The Curvy Girl's Guide to Buying Pants

I'm winging my way to the Christian blogging conference today. So, while I'm busy complaining about Pennsylvania's frozen-arsicle cold weather and hiding in bathrooms clutching my bottle of Xanax (because I don't do Christian-y groups very well), I've asked my good friend, KatR of "The Sucky Protestant," to guest post for me. xo. EE. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The majority of clothing designers seem to make pants based on the figures of 16 year old Ukrainian supermodels. For those of us who are built with hips and butts and (let’s be honest here) thighs that go OUT, and waists that go IN, shopping for pants can be excruciating. So, when the fashion world is not ready for your jelly, I’ve developed a few tips to try and make the shopping process more bearable.

First, this is a shopping trip you do alone. This is not you and your best friend Tiffani giggling as you pick out cute outfits and then go do lunch. This trip is a dark night of the soul, a time of examining the nature of good and evil and questioning the existence of a benevolent God.

You might be tempted to think this is when you really NEED your friends. Wrong.  Your friends will probably fall into one of two categories:

  1. Ones who say helpful things like “Wow, those don’t fit either?” or,
  2. fellow Curvy Girls who so empathize with what you're going through that they'll have a traumatic flashback to that dressing room at New York & Co, November 2004 and be no help to you at all.

Trust me on this. Go alone.

When you get to the first store and find pants that you like, in addition to sizes that you think might fit, you also need to grab the largest size they have. I mean the absolute largest size. If the store has a 79 XXXL, take this size. These are the first pair of pants you try on.

Yes, they are absolutely enormous and will fall off you.  This is when you need to look in the mirror and tell yourself how slender and birdlike you are. Say something like: "It’s so hard being one of those women who just CAN’T gain weight, isn’t it? I'm so delicate, maybe I need to sit down a minute. Where are my smelling salts?"

This may seem like a ridiculous bit of delusional thinking, but don’t skip this step. You will need the emotional reinforcement, for you are about to face “The Gap"--and no, that's not the clothing store.

If the pants are large enough to cover the hips and the baby-got-back area of a Curvy Girl, they are inevitably too big in the waist, leading to The Gap. I don’t mean a little pucker in the waist-band, I mean an area between the butt and the waist of the pants large enough to store two soup cans.

As you try on and discard pants, you will start moving through the five stages of Gap Grief. The most dangerous of these stages is bargaining, when you try and convince yourself that Gappy pants will work because you will buy a huge blouse to cover the Gap area. Do not fall for this. You will misjudge how much blouse you actually need and only discover this once you're standing on stage waiting to be given an award for Volunteer of the Year. That's when you'll feel a cool breeze on your butt crack.

The only top that can safely cover this area is a knee-length tunic. If you can pull off the tunic and pants look, I am very happy for you.  This combo makes me look like I’m waiting for one of the Duggar boys to reach legal age.

After trying on few dozen pairs of pants with no success, you will need to stop, go home, and have some Post Curvy Girl Pants Shopping Recovery Time. This will involve your couch, several hours of trash television and possibly cocktails. The only two shows you should avoid are Hoarders (because you will get up from the couch and start cleaning maniacally) and House Hunters (because the sight of two computer programmers in their mid-twenties buying a chic condo in downtown San Francisco will only further depress the hell out of you).

Of course, every once in a great while, a Curvy Girl pants shopping excursion leads to the truly miraculous. You will find a pair. of pants. that fit. O the glory. For a brief moment, you understand the deep mysteries of the universe. You want to call Oprah and tell her you are living your best life.

The best Curvy Girl pants I ever found were a pair of black Isaac Mizrahi at Target. I should probably be looking for additional pairs on Ebay, because if I ever lose these I will need bereavement leave.

If you are a Curvy Girl and would like to share where you have had luck finding pants, please, for the love of all that is merciful, do so below.