I thought that I would do something different and talk about buying clothes that last based on your body type! Rather than having a solution, in this post, I have a problem. I recently had a very poor experience with a new brand of jeans and I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I have thighs that rub together which means that pants wear out in the middle. When it comes to denim, what is the optimal stretch/denim ratio for curvy girls? What about summer pants? How many pants should I really own and wear? My mind keeps telling me “buy cheap, buy twice” but lately, I’ve been buying more expensive and I am still getting early onset wear and tear. Help me!
Rewind to last May when I purchased two very nice and expensive for me (70 pounds on-sale) jeans from NYDJs. I loved the fit. They were stretchy and never fell down. I never had to yank them up and the coverage was so fantastic. For example, I never fretted about wearing them when I was teaching, which is important. I wore them alternating for the most part nearly every single day, and they replaced the French Connection Rebound Skinny jeans that I used to wear but that I was finding needed to be yanked up over my hips towards my expanding, peri-menopausal midsection. I’m increasingly aware that I am shopping for “women’s jeans” i.e. jeans for older bodies.
Yet, when visiting my parents over the holidays, both pairs of my always wear jeans split in the crotch / thigh area, which is the dark consequence of thigh-rub. While one might say that I wore the jeans enough to not be upset, I need my pants to last longer than 6 or 7 months, even if I wear them all the time! So I found myself buying two pairs of Levi’s jeans (311) in Canada before returning to the UK (here is the UK link). Unfortunately, despite the good reviews I read in Canada, I see that one reviewer in the UK stated that she got the dreaded thigh rub within 3 months of wearing these jeans! It’s too early for me to say whether this will happen as quickly as my NYDJs but stay tuned (or not, if it’s just TMI).
Having recently purchased a sewing machine for myself for my birthday, I am also spending a lot more time and energy thinking about sewing my own clothes and making repairs and alterations. Unsurprisingly, there are other people out there with denim thigh-rub problems, one who even claims to be a denim doctor, but I’m not so keen on denim patches and overlaid stitching. I just want thigh-rub protector pants that are stylish! Is that too much to ask?
So onwards to making my own bottom system?
So, if we are talking about a system of bottoms, we are looking at something like the following. You basically need 1 or 2 of each, for a total of 6 to 12 bottoms. Remember that my two pairs of jeans above with high stretch was gone in 6-7 months. Ultimately, more is better in the case because of thigh-rub, or alternatively, weightier denim fabric. But I want the stretch! I guess we really cannot have it all.
The ideal system of bottoms?
This is more than what I have. I really only ever have 2 pairs of jeans on rotation. I wear these (now my new Levis) alongside my pair of Eileen Fisher slouchy ankle viscose pants and a similar Eileen Fisher pant with slits. Combined, my “investment” bottoms are just not killing it despite the hefty price tag. Just like the denim story above, the Fisher pants also suffered from thigh-rub. They got a lot of hot weather, high humidity, and walking around in the summer in Japan and I’m skeptical that they will last long. The insides around the crotch are piling and even discolouring. This was the closest pattern I could find as a replacement for the Fisher pants.
So now I am wondering if the less is more approach is just too hard on clothes? What am I doing wrong? Are capsule (trouser) wardrobes stupid for people with ample thighs? What are you “buy nothing” people doing for thigh-rub?
All of this is to say that I will start to make my own clothes. I’ve given up and so I have just ordered Tilly Walnes’ Love at First Stitch. I was thinking of also getting the book breaking the “Breaking the Pattern: A modern way to sew” but after reading and watching some reviews, I think the patterns wont be flattering on my shape, will require too much skill for a beginner, and will be too tall without alterations. My first actions will be to make a scarf out of leftover fabric. Assuming my new jeans last at least 6 months. I have 6 months to make me some new bottoms.