International Women’s Day

Carly Jacobs

The Skinny Jeans Obsession

Carly Jacobs writes on

What do your ‘skinny jeans’ look like? You know, your magic jeans? The jeans that have outlasted most of your significant relationships, the jeans that at joyful moments throughout your adulthood actually fit you? The jeans that you keep as your ultimate yard stick of body measurement?

My skinny jeans are dark denim, straight leg Jags that I’ve had since my early 20s. They fit me… most of the time. Occasionally though, in the five odd years that I’ve owned them they reach varying levels of unwearable. Either far too baggy… or far too tight.

The last time my miracle jeans were in the unwearable state of baggy I was stressed and sick. I had terrible gastro that lasted for a full eight days, I was acting in a demanding and grueling play, I was moving house, I was bridesmaid in a wedding and I was about to leave the city I was raised in and my boyfriend and my family weren’t coming with me. I was miserable, living on a steady theatre diet of gummy bears, toast, red wine and insomnia. I was a wreck. I looked and felt, like shit.

Then, after I moved to my new city and sampled a few too many of its famous wine bars my skinny jeans once again became unwearable. On the other end of the spectrum. My new city was cold and cruel so I found comfort in stodgy food and cheap wine. I soon found that my recently baggy jeans were cutting off my circulation… to my calves. Physically and mentally it was the same as when the skinny jeans hung loose around my hips. I looked and felt like shit.

This got me thinking about my relationship with these jeans. I certainly didn’t look like shit when I bought them. I was in the throes of a new relationship, I was fit, healthy and incredibly happy. They fit me perfectly. It made me realise something important, something crucial about these jeans. These jeans aren’t my skinny jeans… they are my happy jeans. It’s no accident that when they fit me perfectly I’ve been sleeping well, exercising and eating good and nourishing food. They only fit me properly when I’m being good to myself.

I now use these jeans to gauge my happiness. If I try them on and they are a little snug I wonder why I’m feeling the need to overindulge. If I try them on, and they sit comfortably over my hips and button up without a sharp inhale of breath I know that I’m doing something right. If they don’t look like tracksuit pants I can be fairly certain that my mental state is on track. I’ll be honest though, it’s always a little exciting for them to be baggy but I refuse to forfeit my health to make it happen.

Over to you. Do you think that your skinny jeans might really be your happy jeans? And that the perfect fit might well be the right one?

About the Author

Carly Jacobs

Carly Jacobs is a fashion blogger, freelance writer, jeweller, designer, actor and general preacher of positivity. She’s been a regular contributor at Australian Cleo magazine and she’s also been featured in Cosmopolitan and Bust magazines. As editor of Smaggle and shopping writer at Lustable she spends her days writing, procrastinating on Facebook, drinking black coffee and trying to find people to play with.


Emma — 09 February, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Hell yeah! I have been wearing the same jeans since 1995. When they wear through, I replace them with the same brand and style, and the same size. They may not be fashionable in style, but they feel good so I keep wearing them. And they fit best when I am smack in the middle of my healthy weight range, so that’s a good thing.

kathy — 10 February, 2011 at 10:07 pm

My happy jeans come as….a denium skirt! high waisted with wide panels, purchased on a whim 10 years ago. Post having my first baby I lost a lot of weight while breastfeeding, thought I looked fab, till I saw myself in the mirror in my fav denium skirt and the high waist skirt just didn’t look so good. Now, the skirt fits, it feels good to wear, I feel good wearing it.

Sadly, I also have a skirt that hasn’t been a good fit for some years, I call it ‘my skinny skirt’ and I hate it! Resent seeing it there for tormenting me because I’m now not ‘skinny enough’ to wear it. What’s that all about??

Marie — 11 February, 2011 at 03:13 am

I’m a little jealous! I don’t think I’ve ever really had happy jeans. But I love those days when things aren’t tight, and I know it’s because I’m happy and haven’t been awful to myself. I love to put on clothes and feel good about them, and am working toward having that be everyday.

Joanna — 11 February, 2011 at 01:26 pm

i love yoga at least once a week and a good run at least twice, and sometimes i’m happy even when my skinny jeans don’t fit —on the too tight side). Sometimes I’m happy when I have to unbutton the top button and have a big old laugh with my nearest and dearest. I take the point that treating yourself well (read: healthily) often overlaps with fitting into those great jeans but are we sure its best to gauge happiness by how well we fit into our pants? Isn’t indulgence part of being good to yourself? What if those ‘happy jeans’ (read: new name for skinny jeans) weren’t a realistic size to begin with? Being good to yourself, in every way, including through healthy living, is oh-so-important, but loving yourself in all your fluctuations and even when your favorite, magic, skinny jeans are ill-fitting is important, also. Sometimes harder, but always important.

Gabe — 11 February, 2011 at 02:39 pm

I’m with Joanna! My “skinny jeans” were the Levis I bought in year 12. I only threw them out last year (on my 24th birthday) – it took me way too long to realise I shouldn’t be working towards to body shape of a 17-year-old! It’s good not to have a ratty old pair of jeans tormenting me anymore, chuck the skinny skirt Kathy!

Kate — 11 February, 2011 at 03:10 pm

Living in Queensland, my happy jeans became a pair of happy shorts – some gorgeous blue straight leg denims that i cut off at the knees. They don’t fit me any more – they haven’t for some time and it’s highly unlikely they ever will again – but i can’t bring myself to throw them out. For me, they signify all the beautiful summer days i spent in them, and that’s why they’re my happy jeans. It’s not that i was any more happy then – when i fit into them – than i am now, because i’m not. They just remind me of a beautiful time in my life, so i’m holding on to them…just like i’m holding on to a plastic elephant my best friend gave me when i was ten, and a carved wooden box that my mum used to keep knick knacks in. The happy memories have nothing to do with the size i was when i wore the jeans, but everything that happened around me when i was wearing them – which i think is beautiful, and the meaning of real happiness.

Chelsea — 13 February, 2011 at 09:33 am

Over a year ago I had a pair of acidwash jeans that I loved – they were super comfy and they looked rad. I wore the sh*t out of those pants! But one day as I was walking home I noticed a cold sensation on my upper thigh. I didn’t think much of it till I got home and realised there was a large rip just below my arse. It wasn’t such a big deal though as I had 2 pairs. Lo and behold a few months later the same thing happened! I am still looking for a new pair of jeans to replace that gaping hole (hahah pun!) in my wardrobe.

With regards to your happy jeans and the ‘perfect fit’ I’ve always loved the saying ‘your clothes should fit you, not the other way around.’

Amanda — 14 February, 2011 at 10:11 am

I’m exactly the same as you Kate, I had a pair of light blue jeans that I’ve had for as long as I can remember…until one day I through them out!they didn’t fit anymore but yet I counldn’t seem to thow them away. When i finally got rid of the jeans I realised that I don’t need to work my way back to what once I may have looked like but to enbrace the future and work towards a healthier, better and happier life! :)

Carly — 12 February, 2011 at 01:24 pm

Emma – good for you!

Kathy – Skinny skirt works too! : – )

Marie – It’s all you can do! But keep healthy!

Joanna – I completely agree! Especially the part about the happy jeans being a sensible size to begin with. The reason my ‘skinny’ jeans were purchased in my 20s was because my high school jeans were giant! They don’t stay up AT ALL. This is just my experience with my happy jeans and thanks for sharing yours!

Gabe – Good on you! But I think what you mean is that you shouldn’t be working towards YOUR body shape as a 17 year old. We weren’t all thin in high school… I’m hoping I NEVER EVER again have the body I had when I was 17.

Kate – That’s lovely! I have my primary school t-shirt for that exact reason.