Stacey Mollus

Stacey Mollus

Changing of the seasons requires a changing of the wardrobe. Twice a year, I remove everything from my closet and refill it with garments that are more seasonally appropriate.

In the warmer months, I am outfitted with things that are loose-fitting, fun and flirty, colored with the hues of summer: Tank tops the same shade as a crystal-clear sky, lightweight cotton dresses with patterns similar to a flower bed in bloom and bright green shorts that remind me of the leaves on the trees outside my window.

Those pretty-colored items do not have enough material to provide me protection against the threat of cold temperatures, snowflakes and wind chills, so I am required to switch out my closet with things that will keep me from getting goosebumps and frostbite. Sweaters, jeans and jackets in every shade of beige, brown and gray are now the items you find on my hangers. Drab as the scenery winter provides, but at least I will be warm.

One would think since my cold-weather wardrobe is made up of so much more material than my hot weather wardrobe, it would be baggier and comfier. The opposite is the real truth. Cold clothes may take up more real estate in the closet, but strangely enough, they are also much more constraining than what we wear when the temps are higher. Let’s look at jeans, for instance.

As if denim isn’t inflexible and restraining enough, we as a culture have accepted skinny jeans as the most popular fashion choice for legwear. If you are unfamiliar with the fit of skinny jeans, let me paint you a picture. Imagine a giant blood-pressure cuff that goes from your waist to your ankles. Your calves are squeezed so tightly, there are times you can feel your heart beating in your feet. That is a skinny jean.

I have worn this style for the last several years, but for some reason this year was different. It all began when I noticed that my seasonal wardrobe switch had affected my ability to do the simplest tasks. Like climbing into my car.

After a summer of hopping in and out of the vehicle with the greatest of ease, my jeans have now turned that into a four-step process. I lift my leg to get in, it doesn’t go high enough on the first try, so I have to step back I pull my pant leg up to provide room for my knee to bend, then enter on the second attempt. If my jeans are really snug, trying to get in the car looks a lot like trying to belt a two-by-four into the front seat.

I would “fat shame” myself and blame my lack of bendiness on my circumference, but I’ve done enough research to know my battle with denim is one that I share with many. Skinny or chubby, flabby or fit, couch potatoes or gym rat, we have all laid down on the bed at one time or another just to get our jeans buttoned, then walked the rest of the day like we were a soldier in formation.

“Dungaree distress” is not only a female thing. My trim husband, after spending a whole day in his winter jeans, stood up after a dinner out and asked, “Are you about ready to go? I need to get home and get out of these jeans. They are so tight they have given me a headache.” Yep, his winter wardrobe was constricting his lower half so much, the upper half of his body was sending out a cry for help.

Despite the discomfort of denim, not all winter clothing is evil. There are jackets that will hide the hot chocolate we will, inevitably, spill on our shirts, big, baggy sweaters that will allow us the opportunity to discreetly unbutton our nonflexible skinny jeans at the dinner table after our third helping of sweet potatoes, and stocking caps that will cover an “un-did” hairdo.

Oh, and yoga pants or sweats! The pantwear of athletes, or in my case, the stretchy, elastic alternative to spleen-crushing denim.