Dear Jeans Manufacturers,

There I was, getting ready to go to a friend’s house (to eat coconut milk ice cream and watch Craigslist Joe, if you must know, and yes, I totally recommend both – sooo fun!) but before I could even get my primp on I ran into a snag. Bigger than a snag, actually. This happened:

How did this happen exactly? I put on my fave pair of trouser jeans — so cute with or without heels! Can be dressed up or dressed down! Love the wash! — and when I squatted down to pick up my belt off the floor I felt a rip. An earthquake, really. Basically I Incredible-Hulked my jean.

My first thought was sadness. I lost a beloved pair of jeans! And then my sadness turned inward. Stupid “athletic” thighs! Why do you always have to go and ruin perfectly good fashion?! I need to lose 10 pounds, stat! But then I got angry because you know what? My thighs are awesome. Yeah, they’re bigger than what your sizing charts say they should be but you should see me jump a plyo box! Or check out my killer roundhouse! And did you know I can squat with a full range of motion? On a Bosu! With weights! And four kids hanging off me! And spinning plates on the top of my head! (Okay, not the plates!)

So guess what, jeans companies: it’s not me that’s the problem, it’s you.

Why do you have to make me so disproportionate? My strong legs are too big for a “slim fit” but my waist is too small to go up a size. There is a 2-3 size difference between my waist and my thighs. And I know y’all think you solved this problem when you invented curvy jeans but all “curvy” girls are not created identically and while I’ve got more thighs than a bucket of chicken, I don’t have much of a butt (despite hundreds of lunges). I’m also entertained that your definition of “athletic” (as evidenced by countless magazine articls and fit tips) is “straight up and down” (i.e. no waist, no butt, no hips, no legs). Certainly those women can be athletic but athletes come in all shapes and sizes. Although I am glad you stopped calling that body type “boy shaped” because that was just ridic. Maybe we should just go back to the fruit bowl? Hi apple, I’m a pear.

Do you know what you’ve left me with Jeans Manufacturers? The denim demon PAJAMA JEANS. (Hold me.)

I’m a girl with style darnnit. I deserve better than cheap leggings with a seam and pockets printed on them Polly-Pocket style. I deserve better than 97% lycra. I deserve to feel strong AND confident AND sexy in my jeans. Oh, and I deserve to be able to squat down to pick something up without literally tearing the butt out of my pants. I do not deserve this:

While this is the first time I’ve ever split my own pants, this is certainly not the only time I’ve worn ill-fitting jeans. In fact, I daresay I do not own a single pair of jeans that I would say fit me at least 90% well. (While I’m complaining, please ditch low-rise. I need way more than 3 inches between gut and glory.)

Now don’t you try and shame me with ultra-thin models whose thighs never touch and are exactly the same circumference at the top as they are at the bottom*. I’m on to your photoshop. Plus – haven’t you heard? – butt and thigh fat (or “gluteofemoral fat”) is an indicator of good health. And the more the merrier! In fact, having extra padding down there protects us girls from cardiovascular disease and diabetes, not to mention having smarter babies. Don’t believe me? Here’s the latest conclusions from researchers from Oxford university:

“Population studies show that an increased gluteofemoral fat mass is independently associated with a protective lipid and glucose profile, as well as a decrease in cardiovascular and metabolic risk. Studies of adipose tissue physiology in vitro and in vivo confirm distinct properties of the gluteofemoral fat depot with regards to lipolysis and fatty acid uptake: in day-to-day metabolism it appears to be more passive than the abdominal depot and it exerts its protective properties by long-term fatty acid storage. Further, a beneficial adipokine profile is associated with gluteofemoral fat. Leptin and adiponectin levels are positively associated with gluteofemoral fat while the level of inflammatory cytokines is negatively associated. Finally, loss of gluteofemoral fat, as observed in Cushing’s syndrome and lipodystrophy is associated with an increased metabolic and cardiovascular risk.” [Emphasis mine]

So are you telling me you want me to die young, Jeans Companies? Because I would think it would be better for your bottom (heh) line to keep customers around as long as possible. And the lengths I’d have to go to to take the dictated-by-you 3 inches off each thigh probably would kill me.

I get it. I have a body built for skirts. You should see me rock the heck out of a pencil skirt.

But every once in a while I get the yen to sit without having to worry about going all Sharon Stone at the playground or be able to ride my bike without my skirt blowing up over my head or be able to, you know, live in Minnesota without getting an ice enema during the winter.

I’m not writing you to ask for my money back – I’m asking for my life back. I’m sick of caring about how “huge” my thighs are and honestly the only time they really bother me is when I’m wearing jeans. And this is why I live in skirts or workout leggings. Get your act together please.



Has anyone else ever ripped the butt out of their pants on accident? (Thankfully I was at home when it happened so I don’t have to add it to my rapidly growing list of embarrassing moments!) Do you have any jeans recommendations for me? Were you surprised to learn that butt/hip/thigh fat is actually GOOD for women??

*I’m not slamming naturally thin girls. I’m just saying that I’m not one of them and therefore shouldn’t be held to the same sizing charts as they are.

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  1. Whoa! I feel for you I have a similar pear shape and it ran through jeans like nobody’s business. What I found was that I had to buy jeans a size or two larger and wash them and wear allowing to fit around me. A few hours on weekend and all my jeans worked out for me. Good luck

  2. LOL!!!!!!!! I haven’t yet ripped a pair, but I definitely carry my weight in my booty and thighs, and my increasing heavy squats are only helping to thicken them both up.. I’d much rather have curves though than a flat behind!

  3. Damn, I have this issue too, as so many black women A quarter of my girlfriends that I know well enough to talk about this junk with. It is telling how I can feel like a freak show although as you realize that your “problem” is very common. Jean companies make tons of money if they tailored jeans that really fit our hips, yeah right? They’d have a monopoly! But, instead, the GAP curvy fit jeans used to do the trick, but now they are too narrow again. Can’t win

  4. Hilarious. Love your writing style boo

  5. When I started exercising consistently one of my motivations was to be able to fit into jeans/pants off the rack. I have the small waist, ‘thunder thighs’ issue and could never find a jean that would make its way up over my thighs and fit snuggly at my waist – always a gap! Somehow I have managed to find a few pairs over the years, specifically the Levis CurveID which has 1 or 2 styles that complement my shape. The author brings up a good point, here I was thinking I had to conform when really it was the fashion brands that should’ve been offering more options instead making me feel like I wasn’t “normal”. Great article.

  6. THANK YOU! This JUST happened to me about 3 weeks ago as I was heading from dinner to drinks with a friend… We never made it out for drinks. I am more of a Apple than Pear (read: little bum and hips, high waisted, thick thighs, ample boobage, but not rolly poley) and I always wear the inner thigh portion of my jeans thin. Gap’s curvy (sorta) works for me, but jeggings are the best thing ever created!

  7. I never intended to comment, but I really enjoyed the read. Also too I have a wife that’s constantly complaining about jeans and their fit. My wife is a wonderful black woman size 12 , all thighs/ hips/ and butt. Perfection.

    *ahem* excuse me….anyway

    Curve jeans are out, Not Your Daughter Jeans worked really well. On the cheaper end though she found that Old Navy jeans worked. However she had that dreaded gap at the waist over the butt, and she dare not put a belt on to close it (tacky city). So what she did was take them to her taylor and he took the waist in and wah-la perfect fit. In fact she doesn’t need belt for them.

    I feel that this in one area of the jean industry that is truely untapped, TRUE custom jeans for women (not urban girls, I’m looking at you apple bottom) of color.

    If I remember correctly black americans as a whole only make up 12% of the american population so theirs just no real motivation I suppose money wise for these companies to invest in jeans for black women…Sad.

  8. Joe’s jeans work well for me.they have stretch but aren’t the thin jeggings that were popular.I wish I could remember the style I have, but they fit well even when I go up or down a few pounds or ten. Lol! I always have a tailor bring the waist in.

  9. Yes, this! The aggrevating assumption that we are all the same size. Add to this that I’m 4’10”. Grrrrr. NOTHING fits. short is to long, curvy not curvy enough. Ironically, the one well fitting pair of jeans I have are target brand stretch boot cut, fit 4. Which I bought because the pants I was wearing ripped.

    • @karmell: I have the same prob. I’m 5’1 and everything fits unflattering. I have been wearing those pj jeans so much that it’s my new normal. 🙁

  10. I have thick thighs too, so I feel your pain. Only I never had my jeans rip on me. I am scared to buy really trendy cheap jeans or jeans made for juniors. I think Rock & Republic has the best fitting jeans. Levi’s curve is okay but I still feel it’s not loose enough through the thigh area.

  11. i hate my thighs with a passion. especially in the summer heat. they rub together at the top like HELL. i refuse to wear shorts because of the nastiness and flabiness. i can’t find pants cause they never fit my giant thighs.

    ::sigh:: i long for what white girls call “the gap”. where your thighs don’t rub together at all. ughh i notice that most women’s thighs don’t rub together at all and i hate them lucky heffas! lol

    • @chanela: Hi Chanela, I used to long for the gap myself and never want to wear shorts (and sometimes dresses) in the summer due to the painful thigh rubbing, but I found a solution. Ladies, PAY ATTENTION! It’s Body Glide. It’s sold on Amazon or in sporting good stores like Fleet Feet and Sports Authority. Basically, it’s what marathon runners use so they don’t chafe during their race. It looks like a stick of deodorant. The best part is that it’s waterproof so you don’t need more than a few swipes on your thighs for each wear and it works for hours. So now that we solved that problem…

      With regard to jeans. I am a typical pear/hourglass and I have never really found a pair that truly works. Calvin Klein, Express, Seven and Old Navy were a few that worked, but they all suffered in some manner at their deaths.

  12. I have been in your position, quite literally ass out. I have tried every jean, from Old Navy to costly Joe’s Jeans Honey Booty Fit, but they always wear thin where my thighs rub. I don’t know what the solution is, but I was considering trying to repair them. Hell, they cost over $120!

  13. Gurllllll, I laughed when I read this, but I was secretly crying on the inside, because I feel your pain. I have this same issue and buying any type of pant is an issue. For a time, I would buy a lot of stretchy jeans, but now I can’t find any that I really like, that are reasonably priced. So when you find some jeans for us big thighed, big butt and a smile ladies, please let us know!!

  14. On the flip side, I am pretty thin and most jeans fit me, but I have also ripped several pairs in the same place! Doesn’t matter if they’re $10 or $100 jeans – it just happens if I wear them tight. So jeans companies need to make more fits AND make them more durable in the crotch!

  15. There was actually a time (when jeans were manufactured in the USA) jeans lasted FOREVER and the only way you got holes in them was through wear and washing. Even then, you put a patch on the holes and wore for another couple of years. You did have less style choices but jeans were MADE to last and they were a lot cheaper. Jeans were made for work not style i.e., farmers, cowboys, blue collier workers, kids, etc. Once they became fashionable and the manufacturing was shipped overseas quality began to deteriorate, sizes fluctuated and cost skyrocketed.

  16. I loved all the responses…made me feel not so all alone. I have been dealing with this issue all my life and I am now 52. I work out but my thighs and rear-end have always been larger with a small waist. Went to Levi’s and was told…Girrrllll..You’re not a demi curve..a semi curve ……You’re a BOLD Curve! And they are still tight on the legs. Same problem. Can’t go up a size due to the small waist. I don’t know who is designing these jeans, but they are certainly assless!

  17. LadyNA-You are so right about the quality. That includes all of our clothes made overseas. They think we are all 6ft tall and as thin as a rail. The material is crap! I used to love jeans…now they are a nightmare with all that stretch in them! YUCK!

  18. Your article hits home for me, I have NEVER found a pair of jeans that fit correctly. I love your article and wish jean companies made waistbands that curved in, instead of just straight up.

    Shout out to everyone who tried Levi’s curve ID, they failed for me too, no room for any sort of butt, or thigh. The worst part is to me all of the models for the brand look pretty much the same, so I don’t even relate to their shape when looking at the examples, and they say they took measurements from real people to create their jeans..

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