Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

April 23, 2012

Jeans for Non-Jean Bodies (like mine)

Filed under: Denim — Miss Plumcake @ 1:05 pm

I’m not naturally suited to pants.

In fact, saying I’m not naturally suited to pants is an understatement along the lines of saying The Wicked Witch of the West is not naturally suited to water polo. From my long torso to my cartoonish hip to waist ratio and relatively flat backside, there is absolutely nothing about trousers that commend themselves to my body.

Still, sometimes a girl needs her britches.

I’m not happy about it, either.

It’s one of those senseless cruelties of life, like having to clean up my own mess. I’m a busy woman, I barely had time to MAKE the mess in the first place, and now I’m supposed to clean it up too? What sort of sadistic world do we live in?

Going pantsless in Austin was a piece of cake.

For nine months out of the year even the idea of wearing a scrap of nonessential fabric was enough to invoke heat stroke, fever dreams and the need for handsome emergency rescue personnel bearing cold compresses and restorative gin-based beverages.

Now that I live in coastal Mediterranean climes –which might as well be Alaska for someone acclimated to endless muggy 110 degree summers, I still sleep with a heating pad– I’ve discovered those delightful mid-afternoon breezes wafting in from the Pacific turn downright nippy once the sun sets or the fog rolls in.

Enter Coldwater Creek.

I’d never shopped at Coldwater Creek before because I always thought it was somewhere between L.L. Bean’s distinctive brand of outdoorsy blandness and Chico’s menopausal mod and thus not really my style.

I also seem to recall paging through a catalog years ago and seeing stretchy panne velvet dresses (I’m sorry, I know some of you are probably eating now, I’ll try not to be so graphic from now on) and a jumper festooned with pine cones and possibly a moose.

It’s true I might have imagined the moose, but once you’ve jumped the conifer, can caribou truly be that far away?

Still, I’m an adventurous gal so I took advantage of their clearance sale a few weeks ago to order a whole mess of jeans, naively hoping at least one pair would work.

They all fit.

Not only did they fit but everything marked as a natural waist actually came up to MY natural waist, which was nothing sort of a miracle considering the ponderous length of my torso.

I nabbed two pairs of natural denim trousers, one in a cold slate blue and the other in a graphite wash, a traditional pair of straight leg indigo jobbers and –giving a nod to the somewhat challenging colored denim trend– a slightly bootcut pair in what they called mint but is more like a tumbled green sea glass.

Unfortunately they’re all sold out now, so I can’t link to anything I bought specifically, but since I had such luck across the board I feel fairly safe in commending all their denim to anyone who finds themselves with the same pantular woes as I.

Oh, and as for sizing, I’d say they run fairly true to size if there’s such a thing.

Coldwater Creek only goes up to a 24, but if you’re a 26 I’d still give it a shot since they’re cut a bit generously and have some stretch

(I’ve not yet had Rhino Butt issues, but will let you know should such misfortune befall).

The website says the regular inseam is 32″ (petites 29″, longs 35″) but either I had a couple of inches of tibia removed without me knowing it or their 32″ is a lot closer to 34″ in the plus sizes.

I won’t say these are my Holy Grail Jeans; that distinction still belongs to a pair I found at Marshall’s and have not yet been able to relocate in quantity, but it’s nice to have a go-to place for decently constructed you know will fit.


  1. I like Coldwater Creek jeans a lot, and find they run true to size for me, too. And I have a round bottom, narrow, narrow hips, and carry all my weight in the tummy spare tire.

    I guess they are suitable for all sorts?

    Also re: the who shops there… I’ve gotten some really useful basic shirts and cardis at CWC. I have a faux wrap shirt made from a navy blue mesh-ey material that looks so polished and classic and layers really well. I love that shirt.

    I say give them a shot in general for basics. I have had good experiences with their clothing.

    And, I should add, my style runs from classic-to-should-have-been-alive-in-1943-except-the-sexism.

    Comment by AnthroK8 — April 23, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

  2. Thanks for the heads up. I usually skip looking at CWC for the same reasons mentioned in your post, but will give them a second look. As to Chico’s, I know I’ll be shopping there when both my ovaries and my sense of style have retired. Hopefully, only one of these things will eventually happen.

    Comment by Mimi — April 23, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

  3. I have the opposite problem – my body is *not* made for skirts, in the same way yours is not made for trousers. (Also: “Going pantsless in Austin was a piece of cake” made me giggle, because I am apparently a 12 y/o boy.)

    But I’m happy for ya.

    Comment by Liz — April 23, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

  4. Please pardon my ignorance, but what is “rhino butt”?

    Comment by Victoria — April 23, 2012 @ 8:43 pm

  5. @Victoria: Blessed are they who are ignorant of the Rhino Butt. Rhino Butt is the curse of overly-elasticized jeans that, over the course of the day, sag and fold hideously along one’s backside.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — April 23, 2012 @ 9:36 pm

  6. Mil gracias, Miss Plumcake, for reminding me of Coldwater Creek as a trouser source. I’m trying to assemble a summer wardrobe to take back to Madrid, where size 16-18 britches expensive, and cut oddly to boot. I’ve got my summer black cotton bootcuts from Old Navy (because why would I pay a ton for something that’s going to be faded in a few months no matter what I do?) but I’m gasping for something white.

    Eres un cielo.

    Comment by Rubiatonta — April 23, 2012 @ 10:59 pm

  7. My problem is not fitting pants through the midsection. My problem is disproportionately short legs, about the same length as my entire upper torso. By pure luck I’ve discovered that the plus size crop-length pants from Talbots fit me perfectly, so I stock up big time during the seasons they have them.

    Comment by perletwo — April 23, 2012 @ 11:02 pm

  8. Why do so many people–not just on this blog but in random conversations–feel they have to diss Coldwater Creek? Even if (or especially if) they go on to praise something about them?

    My younger sisters, when in the fullness of time you too will want to be Fabulous While Over Fifty, you will regret the harsh words you have said about Coldwater Creek!

    Comment by starlady — April 24, 2012 @ 3:29 am

  9. Abbout once every five years I get it in my head that I need to own a pair of jeans. A few painful hours later, I usually break out a bottle of prosecco and try to wash the memory of the experience away.
    Thank you, God and Diane von Fustenberg for wrap dresses.

    Comment by Klee — April 24, 2012 @ 8:02 am

  10. Great writing!

    I never really thought of it, but my body really does not look good in pants. Shorter skirts and leggings (I know….nobody likes the leggings but me).

    I don’t buy alot from Coldwater Creek, but I did find two tops there that are my “go to” tops. They do run big, however. last thing…”I always thought it was somewhere between L.L. Bean’s distinctive brand of outdoorsy blandness and Chico’s menopausal mod” – HILARIOUS!

    Comment by tovah — April 30, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

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