Saying Goodbye to Skinny Jeans

When I was younger, I would occasionally watch my mom clear out her closet. Some of the clothes were ones I’d never seen before and that clearly dated from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s (before I was born). Some, on the other hand, were clothes I remembered her wearing, though not for a while.

“Mom,” I asked once, “why don’t you wear that anymore?”

[Not me, not my jeans. Image by MioUzaki via Wikimedia Commons. In public domain.]

“Because it doesn’t fit me anymore,” she replied.

I was young enough that I only associated “doesn’t fit me anymore” with the process of becoming a “big girl,” which to me meant growing up and was very much welcomed as a good thing. Later, however, I realized that becoming too big for clothing was sometimes seen as a negative. I started to notice the wistful tone in her voice when she said, “I can’t wear this anymore.”

Later still, I started to hear the advice.

“These are only one size too small, so I should keep them for when I fit into them again.”

“I wore these a year or so ago, so keeping them isn’t a far away goal.”

Eventually, “You should always keep a pair of skinny jeans in your closet, to remind you of the size you used to be because that’s the size you could become again.”

I was cleaning out my closet this new year, and I thought about my mom’s words. Keeping a pair of closet pants doesn’t strike me as all bad. For instance, they would serve to remind me:

  • Of a time when I was less strong than I am now.
  • Of a time when I conflated weight with health.
  • Of a time when I set a great store by being a societally acceptable size.
  • Of a time when I needed to master the fine art of saying, “Fuck you very much.”

With respect to the last point, at least, its time has come. I cleaned out my closet and found zero clothing that was one size too small. However, I found articles of clothes that were three, four, and five sizes too small.

When I looked at them, one part of me wanted to keep them. Not because I entertained delusions of fitting into those same jeans but because I associated those jeans with some awesome memories.

The jeans I bought when I’d been out of my previous abusive relationship for ten months? Wonderful.

Jeans I found that worked with my curves instead of causing vacuous ass gap? Fabulous.

The jeans I wore for nearly a month straight right after my dad died, when most of my mental stability was rooted in hay and sweat and horse shit? Irreplaceable.

But I’ll never wear any of them again. Because the body I had then is not the body I have now. This is not a bit of present mourning, mind you, because I love the body I have now. But it hurts to let go of the memories and the image of self that accompanied those memories. So it’s tough to look at those old jeans.

Still and all, they’re just jeans — and there are people in my area who could use those jeans at those sizes. The thrift store business is thriving in my neck of the woods, and turnover rates are amazing. I can’t account for specifics, of course, but as a general rule, it seems that people need whatever I can donate.

And I can donate these jeans, these jeans I’ll likely never wear again.

So it has come to be that my closet is devoid of skinny jeans. All the clothes that do not fit have moved on to greener pastures. All the pants I own are in sizes that fit me now. My mom, I think, part of her would be disappointed that I do not aspire to be a smaller size, not even in so small (pun intended) a way as hanging on to a single pair of skinny jeans.

I can only hope that is balanced by the understanding that my mother’s daughter loves herself as she is, in this moment, right now, nothing contingent on a smaller ass size.


I'm here. I like stuff. Some other stuff, I like less.

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Posted in non-asana, swadyaya
3 comments on “Saying Goodbye to Skinny Jeans
  1. Andie says:

    I did a similar purge about five years ago.. I got rid of EVERYTHING that was too small for me.

    Now I’d fit a lot of that stuff again, but you know? I’m okay with not having them.

    • Tori says:

      I kept a couple of things that probably don’t fit: a gorgeous dress and coordinating jacket. I thought about trying them on, but then I decided it didn’t matter. Emotionally, I’m not ready to let go of them. So while I’m hanging onto them until the next closet cleaning, I’m not doing so with the hope or the goal of wearing them again.

      For me, some of those sizes represent when I was doing a lot of unhealthy things to my body — so in addition to natural body changes, those clothes were artificially and negatively small on me, if that makes sense. I don’t anticipate being those sizes again because they weren’t actually healthy sizes for me.

  2. I like the idea of keeping clothes that don’t fit because of the memories, not because you have any intention of wearing them again. I have also found that it actually does pay to keep things that don’t fit — too small AND too big. Our bodies are always changing, inside and out, and I am finding that learning to be comfortable with the idea of my body on a continuum is a big part of self-acceptance. Of course back when I lost my college/first-job weight in my mid-twenties, I threw out all sorts of clothes that were suddenly too big… and when I ended up that size again five years later, I was pretty mad at myself because WOW, I really miss this one fantastic plaid skirt. (From Anthropologie. So cute. What was I thinking?!)

    So now that I’m in the opposite situation — plenty of too small clothes in my closet — I am getting rid of the worn-out/just plain not cute, and gifting some of the others to friends who I know will love them, but I am also keeping a bag. Not necessarily because I expect to be that size again, but because I want to accept my body at every size it needs to be. But I’m also doing plenty of investing in clothes that fit my body NOW, and those are the only clothes that stay in my closet where I can see them every day. If I do end up in some of those clothes again (for whatever reason/in a few years time or something), I’ll definitely be saving some favorite pieces from my current wardrobe, for nolstagia and/or when they become useful again later on…

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