Rag & Bone/JEAN Wicked jeans | size 29
Eileen Fisher organic handkerchief linen shell | gift from Eileen Fisher to review last year
Birkenstock Birko-Flor Arizona Sandals
I was going to call this post “no more fucks” but decided against using that word in the title. I really try hard not to over-use profanity here because I KNOW who reads my posts…but if I’m being honest, the f-word is a word I use frequently in real life. I sort of love it.
Anyway, I touched on this in my instagram post about my new Elizabeth Suzann mules last week, but finally, I have no more fucks to give with regard to my wardrobe. This is my body. I may lose or gain weight, but in general my body shape is going to stay the same. I have wide calves, a small-ish waist, wide hips, flabby upper arms, and a very short inseam. Dressing this body has taken an emotional toll on me my whole life thus far, and I just can’t continue to let it be SO HARD for the rest of it.
So, that’s it. I could nitpick about everything I wear or buy or keep, focusing on how each item makes my calves look leaner or my hips look smaller, or hides my upper arms, or I could wear what makes me feel comfortable and stop giving a …..
You know me anyway, and I have always trended more towards comfort, away from what is traditionally “flattering” for my body shape, but I still have my moments. Especially with denim. I have found a couple of pairs of jeans (100% cotton Chimala and 6397 Shorty) that fit me beautifully and that I’m really happy with, but I LOVE DENIM SO MUCH and am always on the lookout for more great pairs that fit me like I want them to.
Recently as I was going through my jeans to re-evaluate fit and see if there’s anything I can get rid of, I tried everything on and found that my beloved 6397 Shorty jeans (not the 100% cotton pair) are just too snug on my calves now. Maybe they have always been, and I just didn’t care as much, but now, I do, and I’d rather have more jeans that aren’t snug on my calves than ANY that are. So I’ve been looking for a new pair of jeans to replace them.
When I first spotted this pair by Rag & Bone I knew I’d try them eventually; I have always loved the crossover waistband look that R13 does, and that I’ve even done with jeans that are too big in the waist. These are also 100% cotton – a must for me now – and with some slight distressing, which I always appreciate. AND they’re a straighter leg, with an undone hem – both pluses (I will probably cut the hem eventually, I’m just wearing them in a bit more first).
I have some credits at Shopbop (I earn credits there for displaying their widget in my sidebar) that I’ve been saving up, so I decided to take the plunge and order these to try. And they’re great. Really great. They DO NOT CLING TO MY CALVES at all, which is the most important fit qualification for me now. They are a bit large in the waist/hip area, but they sit nicely lower on my waist that way, which is very comfortable. I went with my “normal” size 29 and they’ve definitely stretched with wear, but not so much I’d want to size down. If you have thinner legs, then I would absolutely size down, but for me, my regular size is the right size for me.
My legs are thick and muscular, which makes them remarkably strong. And now, finally, I wouldn’t want to trade my strong, thick legs just to be able to fit into more denim styles. I know that I’m more comfortable and happier fitting jeans to my calves first, and worrying about the rest later. So what if they’re a little baggy at the crotch or big at the waist? This is my body and it’s beautiful and strong the way it is. (it just did TWO Pure Barre classes back to back for fuck’s sake!!)
We are all stronger than we think.
This outfit is sooooooo good!! It’s casual and comfortable, but every piece is just a step up. You look effortlessly chic, which is how I always think of you in my mind. I too struggle with dressing my body, and being okay with it as it actually is. I appreciate that you are putting it out there in the open. Makes me feel a little less alone xoxo
Grechen Reiter says
thank you cathy 🙂
you are SOOO not alone!!
Well said! Best post EVER.
Have you ever considered getting the waist of your jeans tailored a bit so they are closer to your body? I totally understand if that is not a priority for you and you don’t give a, well…you know!!) I personally have not found a tailor that can fix all the problems with my pants/jeans. I just wear things that come close to ideal. Just wondering.
Grechen Reiter says
i had that done to a pair of jeans once a year or so ago, and they were never the same…i mean, they did fit a little better at the waist, but that changed the way they fit all over, and i really didn’t care for them much after that. this is why i have a REALLY hard time taking things to be altered!! it’s been the case all my life…
with these jeans specifically the waist being a bit big is great, actually, because they sit a little lower on my hips that way. i get a break from all my high-waisted pants 😉
Grechen, you look sooo chic!! LOVE the cool jeans and that simple linen sleeveless shell. Your arms are toned and i love your happy, healthy smile. One of the special things your blog is your openness and honesty about all the misgivings and struggles that we all go through with our bodies and trying to dress them in a way that feels comfortable and good. You set a great example. I’m 5’2″ and curvy with a rounded bum and thick thighs and plump upper arms, and I’m so tired of telling myself not to wear certain things because they aren’t ‘flattering’. I love that you wear flats and don’t think about trying to look taller. As a result, you look so chic in your birks and other flats. You inspire me to do the same. Thanks for all the positivity – it helps me not to give a f—- either. Keep on rocking it, honey.
Such a great and distinct waist treatment for these jeans!! Great for your tiny waist that is…not so much for mine LOL.
You look fabulous!!
Grechen Reiter says
do it!! please wear what you love and feel comfortable in.
don’t give a f… 🙂
Grechen Reiter says
thank you! the waistline is awesome – and i don’t give it enough justice here, but there are rivets all the way around also. just nicely done. and yeah, i really love the crossover closure. i’m a sucker for little details like that…
I have never commented before but had to write to say I LOVED reading this. You look fabulous. Even more, you have given us a perspective that women desperately need.
Ok. I know you’re not asking for this, but you look more fit than ever! And that’s a sexy outfit! Black shirt with torn jeans equals sexy. Yup.
I love this outfit so much! Lately when I shop for clothes I ask myself if whatever I’m trying on is Gretchen-y. Meaning both in a style you would choose, or being unique and modern in some way I like. This outfit you are wearing feels very Gretchen-y to me! Thank you for being so honest in your posts, and living your fashion life your way!
Ditto! I realize that this is not your point here, Grechen – I do get that your point is radical self-acceptance – but I feel moved to say that I don’t see flabby arms at all, I see strong, toned arms. I know you challenge yourself to see yourself differently – as a strong, integrated living person – and your honesty in reporting this as a struggle is a big part of what makes your blog so appealing to me and so many others. I do flinch when you describe yourself “objectively” in ways that seem not quite accurate: I really do not see flabby arms, so that description sounds a little harsh. I don’t mean to belabor this point, but it’s almost like that description of your arms, which is supposed to be objective, is actually in relation to an abstract ideal of “arms,” removed from the context of health and age and what your arms have been through in their lives and what most women’s upper arms look like, regardless of fitness level.
Granted, I do this to myself on the daily. And I think we all learn to criticize ourselves in the abstract and in parts, fixing an “objective” eye on pieces of our bodies; but this is not objective reality, it’s our subjective way of objectifying and depersonalizing our image in the mirror, to try to look at ourselves as society looks at us. But it’s still us doing the perceiving, so it’s still subjective.
I hope this comment doesn’t sound critical – this is a great, thought-provoking post, and it’s made me wonder about self-perception and how for me at least it is not static. Sometimes I’m ruthlessly self-critical, others I’m boundlessly self-accepting, and what changes isn’t only my attitude about a static image of myself but what “I” actually look like to myself. What tends to take me out of self-criticism is integration: when I engage my whole self in activities like yoga, walking in nature, deep reading and writing. After practicing yoga, my eye does not fix on “my flaws” in the same way – I perceive myself differently. I look different to myself, but I also _look_ in a different way at everything in the world. It’s easier to see the relationships among things, to see that my arms do make sense on my body rather than in relation to an abstract ideal. I wonder if this happens for you, too, and if rather than “accepting flabby arms” it’s more that you are also able to see your arms differently, admiring them not in spite of “flaws” but for their own beauty.
Thank you for a post that has really made me think!
Jeans really can’t be altered properly unless you take everything apart, which usually doesn’t work due to the rivets, heavy stitching, etc. However, if you have a decent tailor, almost anything else can be beautifully altered. It’s a discussion about exactly how you want it to hang. I was disproportionate to standard sizing from the age of 13 through 50 and had to have absolutely everything altered, top, bottom (except underpants and socks). And even then I couldn’t hope to own a jumpsuit. At one point, I lost 35 pounds due to illness, and was underweight for several years, and had all my clothes altered down from an 8 to about a 2.5 and it worked. And I am VERY FUSSY about fit and hang. I guess like anything it comes with practice and confidence (and a good tailor who you can communicate with.)
I’ve complimented G’s arms and shoulders on this site before too. It’s all relative (and personal perception) I guess. I’ve tried to hide my upper arms for years, and this summer I finally said to myself: I’m aging! It’s never going to get better! I just look like every aging person now! Tank tops, here I come!
Not part of this thread, but reporting back on my Black Crane fall purchases that I just received…
I wish I had a full-length mirror and could take a picture. I got a size M and it is SO voluminous it’s comical. I am a solid size 12 and completely overwhelmed in this dress. Totally going back.
This dress, on the other hand, is lovely. Beautiful color and simple but interesting cut. I really liked the summer linen pleated dress, and this feels like it might be my fall replacement. I got the L but am thinking of trying the M.
Grechen Reiter says
oh! thanks for reporting back!! glad you like the bud dress – i think because of the slightly tapered and higher hemline in the front it’s less overwhelming looking but still comfortable. and i love that color. i do think you should try the medium though, just to see – whenever i do that, i feel better knowing at least i tried, so i’m not always wondering about fit. i did that with the quilted dress and liked the smaller size so much better…
Grechen Reiter says
thanks for your comment claire!
of course i understand that my “issues” are often perception – no one sees my body the way i see it: with a critical eye. i certainly don’t look at other women that way. i see beautiful, strong bodies.
i love my arms and shoulders and they are so strong lately! but just like on other parts of my body, i have extra fat hanging around from weight loss/age/etc. that’s stubbornly holding on. i DO have some upper arm flab that’s really only visible if i’m waving or have my arms up doing weight work in pure barre or something (my “hi helens” as mamavalveeta would call them!) and sometimes will affect how shirts or dresses with slim sleeves fit me – i just got a dress yesterday that’s a teeny bit snug in my upper arms. not a problem or a big deal at all, but it’s something i do have to be mindful of in terms of fit and sleeve styles…
no part of my body – or anyone’s body – is a “flaw” or “flawed” in any way, which was the point i was hoping to make. it’s my body and it is what it is. i don’t think of my “flabby arms” as flawed, flabby is just descriptive – not negative; it is what is is. the extra skin on my arms, my saddlebags, and my hips is just something to consider when buying clothes. that’s all 🙂
Grechen, of course – your engagement with this stuff is deep and to do it publicly is incredibly brave. Sometimes I just want to push back on the perception side 🙂
Such a great post. I am so on board with no more f**ks. I’m tired of being critical of my body. I want to be in the company of women who feel the same way. I want to take joy in it, and joy in dressing it. I want to stop being a mean girl to my own body. You made my day, Grechen.
Grechen Reiter says
as you should 🙂
Yay, Kathryn, for body love!!!
So glad youre out there, love this look on you so comfy and so you. I am a denim lover as well and you inspired me to go through my collection and weed out. I just bought a pair of Levi’s 501s 100% cotton should be getting them today. I perfer no stretch but they are hard to find. It’s going to be too hot in New York today to wear jeans 🙁
Take care and keep it coming Grechen we ALL LOVE YOU!
So glad you are getting to a place of giving no fucks. I want to be there too, about many things in my life. Working on it.
Rebecca | Seven2Seven8 says
I love your attitude! I love the idea of the R&B jeans but the angled rise triggers some type of OCD for me something fierce. I. want. to. fix. it.
But I love everything else about what you’re wearing – the unfinished hem, the denim distressing and color.
I will say a beautiful thing about being postpartum is that between the hormonal hot-flashes, needing to access parts of yourself for self-care and the care and feeding of an infant, and exhaustion, it totally accelerated the “IDGAF” wardrobing. I know what I like, I know what I feel looks flattering, and I am not at all interested in anything that is freaking hard to get in and out of (wrestling with clothes? No. Not gonna do it). The rest can go away.
I just turned 39. A friend calls the next decade “no fucks 40” (I’m also a fan of the f word) and I think I’m early, but also just in time. x