Yes, I hate jeans

I wanted to follow up my somewhat controversial anti-cake position with what I imagine is an even more controversial opinion: I hate jeans. I do not wear them. Ever.

I wore jeans like everybody else until I had an epiphany somewhere in the middle of college — I realized that, while the word “comfortable” had been applied to jeans my whole life, that *jeans are not actually comfortable at all.*

They are made of stiff and very heavy fabric, which means thick seams anyway, and they usually emphasize this with double-folded seams and rivets and things. So everywhere you’re sitting or leaning against one of those monster seams, it’s digging in hard. Jeans also bunch up at the back of the knees when I sit cross-legged or Japanese-style.

Jean fabric is not very insulating in cold weather, and not very breathable in hot. And when it gets wet it stays wet for a loooong time.

To look good jeans have to be relatively form-fitting, which means the chore of finding jeans that fit right. And once they are tailored like that, they do not allow for a complete range of waist and knee motion. I mean, can people do yoga in jeans? That’s what I’m talking about.

Also, jeans wear out at the butt and knees pretty rapidly. So, even though the fabric gives the appearance of being “tough,” jeans don’t last all that long.

I wear skirts. Yes, skirts.

In addition to the “jeans are comfortable” cultural message, I had also absorbed the cultural message that skirts were “uncomfortable” and that it was a great liberating thing that women and girls could now wear pants, and that naturally, now that we could get out of skirts, everybody would want to.

Then I started actually wearing them.

I bought skirts in second-hand shops. They were much easier to buy than jeans — they tended to fit right, and they tended to look right.

After wearing skirts for a while I also realized that they were more comfortable. As long as they aren’t too narrow, they allow for a complete range of motion, with no annoying thick seams or bunchy fabric.

They are also better for temperature control. If it’s hot, thin fabric, long skirt, no tights. Normal northwest weather gets opaque cotton-blend tights. Super-cold weather gets a plaid flannel skirt, thermal leggings, and wool socks. (The plaid flannel is so the heavy socks and boots make me look vaguely punk instead of like a complete dork.)

And they last! I have a nice collection of vintage skirts, and skirts that I personally have owned so long they are almost vintage now. Skirts don’t have automatic wear points the way jeans do, they tend to rip out at seams, and that can often be repaired.

Also, I can make skirts myself. Skirts are easy. Basically a tube, and if I’m feeling ambitious, pleating. Pants? Not so much.

As an added bonus, skirts are culturally perceived as more formal than jeans, which means that I am always ready to crash a cocktail party or an art reception.

Vive le jupe!


  1. Lucky woman, being able to wear skirts. As a guy with a penchant for black clothing, it’s either jeans or slacks, and slacks are pricy and hard to maintan. And then there’s the problem with finding real black clothing, not the very dark blue stuff.

      1. Thanks for the link, but I’m afraid that Irish weather and Irish closed minds don’t make the kilt a good option

    1. Author

      I understand. The lack of real blackness in jeans was another factor against them, in my mind.

  2. I wish I could get away with skirts, but they just all seem to look awful on my body shape.

    1. Author

      I get that — I think everyone tends to look best in a different fashion silhouette (independent of what’s fashionable at the time.)

  3. For me, it’s dresses. I don’t have to worry about putting together an outfit.

    It has taken me a while because I won’t wear polyester and I’m plus-sized, but I now have a pretty good collection of dresses.

    I tend to be too warm, so I also only wear long dresses with knee socks. Cold weather? Thicker socks, long-sleeved dresses and a loosed jacket or cardigan. Layers are great, especially for the chronically warm.

    I haven’t owned a pair of jeans for years.

    1. Author

      It’s funny, I have consciously noticed that you have a consistent look, but I never consciously identified it as an all-dresses look.

  4. I am totally with you on this one. (Although I disagree on the cake – I actually do like cake)

    Jeans are an abomination, at least to my body.
    I, too, find them incredibly uncomfortable and restricting. You cannot comfortably sit, dance, eat, bend or do general actual *movement* in jeans. Granted, the same can often be said for a real corset, but I *like* the way a corset looks, so I’m willing to put up with some inconvenience for occasional corsetry. Jeans don’t look THAT good.

    In my normal daily life, I pretty much wear skirts or dresses exclusively. (Dresses usually in spring/summer- mostly sundress kinda things) I own one pair of pants, which are black with silver rivets down the sides. I might consider buying another pair of pants- possibly- if the right pair found me. Jeans, not a chance.

    I had one friend who saw me in the pants and mock-fainted.
    Another friend insists that I must produce photos to prove that I have ever owned a pair of jeans because she has never seen me in jeans in the 8 years she has known me.

    I don’t have a strong desire nor a particular aversion toward denim skirts – my feelings there are mostly ambivalent. (I have bought denim skirts when they have been on sale before, but I wouldn’t seek them out.)


    1. Author

      Yeah, you can’t really do yoga in a corset either. But corsets are like high heels, I only wear them when dressing up and comfort is not a priority.

      Which to me is one of the weird things about jeans. I mean, if people talked about them like “oh, they’re a pain to wear, but they make my ass look fabulous!” I would understand. But people talk about them like they’re comfortable. Like they would come home from a night on the town and put on their jeans to hang around the house.

  5. Actually, I have one pair of jeans that are comfortable, and make my ass look great. They are almost too long though, so I have to wear them with heels or thick soled shoes so they don’t drag on the ground. I’m too lazy to hem. I think the technology has improved on the stretchiness, so that they look and feel like regular jeans, but don’t feel like you’re wearing a body condom like the first pairs of stretch jeans that came out in the 80s. The brand is called Ruff Hewn, and it’s from a Ross’ or Kohl’s or something that my mom found a couple of years ago. Currently it’s the only pair of pants that I have that still fits my post-pregnancy belly, but it’s so stretchy and is low-rise so that the waist band stretches out over the course of the day and I need a belt to keep it up. It’s not super warm because the material is thin, but I don’t need super warm pants in Hawaii much.

    Otherwise, skirts are easier for me to wear too. It’s hard to find good work pants even before the pregnancy because of my fabulous pot belly. I do like how a skirt makes everything dressy. I also like skirts with stretchy waist bands. I don’t understand why all waist bands are not stretchy. We have the technology now to make it look good and not just like grandma pants. I don’t understand why guy dress pants seem more technologically advanced than women’s dress pants. Why can’t women have a consistent line of comfort waist bands with stain resistant, wrinkle resistant finishes that is available for all seasons and makes our ass look great?

    1. Author

      Guy pants are probably superior to women’s dress pants because they know men can’t just wear dresses if they don’t like the pants.

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