I’ll be honest that after having four kids, I wasn’t sure I’d ever be adding skinny jeans to my wardrobe. While I eventually lost the baby weight (well, most of it anyway), the extra skin made me feel self-conscious. But with some careful shopping and lots of trial and error, I feel like I’ve at last mastered the art of wearing skinny jeans as a not-anywhere-near-size-2 woman.
To show that you can do it too, I’m thrilled (like, super thrilled) to welcome AYR as our newest sponsor. They’re a really smart company that was founded to offer perfect fitting jeans, along with versatile, high quality separates — think timeless closet staples — that can go from morning drop-off, to office meetings, then date nights all year round.
AYR. Get it?
The thing that really sold me, however, is their Home Try-On service which is like a mother’s godsend. It allows you to get up to three pairs of their skinny jeans delivered to your home; you’re temporarily charged $1 a pair, then you just pay for what you love and send back the rest.
No dressing rooms. No screaming kids in dressing rooms. No terrible mirrors in the dressing rooms with the screaming kids. You get the idea.
So as someone who is decidedly not going to be sashaying down a runway in a size 0 anytime soon, I’m really happy to share five of my favorite, simple tips for wearing the skinny jeans that I love.
In fact, all the models in AYR’s photos (including me!) are part of AYR’s Role Models = Real Models Mother’s Day campaign. Isn’t that cool?
1. Fit matters. Not size.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to work with a professional stylist and I was surprised to learn she had pulled items for me in every different size, XS to XL. She told me to never look at the label. Instead, look in the mirror and if it fits, and if you feel great, that’s when you should buy it.
I definitely know how easy it is to get hung up on that number, but remember that pretty much every single designer has a different sizing system. It’s nuts when you think about it. But that also means that it doesn’t matter whether it says 6 or 16. All that’s important: How the jeans look and feel on you.
2. Think of skinny jeans as leggings rather than pants.
I have a very strict “leggings are not pants” policy. I know some of you are with me! This means that if I’m wearing leggings, I wear something that covers my butt and my lady business. And so, I apply the same rule for skinny jeans.
If you’re a little uncomfortable with your booty, like so many of us are, I like the idea of AYR’s floating cotton shirt (above), which hides it stylishly. Though I must say it could be a little short in the front for us taller gals, in which case, there’s another option for you.
If you like your shirts a little longer and more forgiving, check out an option like the easy shirt (above), a crisp poplin cotton oxford that hangs lower. It’s perfect for camouflaging what I like to call my “kangaroo pouch” but without looking like maternity wear, as you can see from lots of the shots on the site. Hey, if it can accommodate that adorable pregnant belly, it can definitely accommodate a little post-dinner belly.
My favorite part about both of these looks is that you can move around, and more importantly, bend over to pick up your kids (or their toys, ahem) without giving any friendly bystanders a show. And you don’t have to worry when you somehow accidentally ate a second helping of truffle macaroni and cheese at lunch and your jeans don’t look quite like they did when you left the house.
Not that I know anything about that.
3. Structured tops are your friend.
I know that a woman’s instinct might be to toss a super blousy top, tunic, or long cardigan sweater over skinny jeans, because all that forgiving fabric must hide everything, right? Well, not necessarily. You could end up looking like you’re due in October, which is not really the look I’m striving for after considering last time I was pregnant was 2009. In other words, no Mrs. Roper tops!
A fantastic alternative is a structured top over skinny jeans, like this one from AYR, which turns out to be incredibly slimming. The fabric acts as a shaping garment or sorts, except you can still actually breathe. I particularly like how much coverage this top provides for the waist, hips and even the arms, where lately I’ve been noticing the double wave. Sigh. While this style can be a bit casual relative to a button-down, overall, the structure and fit will make you look chicly pulled together.
4. Think about your top’s fabric, not just shape and length.
Now don’t think I’m completely knocking flowy shirts, because I’ve actually come to love them thanks in part to my fourth child. But there are some caveats: You want something that just skims your curves — not too tight and not too loose– and it really really helps to choose a fabric that has some weight to it. I like the heavyweight crepe of the long and lean top. Any fabric that’s too light or sheer will catch all the lumps and bumps that you’re trying to hide; plus caring for it gets more challenging, and I really like my laundry to be as low-maintenance as possible.
In other words, think twice about silk. Or if you’re wearing linen for summer, think about a cami underneath.
5. Bring peoples’ eyes up with accessories. Or your sexy skin, and your beautiful face.
If you’re worried about your mid-section or your bottom, it’s an age-old trick to redirect the world’s attention where you most want it most. Maybe you put on a gorgeous necklace. Or a hot lipstick. Or in my case, a necklace and show a little skin. (And a cute kid!)
Besides, I want people talking to my face, not to my hips.
I really love this wrap top, which actually features a sexy low back that’s just high enough to cover my bra strap (amen) with a nice neckline that supports a statement necklace perfectly. It’s definitely a fine line when you’re wearing a tank top at nearly 40, but this is a top that makes me feel attractive and comfortable. And I never thought I could wear skinny jeans with a top like this, but turns out I can. (And the high-heeled booties don’t hurt either.)
6. If it hurts, don’t wear it.
Yes, fashion can be pain as some say. But when you don’t feel your best, you don’t look your best. Above all, make sure your skinny jeans have a little stretch and make you feel fantastic. Those days of lying on your bed with a friend trying to hoist up your zipper are decades over, and that’s a very good thing if you ask me.
If you’ve been wanting to give skinny jeans a try (or another try), or you weren’t sure how to actually wear the ones you own, look for a good fit (forget the numbers!) and employ strategic styling up top from your top to your accessories. You just might just be the one trying to convince the other skeptical women in your life to try skinny jeans. Like I do all the time.
Thanks to our sponsor AYR for including me in their campaign that honors all kinds of moms with all kinds of bodies, and for making it a lot easier for so many women to stay on trend with awesome skinny jeans that actually fit. Make sure to visit their website to see all the Role Models = Real Models for Mother’s Day. And be sure to take advantage of the Home Try-On Program which rocks.