An Open Letter To 40-Something Women From Your Skinny Jeans

by Anjali Enjeti
Originally Published: 
An illustration of purple, green, and white skinny jeans with an orange background

I have something I really need to really get off my seams …

I know you don’t like me.

Actually, I think you may hate me.

Let me explain.

You first spot me in your periphery while wandering through the aisles at T.J.Maxx. When we come face to face, your cold stare penetrates my narrow, tapered leg. When you squint to assess my price tag, your clenched jaw and arched eyebrows frame an expression that recalls Joan Crawford’s wire hanger tantrum in Mommie Dearest.

You toss me into the cart with a $19.99 lavender cashmere shawl (great find, by the way), steer me around a pack of bargain-hungry teens and rush me into the dressing room as if smuggling contraband through an airport security checkpoint.

You size yourself up in a mirror smeared with tiny handprints, run your fingertips along your ever-deepening crow’s feet, strain your eyes underneath fluorescent bulbs that give off as much glow as a cigarette lighter at a Def Leppard concert. Your sigh hangs heavy in air reeking of dirty socks and armpits.

You unclip me from the hanger and begin trying me on.

There’s a chorus of grunting and groaning. Sweat drips along your sideburns. The friction of denim against skin breeds the damnedest kind of rug burn. The zipper’s teeth produce acne-like pockmarks across your perimenopausal pooch.

You’d have more wiggle room wrapped in duct tape. And after you’ve finally forced the button through the hole, you can’t walk. You can’t even sit down.

Sound familiar?

Hear me out. I’m about to make a confession so scandalous it could topple an entire industry.

You’re better off without me.

The hangnail on your pinky finger is worth more than a hundred rhinestone-beaded, celebrity-endorsed versions of me. You, with this body that dances and loves, that runs and swims and bikes and climbs and extends and bends. You, with the confidence to tell people what you want and when and how, to say no and really mean it. To challenge conventional wisdom, question authority and rock the boat.

You are not the same person you were in your 20s—you know your worth. Your stretch marks, varicose veins and scars have endured hardship, grief and heartbreak. And you’ve not just survived—you’ve thrived. You now understand how to honor yourself inside and out, what you deserve in relationships, in life.

The cellulite on your thighs has more character and class than a thousand pairs of skinny jeans.

So, please—toss me aside. Tear me to shreds. Use my scraps for a quilt or a chic headscarf or even a dishrag.

Because your body doesn’t deserve to be tightened, bound or shrunk. It should be nurtured and celebrated. It should take up more space in this world, not less. Its curves, its spirit, its energy have earned the right to expand, grow and flourish. Its elegant, natural, liberated form should define its silhouette—not a silly, fleeting, fashion trend.

So please. Next time? Walk away. Treat yourself to a pair of those lovely yoga pants and leave my rack in the dust. Don’t spend your time stuffing yourself into me. Instead, order me, Skinny Jeans, to go stuff myself.



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