You gotta be in it to win it.
This morning I did the unthinkable. Something I’d long dreamed of, but regretfully accepted would never be a reality. Something completely scandalous and yet positively pleasure inducing.
Today, I buttoned up my trophy jeans.
And despite the fact I ran late to work, got stuck in the rain and ruined my makeup all before 9am, I strutted into the office like only a woman who’s just tasted the victory of once again conquering her closet demons can do.
If you say you aren’t in possession of an impossibly small pair of jeans for that ‘maybe one day’ moment, otherwise known as ‘trophy jeans’, you’re lying. Because holding onto a pair of pants you once flaunted in your slender days despite the fact they now resemble toddler’s clothing when held against literally anything else you own is written into every woman’s DNA. And nothing, not booze flavored ice-cream or choc peanut butter cheesecake, nothing tastes as good as wrestling that final button through its long-lost hole feels.
In a recent poll of over 2,000 women by cereal makers, Special K, more than a quarter said fitting into an old pair of jeans again would feel better than sex, while 30 per cent admitted it’d be more exhilarating than a job promotion.
So why is it that a humble pair of pants can wield so much power over us?
Perhaps it’s what those pants represent, which goes far deeper than the mere pounds we’ve shed. A girlfriend recently explained it like this; “My trophy jeans are a pair of jeans I bought when I was 19 and they’re a reminder of all the good times I had while wearing them. I’ll probably never fit into the again, but I like the idea of them.”
And maybe that’s what trophy jeans are; an idea, of something we once were and aspire to once again be. After all, who didn’t relish being an early 20-something, when everything in life came easily (including jeans that didn’t make you look like you were smuggling two bags of oranges), the sex was plentiful, ageing wasn’t a concern and everyone looked at you a little differently. A time when it seemed truly anything was possible.
Then we grew up and out of our jeans and our can-do outlooks, and slowly but surely accepted defeat. While begrudgingly stepping into a pair of the kind of dark denim, wide-legged jeans that could conceal a plethora of body image issues, so too did we step into mortgages that left us running the rat race in jobs our hearts weren’t in and predictable relationships that saw us bid our free-spirited bed-hopping days adieu.
Queensland of University researcher Dr Alastair Tombs has studied the link between feelgood hormones and clothes, speaking to thousands of different women on their experiences, and says a pair of jeans can indeed make us feel more in touch with our younger selves.
“Much like photographs, a clothing item will trigger something in our head and bring back the feelings we felt at the time,” Tombs said of his research.
And perhaps it’s this very reason why according to a study from the University of Hertfordshire, a third of us will reach for jeans when we’re feeling positive. In fact, the study found that even thinking of our trophy jeans and the way we once felt wearing them could give participants an instant boost in confidence.
So maybe, just maybe, shimmying back into those ripped bootcut jeans can bring us one step closer to once again believing anything, even acid-washed denim, can be possible, if only we’re willing to believe it.
Comment: Do you own a pair of trophy jeans, and do you keep them for nostalgic value or weight loss inspo?