Transitioning into the colder seasons can be difficult for the hopeless dress and skirt lover. Sure, there is such a thing as knit or wooly tights. But when autumn turns from pleasantly breezy to properly chilly and the evenings drop to shivering temperatures, tights don't tend to do the trick. The solution is — unarguably — denim. However, as a plus size woman, jeans were not always my favorite.
When I was a teenager, I would spend countless hours battling with my mother through the autumnal and winter months. I would refuse to wear jeans, clinging onto my beloved statement tights, instead. And in turn, she would threaten me with cell phone seizure. In the years since, though, I have realized that a huge part of why I hated jeans wasn't that they were inherently ugly or unattractive. I just had zero clue as to how to style them. My wardrobe consisted (and still consists) primarily of dresses, and the tops I do own are most often paired with skirts. Pants? What is this folly?!
I hear women of every size vocalize their decade-long efforts to find "the perfect pair of jeans." I don't really think that's a thing, because surely — like dresses — every occasion and emotion requires a different look. Lately, I've been discovering how different cuts work on my thicker body. And I've had a lot of fun figuring out how to style denim depending on the day of the week, my scheduled activities or whatever bizarre and unpredictable fashion mood I'm in. So here are my conclusions, thus far.
Skinny jeans have been "in" since I was in ninth grade and everyone started thinking they were the ultimate in skater-wear. Which I guess was cool, or something, in 2005. They've since evolved and spread across the globe, becoming a staple in most women's wardrobes. But, the whole point of them is that they're tight to the body. They show off your curves and hug your love handles and don't really hide anything away. So in keeping with the whole "be proud of your body: wear skinny jeans" thing, I love pairing them with a relatively tight, hip skimming top. It's an easy look to put together, and one that can be tweaked to any fashion look of your choice.
Best place to shop: City Chic
I'm wearing: (Similar) Hourglass Skinny Jeans, $90, City Chic
Mom jeans (or boyfriend jeans — I don't really see the difference) are incredibly '90s, so I can't help but have a soft spot for them. They get a bad rap as being the thing you wear to the grocery store, but I think they're way more fun than that (not that I don't love my grocery shopping because I totally do). Because mom jeans tend to be loose in some places, and tight at others (which can sometimes feel a bit awkward), wearing a bodysuit with them is usually my favorite combination. In this case, I chose my nerdy comic-book-words piece. Jumpsuits are great for wearing under denim, as opposed to tops that would hang over. They completely frame the silhouette, which can be a really cute juxtaposition to the bagginess of the jeans.
Best place to shop: ASOS Curve
I'm wearing: ASOS Curve Light Wash Mom Jeans, ASOS
Jeggings are a girl's best friend. Truly. I mean come on; they look like jeans but feel like leggings. As someone who will always prefer dresses, skirts, tights and leggings to denim, jeggings are the perfect solution. I love pulling on a loose but stylish t-shirt (Disney villains, anyone?), and feeling confident in the knowledge that I will be comfortable all day.
Best place to shop: Torrid
I'm wearing: Torrid Jeggings in Dark Rinse, $59, Torrid
OK, so overalls can come in loads of materials, not just denim. But traditionally, they've got that blue-jean feel to them. Wearing a tight-fitted crop top is always my favorite thing to pair dungarees with, especially if said crop top features polka dots. But you can wear overalls with pretty much any type of shirt. Usually, opting for a fun patterned top can really spice up the ensemble. I think a lot of plus-size babes avoid dungarees because they can frame the body weirdly and do uncomfortable things to your proportions. But they're just so fun. It's worth it!
Best place to shop: Addition Elle
I'm wearing: ASOS Curve Black Denim Dungarees, ASOS
See my giddy face? It's because high-waisted jeans are my favorite types of jeans. I don't know what came first. Do I adore them because I love vintage and retro fashion? Do I adore them because of subliminal messages that tell me how "flattering" they are on a voluptuous figure? Alas, it's the chicken and the egg thing. But the point is, high-waisted jeans are a classic. Just look at Marilyn Monroe or other iconic stars of decades passed. Pairing them with crop tops or bodysuits would always be my suggestion — but I'm partial to crop tops, especially if they, too, have a vintage feel.
Best place to shop: Fashion to Figure
I'm wearing: Cynthia High-Waisted Jeans, $39, Fashion to Figure
Images: Marie Southard Ospina