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Martini Fridays: All About Thighs

I’ve been thinking about my thighs a lot lately.

Most of these thoughts have sprung from my pants, which sounds far naughtier than it is. See – I need new pants, ones that I can wear to my quasi-professional office without looking like a farmer fresh in from her field. Currently, I have one pair that works. One. And one isn’t enough when one is prone to spilling.

My garment of choice right now. I do have a torso, too, unlike this model.

The pants problem will evaporate once it’s safe to expose flesh to the outside air again and I can go back to my old reliable skirts and dresses, whose very nature makes the girth of my thighs irrelevant. That’s assuming spring comes. I’m having some doubts.

Right now, though, there are no tights thick enough to protect my merely human gams from -30 windchills. Jeans are required. Also helpful is interval training because those little bursts of speed from back door to car door make a big difference when it comes to reducing discomfort.

But barring some kind of miraculous thaw in the next week, I need new pants to get me through the next four thousand weeks of winter. The problem is: I can’t find new jeans that will slip over my big ol’ thighs. While I know it’s a not uncommon problem among those of who are more genetically inclined to have solid body types no matter how many miles we run – I credit my peasant foremothers who must have pulled their plows personally – my lack of off-the-rack pants is starting to tick me off.

It turns out, I’m not alone. Jen A. Miller in Zelle wrote a whole column about her relationship with jeans. The short version of her essay is that it’s the pants’ problem, not her body’s, and that every runner needs a tailor. Which is a great take-away, this whole not blaming your body thing. I’m all over that. Your body is great. My body is great. All of our bodies are great.

None of this positivity helps me find jeans, though. I live in a wee town where the closest Nordstrom is a good 90 minutes away. I don’t have the time or energy to drive there, then spend a hour dealing with trying stuff on, then drive back to pick it all up. The tailor in my town is so backed up that she might be able to get to my pants by, maybe, fall. Of 2016.

I think I'd need to know my seamstress pretty well for this move. And vice-versa.
I think I'd need to know my seamstress pretty well for this move. And vice-versa.

I could, of course, learn how to tailor my own durn pants (and a pretty good primer on pants patterns is here) but, seriously? When, exactly, would I do that? If you could draw up a schedule where I have the time for that and still manage to fit in training and eating and sleeping (not to mention all of the kid/husband/dog stuff), I will kiss you right on the mouth.

Look. I know we’re all busy – which is why something as straightforward as pants shouldn’t be such a hassle. And because it is such a hassle, I’m feel like my whole pant situation is proof that there is something wrong with me and my thighs.

Which is too bad, because my thighs are pretty cool. Yeah, there’s some cellulite and a few thread-y veins. Cosmetically, they look more like a “before” rather than an “after.” But these are the thighs that have carried me through a metric ton of running. They are strong and hard. They are thighs of consequence.

Unless you have to try jeans on — and then they are burdens as well as proof that I am not living up to the standard that has been set for women. And this says nothing about how awful my post-baby flap of loose belly skin makes me feel in a changing room. I’ve though about putting a zipper on it and using it as a purse.

Running makes me feel like my body is bangin’. Clothing it makes me feel the exact opposite. I don’t know what to do with these feelings, really, and suspect I’m not alone. So I’m talking about them. And in the comments, I hope that you will, too.

As for the running, well, I’ve had a lot of time during my long, slow miles to think about body image. I’ve also discovered that all of the long, slow miles are leading to some slightly faster times with a lower heart rate. Upside.

My favorite track is on the other side of this snowbank. At least, the sky is lovely.
My favorite track is on the other side of this snowbank. At least the sky is lovely.

The downside is that I can run outside once per week, give or take, when the weather is feeling co-operative. Last Sunday’s run was in 35 degrees! It felt like I was living the easy life in the tropics. All I needed was a fruity drink and a grass skirt, which I know would fit over my thighs.

How is your relationship between your running and pants? And any jean recommendations for Ms. Martini?

54 responses to “Martini Fridays: All About Thighs

  1. My problem with jeans is usually two-fold: thighs and length, because the circumference of my upper thigh is almost my inseam. You laugh, but I am not exaggerating.

    Jeans: I currently have one pair that fit me postpartum and wonder if my coworkers have noticed that I wear them almost every day. (If so, sorry, coworkers.) I am really thick-waisted naturally (and especially now), so my jeans keywords tend to be “boyfriend” or “boy jeans” or “generous through hip and thigh.” Unfortunately, most of my jeans probably do make me look like I’ve been farming all day. 🙂

  2. I’ve only commented here to vie for give-aways, but you got me with this:

    Running makes me feel like my body is bangin’. Clothing it makes me feel the exact opposite. I don’t know what to do with these feelings, really, and suspect I’m not alone.

    Logically, I know I should be proud of what I do, when my pants are tight, it’s confusing.

    Thank you for your posts, I enjoy them each week!

  3. This is such an honest post! I agree with the Old Navy recommendation – there are a lot of different types. I have big hips and I prefer the sweetheart as well. I’m struggling a bit right now because in this second go ’round of half marathon training I haven’t lost any weight. Sadly, it’s been just the opposite (I’m not stressed – I had some wiggle room) but my jeans are not exactly falling off these days. Sigh. On the upside (since you always seem to find one), I ROCKED a 9-mile training run yesterday so there’s that.

  4. I have curvy hips and thighs and I have found the sweetheart style jeans from old navy to be the perfect fit. They have other styles too Like the Diva that may work. The best thing is that there are 5 different fits all at one store that you can try on. Each fit comes in different styles like boot cut or skinny. And they come in three different lengths. I am 5’8″ and the regular length fits well.

  5. These are my favorite jeans, as well. I am short (5′ 1″), and have large, muscular thighs. I find these jeans are very comfortable, and look good, too!

  6. NYDJ (Not your Daughter’s Jeans) are my new favorite. Great stretch, real woman sizes, and they don’t bunch up around my thighs. Also, the rise is high enough I don’t feel like my underwear is the focal point of the outfit. They are not cheap, but I got my first pair as a try from Gwynnie Bee and found my next two on the discount site RueLaLa because I refuse to pay more than $70 for a pair of jeans.

  7. Oh Adrienne, I feel your pain. I am blessed with a rather generous backside and thighs. Sir MixaLot’s “Baby’s Got Back” could have been written about me. I’m also 5′, so finding curvy jeans + short legs is challenging. I had success at White House Black Market a couple of weeks ago – their Saint Honore jeans have plenty of stretch and are available in short lengths. I am really pleased with the way they fit. There’s some vanity sizing with the pair I bought, but I’m OK with that. They’re not 100% perfect – the fabric could be heavier, and even in the short length I need to have them hemmed to wear with flats, but at the moment I can get by with wearing with riding boots. GOOD LUCK in your quest to find a great pair of jeans.

  8. I can’t help you with jeans and I’m probably built like you but a bit taller. For work I wear stuff from the thrift store and find Talbot’s fits me (& my thighs) the best. I also stick with boot cut to try and minimize the largeness of my thighs

  9. Someone mentioned Stitch Fix above. I had great success finding tops and a pair of fabulous jeans from them. Give it a try, you don’t even need to leave the house.

  10. Have you shopped on Amazon for jeans? With Amazon Prime eligible clothing items, you get free 2 day shipping and free returns. As others have posted, think of online shopping as freeing you from the discomfort and bad lighting of the in-store dressing room.
    Amazon is also my go to store for sports bras.

  11. Oh yes, I needed to read this. I have always hated my thighs. Now that I’m beginning to run long and hard (thanks NUUN New Years Challenge!) I am beginning to love my legs. Not for how they look, but for their strength and how they feel. I might not be ready to jump into shorts or above-the-knee skirts, but now I can look at my thighs and love them for the miles they carry me.

  12. One of the reasons I started running was because of my relationship with my thighs and butt. I have wished for new legs as long as I can remember. One day I decided that I may not like the way they look but I could make them strong…marathon strong. 🙂

  13. Love. I am queen of this problem, though I blame squats and running and jeans. Obviously, I (nor you) need to shoulder blame for jeans made for adolescent girls.

    I am currently wearing jeans with panels up to my bazoombas (and I can call them that since they decided to grow, finally, in pregnancy). In another life, I was fond of the sweetheart jeans from Old Navy because not only do I have a peasant body but a peasant budget. I’d be curious what Kohl’s has to offer. The Chaps and Sonoma brands have a curvy fit because, if anything else, the thighs do curve.

    Good luck!

  14. Spot on! So wonderfully written, you are giving voice to millions of women worldwide. “It’s not us – it’s the pants.” Can we start that page on Facebook? Please, someone do it, and keep writing about it so we can change our perceptions of our bodies, so our girls don’t have to keep feeling like something is wrong with their bodies.

    Think of the freedom of the dress. Women’s lib pushed us to feel that we had to wear pants, we earned it! I think it’s time to ditch the pants, if clothing manufacturers continue to make them so horribly. There is the next Facebook page – “Take off your pants!” That one’s for you Adrienne.

  15. I love this post!!!
    I’m with you- there is nothing wrong with your body, just the jeans.

    Have you tried running tights under your skirts/dresses? 😉 In plain black of course.

  16. First off, Thanks for always making me smile on Martini Fridays!! Can’t wait to meet you, Dimity, and Sara at the Andover event.

    Second: when I find a pair of paints that fits my body type, then I just go online and order a bunch of them in different colors, so maybe you could find those jeans that do fit, and have a few more pairs delivered to your house 🙂

  17. I love my thighs. They are strong and well defined. They are also, shall we say, ample. Thanks to my twin sister who went on the “quest for the perfect jeans”, I now have three pair of Levi’s 529 jeans. Boot cut, straight and skinny. I love them all. They fit in the hips, are comfortable in the thighs and most of all, I do not have to constantly pull them up. I normally shop for jeans at the thrift store so spending real money on jeans was hard but they are worth every penny.

  18. This is a perpetual problem for me too! I love Lucky jeans. I like the Sophia bootcut (their curvy cut that is mid-rise to cover my post-babies pouch), and I have even grown to like the Sophia skinny. But you have to try them on in the store. I have a pair with what they call “echo stretch” that are THE MOST COMFORTABLE JEANS I have ever worn. I ordered what I thought was the same pair from the website but alas they were not the same and were very uncomfortable. I’ve also gotten some Kut from the Kloth from stitch fix that I like.

  19. Jeans are hard because every single pair seem to fit different, even the same brand and size! Try ordering a variety of pairs from Zappos or somewhere w/free shipping and returns. You can try them on at home in your spare minute of time! Keep what fits and return the rest. The downside is finding time to take the returns to the post office, fedex or ups. Good luck!!!

  20. I struggle more with the belly overhang, which persisted even when I was at my lowest weight 2 years ago. Low cut jeans always seem to look great on everyone but me (especially when I am constantly adjusting to make sure my extra skin is tucked in), and mid-rise jeans look like “mom jeans”. I found a pair of Silver jeans that are mid-rise but not quite so “mom-ish”. They are boot cut and dark wash. I’m on my second pair. I also used to think I couldn’t wear skinny jeans, but it really is just a matter of finding the right ones. Stitch Fix sent me a pair from Kut From the Kloth that are fabulous – lots of stretch.

  21. I have the same problem! I love the way running makes my body feel and I hate the way clothes make it look! I have discovered Lee Comfort fit pants and jeans. They feel amazing and even make me look amazing. Good luck. Remember…your thighs may be big, but they are strong. They have carried you to places you may have never been. They are strong enough push you through those last tough miles. They are strong enough to keep you standing tall when the pressure makes you want to sit down.

  22. I can totally relate to the whole jean conundrum! My problem: no matter how far I run, or how in shape I get, my derriere will never be petite. (THANK YOU Meghan Trainor for Bringing Booty Back!) My round shape has a hard time fitting into square jeans, or most jeans for that matter. But I’ve had lots of luck in Chico’s jeans. (I was once told Chicos caters to those whose curves don’t fit into White House Black Market). Another idea: leggings! Under your skirts and dresses, throw on a pair of leggings, warm cozy socks and boots.

  23. I hear ya ladies! I am not in a “larger” size but my legs go on forever (and NOT in a good way! ) and yeah the whole skinny jean thing…. That’s when I get to try and do the skinny jean dance every time I stand up and wiggle, wiggle, wiggle and hope I get them back up over my “croissant belly”… As my daughter so lovingly named my post baby look… 4 kids… 2 later in life in the high risk age group of over 35…. Ooh, soooo old! But hey… We are an amazing group of BAMR’s who legs are strong, we are healthy and can kick butt running the miles we do! Think I’ll go for a run now…. Too bad I can’t find the sidewalk or the road to run on…. Hurry up spring!

  24. Adrienne- you are not alone. I think there are far too many of us that share this same problem and have a love-hate relationship with shopping. I know I sure do. I have 3 pairs of jeans. The first is a more tight fitting pair that stretches a bit and I bought on a whim at the GAP outlet store near my house years ago. The other two are the same pair but bought at different times – Kut from the Kloth which you can buy from Nordstrom – the Natalie boot cut. I have tried on many, many pairs of jeans and despite being what seems to be a relatively normal size, I feel like jeans are designed for everyone else except me. I also had an amazing pair of Joe’s jeans but they ripped and after two patches, I gave up.
    What I don’t understand is why manufacturers continue to make the legs smaller and why someone decided that everyone should wear skinny jeans. Personally, I am not the biggest fan and while I am ok with close fitting pants, I don’t want to have to pull them on and peel them off.
    I wish you the best of luck and considering my mood this morning, this actually made me feel better and know that I am not alone in my pants quest problem. Best of luck and you can order them online.

  25. Love all of the great ideas! Another option is loft curvy boot cut corduroy pants -lots of colors, nice stretchy fabric and (slightly!) dressier than jeans for work

  26. Girl, this is what the Internet was invented for! Even if you have to pay for retun shipping, order some likely options and try them on in the privacy of your bedroom.

  27. Just wanted to say that I enjoyed your post today. I can relate. I tried on a pair of skinny jeans a couple of years ago, and could not get them to go up past my ankles. And this was after running 2 halfs and losing a decent amount of weight. Not a fun feeling. I’ve dealt with body image issues for as long as I know and it’s so true that you can feel so strong and happy about your body until you try to find new jeans.

    Thanks for a great post.

  28. I love finding jeans at the thrift store. They are already worn-in, and so much cheaper! It takes some time to dig and try everything on, but I have a bunch of great jeans that I love to wear and more money to buy running clothes. It’s a win-win!

  29. Yes! Me! Same issue!!! Found curvy skinny (irony not lost on me) jeans at Buckle (“culture” model)… Love them with high boots and long tops.

  30. Yes! Sweet and Lows! I couldn’t think of the cut right away. They are great for all over fit if you need a little extra room in the calves and thighs.

  31. Yes! Sweet and Lows! I couldn’t think of the cut rig away. They are great for all over fit if you need a little extra room in the calves and thighs.

  32. Stitch fix sent me some straight leg jeans made by Liverpool that are perfect. Usually, I am a Lucky Brand girl. When i find a style and cut that works, i order several pairs. If you do go the legging/sweater dress route, try some fleece lined tights. I have a couple of pair from athleta that are amazing. Wind, cold, snow…nothing gets through them.

  33. I am forced to buy pants online (34″ inseam) which is great for me, because I LOATHE shopping. I actually really like Old Navy Sweetheart jeans, curvy, yet roomy in the thighs and don’t make me feel like a denim house.(Also, very budget-friendly!)

  34. As a stretch break heading upstate after the NYC Marathon, Friend and I stopped at Woodbury, where they have a Lucky outlet. (Couldn’t get crampy in the car….)I had never been and the first few pair were tight nightmares. Then, sales staff introduced me to Sweet N Low’s. I’m hooked. And, for me, it isn’t just thighs. My calves are enormous.

  35. Thank you and amen to the plight of athletic girls finding jeans! Ditto re. preferring swimsuit shopping to jeans shopping. NYDJ especially when at Nordstrom Rack are good for those of us with strong, beautiful thighs…

  36. I can’t wear jeans to work. When it is below zero (yet again) it is all about the layers. One option- sweater dress, w/ leggings, compression sox and high boots. Another- long skirt w/ tights and high boots. Either is warmer than dress pants.

  37. Hey, love this post as I’m getting lots of ideas for jeans. Here are my tips, go to a Lucky Jeans store (not as pricey as Joes and sales rep seem to know what they are doing) tell them what you want, purchase for the largest part of body and have altered (I have a great seamstress that always hems and tucks in the waist). Once you find the fit that works well with your body, purchase several pair and hem for both flats and heels. I plan to check out the Kut from the Kloth 🙂
    Also check out the CrossFit blogs, ladies that lift have the same problem.

  38. As always, brilliantly stated, Adrienne! I would echo the legging/tights with sweater dress (loyal Athleta lover), I too had to brave the jeans trying on experience and while I found a few, I would say finding some with denim plus a little stretch. I got lucky that way- though they are almost always too short. Thank god for tall boots!

  39. I received a pair of jeans in a stitch fix shipment called KUT from the Kloth and they have been the best fitting jeans I’ve ever had. I went online to search for the brand and found they have a direct website you can order from with free shipping on all orders. You can also call them and talk to them about what you are looking for and they can help you find a fit that works for you. I really love them. I too have large muscular thighs and these jeans are a nice thick denim with plenty of stretch to accommodate curves.

  40. “thighs of consequence” LOVE that quote! I, too, have thighs of consequence and when I’m down about how they look, I think about how they carry me up the steepest of hills!

  41. The timing of this is perfect. I need new pants also. I guess my butt got a little bigger and my waist got a little smaller from all this running. I have tried on every “Curvy” cut jean in Walmart and Kmart (what is available in my small town) and none are curvy enough. I had a doctor appointment in the closest Big Town yesterday (only 100 miles away) and planned to go to The Mall. After 2 hours of nothing but pants from about 15 stores I almost walked out empty handed. I finally did settle on a pair from Eddie Bauer because they came the closest to fitting my waist. There is still about an 1/2 gap in the waist band, but at least I can’t pull them off without unbuttoning them like all my other jeans. VERY Frustrating.

  42. Try zappos.com. You can filter by Jean fit. I’d suggest the relaxed fit, wide leg or boyfriend fits. Fast free delivery and free returns means you can try several styles and sizes and return what doesn’t work.

    The other option is stitchfix.com. On that site a stylist picks your clothes for you based on your preferences. You can describe your pant issue and provide measurements so they can pick something that works for you. Only drawback is that the first shipment could take a couple weeks. https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3598171

  43. So understand. And recently, I’ve added the lovely base layer in our wonderfully frozen winter. My go to are Mossimo from Target. Will say, much to my dismay, there were slight differences between shades (tried on really dark but bought a slightly faded wash). Difference was slight so I was ok. I seriously hate jean shopping more than bathing suit shopping.

  44. Love this article. I feel the same way you do. I do the jump and twist to get my jeans on and pray I don’t have to go to the bathroom in the next few hours. I have strong muscular thighs and just deal with it. Not sure if it’s luck but I can only wear jeans to work on Fridays. I’ve been wearing skirts as much as I can and have acclimated to this miserable winter. But craving a good 30+ day to thaw out. .

  45. I am constantly trying to add mass to my thighs for my mountain biking/cycling. I envy women like you who have strong and muscled legs. We always want what we don’t have, huh? Crazeeee!

  46. I am a girl who lives in sweater dresses this time of year. Athleta and Title Nine have great ones and they even come in Tall to cover my thighs. Pull one of those babies on over heavy duty stretch leggins (I have been know to even wear black running tights on super cold days) and I’m good to go anywhere. Plus it looks a bit more pulled together than jeans. Jeans always would make my legs itch like mad in winter. Highly recommend embracing online ordering — with most you get free shipping and returns, can try everything on in the privacy of your own home and order multiple sizes at once so there’s little back and forth. Sure it might look like you are spending alot of $ when you put that order in with 3 different sizes of each item but remember, you’re not keeping them all…or are you?;-)

  47. With regard to the fitting room… Avert your eyes from the mirror til said pants are on your person, always! The blasted down lighting creates abnormal shadows that I swear make everyone cringe in shame. 🙂

    As for jeans., I’m a smidge frugal and I live in jeans outside of work/exercise gear.. I’ve actually had decent luck recently with the line of Levi’s sold at Walmart or the store rand at Dress Barn… And neither breaks the bank. The denim is just stretchy enough to aid with thigh issues but not so much so that you are droopy everywhere an hour after you put them on, like some cheaper brands that I’ve tried.

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