sometimes look back at the days in middle school when I refused to let denim touch my skin. I could not stand how they felt or looked on my body. My mom used to beg me to give up the leggings and switch to at least a jegging. Maybe middle school me was onto something when she decided to avoid the jean quest altogether. Regardless, I not only pursued the search once I got to high school, but I overcame the challenge and found my own resolution to each problematic pair. It wasn’t until this summer that I discovered that this jean struggle is actually a universal experience. I was getting ready for dinner with my friend Carley who absolutely towers over me. She slipped into a pair of Levi’s and sighed. “Ugh, I can never find jeans that cover my ankles.” I cocked my head and smiled to myself, as I realized that I was not alone. But sadly, I didn’t have any styling tricks to help her, because the one thing I never had to find was a solution to make jeans longer.
Cover Photo: Masterclass.com