In what the medical profession-at-large calls a “failed attempt, luckily,” my eight-year-old self once tried to vacuum the fat out of my thighs with the detailing portion of a Bed, Bath & Beyond-brand imitation Hoover vacuum. I learned a few things in that moment: turning off electrically-powered machines before you call for help will solve whatever the issue was 80% of the time; the technical mechanics of a hickey; try as you might, there are certain things about yourself that you can’t “fix.”
My thighs have grown on and with me in age. They’ve tightened during my more athletic phases, loosened in many a winter season, jiggled during dances and runs and have expanded like melting puddles every time I’ve ever sat down. My thighs are loyal. Thick in width and thick as thieves. I am quite literally stuck with them.
God bless them or whatever — body positivity!!! — but they make shorts shopping impossible.
Cut-offs, for many women, are wardrobe staples. Part of the hot weather uniform. “So easy.” I, too, have always wanted to participate in their simplicity. But the problem was (and largely still is), they amputate my legs. Slice my fat right in half. No look is worth that pain. Still, I figured that there had to be a solution. Surely someone makes jorts that don’t cost a million a dollars, that aren’t so tight they can ruin an entire day.
So I went on the hunt. My thighs and I tried on least 35 cutoffs. (Shout out to Eliz for calling legit 40+ pairs in.) What I found: ten pairs that totally worked and of those ten, six that I felt completely relaxed and comfortable in — impressive considering that all you need is one, right? One perfect pair to wear until the very end of summer.
Good thing we’re still in the thick of it.
Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis; market research by Elizabeth Tamkin.