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  • Writer's pictureHeather Simmons

Your Mom's Denim Game

I wrote this essay back in October 2015 for Madewell Musings, back when I was a store director. I LOVED it when women came out of a fitting room just loving how their bodies looked in our jeans - it made all the hard work worth it! Wherever you are on your weight/body image/self-love journey, I encourage you to find one good pair of jeans that fit NOW. Not "goal jeans", not "after I lose the baby weight jeans": today's jeans. They're worth it. Enjoy the read below!


Photo by Jennifer Trahan

We’re going straight to the teams in our shops for this series and asking them to share their most memorable experiences. Up this month, Heather from our Birmingham, Alabama, store explains the delicate task—and eventual triumph—of finding the perfect pair of jeans for her mother. We’ll let her take it from here.

When it comes to clothing, my mom is very hard to please. She has particular tastes and thinks nothing looks good on her. Much of this feeling comes from her belief that her body is not the right shape. So many women hold this belief—more than I would’ve ever imagined before I started my time at Madewell. She’s never once experienced that “I slipped it on and it fit perfectly” scenario that she imagines so many other women must experience. For my mother, a tailor is almost always involved and the process is complicated, to say the least.

A few weeks ago she paid me a visit and we made a stop at Madewell. While I was showing her around, I suggested that she try on our denim. She gave me a skeptical side-glance that conveyed an emphatic “no” without embarrassing me in front of the team. My fellow teammates (who know nothing of her lifelong clothing nightmare) enthusiastically encouraged her to try on the new High Risers we had just received the day before. I grabbed two sizes for her and pushed her into the fitting room. I grabbed several T-shirts from the floor and flung them in behind her. I closed the curtain and may or may not have taken a breath until she stepped out. Maybe it was the fresh source of encouragement from my coworkers but, whatever it was, she looked stunning.

There’s a specific state of shock that many women go into when they find a great-fitting pair of jeans, and this moment played out much the same. Disbelief and sheer joy. Is it the mirror? Is it just me? A good day? She’s my mother, so I know it wasn’t a fleeting moment because, ever since, she’s been wearing those jeans daily.

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