The following is a guest post from a fellow writer named Rachael M. The idea for this post came to her while she was back-to-school shopping for jeans. Rachael has written down all of the sizes and types of jeans she tried on throughout her shopping trip, concluding that fashion companies for teens do not fairly accommodate real body types. Here’s what she has to say about it:
For years, I have been viewed by corporations and companies only as another way for them to make quick money with the minimum output of effort, expense, and responsibility on their end. Every individual who goes into popular or trendy stores is seen from this viewpoint, and they all pay the price. Consumers see pictures of outfits popularized by the media and feel the need to purchase them, despite the changes they have to make and serious mental, and in some cases, physical harm they endure.
There are so many products that have been manipulated by corporations, but in this specific case, I am focusing on jeans. I am speaking post-shopping trip to find jeans before my school year begins. I knew going into this day that I would need to allot a large chunk of time to hunting for the perfect pair (or two) of jeans, so I made sure that the whole day was clear. I spent about 3-4 hours searching for the pair of jeans, and in a total of 4 stores that each displayed a wide range of styles and colors. There are certain stores that cater to teens and some brands that are more socially acceptable than others, so I went to the popular stores (that usually cost consumers extra to enjoy) first. I went to a few different racks and shelves and grabbed my universal size 4–which can be confirmed by my jean shorts, dresses, overalls, and one pair of jeans that I actually own–of these various styles. The results are as follows:
Skinny jeans can fit up to my knees, but cannot make it past my thighs…going up to a size 6 does not change the tightness, but rather adds to the length.
High waisted jeggings made it up to my waist (stomach), but were loose around the knees, ankles, and waist. Moving up to a 6 adds a gap between my stomach and the jeans.
Regular jeggings make it up, but are loose around the calves. Size 6 makes the rest of the places loose.
Boot cut jeans are okay around the waist, tight in the thighs, and way too loose around the calves (something that is not accepted by peers at my age). I did not bother to try a size 6.
Mom jeans were the only jeans that fit the way that they were supposed to (they fit me in the waist, hips, and thighs), but they are specifically made looser than what is currently stylish. I ended up buying the mom jeans.
The results did vary between stores and styles, but the conclusion was the same: there is not a style or size of jeans meant for teens at the moment that will fit me. As a historically “petite” person, I cannot claim to have been the most victimized customer, but I do know that the unrealistic expectations of girls’ and women’s bodies do extend to even the skinny, and it is worth mentioning. I am athletic, so my body type doesn’t fit into any norm. I am not covered in muscles, so my legs and midsection do not match, I am not plus size (I have not had any experience with plus size clothing so I do not know about the struggles that might be faced), and I am not a stick. My body is not only skin and bones. My legs have shapes and curves that are not being calculated when jeans are being designed. As a sprinter, I have large, muscular thighs, small calves, and a small stomach line, which do not seem to be accommodated by the teen fashion industries.
In addition to the jeans not being made to match real body types, companies are beginning to believe that making their pants without pockets is okay for appearances’ sake. Girls have phones, wallets, and other items that need to be stored at some point during the day. Without front pockets (which companies “cleverly” include the in the stitching, but not the fabric to give the impression that there are pockets) girls are forced to rely upon storing these items in their back pockets. This increases the chances of pick-pocketing and is an unnecessary problem to begin with.
It is frustrating that we, as a society, can condone companies stealing from us and making us feel insecure about not fitting into the jeans. One of my early memories on this subject was from an episode of Sonny With a Chance where a popular girl wore skinny pants and the whole audience idolized her so much that they wore these pants and were unable to sit down and were having serious problems. They called it Skinny Pants Syndrome and even wrote a song calling for an end to this disease. Although it may seem silly, or something made for kids, it holds real truth. The desire for every person to have the same body type as the same as models who have to work out and starve themselves to fit into these clothes should end.
We need to speak up and fight back ourselves, because companies will never stop creating unrealistic body ideals–and products–at this rate. It’s our job to speak up about these unrealistic body standards the fashion companies are manufacturing. You should be able to find and put on a pair of jeans and feel stylish, comfortable, and confident without compromising on comfort or price. Jeans should be made for real bodies and real people.