Death to Tapered Jeans

Jeans of Yesteryear meet Jeans of Today:


The difference didn’t look half as dramatic as I’d thought when I compared them on the hanger, but I reckon some of that has to do with the new ones being a generous bootleg cut and the old ones being of the FUGLY AS SIN tapered-leg variety. Who invented the tapered leg and why haven’t they been drowned in a bucket yet? One pair is size 26, the other size 14 but they’re the exact same size round the ankles.

Can I have a seven-years-too-late rant about these godawful jeans? Thanks very bloody much, Fat Jeans Designer, for the ankle-strangling design that made me feel like a beach ball on legs. Thanks very much for the ridiculously long and saggy crotch – as though you thought I’d want room to carry an emergency picnic.


(Do plus size jeans come in more flattering shapes these days? Is the taper dead and buried?)

During my lard-busting I couldn’t wait for the day when I could stroll into a shop and waltz away with a pair of jeans without elastic or trauma. Of course now I realise that jeans shopping is a bastard no matter what your size. A friend persuaded me to try on skinny jeans recently. HA! Despite going a size bigger I couldn’t get them past mid-calf. I’m grateful for all the wide-leg styles out at the moment, because the wider thighs fit like regular on me, hehe.

(This post was inspired by Mrs Lard playing Russian dolls with her array of old jeans)

UPDATE: The taper is alive and well, my friends. Be afraid!

61 thoughts on “Death to Tapered Jeans

  1. I wish I’d kept some of my old jeans so I could do that – actually I don’t think I ever wore jeans until I got into a regular size…

    I love jeans shopping cos I go to Jeans West and they rock – they have pics to show you what jeans suit your body type πŸ˜€

  2. The black ones look great! The big ones…ugh. Great way to make you feel shit about your body shape.

    Unfortunately, skinny jeans are in this season. I went looking for a bootleg cut last week, do you think I could find one? 85% of jeans this season are skinny leg; the rest are flares.

    Yay flares.

  3. kathryn – ahh yet another reason australia rules πŸ™‚

    cinnamon girl – i just realised the jeans were originally blue but now they’re 2 years old they’ve turned a murky black! mwahaha πŸ™‚

    so it’s all skinnies down under? over here they’re still doing a roaring trade although i read in a mag last week that the “Classic Bootcut” is due a comeback… will cross fingers for ya!

  4. Oh my! What a difference. I had a pair of Fat Jeans exactly like those – what is with that extra-large crotch? It was halfway down to my knees.

    But I’m not thrilled with the current low-rise style: I need a bit more rise to get up over my stomach; otherwise I tend to get Plumber’s Sag.

  5. Yes damn the skinny leg jean! They are awful!

    I tried to pull them off with boots over top and quite frankly I just looked like a frumpy female Peter Pan!

    The black (ahem, blue) jeans look great! I bet you look great in them too.

  6. I hate buying jeans – BUT if you find the right shop (as I did a few weeks ago, alas, in Germany) then as you walk in someone walks up to you, guesses your size correctly, looks at your shape and brings you the jeans they think you should be wearing. PAH! I thought, I shall show them how I hate all jeans shops because nothing fits right and, I hate clothes shopping, and how dare you guess my size correctly and… they fitted! All the pairs she brought were good! I was in and out in about 15 minutes! Hurrah for the perfect jeans seller!

    BTW, I was in your neck of the woods recently and it seems the national water-skiing centre is there… you know the next question…

  7. I love this post! I used to be a fatty myself – I lost just over 40kgs about 8 years ago and have kept it off! I was too shy to join a gym so I walked up Mt Painter in Canberra where I live, everyday. I wish I had kept some old clothes for comparison. This post/blog is very inspiring!

  8. I stopped wearing jeans when I went above size 18 some years ago as I decided that anything above that size looks hideous.

    I am looking forward (one day) to getting back into a pair of size 16s or 14s or something reasonable!

  9. yes they do have great styles now for fat girl jeans! Just check out Although I find most of their stuff a little too trendy, they do have some great designer jeans in large sizes. Besides their own store name jeans which are great, they have Apple Bottom, Z Cavaricchi and Paris Blues. Also if you are in the US, Old has women’s sizes and they always have great styles. I am no longer in the higher numbers, but kinda on the edge of sometimes can wear regular sizes, sometimes need a plus size. I just wish they offered such fashionable options years ago. The sad fact though is that all these new offerings are a testament to how large we are getting here in the US, this the demand for fashion in larger sizes.

  10. LOVED the jeans picture!

    I wish that I had outlines or pictures or something to be able to look a the comparison of my old body to my current body.

    Would love to see it! But alas – the thought of drawing around my old body never occurred to me – and if it had – I am not sure I would have been that brave. . .

  11. OMG, I’m afraid the tapered jean is coming back…I’ve seen them appear in their high-waisted, skinny ankled, where’s my fanny-pack way. There’s a movement in NYC to make something so ugly, fashionable…to be seen on hipsters and fashionista’s alike. Of course you have to be a walking toothpick to even pull that look off, as for the rest of us in the normal world, please do not attempt, it’s not pretty…trust me, I know.

  12. yep, DG, i can attest to there being cute jeans for fat girls these days. πŸ™‚ for example, i am currently wearing The Cutest dark-rinse trouser jeans from lane bryant and i love them.

    those tapered leg fellas, though… *shudders* bad stuff. very bad stuff.

  13. I’m a 26 (US) and I get my jeans at the LB (yes, Lane Bryant). They have the bootcut and the flare, which are my faves. I’ve got such “ample” proportions that the flare actually look like boot-cut used to in high school — so I usually go for those.

    They do carry the “classic” jeans, which appear to be something between a taper and a straight leg. You know, high waist, body hugging all the way. I think the perfect tagline would be, “these are your mom’s jeans.”

    Also, a funny note about Lane Bryant. They implemented this new “Right Fit” sizing, which means my 26 is now a size 7 – OMG, I am almost as small as a supermodel!!!

  14. Ah jeans why do they hate me so!

    Was size 28… now size 14… jeans are vicious beasts of torture sent to tear up my soul little by little every time I go shopping.

    Seriously if you’re female and have the audacity to have thighs bigger than say a french stick… you’re screwed man!

    Although on a plus side I went into m+s the other day wriggled my arse (seriously it was like a workout) into a pair of jeans thought oooh these are a bit snug (got the button done up though! It counts as ‘fits’ if the button does up even if there is a five minute risk of blinding the nearest person from exploding-button-itis) got them off and realised they were a 12.

    Bought them there and then. Job done!

  15. Being of the ‘apple shape’ demographic, I actually quite like skinny jeans- evans do some nice ones that are ‘straight leg’ rather than a tapered monstrosity (they don’t even look good on models). I have the problem with jeans that I can get them to fit on the waist, but they sag on my arse and waft around the outside of my thighs for a non-existent saddlebag to jiggle within; so I end up looking like a rather odd denim jodphur clad German WWII soldier…hence the skinny jean is my friend!
    I’m very jealous of you hourglass lovelies though. I long for the day that I have a discernible waist…

  16. Oh maaaaaaan, I need to go to Scotland to buy some jeans – like everyone has said, it’s all skinny-leg bollocks at the moment. I mean, what the crap?

    Once I went into a shop with a friend to help her buy a pair of jeans – she found a pair she liked; gorgeous, dark blue, flared, mid rise jeans and she bought five of them. At the time, I thought she was hilarious. Now, I think she’s a genius.

    I’m tempted to say ‘fuck it’ and buy mens jeans since hey, I did the same thing when I was plus sized!

  17. Yay, way to go DG!

    I stand by the fact that skinny jeans look hideous on everyone of any size except straight up and down Jack And the Beanstalk-shaped ladies. If Skinny jeans were a 50s brand of film, they would be called Thigh-o-Vision. 99 per cent of the population kids themselves they look good in skinny jeans! Harsh but true!

    Straight or boot cut is much much nicer on anyone not aspiring to be lead guitarist in a hair metal band! Unless your boot cut is a bit short (remembers own pair of unfortunate jeans that looked like I was smuggling trumpets on my pegs about 12 years back).

  18. Good to hear the plus size jeans are getting better, thanks guys πŸ™‚

    Donalda – water skiing? i’m game if you are πŸ˜›

    Hey there Mechelle – nice to see a new face from back home πŸ™‚

    BeckStein – NOOOOOOO! Say it ain’t so! I saw some pants/trousers in a mag the other day, all pleaty around the waist then tapered legs.. WHY GOD WHY!?

    Marshy – Your friend totally is a genius! I’m down with the multi-buy jeans now. I figure they’re the thing I wear the most so if you find a pair that works, buy buy buy! Cost per wear brings the price down in no time πŸ™‚ I got two pairs of the same Topshop style, wide-leg-but-fitted-on-me, two different colours πŸ™‚

  19. I have periodically been completely trouserless because of the difficulty in finding ones that fit and don’t immediately make me feel horribly unattractive.

    Personally, I would like to call for an end to the downward trend of waistlines, everything is so low rise that I’m having to look for longer shirts, I don’t LIKE worring about builders bum all day!

  20. I’m with Rosie – unfortunately I’m just not made to wear low-rise. I have pondered whether the high-waisted jeans that look awful on most people would just look normal on me, but haven’t seen any actually on shelves to try out.

    I tried some skinny jeans on a whim and decided that since I had to tug them firmly to get them past my calves, this wasn’t going to work. (I tried going up a size but then they were ridiculously big at the waist.)

    Still got some tapered jeans in my cupboard from my teenage years, which are Goal Jeans. Only in the sense of fitting into them, though. They’re not for public viewing.

  21. I’ve done the multiple purchase. However – they were men’s jeans. gahhh!
    My weight is currently on the downward slide so I’m beginning to fit into sutff I’ve been too lazy to throw away. I figure another 10 to 15 lbs and I’ll be back in the must buy new shopping game.
    Soooo looking forward to that. But not.

  22. I’m one of the freaky ones that can’t stand the wider legs that are fashionable now because I carry nearly all of my weight in my midsection. Basically, if they fit around my waist, I look like MC Hammer in the hips and thighs. Gah!

  23. Skinny jeans are evil. I go to uni and all the adorable 21yo chickybabes look hideous in them!! I get nice stretch bootleg jeans from Target cos they are long enough and I am too tinny to go to jeans west like Kathryn!

  24. I actually know someone who looks good in ladies tapered jeans. They do exist. He’s 19, 5″5, and plays in a band.
    So now you all know who those jeans look good on

  25. To my shame, I can recall dressing my children in those baggy, tapered jeans with the ELASTIC round the ankles.


    I pray they forgive me.

  26. Ahhh…Jeans West…slim fit, regular. After years of much error. The only jeans that ever fit my pear shape properly. I buy 2 pairs at a time, black and dark denim. It saves a lot of time and angst.

    Last season I found the perfect pair of shorts in David Lawrence. Perfect for my stocky frame and just the right length.

  27. I found a style of jeans from the Gap that I just loved. Then they discontinued them. I now scour ebay, and have found 2 pair very cheap!

  28. I have a friend who insists on buying tapered jeans all the time. There was a time when they were blissfully hard to find and she was always going on about it.

    I tried to persuade her that they’re not doing her looks any good, but she wouldn’t believe me.

    One day, I bought a new pair of bootleg jeans (in Germany, as it happens and in the same fashion as described above) and had them taken up so they were the perfect length for me. I took them out of the bag, popped into my friend’s bathroom to change and when I came out again she gasped: “You look as if you’ve just lost half a stone.”

    EXACTLY! That’s what I was always trying to explain to her.

  29. Oooh, see what you’ve started here?! It’s SO stressful – 2 girls in my office have bought wide legged jeans and look amazing, I went and tried a pair on and I looked like a womble. Not the look I was going for. As soon as I can summon up the courage, I’m going to go to a specialist place where they advise me on the right brand and style (Selfridges does this and so does Donna Ida – both London I’m afraid). I’m just scared it will be staffed by leggy size 10s who will barge in whilst I’m in my underwear and lip curl. I’m a 14/16 (UK) with distressingly short legs, sigh.

  30. It’s funny, your “fat” jeans are so strangely proportioned, they look like wide leg capris almost! Who on earth decided that was a flattering design? Pfft!

  31. Jeans are so hard to get right. I’m fairly petite, but “skinny jeans” instantly add 20 lbs to me. I go for slight bootcut or true straight-leg (Lucky Brand and Earnest Sewn are my favorites). My biggest problem, though, is that most of the jeans that fit me right in butt and thigh only come in 34″ inseams. That’s the inseam my 6’3″ guy friend wears!

  32. good jeans are sooo hard to find! Thankfully, I recently found some “curvy” jeans at Gap and they are much shapelier. The biggest size I saw was 20(US).

  33. Designers don’t have any interest in doing nice clothes for overweight people, I don’t know why but it’s truth that’s really hard to find anything decent for me. Once I found a store in Toronto – Mr. big and tall but they close, but anyway since I started my diet I want to leave those things in the past.

  34. I’m with you there Denise- maybe we are the only two chicks on here who cannot wear wide legs without looking like they are wearing bloomers! Apple shapes suck! But maybe the purveyors of skinny jeans are actually catering to us for a change! I think I’m gonna stockpile…

  35. YES jeans shopping is certainly a bastard no matter your size. I have exactly ONE pair of jeans and I have yet to find another pair that both fit me and I like the looks of (whatever happened to just regular dark blue jeans?!). It’s so frustrating.

  36. Death to skinny jeans!!! Death to taper jeans too… I also had to suffer through that god awful design.
    These days I get my jeans (still from the fatty section but oh well) from Big W and they do have bootcut jeans – thank gawd!! They still look horrendous – mainly due to the arse in the jeans and nothing more! But at least I don’t have to deal with taper leg hell anymore

  37. Unless you are stick-thin, I think jean shopping will be terrible all around the world. I can’t wait for the skinny jean phase to pass although it seems that the high-waisted middle variety are back. Cripes, that shape doesn’t suit my body shape either!

  38. No, plus size jeans are still hideous. Exact same cut too. I’ve been reading your blog for the last three months and yesterday I stumbled upon your book in an Angus and Robertson – I devoured it with vigour usually reserved for cupcakes. Thank you so much for writing it, I don’t have as much weight to lose as you did at the start of your journey but your words still rung so true for me. I just wanted to tell you that you’re pretty awesome, just in case you weren’t already aware!

  39. Don’t forget that the difference is DOUBLE the material you can see.

    This is (MATHS ALERT)because we can only see the difference in the diameter (width) of the waist, hip, thigh etc in this photo.

    Whereas the TOTAL difference is in the circumference (I.E. all the way around) of the waist, hip and thigh.

    So the difference is twice as much fabric as you can see, it’s just that half of it is folded around the back.

    Anyway it’s a good comparison. I recently sold everything over a size 14 on EBay, so I can’t compare(or sneak back into the larger sizes as time progresses…)

  40. Jean-ius post DG!
    Jeans are the ultimate challenge for us laydeez. I have a lovely pair that fit great round the thighs and arse, but they’re built for hiding a beach ball down the front.
    All my other jeans are a bit lower rise and my man constantly pulls my top down at the back to cover my arse-cleavage. (He’s soooo kind to me!)

  41. Looks like from these comments we need Apple and Pear cut jeans… any jean makers out there!?

    Ashley – Thanks very much comrade! I’m chuffed you found the book at Angus & Roberston – that’s where I used to get my Sweet Valley High and Babysitters Club books so it blows my mind that my wee book is in the same place. Hehe.

    Melanie – I hope you’ve lured your pal away from the tapers for good. The right pair really can work miracles! πŸ™‚

    Maureen – thank you for reading it! πŸ™‚

    Meg – The new jeans were from Monsoon, purchased in early 2006! Still going strong. Albeit rather faded and manky!

    Verity – thou art a genius! I should have stuffed both pairs with newspaper and done 3D pics to show the difference! πŸ™‚

  42. Heee the comparison photo makes your jeans look teeny tiny and thankfully not tapered πŸ˜€ I like wearing means jeans, lower waist but not buttcrack low, higher crotch, straight non tapered ‘skinnyjean’ leg … love mah jeans looove

  43. Someone yesterday just sent me a NY Times article on how these godawful creations are back in style this year.

    Not on me. Not ever.

  44. Yuck, yuck, yuck Skinny jeans! Someone once said the only people who look good in them are 12 year old kids and super models. SO true.

    I am SO thankful that wide leg pants are back in. (Collective sigh of relief, all together)

  45. Tapered jeans are the devil!

    I have a big butt and inordinately large calves. Plus, I am short. Skinny and tapered jeans look awful on me.

    I LOVE GAP long and lean jeans. They come in a variety of lengths and colors.

  46. Hi DG…am pmsl at your jeans blog…haven’t we all been there!! I have to wear black jeans for work which are a bit of a bitch to find but have found a pair that fit in M&Co (dodgy middle aged shop) but I can put that behind me cos I’m a 16 in there and pushing it to be a 18 anywhere else. Tried on “boyfriend” jeans in Next last week and look like Dick Emery!!

  47. The design of those jeans is yet more proof that the gods of fashion are uncharitable when it comes to the plus size amongst us! I mean come on! How can the ankles be the same? how?!! and the crotch – nightmare! You know what though, considering the size you were and the size you are now, the change is less shocking then I would have thought. Have you got any old t-shirts – take a picture of two or three of you in there and I’d be even more inspired!

  48. My favorite so far are definitely the Lane Bryant ‘right fit’ jeans, size 4. They actually fit, though my leg length is a tad bit long for petite, but too short for regular lengths.

    I remember my jeans from the 80’s. They were awful. Sill, I kind of wish I had kept some of my previous pants as a reminder of why I lost the 60 pounds. πŸ˜›

  49. I haven’t blogged for a while but this post cracked me up. I too did a jeans post, but I put every pair on at the same time – it was a great way to realise just how big I was before! It was on my August 12th 2006 post if you want to have a chuckle!

    I think reflection is an important part of maintaining. Love your work πŸ™‚

  50. So much of plus-sized clothing is made to fit hideously, not just jeans! It’s always a challenge to find stuff that doesn’t cut off in the wrong places (mid-forearm, at the ankle, etc.). But! I was shocked more than anyone when I was in a K-Mart here in the States one day and decided on a whim to try some jeans on… I ended up with two pairs that I really liked, one size 26 and one size 24 (at the time, 26 fit well and 24 fit, but a little tight; now the 24s fit fine and the 26s are like those really comfy weekend jeans type), I think both Lee Riders. Both nice and basic 5-pocket, nice dark washes with no cheesy embellishments, fit great with a tasteful and always-in-style boot cut… and for 20 bucks a pop, too!

    Anyway, good plus-sized jeans can be found, but one must be diligent. I’ve also had good luck with Old Navy in the past.

  51. Ha hahahahahah!

    At least I’m not the only one wearing “Boy Cut” as skinny jeans!

    Skinny jeans! Pah! I spit on your toothpick sized legs.

    Also, having trouble with those stupid T-shirts with tight cuffs at the bottom of the sleeves to make the puffy sleeves. I do not have TOOTHPICK ARMS I have kick-ass black-belt arms with muscles, clearly never going to appear on the front of Vogue!

  52. Does anyone remember the Guess jeans from the 80s? The tapered ones with the zipper at the ankle and the high waste. Seriously gals, could those have been any less flattering? And the Capezio flats we paired them with? A hideous combination and now we get to enjoy it all over again. I’m a wardrobe stylist for TV commercials and those skinny little actresses regularly come to set wearing those skinny, tapered jeans with their cute little flats. It makes we want to get my old scrapbook out and show them the pile of regret they’re going to have in twenty years. Because skinny jeans don’t look good on anyone! Okay, except Cameron Diaz.

Comments are now closed on all Dietgirl posts. For fresh conversation please visit me at