Finally Fashion Forward?

Homemade pants with an elastic waist band, back when my hair was red

I used to think that I was the only woman in America who didn’t wear jeans, but maybe that is changing.  The Washington Post recently featured an article on the decline of jeans sales during the pandemic. More and more people are turning to leggings and stretch pants, putting comfort before everything else.  That means they are finally admitting to a basic truth: jeans really aren’t that comfortable.

What do I have against jeans, that most American of garments?  First of all, the fabric is stiff and ungiving, at least until you have worn them for a few months. And even stretchy jeans have what I consider to be a fatal flaw—thick seams that dig into your flesh. 

Many people consider elastic waistbands to be the antithesis of fine dressing.  Not me.  I embraced stretchy clothes once I got pregnant and never gave them up.  When I returned to sewing over twenty years ago, I was overjoyed to learn that I could put elastic waistbands in every kind of pants in any fabric from silk to cotton. Constant lectures about their “mumsy” look in fashion books and style shows never convinced me to change my mind.

And now it appears that my fashion moment has come!  “Jeans are cardiovascular prisons,” says one young woman quoted in the Washington Post article.  I could have told her that a long time ago.

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7 Responses to Finally Fashion Forward?

  1. Palo Verde says:

    I cannot stand jeans and I loathe, despise, and hate denim. If I had to wear jeans, it would be old fashioned Levis from the first few decades post-WWII. On the other hand, I seldom wear pants except sometimes in the winter. It’s supposed to be 113 degrees today and you want me to encase my legs??

  2. JS says:

    I gave up on jeans decades ago. I had some close calls during bathroom breaks and decided to give up wearing clothing that was so difficult to get on and off. Jumpsuits, which you’ve discussed in the past, are nowhere near as difficult.

    I was a child in the ’60s, so I grew up with creatively faded, shredded, patched, and painted jeans but now I find them disgusting, especially the fading and the shredding. I’ve read that some people don’t wash their jeans, which is absolutely gross. I’ve often thought how weird a concept it is to buy an article of clothing only to perfect the right amount of wornness, although with most garments we expect them to look relatively fresh, clean, and unpatched.

    Skinny jeans didn’t look good even on skinny young people.

    I can’t say I’m on board with elastic waists, but as long as they’re covered, I guess they’re OK.

  3. Wendelah says:

    I wear jeans by Universal Standard. They’re very comfortable–even their skinny jeans. For the record, I am not young, or thin–I am a size 16-18. And I had pretty much given up on jeans until I found theirs. But they’re strictly a winter pant for me. I live in Southern California and prefer looser clothes and lighter fabrics the rest of the year.

  4. Katrina B says:

    I have been wearing jeans with no complaint since 1971 but in the last five months I have spend more time sitting than I ever thought possible. NOW I understand why women complain about jeans. After about 2 hours they become unbearable! I will still wear my beautiful dark wash non-faded, non-shredded, non-skinny jeans when I go somewhere but for my at-home wear I am all about the stretchy pants now.

  5. Sheila Codd says:

    I find elastic waists to be comfortable but do not like how they look. I use what is termed a Hollywood waist-elastic is covered by cut-on fabric but is secured in place by a line of machining placed over all seams and darts. Comfortable but invisible.

  6. Rhoda K says:

    I have to agree with all comments above; I’ve not worn jeans in since the ’80s. Last night on NBC news I saw a reporter, Erin McLaughlin, wearing skin tight jeans with shredded hems; luckily the rest of the jeans were in tact. I know things have relaxed some but I think that’s carrying it a bit far, usually reporters are well dressed.

  7. Jzzy55 says:

    I stopped wearing “real jeans” years ago because the waistbands were uncomfortable and the lumpy crotch seams chafe my delicate bits. I do wear elastic waist pull on light weight denim pants that mimic jeans because they are durable and because I don’t like knit pants. And yeah, since March it’s been pull on sweats or my ancient Flax linen pants (also elastic waisted) that are now thin as tissue.

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