In part 2 of our shopping/body image story, our beloved heroine attempts a feat only experienced warriors with a strong constitution should ever consider….shopping for jeans!!
A couple days ago I took the kids to the playground and when it was time for DS’s nap headed off to the Levi’s store (have I mentioned how much I love living in an urban neighbourhood where everything is only a stroller ride away? oh yes, far too many times you say, lol). Well, after too many years in my beloved 501 button-fly jeans, they had ripped in too many places, crossing the line from “fashionably distressed” to “poor college student”. And, they were overstretched so my butt looked all saggy and baggy (see my photo entry, yep those are them).
Can I say that I absolutely HATE shopping for jeans? I’ve tried to do so on several occasions prior to this one and, after trying on everything in the store, I’ve found nothing I’ve liked and come away with a renewed hatred of my hips and thighs. And now that I’m forced to do this while DS is napping in the stroller and DD is occupied with a good book or a snack, I also come away sweating and adrenaline-high from trying to “do it all” in my allotted time frame. But this time was different because I knew what to avoid and what to ask for, I was on a mission, and an optimistic one at that. With only the time it would take DS to complete his nap I wanted to find a) a pair of jeans to wear while I’m “momming” about town, b) a pair of dressy jeans to wear with afore-mentioned fitted jackets and heels, and c) something non-jeans as an alternative for everyday wear. And I wanted to look good in them. HUGE order, to be sure.
Well, the shopping gods were smiling upon me, my friends. I lucked out by picking a sales guy to help me who turned out to be the store owner and “knower of everything Levi’s”.Well, Mr. Super Sales Guy was amazing. I told him I wanted a replacement for my beloved 501’s (which I was modelling at the time) and he confirmed that they don’t make those anymore, but said he could find me a perfect replacement. He perused the shelf like a Chinese herbalist eyeing his vials of dried up strange things…and handed me a single pair. Optimistic fellow, thought I. He directed me to the “wheelchair accessable” change room (which we all know is really the stroller-accessable one, but god bless the wheelchair folks who demand they be there) and instructed me to “come out even if you don’t like them so we can see where we need to improve”. Oh yeah, like I’m coming out there looking like an overstuffed sausage with the fly unable to be done up and the flares on the bottom making me look like I’m in a mermaid costume (do I sound bitter?). So wasn’t I surprised when I put them on and they fit me as perfectly as if they’d been tailored for me. I was stunned and impressed with his expertise. However, armed with my new knowledge of “What Not to Wear” I determined that while they fit great, they did NOTHING for me, and made me look like the almost-40 year old mother of two that I am.
When I explained my dilemma, he nodded in complete understanding (the kind of sympatico one can only find in the Gay Male of Retail, god love ’em). He returned with 2 pairs of jeans. I immediately fell in love with the “wash” of them, and when I put them on there it was – va va VOOM. Totally fit me, totally comfortable, but I looked good in them. Hip. Modern, even. But no hoochie-mama super low rise for me. No skin tight, butt flattening, jelly-roll emphasizing pants, no sirree. These were great. Well, to end this story I walked out of there with the three items above I’d sought, and I loved them all.
That evening I pranced around the house taking care of the kids, cooking meals, putting away laundry, in my new mommy jeans and a fitted T-shirt. I felt FABULOUS. And every time I caught a glimpse of myself (we have a wall in our apartment that is all mirror, it came with the place) I felt fantastic. Here I am at almost-40 and I just LOVE the way I look. I NEVER loved the way I looked even back when I was younger and should have loved my body, but didn’t (youth is definitely wasted on the young). And you know what? I wouldn’t trade my deflated pregnancy-belly abdominal pouch, my sagging butt, my stretch marks, or my floppy boobs for all the teenage insecurity that comes with a more perfect and youthful form, because I really LIKE the way I look now.
I’m almost 40 and I feel fantastic. And I don’t need to spend time doing hair and makeup and putting on my “nice clothes” only to have spit up or snot or tears dribbled all over them, to wear my engagement ring only to have it slice DS’s face while he’s nursing, or to wear necklaces only to have DS yank on them while on my back in the Ergo, cutting off my air supply and wrecking the chain. No, I can wear my “mommy clothes” and feel really good about the way I look. Now THAT is a real gift, and it doesn’t have to go on sale for me to appreciate it!