For months now I’ve been on a des­per­ate (and fruit­less) search for loose-fit­ting jeans. I just want a com­fort­able pair of boyfriend jeans with a nice wash and a lit­tle leg room. Some­thing I can dress up with a cute vest and heels on the week­end. Or dress down with Chucks and a t-shirt when I’m out with the kids. 

I pulled this pic­ture off of Pin­ter­est. If any­one can let me know who this cutie is so I can tag her, I’d be much oblig­ed.

But I keep com­ing up emp­ty. And yes, this is my own fault for shop­ping for jeans online. But cut me some slack. I have three kids under five. Week­end shop­ping ain’t exact­ly a habit. 

Every time I add a pair of boyfriend jeans to my online shop­ping cart I think, “This time… this time it will be dif­fer­ent.” Every time it is not. I mut­ter prayers under my breath as I pull the jeans up my thighs. Every time, with­out fail, they get halfway up and are like, “Haha­ha. Nah, brah.” 

I’ve tried going up a few sizes and that gen­er­al­ly helps with get­ting the pants up over my butt and thighs, but then they’re too big on my waist. And, even with a belt, I get the Mom Jeans/‘I’m wear­ing a dia­per under this’ look.

Still one of the fun­ni­est SNL skits of all time…

I was brows­ing Old Navy’s web­site last week (Old Navy’s fash­ions are on the come up! I ain’t ashamed…) when I came across a cute pair of jeans described as “boyfriend”, “straight leg” and “easy through hips and thigh.”

Sure the mod­el was slen­der, and yeh I just had a baby and gained a few (okay more than a few…) pounds. But, I’m 5′ 4″ and a size 6/8 even with the baby weight. Find­ing things in-store shouldn’t be impos­si­ble.

After mulling it over I fig­ured, ‘Well this might be a bit tight in the butt and upper thigh, but sure­ly the leg will still be wide.’

Um, wow. How wrong I was. 

This is how the jeans looked on the mod­el.

And this is how they looked on me.

They went from ‘boyfriend’ to ‘skin­ny’, there are creas­es every­where and my butt looks like a shank of ham. And before you say, ‘But Leila! That’s not your size!’ In my waist, it is. There was no muf­fin-top­ping. Waist-wise it was per­fect.

And I know I’m not alone. I know many of my fel­low black girls have dealt with the ‘petite in the waist but not par­tic­u­lar­ly petite in the butt and thighs’ strug­gle. The ‘no mat­ter what cut of pants I buy I look like stuffed sausage’ strug­gle. The ‘no Gin­uwine, there real­ly isn’t any room for you in these jeans they’re cut­ting off my cir­cu­la­tion’ strug­gle. The ‘if it wasn’t for stretch den­im I wouldn’t be wear­ing jeans at all!’ strug­gle.

We need to start a hash­tag to doc­u­ment this. Maybe #how­it­look­son­the­mod­elvshow­it­look­son­me or #the­se­jean­saint­for­thick­girls

Cuz, like, wow.


Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­liste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

Leave a Reply

38 Comments on "Can We Start Documenting the Phenomenon of Thickness Changing Pants Fit? Cuz…"

Notify of
I had giv­en up on women’s jeans a few years ago. Long legs, small waist, bub­ble butt, thun­der thighs that touch them­selves… I NEVER had a pair of jeans that fit­ted, and as a teenag­er, I was so bummed about that that I end­ed up wear­ing my dad’s jeans instead (true sto­ry!). I basi­cal­ly became avant-garde out of neces­si­ty :) After many, MANY years spent in des­o­la­tion in fit­ting rooms, here’s what I learned : — Women’s jeans’ fab­ric is ridicu­lous, way too thin, so they always end up torn at the crotch. Men’s jeans are sig­nif­i­cant­ly more resis­tant. — Women’s… Read more »

Girl! just go up a few sizes to get the boyfriend jeans look. If I brought jeans accord­ing to my waist size they would nev­er fit. Try get­ting jeans accord­ing to your hip size. I wear a size 16 and even I’m able to find boyfriend jeans that fit like boyfriend jeans.


Buy jeans with stretch, don’t buy based on size, buy based on fit thru hips and tai­lor the waist. Dont like see­ing a big­ger size? cut off the label and keep it movin


I had the same issue for years & tried on jeans every­where until I found St. Johns bay at J.C Pen­ny. Those are the only pants I can go in grab my size & go & I to am 5’4 with hips & booty so I no that strug­gle all to well. Recent­ly I found that I can also wear Lee jeans clas­sic fit, def­i­nite­ly give St. Johns bay a try & good luck on your per­fect pair search.


I buy my jeans almost exclu­sive­ly from Tar­get. They have a “curvy” fit for the store brand, plus the Merona and Den­zien lines have a lot of give that stretch­es over time.


What­ev­er size Jean you wear in women’s ex. 30, add three sizes and get that in a Levi’s Men’s 501,504,505 and it will fit like a boyfriend Jean. 501 is going to bea but­ton fly pant though so keep that in mind.


I used to think jeans weren’t meant for me. I did­nt grow up wear­ing them and didn’t know the tricks to a good fit. A friend of mine who was short, with a bub­ble butt and small waist always had per­fect fit­ting jeans. So I asked her how she did it. She told me to buy jeans on clear­ance two sizes too large and get them tai­lored to fit. Life chang­ing advice. Per­fect fit at a dis­count price.


The girl in the pho­to from Pin­ter­est is Bri­ana Sha­nee, design­er & entre­pre­neur. Also, this is a great post, relat­able.


No loss Laila.……those jeans were hel­la ugly with those raw hems..uggh.….Try levis…Makes your ass look great with the best prices with so many cuts and washes…Good luck.




I am not sure if your title about doc­u­ment­ing this issue was more of a joke, but I think that this is such a good idea. So many women of col­or have this issue, and it is unfair and unac­cept­able that this is such a ram­pant issue. How do you think that peo­ple could go on about address­ing brands/companies about this issue?

It\'s Me
I used to work at Old Navy as a teen, so here are the tips I can give you. 1) Old Navy runs small and the den­im nev­er has enough stretch for women with curves 2) If you want tru­ly boyfriend jeans from Old Navy, mea­sure your waist­line and inseam, and shop the men’s or boys’ sec­tion (they’ll like­ly sit low on your waist, but the fit will be bet­ter than the pat­tern they cut for women) 3) If you need extra room in the hips, it’s bet­ter to shop Gap (bet­ter mate­r­i­al, and more for­giv­ing pat­tern) 4) The pants you tried… Read more »

The strug­gle is real. Thank­ful­ly I have found Lee rid­er jeans fit com­fort­ably with a no Gap waist and relaxed fit legs aren’t a gim­mick. Check Wal­mart and kmart or Lee jeans web­site.


I wish I had some advice to give you, but I gave up on jeans a few years ago. I’m offi­cial­ly the quin­tes­sen­tial yoga pant/leggings-wearing mom. I must have bought some in every col­or. Thank­ful­ly I know how to strate­gi­cal­ly dress them up and down accord­ing­ly.


all i can say is I thank God that leg­gings came back into fash­ion coz i dumped jeans and nev­er looked back!!


Tights are great; if your 14. A grown woman should invest in a nice pair of
jeans with a good wash for a clean look to go out on the town for work. Most. Most employ­ers don’t allow you to wear tights to the office.
Tight are not for every­one and for every occa­sion.


I wear tights and boots with a skirt or dress to the office all the time. My employ­er is fine with it. I’m 56 and work in local gov­ern­ment. Tights are for any­one who choos­es to wear them.


They best thing to do is invest in a sewing machine. Order a cou­ple sizes up, then take in the waist and or calve area. It takes five min­utes once u get the hang of it and it leaves you look­ing like every­thing is cus­tom made. 

For that style pants, go to a local Good­will and you’ll find the per­fect pair. I have sev­er­al and that’s where I got them, I just had to make a few alter­ations. Hope this helps in the mean­time until the fash­ion indus­try gets it togeth­er lol


Sor­ry to my pre­vi­ous post­ing, I meant “darts.” LOL


I know you said the waist fit fine, but guurl. Try one size larg­er and if you cant do it have the waist tak­en in. Thats what I do. I put a cou­ple of dates in the waist and Im good to go. But I do get your point.

Tiffany Ima

*vin­tage jeans on

Tiffany Ima

Lmao i know the strug­gle.

That girl in prob­a­bly pic prob­a­bly got jeans on


I only have one boyfriend jeans and it’s actu­al­ly my ex-boyfriend jeans lol! So maybe you can also try male jeans? I’m real­ly not sure, because you have nice curves but I have a flat ass like that mod­el lol.


You can use this site as a guide…if you like.…the-perfect-pair-of-jeans-for-every-body-shape/


I feel your pain. My bot­tom half is 2 sizes big­ger than my top half always, and then there’s THE GAP at the waist (oh I get that name now). Google brands for us cur­vey girls. They’re out there, but it takes a minute to find them. And each cut is dif­fer­ent.


You will still have that prob­lem with your child bear­ing hips ?…Plus the crotch will drop very low on you because of your height… I sug­gest going up a size or 2 then hav­ing it tai­lored to fit how you want.…I feel your pain. I tried before the back pock­ets were at the back of my thighs *sigh*


Try the women’s Levi’s 501. They have a small waist and gen­er­ous thighs and butt room.


My feel­ings were so hurt when Levi’s dis­con­tin­ued their bold curve jeans. Only pair that didn’t give plumber’s butt …


Why not just size up or buy anoth­er pair? I don’t get it.


Wow, I can the dif­fer­ence! What about a blue Jean skirt or dress…those are very for­giv­ing. Or a nice pair of slacks dark blue or black? Btw: you look great!


Yeah, I think cer­tain brands tend to cater more­so to a spe­cif­ic body type. Have you tried get­ting actu­al mens jeans? Maybe you can just alter/hem the bot­tom to your lik­ing :)