Working it, but not in leather leggings

Excuse me, but why is everyone in Aspen wearing leather leggings? And here I thought skinny jeans were bad.

The other night, Ryan and I went to some fancy holiday party, so I wore my favorite party pants, the sparkly ones from Free People with the Missoni-style pattern. They have these huge bell bottoms that swing when I walk. They’re 6 inches too long, so I have to wear my Prada platform Mary Janes underneath. It’s very boho-luxury, like something Rachel Zoe might wear. I love those pants. I love how they create the illusion of long legs. That’s a pretty tall order, so to speak, for someone who is as tall as they are wide. (I’m not even kidding when I tell you my waist size is larger than my inseam, so that means I am technically round.)

So I walk into this party, and for the first time since I’ve lived here, I’m totally uncomfortable in my own town, the same town I fell in love with more than a decade ago when I’d come for a visit and immediately felt like I’d found my place and my people. The place I chose when I was 8 years old, when my family had come to Snowmass on vacation. The place I felt more comfortable in than I’d ever felt anywhere else — at least until now.

The last I checked, Aspen is a place where you can get away with being as casual or as dressy as you want. The trick was always to find the perfect balance between the two.

There was a time I totally had that dialed. I was the queen of ripped-up jeans with platform shoes or maybe a fur-accented accessory and just a touch of silk or sequins or cashmere. I’d go with my favorite bootleg True Religion jeans and designer heels with a silk camisole that hit right at the mid-thigh with a little cropped sweater or jacket. That way, all my stubby body parts were brought into proportion: lengthened the legs and torso and created the illusion of a waist.

So what do you do when your best look is no longer in fashion?

When skinny jeans came along, I knew I was in trouble. I figured the look would never last. As far as I could tell, it wasn’t flattering on anyone. I especially hated the look with ballet flats. That’s something I could never pull off no matter how many yoga classes I sweated through on an empty stomach.

But not only has the trend lingered — it’s proliferated. Skinny jeans now come in every color, pattern and material you can imagine. Those coated ones with the shiny finish are about as flattering as pulling on sausage casings when you’re “stocky” (a nice way of saying you’re 10 pounds over, Mrs. Married).

When I entered my 40s, I was determined to find the self-acceptance that had escaped me for most of my life. I looked at myself in the mirror and was like, Dude, you’re not going to change. At least not without cosmetic surgery and other extreme measures that were out of either my price range or the limits of my will. Flaunt what you got.

How am I supposed to do that in leather leggings?

The ladies at this party were mostly in their 50s, all super-coiffed and doctored up and very, very thin. When I asked one woman how she does it, she said, “I’m starving all the time!” She said she’s subscribed to so many elimination diets that nine times out of 10, if you put something edible in front of her, she’ll say, “You know I can’t eat that!”

After all that hard work, who can blame them for wanting to show off their hard-earned figures in front of their grandchildren? These are bodies that are carved out of many hours of yoga and Pure Barre and CrossFit and the kind of dedication that only comes with not having to work. That way, the majority of the day can be devoted to how you look.

So as soon as I walked into this party, I knew I had it all wrong. First of all, everyone was dressed in black, either leather pants or leather tops, all fitted and tight and stiff. Call me crazy, but leather would not be my first choice for something I’d want to wear next to my skin. Can you imagine the steam that must rise when that thing is finally unzipped at the end of the night? It must take at least 10 people to peel it off.

Everyone wore these impossibly tight pants with stiletto ankle booties or riding boots, another look that so isn’t working for me. Believe me, I tried. I drove that poor sales girl at Boogie’s crazy trying on like 50 different pairs of boots. There she was, crawling around on the floor on her hands and knees in the stack of boxes and tissues and discarded styles, when I shrugged and said, “Thanks so much,” and got up and left. If you want your thighs to look even thicker than they already are, throw on a pair of knee-high boots without a heel. It made me look like a jockey but shorter.

I’ve always wondered how true fashion can be differentiated from trends when it’s the fashion that sets the trends in the first place. But how can you claim to have style when you’re dressed exactly like everyone else?

Just when I was ready to head for the door, to trade the Cristal and sushi for a slice and a beer, some stylish-looking lady grabbed me by the elbow and said, “Oh my God — are you the Princess?” She got all excited and treated me like I was important.

Maybe my love affair with Aspen isn’t over yet — but it might be time for some new clothes.

The Princess got a new pink camo puffy for her pug. Email your love to