Light-wash jeans. Seemingly just a garment, but to so many women they're a symbol of body acceptance. How many times have you looked at a pair of light-wash jeans and thought, "They're not for me . . . I don't have the body for them." Or heard a friend say, "My bum is too big" or "I'm not tall enough." The barrage of insults we give ourselves on a daily basis aside, light-wash jeans are an especially testing piece of clothing.
For anyone who isn't Gigi Hadid, wearing light-wash jeans can be an emotional hurdle to get over. Maybe they aren't the most flattering or "slimming," but I did a little experiment and I'm here to make a case for them. Better than being slimming, wearing a pair of light-wash jeans says, I accept myself for who I am.
To some, it might sound stupid: a pair of jeans is just a pair of jeans. But to anyone who has ever struggled with feeling confident about their body, or struggled to find a pair of jeans that suited their body type, my journey will resonate.
Let's begin by saying although jeans are supposed to be an easy, just a throw-them-on piece of clothing, most women know the struggle of finding a pair that actually fits properly. Jeans being "easy" is a misconception. Women's bodies' are so vastly different, and finding a pair of jeans that doesn't make you want to cry in the Barneys dressing room is actually quite a feat. Yes, jeans come in a range of sizes and some brands have petite or tall offerings, but ask any woman about her jeans preferences and she will no doubt launch into a diatribe about the specific ins and outs of her figure that make jeans a nightmare to buy. I am no different: I have a long waist and rather sizable bottom, and have exactly one pair of black jeans that I truly feel OK in.
Light-wash jeans are having a major moment in fashion and due to proximity and osmosis, they were all I could think about buying for a while. I looked at a million pairs online and studied (I hate to admit it), Kim Kardashian. Love her or hate her, it's undeniable that she's changed the conversation on body types. I also looked at people like Ashley Graham and the stunning model Iskra Lawrence. These women all have different body shapes, but they wear their light-wash jeans with confidence. I decided to take the plunge.
When I first put them on, I'll admit, I freaked out. There's no hiding in light-wash jeans. Your body is on display exactly how it is. It's one thing to appreciate that "big butts" are in, but when yours is on display like never before it can be a bit more nerve wracking. Do dark wash jeans literally change your body or "slim" you? No, of course not; but you feel slimmer.
My first day venturing out in light-wash jeans, I sort of chickened out - I wore a long coat to hide what I felt like was my huge bum. Once I got to lunch with my friend, I took off my coat. She immediately complimented me on the jeans saying that she's been lusting after some light-wash jeans herself. I felt relieved. I told her I was on a mission and she laughed, "Every woman thinks every other woman looks great in light-wash jeans apart from themselves!" It's true.
I kept wearing them. Sometimes I felt great, sometimes I didn't. I got compliments from friends, (and even one stranger!), but I also had moments that I caught myself in the reflection of a bus and thought, yikes! Who am I kidding. But after a week or two, they honestly felt fairly . . . normal. They were just another pair of jeans. Work, friends - the news and heck even the new Taylor Swift album took up more of my mind than the jeans. I realized that I was thinking about my butt way more than anyone else was, and the more confident I felt, the more confident I looked.
After a few days of test-driving my jeans, I felt a little bit more bold. I paired them with a black tee and boots and felt more like one of the Kardashians than ever. I also did something I thought I would never do — I posted a casual half "Belfie" (that's a bum selfie) to Instagram stories — to show off my jeans. I was thrilled to receive several complimentary DMs and even a few "ooh where are those from!" messages.
Here's what I learned wearing these light-wash jeans. It's not really about the jeans. It's about how you wear them and most importantly how you feel in them. If you wear light jeans — or anything — that shows off your body exactly how it is, you're saying to the world that you accept who you are and you're proud of what you've got. It sounds cheesy, but confidence is truly the only thing that matters when it comes to scary pieces of clothing.
Getting over my light-wash denim fear isn't a oh-woe-is-me call for body affirmation from my peers. I'm sharing my story in the hopes that another woman out there will take a second look at light-wash jeans and say to herself, maybe I can rock these too. (Spoiler alert: you absolutely can.)
PS: The light-wash jeans that converted me are the High Line cropped distressed high-rise skinny jeans from L'Agence and I can't recommend them enough!