I knew this day was coming.
It’s not like I believed Bear would be in her cute little onesies forever, although I do have to admit a certain wistfulness still washes over me when I walk past that section in Target. I’m not sure what it is about those precious little outfits but for real…I could browse onesies all day long.
It’s been a long time since that department has been of any use to us, though. Bear went and got all grown, forcing me into the Girls section, but with time I adjusted. Bit by bit, I learned to appreciate the cute tees, camis, and accessories that came with having a big girl…but nothing lasts forever, right?
Bear’s body has thrown her a curveball – jeans in the Girls section don’t work for her legs and body type, but her torso’s too short for tops in the Juniors section. This means we’ll have to bounce back and forth between departments in an effort to properly clothe our child, which qualifies this as “the straddle year.”
Since clothing manufacturers
seem to believe real girls look like string beans suck, they design girls’ clothes too small, too tight, and too low-rise for my nine-year-old daughter to buy jeans in the Girls department. If you’re a nine-year-old built like a toothpick you have plenty of options – skinny, ultra-skinny (yes, that’s a real thing), jeggings (sweet Jesus, save us all), straight leg, and boot cut. Ironically, even the boot cut jeans, which sounded like a possibility for Bear, are still cut too skinny through the thigh and dip too low in the back. The real kicker is that I’m fairly certain if I bought her a size 12 in boys’ jeans they’d fit just fine, but it would devastate her to wear boys’ clothes. Thanks a lot, corporate America.
SO. Girls sizes too small = Juniors department, here we come.
Before last month I can’t say that I’d spent a lot of time (read: any) in the Juniors department. At best I had a brief impression of flash and bling, bright colors and patterns as I walked by, looking for the grown-up clothes. So when our quest for Bear’s jeans took us out of Girls and into Juniors I may have been a bit unprepared for what we found there, but I was prepared to be Bear’s biggest cheerleader during what could be a long and painful shopping experience.
I’d like to point out here that shopping for jeans as a grown woman can be excruciating – searching for a pair that are the right length and fit is only the beginning. Add in choosing a leg cut (don’t even bother with the ultra-skinny unless you’re a super model), denim color, detailing, and making sure you don’t flash crack when you sit down and it starts to feel like searching for the holy grail. This is why I practice bulk jeans purchases. I’ve been known to purchase up to six pairs of jeans when I actually manage to find that holy grail – yes, that’s six pairs of the EXACT SAME JEANS. Why? Because who knows when I’ll have the time for this kind of scavenger hunt again.
Combine the fact that not all denim is a girl’s friend with a tween girl’s changing body and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. But never mind that – we were being enthusiastic and optimistic and would find Bear some jeans that day even if it killed us. (At least she’d have nice denim to wear to the hereafter.)
We arrived in the Juniors section bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, prepared to take a pair of every single brand into the dressing room with the hope of scoring some wicked cool (crack concealing) pants. I quickly realized I needed to avoid reading the price tags – if the Girls section was Kansas, we’d bypassed Oz completely and catapulted ourselves into space. (Deep breath, AND….we’re moving on.) The odd-numbered sizes also threw me for a loop. Kind of like converting between the metric and US standard systems – until you adjust your brain to the relevant numbers you’re all “Whoa!” Also fun? Some of the brands used European sizing. WTF?! Yeah, I had to get the saleswoman for that one.
Eventually I made sense of things and we started gathering brands. I knew I had two major challenges ahead of me: 1) Bear’s tall for her age, but her leg length was bound to come up short compared to those jeans, and 2) the terror of the low-rise jean. Low-rise is the devil. Low-rise is evil incarnate. No one (except the afore-mentioned super models) looks good in low-rise. And a startling number of the jeans on the rack had 1-inch zippers. ONE INCH. That is practically NO zipper. Hell, I might as well stitch jeans to Bear’s hip bones and call it a day.
We finally managed to stagger to the dressing room with seven or eight possibilities. Two could be ruled out when Bear couldn’t even pull them up. (I think she’d picked up some skinnies by mistake.) This was where the enthusiastic cheerleader role became critical. Had this been the “adult me” trying on jeans I couldn’t even pull over my hips I might have dissolved into tears right that moment. Instead, Bear and I started giggling hysterically as she let me peel them off her legs to move the process along.
It took two trips to the dressing room before we found two – just TWO – brands that she could wear. Were they too long? Yes, but Bear was flexible about rolling them. Did they still gap a little when she sat? Yes, but my jeans do, too. Which is why I marched Bear over to the accessories section to explain the critical function of the jeans belt. Not one of those über-skinny glitter belts that don’t do a damn thing but look pretty around your waist; a one-inch thick leather belt that would (please, Lord) hold her jeans in place when she sat.
I was extraordinarily grateful that one of those brands had a second pair in her size on the rack – bulk purchasing, y’all – especially when the second store we tried that day didn’t have a single pair of jeans that worked for Bear. Not. One. Pair.
As for Juniors fashion…oh lawd, there are no words. But did I say a word about the crazy bedazzling all over the asses of those jeans? Nope. Not one word. That’s how grateful I was to have found anything that fit at all.
It looks like corporate America is taking this round.