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11.02.2012

Old Navy and the Proliferation of the Muffin Top

I have a Love/Hate with Old Navy. I have an unhealthy dependence on the place, like most discount clothing retailers (Target, I'm looking at you). It's one of those places where I go in for a basic (t-shirts or yoga pants) and end up with a bunch of other crap. Granted, some stuff becomes my favorites. But mostly it's shame-filled shopping. Fail Fashion. Clothes you need but don't want to buy in that bigger size. So you buy them on the cheap.

No one wants to give in and buy bigger pants, but sometimes you have to go to work and not look and feel like a sausage. So you give in and head to Old Navy or Target or Macy's where you hope for something cheap, cute, and forgiving.

Old Navy can send me reeling with their seasonal fluctuations. Their fall clothes seem smaller. I think they cater to the back-to-school crowd during this time, so clothes are cut slimmer, shorter, smaller. It could be that I happen to put on weight in the late summer/early fall, but I'd rather not face that. Plus this phenomenon doesn't really seem to happen in other stores. 

Rockstar Jeans from Old Navy
ON's latest push has been the Rockstar Jeans. They claim they fit a multitude of shapes thanks to their super stretchiness. Since I'm in the market for fat pants, and since I need to stretch things around me now, I went to check it out.

I swear Old Navy is promoting the muffin-topificiation of America. Yes, these pants are stretchy. And yes they fit. But those 2 attributes together don't add up to "looks good" at all. I had to go a size up to get where these looked OK for wearing in public. Sure, other sizes "fit" -  with GIANT air quotes. Zipped and comfy. One glance in the mirror was terrifying. So much so that I can't post a picture of it. The pants looked ok. Everything North of the waistline was less attractive.

I couldn't help but think of how many people I see that follow the "if it zips, it fits" mantra. Never noticed it before? Go to the mall, pick a bench near the food court, and watch. There is so much oozing! I'll admit, I'm guilty of it too. I try to contain overflow with a Yummie Tummie or Spanx, but the fat has to go somewhere. There's probably a big glob of fat that hangs out at my neck that I never notice when I'm all spandexed in.

Old Navy isn't helping the cause with their stretchy jeans in this case. These aren't Pajama Jeans - they are full-on, zip 'em up jeans. The denim is kind of magic in it's stretchy qualities, but the waist is still relatively constricting, like regular jeans...creating the perfect conditions for unintentional muffin-toppage. The website identifies these as "denim leggings"- so at least there's a little bit of "buyer beware" going on.

I won't get into the color thing. Many people (who are not me) can pull off hot pink jeans. If I had to wear it in the 90's, I'm declaring myself exempt now. Sure the look is more stylish now, but I can't help but think of Cross Colours (which seems to still exist, but only in Amsterdam) every time I see a pair of red jeans. Call me when dresses with little t-shirts and Doc Martens comes back.

I fear I've gotten off track. The moral of the story? Try jeans on. Just because you can zip, doesn't mean you should buy. Don't forgive poor fit for forgiving fabric. The best way to look slimmer is to wear clothes that fit correctly (see: every episode of What Not to Wear) regardless of the number stitched inside.

That number is doing a job on my head lately, but I'm trying hard for it not to matter. Good fitting clothes = looking good = feeling good = having confidence enough to put down the fork. Right? Right?!! I'll work on it. If you need me I'll be the girl grunting in frustration in the fitting room next to you.



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