A fitting conundrum

By Mir
October 3, 2008

I love Fridays. It’s the one day of the week I allow myself some unstructured time. Monday through Thursday, it’s all work while the kids are in school. And Saturday and Sunday, all family. But generally I can sneak a few errands in on Friday before the kids get home.

Today I needed to go to the post office, because for SOME reason when I give prizes away on Want Not people actually expect me to mail them out, or something. I don’t know. People are so DEMANDING. And although I have all the makings of a home office here in my, uh, home office, I do need to leave the house to do that. (Dear Stamps.com: Your software is incompatible with Macs. You are therefore compatible with extreme suckage. Love, Mir.)

And as long as I was headed out, I thought perhaps I’d go run some other errands. And seeing as how it’s been rather nippy here, in the mornings, suggesting that cold weather is indeed coming, I decided to go shopping for some pants.

AHAHAHAHAHA. Shopping for pants! We know how well that always goes!

But the fact of the matter is that despite the crushing sense of doom with which this endeavor fills me, sometimes it has to be done. In this case, it has to be done because:

1) I wrote that other post a year and a half ago,
2) Afterward I found myself TWO pairs of jeans,
3) When you have only two pairs of jeans that fit, they get washed a lot,
4) Jeans which are washed a lot tend to start falling apart,
5) Marriage has made me fat and happy. Ahem.

As was previously established, I will happily throw my tightwad tendencies to the wind for a decent pair of jeans, but it’s more often than not a matter of just not being able to find anything. Case(s) in point, the last two pair of jeans I purchased.

The first is a pair of Luckys, which many of you suggested for me when I explained how I commit the EGREGIOUS CRIME of having a substantial backside along with a small waist. My Luckys are completely awesome, and not just because they only cost me $10. They fit perfectly. I love them. I want to have little denim babies with them. I would happily pay the $100+ to buy another pair. They are a discontinued style, and every pair of Luckys I have tried on since then have laughed at my ass and made fun of my hair, for good measure.

The second is a pair of completely unremarkable yet comfortable jeans from Eddie Bauer. These were also just $10, owing to the fact (I’m sure) that they were irregulars—one leg was an inch longer than the other. Heh. I took them to a tailor, and another $10 later I had another pair of jeans. Hooray! I then visited the Eddie Bauer store approximately ten times, as well as ordering an assortment of jeans from the website (TWICE), before concluding that yes, Virginia, that was also a discontinued style.


Honestly, WHAT IS SO BIZARRE ABOUT THE WAY I AM SHAPED? I have ascertained, over the years, that although I am of completely average height (5-and-a-half feet) and seeming normal proportions, I have this funny mid-section thing going on. Apparently long-waistedness (is that even a word) has to do with the proportion of the torso relative to the legs. I am not long-waisted. Or short-waisted. I am average-waisted. (But not wasted. That’s different. Though trying to explain this is sort of making me wish that I was….) No, I—lovely UNIQUE SNOWFLAKE that I am—apparently have a longer-than-average distance between my belly button and my crotch. You’re welcome!

What that means is that the jeans claiming to be mid-rise are all low-rise on me. And all of the jeans claiming to be low-rise require me to get a Brazilian. (You’re welcome, again!) Theoretically this means that to get my best fit—a mid-rise—I need only to find a pant that claims to sit at-waist.


Given that I am not actually interested in wearing elastic-waist Mom Jeans, this is difficult.

Anyway. I went out to look for jeans. And I went to TJ Maxx, because I love TJ Maxx, even though I only find pants that fit there about once a year and then it’s always something that doesn’t exist anywhere else. Come to think of it, I have no idea why I shop there. BUT LO! I tried on a dozen pairs and found a suitable pair of jeans. PERFECT!

My AWESOME new jeans were only $12, and they’re a dark-wash, mid-rise, wide and straight leg denim that is the correct length for low shoes. (I do own a fabulous pair of denim trousers, but I have to wear them with heels.) I believe I got an A+ on every style metric, and the fit is perfect.

Here I am, GREAT NEW JEANS in hand, ready to buy another pair (or two or three) of the same style if I can find them, because they fit. Well, I should be in good shape, right? They’re from Lands’ End—which, yes, confirms that I am actually a suburban mom, thanks—and a style they still carry. If I’m willing to pony up the cash I should be ALL SET.

There’s just one little problem.

These jeans I just bought are irregulars. And I can’t figure out what’s wrong with them. Which means that the “irregularity” could be that they’re narrower in the waist than they’re supposed to be. Which would make sense, seeing as how this is the first pair of Lands’ End jeans in the history of the universe that WASN’T too big in the waist for me.

So I could pony up $60 for another pair, but they probably won’t be the same fit.

Alternatively, I can wear and adore this pair until they start to fall apart, and then in another year and a half I can come write ANOTHER post about shopping for jeans. (Don’t worry, I’ll try to mention the Brazilian thing again, when I do.)


  1. Stacia

    I used to live in Madison (where Lands’ End was located) and would shop at their outlet (read irregular) store all the time. I never figured out what was wrong with anything I bought there. Maybe they just have really high standards and you don’t really have to worry about it!

  2. The Mom

    I hate trying on jeans. But what I hate even more is when I was a store manager for The Gap….oh yes, I was….and OTHER ladies would try on jeans. Of course no pair of jeans fit the same and we ladies NEED the perfect fit. So for the price of ONE pair of jeans I would have to fold approximately 60 other pair. So glad those days are long gone!

  3. Leandra

    I’m still loving my self-termed “Hallelujah jeans” from the Gap that Burgh Baby’s Mom introduced me to, but they, too, can only be worn with heels. And really, how often do I wear heels on the weekends when I actually want to wear my jeans. Also, since I’ve lost 13 pounds, they’re a little loose, so once again, I’m on the jeans hunt too.

  4. Mama Bear

    Shopping for jeans is the equivalent of using a hammer to rap a good rhythm on your own head. It’s also a very good excuse to try out the “wasted” part of your post. Hate, hate, hate shopping for jeans! Hubby refuses to set foot in a store with me if my intention is to try and find jeans. Smart man.

  5. Teresa

    If you go to truejeans.com you can enter your measurements and the programs will tell you the best pair of jeans for you. Now, I warn you some of their jeans are RIDICULOUS! But, I have bought IT Diva jeans from them that are fabulous! Then I got smart and just wrote down the brand and style and searched the web to see if I could fine a bargain somewhere else.

    Just a thought. The IT jeans usually run $65 and I have NEVER paid that much for jeans in my life! But, they are worth it.

    Give it a try. truejeans.com And no, I don’t work for the company or get any kickbacks!

  6. RuthWells

    Being of small waist and not-small hips myself, I have done well with Ann Taylor Loft relaxed boot cut. Totally worth the $50, as they somehow magically make my butt look 5lbs smaller.

  7. KD @ A Bit Squirrelly

    I have given into rediculous splurges on jeans. GAP and IT jeans are my second faves and are most resonable. I figure that I wear jeans every day so I am making an investment in something I will wear often..at least that is how I justify it to my hubby :-)

  8. M

    I soooo am with you on this one!! And I just discovered that I have exactly one pair of pants that are suitable to wear out of the house, and it’s getting a little chilly for capris…

  9. Beachgal

    Being on the short side at a whopping five two, I have a bloody time finding pants. I too wear my jeans until they fall apart, because it is nigh on impossible to find ones that fit, not to mention that I actually like, that aren’t outrageously expensive. My favorite pair right now is quite tattered, but I am afraid to go looking. Dress pants are another nightmare. Hope you find some more that you like.

  10. Rebecca

    I feel like Old Navy had, at some point, jeans that sit at-waist. I am not sure what they have now, because I haven’t been there in awhile, but I do like the jeans I’ve bought from them in the past. Give it a whirl?

  11. StephLove

    I feel your pain ’cause I’m a unique snowflake too, but the opposite kind. Plump, but narrow-hipped (= big waist + small bottom) so I have no useful advice. I hate, hate, hate shopping, too, so I tend to give up and wear jeans that just don’t fit right.

  12. Jenn

    There is an alternative. This company claims to restore torn jeans by reweaving: http://www.denimtherapy.com/. Estimated cost is $20 per inch, which for the right jeans, may be worth it. I have not used them. My old, well-fitting jeans in a discontinued style are so old as to be almost disintegrating in the thighs. As soon as I patch one tear another appears. I save them for wearing under dresses and very long tunic tops.

    I too have a wide bottom and tiny waist. Not sure about the bellybutton-crotch measurement. I do know I’m tired of hiking up my jeans!

  13. Brandy

    I hate shopping for me period. It may have something to do with being bigger. I do like ColdwaterCreek Jeans.

  14. ~annie

    Best fit for me? Boys size 16 carpenter pants. Yeah, now there’s a look…

  15. Scottsdale Girl

    Did you ask for suggestions?

    I have none. Jeans are the devil. Seriously.

  16. The Other Other Dawn

    I love irregulars from good brand names! Years ago, I found barn jackets similar to the style sold by L.L. Bean and Land’s End, but labelled with some other name I’d never heard of, at K-Mart for $35. Score! As I was going through them looking for my size, I came upon a jacket with a label that said Land’s End. Hmmm… thought I… and found out that all of the no-name labels had been pasted over the Land’s End labels. It turned out it was a lot of jackets commissioned by L’s E that did not meet their exacting standards. I could see nothing wrong with the jacket, so bought one and lo, these 13 years later it still looks great.

    I found jeans to fit at (don’t hate me) Wal-Mart. Unique little snowflake that I am, I have the same hip/waist ratio problem, plus I’m only 5’2″. You can see my dilemma. But natural fit Penman’s fit me like a glove and cost all of CDN$17. w00t!

  17. Ray

    Ooh, shopping for jeans is a special circle of hell not mentioned in any literature. I feel your pain! Of course, I have the added benefit of being irregularly sized, 6′ tall, and “tall” in women’s clothes are too short for me. I can buy “average” length, and they’re perfect capris!

    And I don’t even venture into the world of dress pants. It’s a nightmare. If I have to dress up, I wear a skirt

  18. Rini

    I don’t have your waist issue (Thank the jean-gods!), but I’m all over your “too much butt for your waist” issue. Outside of the thrift store, which never seems to actually match what you find in the real stores, the only pair of jeans that has actually fit me well since high school has been from Fossil. And they wanted $89 for it. Not so much.

    My washing machine looooooves me.

  19. Heather O

    I saw on TV that if the fit problem is that the jeans fit your butt but not your waist giving you that annoying gaping waist thing….that a tailor can fix that really easily and inexpensively. Since you are already familiar with the joys of tailoring perhaps you could give that a try with one pair and see if it works out. (And then report the results here to the rest of us!! We need to know as we are all unique snowflakes!)

  20. Ceramom

    I am 5’7″ and have decided that I will wear maternity pants FOREVER. They are the ONLY PANTS IN THE WORLD that are not ” ultra low rise ” because not only would ultra low rise require a brazilian, they might not even be LEGAL in most states. So … I’m wearing maternity pants. AGAIN.

  21. E's Mommy

    My SO has the same problem with pants, her waist is much smaller than her rear and pants never ever fit unless they have a drawstring waist. She got custom jeans made from Lands End. You plug all your measurements in and they make them to fit you. They took a long time to come but they fit and are pretty durable so they aren’t wearing out as fast as her other pants.

  22. Astrogirl

    Girl, here’s the thing. When you’ve put yourself through that level of torture, it’s time to stop worrying about the cost. Go to a store. Find a pair that fits your largest part. Take them to tailor’s, and have them take in the rest. Result: What looks and feels like a custom-made pair of jeans, all for probably $15 + the price of the jeans.

    Personally I love NY&Co jeans; they have several options on type of rise. In their other pants they also have choices of tall, average, or petite (leg length). The petite is perfect for me, because although I am 5’5″, I am evidently a midget. Who knew?

    Like i said – tailoring. A good tailor is worth their weight in gold.

  23. J from Ireland

    At the moment I have 3 pairs of jeans, that I love. One pair I really love is failing apart and like you, discontinued. I hate trying on jeans. Its load of bollox trying to find jeans that fit well!

  24. Tara

    If they are Land’s End jeans, go to Sears and try some on there. At least you wouldn’t have to pay to return them if they were wrong. Also, check the tag. It usually has a sizeXlength (i.e. 6X28) which is very helpful.

  25. Hallie

    Have you tried this for your postage? : https://sss-web.usps.com/cns/landing.do You could probably use a kitchen scale if you don’t have one to weigh your packages.

  26. Michelle

    As a semi-plus size girl, I have fallen in love with Lane Bryant jeans. They fit amazingly, and they call their size 16 a size 1 and go on from there. Which makes me feel skinny, because Hey! I wear a size 1! Neener neener neener!

  27. Pats

    Mir, when I was running a home-based business, I found Endicia worked well for printing postage. And they work with a Mac. http://endicia.com/Products/Mac/

  28. Flea

    It’s been a very long time since I shopped for jeans anywhere but Ross, but doesn’t Sears carry Lands End?

  29. Half Assed Kitchen

    I’m six-two with a JLo ass. Try fitting them apples.

  30. Tatiana

    Sears does carry Land’s End. And while I dislike Old Navy on principle, they have a really great assortment of jeans that you might want to check out :]

  31. dgm

    You can find the best-fitting jeans for your size and shape at zafu.com. I, too, am not sized like a normal person–five feet plus a few centimeters, not fat but not bone-thin (an “athletic build” as they call it). I need super low-risers so they will be low-rise on me.

    Zafu also helps you find the perfect bra, although I haven’t used that yet. I’m thinking I need the expert bra lady at Nordy’s.

  32. ChristieNY

    I have a mac and I go to usps.com to print my stamps and arrange pickup.

    Well, I did. Now we live on top of a mountain and our mailbox is at the bottom so they won’t pick up. In fact I have to go to the post office every time we get a package to pick it up.

    But you, YOU might be able to get a postal scale for your home office, weigh your stuff, print a label at USPS and have them pick it up.

    Okay back to read the rest of your post… I got stuck on the stamp.com-mac=suckage thing and felt compelled to respond asap! lol ;)

  33. ChristieNY

    Okay I got past the stamps and have moved on to the jeans… lol… I’ve used zafu with great success at finding jeans for my small waist/bigger hip dilemma based on measurement.

    Lately I’ve been loving the Old Navy Sweetheart jeans. They have a higher rise you can try too if that works for you, but the jeans have some stretch to them so they are very forgiving.

    Good luck, and hooray for at least finding one pair that fits great! :)

  34. Karen

    I gave up trying to find pants that fit. Then, a couple of years ago, I got a job that required me to wear khaki pants while working. I happened to be in the Dollar General store, and they had some in men’s sizes. For $10. I tried some on and found the best fitting pants I have ever had. I went back and bought some of their men’s jeans, in the same size, for $10 a pair. They are the best fitting jeans I have had in a long long time.

  35. Jamie AZ

    Congrats on finding at least one pair of jeans! If you do order them from LE, you can always return them at your local Sears store. My favorite fitting jeans are my Calvin Klein stretch flare jeans. I usually get them at Macy’s or Dillards. Love them and they make my tush and not flat tummy look pretty darn good! :)

  36. Lindy

    Have you tried Gap’s “Curvy Fit” jeans?

    When I have to buy jeans, I imagine it’s something like anal rape. Total nightmare, and I never find them at TJ Maxx because I’m freaking short. I’m 5’1, regular waistedness (I’m pretty sure it’s a word), with small waist but about the only thing I got from my dear mother was her junk in the trunk. And since I spend at least half my day in some variation of a squat, I have to wear mid-rise so my butt crack doesn’t show at work.

    Anyway, once I found Gap’s Curvy Fit, I was sold. Fit my hips and my butt, none of that annoying extra waistline leaving four inches of gap in the small of my back because my behind was too big. They’re like, $60, but you can find them on sale sometimes for half that. I hate paying over $20 for any piece of clothing, but I find once I get a good pair of jeans that fits, I will wear them until they fall apart and then I fix them and then they fall apart again. Which, if you take into the number of days jeans were worn before they finally hit the yardsale pile, well, that’s maybe a penny a day! It helps.

    And the last few times I’ve bought jeans at Gap, I buy one pair even if I want more than one, then on the receipt it says if I spend 5 minutes filling out an online survey I get a coupon code for 20 percent off. So I fill that out and then go the next day or so and get another pair. And then I get another survey code… And it goes on. Cheaper jeans.

  37. Melodee

    You + me = average

    Low-rise jeans are mid-rise on me. Mid-rise come to my waist. My waist-to-butt ratio is the opposite of yours.

    That’s all. I just wanted you to know that the universe is indeed in balance.

    (My favorite pair of jeans? Calvin Klein “Flare” that I bought at a thrift store for $13; they were located in the men’s section in error.)

  38. Kim

    I sympathize with you, I just threw out one of my two favorite pairs of jeans, I think the spandex spanded-out. Don’t shoot me but I suffer from the no-ass syndrome. So I have to find something that fits my waist (which is not huge) and doesn’t swim in the ass. Low rise? Faggedaboudit. Have you tried LLBean?

  39. MomCat

    I read, with great interest, everyone’s suggestions. Having just tried on a dozen pairs of expensive ($100 plus) jeans, at a friend’s urging that they’d fit “way better” than my usual, budget jean, I feel:

    (a) Freakish (Mir, we should start a long-lower rise club)
    (b) Old
    (c) Cold, because I didn’t buy any of them
    (d) All of the above.

    The only pair that fit even remotely was NYDJ, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay $149 for an okay pair of jeans.

  40. crockpot lady

    my new favorite jeans are lands end, too! but petite.
    I can be your Skipper.

  41. susie

    try this: truejeans.com

    i’ve had a lot of success with it

  42. Michelle

    Go to the Lands End website (www.landsend.com)and click on the Overstocks button at the top of the page. On the Overstocks page they have a category labeled “Not Quite Perfect.” There are a couple of pairs of jeans listed there, and one of them may be the jeans you are looking for. Hope this helps!

  43. Rachel

    Heh, Old Navy, that was interesting for me. I tried on every pair of their jeans in my size in what they said were mid rise & low rise. The mid rise sat lower on my waist than the low rise. They were all too low for me. Their website says they have some that sit at the waist (higher than the 2 styles I tried), but they don’t have them in the 2 stores I visited in ND. I didn’t try on the lowest rise, because I can’t see me wearing jeans that the waist ended below my knees (don’t know if they even do brazillians here). However, given that the low rise was higher than the mid rise, maybe I should have tried the lowest rise? I have recently lost almost 20 lbs, so am searching for new jeans. My “old, bigger” favorites were Tommy Hilfiger, but the 3 stores that I used to buy them at no longer carry them. = ( My 2nd favs were Calvin Kleins bootcut, and found them in the smaller size, but 2 inches too short at Macy’s for $70. Would have bought them if they were long enough, & I would have gladly paid the $70. I found them a few days later in the correct length at Gordmans for $30 – yeah!! I need to check TJ Maxx again for the Calvins, but I did try on a pair there that didn’t fit. I H.A.T.E. shopping for jeans, but I do have to admit, it’s not as bad now that I am shopping for a smaller size. = )
    Love your blog & you look pretty today! (As usual!)

  44. Lori

    Ugh, jeans shopping. Why is it that I can go to any store and pick up the same pair of Levi’s for the hubby and they will fit him perfectly yet no two pairs of the exact same brand/wash/cut of jeans fit the same for me? WHY? I swear all denim manufacturers are men.

  45. Annie

    I would rather eat nuclear waste than go shopping for pants. I am a size bigger in the hips than the waist. And you’re right EVERY time I find something I like, they discontinue it.

    Old Navy has good jeans out this year. The “sweetheart” fit is classic rise. The “flirt” is mid rise. The “diva” is low rise. Tons of different leg styles and even some trouser cuts (which I love). Prices range from $19-35.

    I’ve also discovered Lucy yoga pants. They’re pricey ($70-80), but they have 6 different cuts and 3 different lengths. I like their “vital” pant and “everyday” pant. Good for people who, like me, are “hippy”. (The clerk’s word, not mine.)

  46. ImpostorMom

    I hate hate hate jean shopping. I currently have ONE pair that I am completely wearing out. They are Bitten by sarah jessica parker and wouldn’t you know steve & barrys is going out of business. My problem is the length. Being a shorty I refuse to pay extra to get short person jeans shipped. I find it to be somewhat discriminatory that they don’t carry the short lengths in the store. I’m totally in denial that I need a new pair. La la la, that is not string hanging from my pant leg, la la la.

    PS. Now I know that that totally was you that I saw in the parking lot of the post office. I was rushing to make a lunch date and was all “is that Mir?” but didn’t have time to stop and holler out my car window like a fool. :)

  47. Amy

    Hey Mir,

    Lucky Brand has an outlet in Dawsonville. I’m pretty sure the jeans there are discontinued as I’ve never seen the jeans in the real store there, so you might find another pair of your dear Lucky jeans (also, the only brand that I’ve found that fit me decently – it’s hard being short waisted and almost 6 feet tall too).

    Also, I’ve met you before, and I’m going to go ahead and disagree with part of point 5 above – the fat part, not the happy part.

    Have a great week – A

  48. Keyomi

    hehee..u r funny! sorry bout the whole jeans shopping thing!

    but man..when u get a deal..a damn deal it is! $10 for jeans?? gawd…i never get to spend less that $20 on my Express ones! And i thought those were a good deal…!
    i am beginning to wonder…!!

    good luck with the new ‘irregulars’! :)

  49. Audi

    When I was younger I started to buy mens jeans. You can get the waist and length where you need them. Why don’t they size womens jeans the same way they size mens? It would make it so much easier to find pants that fit right.

  50. Lorraine

    JC Penney’s for Levis. There’s hardly ever anyone there, you have a whole wall of jeans to yourself, and the 527s are a nice boot cut mid-rise. However, since I’m an apple shape, I love the 501s with the button fly. And, since I’m 47, maybe I’ll shop for grown-up jeans someday…

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