Style is Style: Put Some Pants On!

I have a confession to make, of the sartorial variety. Until very recently, I hadn’t worn jeans in about three years. Jean shopping has always been a bit of a nightmare for me; a small waist but plentiful hips and thighs means that most pairs were loose in the waist and far too tight in the hips. Super uncomfortable, and quite often tears would fall in the change room. So, over time, I conveniently eradicated them from my wardrobe. Essentially, I learned to live without denim so that I wouldn’t have to go through the headache (and heartache) of trying on 10+ pairs of jeans only to find that none of them worked. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Fast forward to a month ago at Old Navy: I found a pair of jeans that I actually liked! I was skeptical and reluctant to try them on, but for the sake of wanting to change up my style, I gave them a shot. As I slipped on the first jeans I’d even attempted since at least 2011, I found myself in an unfamiliar place. Gazing at my reflection, I was dumbfounded. Could it be? Could I really be wearing JEANS? I’ve been thrown into a tailspin wardrobe-wise ever since, finding myself even threatening to burn all of my dresses. Luckily, I had my girlfriend Emily J. to calmly talk me out of that one. “I mean, you do you, but maybe don’t burn them just yet…”

In celebration of this very momentous event, I decided to do a little show and tell. Since one of the perks of denim is versatility, I took a spin in my new jeans and styled each for a different semi-imaginary occasion. Enjoy the results below!

Sunday Brunch

Weekends (or days off, for those of us lucky enough to have them) would ideally consist of sleeping in, mimosas and extended brunches. In a perfect world, I would definitely bring a riding cap, a boyish vintage sweater and Chelsea boots. Playful enough to giggle over a pitcher of tasty beverages but still holdin’ it down in the style department.

put some pants on 1

I’m wearing: a vintage sweater, sunglasses, boots and trench, a Topshop felt hat and Old Navy jeans.

Solange Concert

A night out on the town would be certainly be an adventure if the destination were to see Ms. Knowles live in concert. Yes, of course, Ms. Carter is extraordinary, but there is something to be said of her sister Solange’s knack for individual, instinctive coolness, not to mention her wealth of talent. Seriously Tina, WHAT DID YOU FEED YOUR CHILDREN? WHERE CAN WE MORTALS GET SOME? Fangirling aside, my dream outfit for basking in Solange’s glory includes off-kilter color combos (baby blue and pumpkin) and a patterned head wrap. Maybe she’d notice me in the crowd. We’ll fast become BFFs and I can be Brooklyn Carter’s godmother (Brooklyn is Blue Ivy’s future baby bro, obvs).

put some pants on 2

I’m wearing: a thrifted blazer and collared shirt, an H&M scarf, Aldo cateye sunglasses, Cooperative heeled Mary Janes and Old Navy jeans.

Grocery Shoppin’

Sometimes you’ve run out of everything, even that last can of chicken noodle. You are really tired, feeling lazy, but your stomach says it’s time for a grocery run. Unfortunately, there is a high probability of running into cute queers/terrible exes/cool people at your neighbourhood grocery store. You have to get dressed, but you really don’t feel like it. This is essentially my default for any time I have to leave the house in a rush but don’t want to look like I left the house in a rush.

put some pants on 3

I’m wearing: a vintage camo shirt and t-shirt, low-top Converse Chuck Taylors, Old Navy jeans and a hat I borrowed from my lovely lady (I think it’s H&M).

A Walk In The Park

The intent of this outfit is fairly obvious: a sunny stroll at the local park. You want to look cute, but not overdressed. Ease and comfort are key, but it’s a nice excuse to wear a print or two. Who could argue with a kitten and tropical florals on an adventure in the park?

put some pants on 4

I’m wearing: a thrifted blazer, H&M tank (gift) and sunglasses, Gap panama style hat, Old Navy jeans and random pink socks.

Putting together these looks made me a little less intimidated by wearing jeans, but I’d love to hear the ways you reboot the denim in your wardrobe! Since I’m long out of practice, perhaps you can help a girl out?

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Lydia O

Lydia Okello is a feminist, body positive, queer personal style blogger. On her website Style is Style, she showcases her panache for bright colors and power clashing. When she isn't pawing over Samantha Pleet collections on Tumblr, she's dreaming about havin' a kitten of her own one day. You can find her on Twitter, Tumblr and on her personal blog.

Lydia has written 64 articles for us.


  1. So stylish, I especially love the concert outfit! I’m very much a black jeans, plain t-shirt kind of girl and really want to try and change it up a bit! Jeans shopping is the worst though you’re right. Until you find the perfect pair!

  2. I, unfortunately, don’t have any tips. BUT I seriously appreciate this post simply because I have given up on pants since growing back into my fat body+this post (+Old Navy’s greatness apparently) I’m going to give it a try again. Thanks!

  3. I wore my favourite pair of jeans for about 7 years before finally surrendering them to the bin a year ago due to overwhelming structural failure and I’ve been painfully searching for a replacement ever since. I finally found some at topshop this week, so I bought 4 pairs, and I’m considering getting more. I am not losing my good jeans again. and I am very much feeling this article! (and that solange concert look is everything)

  4. I would 100% check you out in any of those outfits (and probably any other, but hey).

  5. jeans custom made to your measurements. You can pick your favorite style, strait, boyfriend, skinny, bootcut, flare, embroider, design, etc. Then have them mailed to your home. I love them so much!

  6. How do you look so cool going to the grocery store. And why isn’t your neighborhood grocery store the same one as MY neighborhood grocery store. Life is just not fair.

  7. Aah, these are all such terrific outfits! I’m a huge fan of the felt hat and its nod to equestrian style. Agree on the inexplicable tendency to bump into cute/terrible/cool people at the grocery store the days you are lazy and throw on whatever.

    I have been on total denim jeans hiatus for half a year, and recently rediscovered my jeans and am having a bit of a blast coming up with new outfits. Shopping from yourself is free and worthwhile!

  8. You seem to be on the right track! You’re cuffing smartly, running the gamut from casual to buttoned up – well done!

  9. Wow, I wish I had a style that didn’t drastically oscillate between blatant punk-rocker and utter femme cutie and some weird in-between space I like to call ‘I ran out of clothes that made sense together because maybe two things in this closet do’.

    In other words, you’re stylish and I am mad jealous.

  10. As someone who, most days, literally only needs to wear jeans once and that’s to go to the grocery store, I found this super relevant to my interests

  11. Oh Old Navy! I had been looking for non-bootleg/skinny jeans that help me feel good in my masculinity, and I found them here! Boyfriend style, mind you. But NBD :P

  12. <3 Old Navy jeans from the boys section. idk how many times I've talked about them on Autostraddle but $10 sales and pockets big enough for me to actually put stuff in!

  13. I’m just commenting to bond over the SAME exact problems with jeans. :( I’ve gradually been adding them into my wardrobe (I’ve found luck with Forever 21 jeans, especially since they fit lengthwise too and I never have to cuff them!) but I’m still a dresses and skirts girl.

  14. I have denim probs too because I have super skinny ankles but hate flare or straight jeans, a small waist, and a big butt and long legs. so I tend to have probs with jeans. But I recently found GREAT stretch jeans from h and m for only 10 bucks! (TURN UP!!!!) To celebrate, I did a green blazer I found at forever 21 and cut the shoulder pads out of, black combat boots ,black jeans, a super skinny black studded belt, and a Tshirt I got from a christian concert i went to a couple years ago proclaiming “god loves everyone” it was an easy outfit with minimal fuss, but all day i got compliments on how classy i was. :D

  15. I feel your jean pain…and long for your jean joy. I only ever wear jeans and I’m short, really short, 5’0″. There I said it, I’m out. Plus my hips don’t lie, they are big & My waist is 10 inches smaller and my legs are slim. Flares, boot cut or basically anything other than skinny jeans make me look like an oompa loompa. So I have to get jeans tailored after purchase for length and my skinny wee legs. But mostly it’s not worth the cost. I was super lucky to pick up a pair of Levis for £10 in TKMaxx (idk why it’s TK not TJ in Britain) so the £35 tailoring wasn’t as much of a burn and they fit perfectly so I highly recommend it to folks with similar problems. I live and die in denim of all hues but generally look like I fell into my wardrobe and then fell out again, it’s a style honest, but damn you look so put together in these pics. I feel I must try harder…at least for special occasions.

  16. I have recently rekindled my interest in denim as well! I bought my first pair in ages from the Gap. I’m not sure how great the Gap is for bigger folks, but for shorties like myself, it’s awesome because they usually have a short length available (in the jean selection, not sure about their other pants). Hemming is not a huge hassle, but sometimes you just wanna leave the store with something that fits.

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