JNCO Jeans

For some reason, I brought up JNCO jeans in my Intro class this evening. I think I roughly tied it to privilege in that people who are of average height don’t have to go out of their way for properly fitted pants. When students don’t talk to me, I go off on tangents. This was one of those tangents. 

One of my older students perked up. “I haven’t thought of those jeans in years.”

Rightly so. 

I explained to my younger students what these pants looked like. As a reminder, these are JNCO jeans:

Ohhhhhhhhhh so painful to look at. 

They were very popular when I was a pre-teen and teen. 

Sixth grade was when the four or five elementary schools combined into the intermediate school. 

Entering sixth grade, I wore Winnie the Pooh overalls. On purpose. I wore a WWJD bracelet. I begged for Nike t-shirts and Nike backpack (both of which I eventually received for Christmas). I wore gold wire-rimmed glasses. I did not wear JNCOs. Trying to get Nike stuff was hard enough. My Winnie the Pooh overalls were undoubtedly from Wal-Mart. 


I wanted to be one of the cool kids. Occasionally I would work up the nerve to go sit by them in the morning on the bleachers. They ignored me, but they didn’t bother me. It was a short-lived experiment because I later went back to sitting with my fellow dorks. 

Junior high was easier because I could hang out in the band hall in the mornings. My style was still, shall we say, uncool. Junior high was the time when the boys had bleached hair on top of their heads. Limp Bizkit was popular. JNCO jeans came into vogue. I desperately wanted them, but I was too fat to fit into the ladies’ sizes. I didn’t want to wear the boys’ sizes. I went without. By that time, I was into Daria and I really wanted black combat boots. 

The boy I had a huge, ginormous crush on at the time prided himself on his JNCOs’ yardage. If he was to extend the pant legs out from one side to another, I think they would extend three feet in each direction. But oh, he smelled good. Tommy Boy cologne still reminds me of young love. 

I don’t remember when they went out of style, but as I’ve pointed out repeatedly, I was not hip to the styles. In 9th grade, I had jean shorts that got battery acid on them when I leaned on the side of my dad’s truck to get my stuff out of the back when he dropped me off at school. Battery acid, when it is put through a washing cycle, eats holes in the shorts. We couldn’t afford for me to get brand new shorts, so we patched them with Cookie Monster fabric for one pair and VeggieTales fabric for the other pair. 

No one made fun of me to my face, for which I am very grateful. Believe it or not, though, I did NOT date in high school. 

My other sartorial choices in junior high and high school were sarcastic or funny t-shirts. That’s what I became known for. 

When I wanted to dress up, like for school, most of the time I wore a button up flannel-patterned shirt in a non-flannel fabric and left unbuttoned. 

This was my dressed up look in 7th or 8th grade. Note the multiple necklaces. 

I have to laugh a little bit because I would probably wear something similar to what I’m wearing in that photo even now. 

Looking at my school photos, I look so much older than I was and even older than I am now. I know I shopped at Lane Bryant because as a fat girl looking for super nice clothes, that was my only real outlet. 

Case in point, this picture. I am 16 fucking years old in this picture, yet I look like a 46 year-old substitute teacher. 

The red highlights in my hair were meant to look “EDGY.”


I don’t remember Torrid being a thing, really. If it was, I think it was super girly rather than Hot Topic for Plus Sizes. 

So many unfortunate choices. I almost wish that JNCOs was one of them.