Swedish Skinny Pants Are Ruining My Life

I totally don’t have my ish together.

once, in a picture, i looked like i might.

For almost 28 years now, I’ve tried to get it together. I’ve tried to be in shape, with great skin, and wear comfortable, cool outfits. I try to boost my self-esteem by saying, “Katie! You have done [this]!” and then I can walk a little taller for a minute or two…but then I start sweating, and my perfectly blow-dried hair falls back in my face, and then my foot catches on the sidewalk and I feel my stomach jiggle…and my stomach is literally my body’s best feature…so that’s never good.

There was one time, in the winter of 2004, when I walked out of my last fall final into the crisp Berkeley air, and my fave Howie Day song was playing through my headphones. I felt confident in all my tests and papers, was achieving success in rowing, was moving out of my dorm into my first apartment that night, and flying to Colorado the next day to visit my family baby nephew (all that mattered to me at that point). I felt happy, perfectly content in that moment. On top of my game. Ish successfully together.

who needs a good outfit anyway when this kid is your nephew?

I have no idea what I was wearing. I guess that’s a good indication of how much fashion doesn’t define me. Though I still love the creativity behind design and arrangement.

Now, my biggest issue with my self-esteem in my adult life has come from an inadequate wardrobe. Inadequate why?

  • Moving from college in California to professional life in D.C., I was not equipped with anything but one ill-fitting brown suit and too-big pumps. I had fancy flip-flops, casual flip-flops, and running shoes. None of which were appropriate for my new workplace.
  • I had no money to update this catastrophe.
  • After buying the cheapest possible pieces after a couple of years, I was left with dull, ill-fitting office clothes. More than actual comfortable weekend clothes.
  • After saving up my pennies (literally, pennies) and purchasing a few good quality office wardrobe staples that fit well, I moved and became a SAHDG (stay-at-home-domestic-goddess).
  • Attempting to pack only what I needed to survive in Sweden, I was left two options: office clothes and sweat pants. Matt said the sweatpants had to go (rude).

Have you been to Sweden? Have you seen any Swedish person? Streetstyle blog/photos? Yeah, Swedes look and dress nothing like people in D.C.


Swedes are fashionable…and the staples of Scandinavian style are still ever-present in everyone’s wardrobe. Skinny pants, white shirts with duck-tails (or whatever you call it), chunky heels.

minimalism. uniform. sverige.

Most of which I swoon over. After living in places where the clothes would suggest that women are box-shaped, there are finally shirts that fit my long, thin torso (and cover the bum sufficiently)! And chunky heels: badass whilst also lady-like, and good at balancing out a strong leg, such as my own…

Skinny pants though. What up. Are these really my fall choices?!

Do you know what it’s like for a woman with hips to shop in Sweden? MISERABLE.

In seeking pants that will fit my curves, apparently clothing buyers here are convinced that if your thigh is yay-big…then your waist must be YAY-BIG. Uh…no. I’m not an inverted triangle.

Big hips, small waist. Let’s focus on that. Does any white person design clothes for women like me? No. I’m a lady on a desperate quest for pants that don’t constrict my knees while swimming around my waist. Un-freaking-flattering.

So, in my attempt to get my Swedish fashion ish together, I’ve scoured the trendy stores that lie within a block of my house only to find nothing flattering for my, ahem, strong legs and hourglass figure.

This leads me to tell you about when I went back to the States this summer and tried in vain to pick up ONE good pair of jeans, no matter the cost, that fit and flattered me.

Which leads me to tell you that not one pair came without insanely contrasting “whisker” detail in the crotch region.

absolutely not. i tried them* on so i can confidently doctor this image with a NO sign.


(Note: I didn’t look that hard.)

To remedy my issues, I’m simply wishing in vain for winter to come early so I can throw my knee-length coat back on and hide my perfect child-bearing shape until my dream jeans come along.

Until then, I’ve giving up trying to blend in with the Swedish women here. I’m out-and-out an American and damn proud! And not even like those American blogger girls, with their cute from head to toe. Nuh-uh. Like the home-grown Colorado girl that I was, in my comfy jeans and tee-shirts. Like the California girl I am, who can’t for the life of her figure out WHY people wear shoes that lace? Chucks are cute…but come on, laces over Rainbows you can just slip on? Nej tack.

Does this decision to just be me leave me satisfied picking out outfits these days? No! Because I still have a multitude of fashion sins clogging up my closet. Sinful because they are inappropriate for my new life. Because they don’t fit properly. Because…I never wanted to wear them before, why would I now, why would I bring you with me weird pilly sweater?

No, these days I still salivate at the display window of Åhléns and inwardly promise to dedicate any spare funds to their ever-changing styles and bright, primary colors.

And devote my spare time to staring at Swedish Hasbeens, and other chunky boot styles. Swoon!

hasbeens…or åhlens…?

As an American, I am still left to wonder at the cheaper Swedish stores, why in Yeesus’s name there is a constant range of options of American flag printed clothing…and why would Swedes wear these?

I’ll forever question this trend, as well as the too-small denim shorts that leak peek buttage trend, and why people wear jackets when it’s sunny and warm here.

I’ll be sure to update on any fabulous finds for American foxes when they come along. For now, I have invested in one foxy thing that looks great on me:

 Am I the only lady that has such a hard time with certain items of clothing? Can everyone but me fit nicely in skinny jeans? Should I just lower my standards and get some Pajama Jeans?

Existential questions seek answers, folks.


*image of crotchy no-no jeans via

5 Comment

  1. Katie. You are hysterical! I couldn’t relate more. I am a size 16, so I am living in hopelessness and counting every calorie that enters and exits my body. I am so grateful to live in the countryside, where sweatpants are just socially acceptable enough for me to justify wearing them in public.

    Ok, I am not as hopeless as I lead on, but I totally get where you are coming from. Thankfully, I knew it would be impossible to find cloths here, so I purchased a few essentials before I left the states. I also knew that jeans here are INSANELY priced, in comparison to the US. I should be set until next summer, when I will have to buy a whole new wardrobe. I have already lost several pounds since I moved here a few months ago, and I am certain the rest will be off by this time next year.

    About the fashion-
    I am actually kind of in love with the clothing here. I will never fit into skinny jeans, but I am from Vermont- another fashion-less state. So even if I can’t squeeze into one pair of jeans I will still be happy to have a duck tail on my button up and insanely awesome shoes. Every time I want a cinnamon roll or extra sugar in my coffee at fika, I just think about how awesome it would be to actually be able to shop for clothing without having to take a 15hour flight back to the east coast, US. That is enough motivation for me!

    Now, you are very obviously nowhere near my size- I am sure they have something other than skinny jeans that would fit. Have you tried some of the bigger cities, maybe? You are not far from Gothenburg- we have a big mall and lots of shops and boutiques. I am certain Stockholm would have more options as well. And then, there is always the option to have a family member or friend purchase a pair of jeans and send them from the US.

    About the US flag merch. I have been wondering the same thing. I don’t get it. Not at all. That said, as soon as people find out I am American, I suddenly feel like I am being treated like a celebrity, so maybe there’s something to that.
    I’ll get back to you if I learn more! Until then, good luck on your quest for the curvy jeans! I am certain they exist in some secret corner of this incredibly thin country.

  2. oh, girl. i understand, agree with, and am experiencing everything that you have written here. 🙂 it is soooo frustrating. i have come to terms with the fact that i am a curvy, short american and will never be scandinavian. and most of the time i’m totally ok with that, embracing my american-ness. then, there are those moments when i see people, ads, or clothes in stores and i second guess my confidence. i dream of slipping into a pair of jeans, which truly truly are not cut out for this body of mine. and i continually save money so i can do some shopping whenever i am in the states. but, alas, whenever i do that, and feel ok in the states, when i arrive back on swedish soil and put on my new american clothes, i immediately feel out of place again.

    i just have to accept it. i have to get up every day, and accept that i am different. and i am no swedish girl.

    as for the american flag clothes, i talk about it almost every day, since every day i people wearing the flag on their clothes. it is weird. it is not cool to me. it is what people who do all their shopping in wal-mart wear. but, the swedes seem to think it is the shit.

    one again, i don’t understand. 🙂

    thanks for this post! it was hilarious and was great fun to share with my skinny, beautiful swedish wife so she could see that i am not the only one complaining and feeling out of place. it’s good to know someone who thinks like me is right down the road.


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