Jean Quest

For years I kept a stack of jeans in my closet that had been so well loved, that I had worn them past the point of decency. Some were almost severed at the knee cap, and the rear end shredded, displaying a wisp of my under garments. I mourned the demise of them, worn countless times, they were my second skin. The stack was a monument to a life well lived. I had my Cacharel jeans from the 70’s, and my Edwin jeans that I loved because I could carry my son’s name on my back pocket; my Calvins were from the days of Brooke Shields, and the nothing between her and her Calvins ad campaign; and I had Levi’s that went up Mt Washington.

It used to be that jeans came one way – in dark blue denim, stiff as cardboard. My friends and I would try washing them a thousand times, and beating them against a rock to soften and lighten their brand newness; once I tried to take a short cut and found out the strength of Clorox. But it was the living in them that gradually broke them in, and made them just right. A worn pair of jeans used to be a badge of honor, a sign you were adventurous, interesting, been places; your jeans were a statement about your character.

No short cuts made them that way.
Hmmmm. We still look for shortcuts, don’t we, but now manufacturers have tried to figure us out, and in the process made the choices overwhelming.

My closet is full of the poor choices I’ve made over the years; I don’t love any of my jeans. I am compromised every time I get dressed in the morning. None of them feel like a second skin.

So I went on a quest for jeans that were just right for me.

Magazines have countless articles about finding the jeans that suit your body type, but they never help me. I don’t think there are any shortcuts; I have to do my own searching, schleping, (and spending).

I decided I would experiment with a range of brands from Levi’s, to my daughter’s favorite, Rock and Republic, and bring them home to try side by side.

I began my research on the internet to see what my options were. There are a mind numbing number of choices, but about 5 basic profiles: skinny, super duper skinny, boot cut, flared, and relaxed. I knew I wanted boot cut. Now I needed to find the company just right for me.

I bought a couple pairs from the web site, Shopbop, and experienced the joy of effortless shopping and two day delivery.
Then I headed into town and visited Lucky Brand. A young man selected a pair for me, certain they’d be perfect, lengthening my legs and shrinking my butt. Not entirely convinced, I bought them and moved on to Tory Burch.

I liked her jeans, a little retro, but alas, her logo covered the back pocket. I love Tory B but I don’t want everyone to know it.

Next stop was Saks where I met up with my up to the minute fashionable friend Nina. She told me the skinny jeans by AG were flying out of the store. They come in sunflower yellow, peony pink and leafy green; tempting, but not the knock around jeans I’m searching for.

I hate malls. I never shop in them, but this was probably an instance where all those stores, housed under one monumental roof, could be helpful- It was the same sad place I remember, where people drift around as if the weight of that giant rooftop were on their shoulders….What is going to happen to these dark, airless places in the future?

I went into a few department stores where the jeans were hung completely arbitrarily and the styles and sizes were a hodge podge. It gave me a headache. I couldn’t find anything in my size. No wonder more and more people are shopping on line.

I’d forgotten how much I used to like The Gap for pj’s, socks and jeans. It went the way of Woolworth’s in our town, long ago, but I was impressed. Their jeans were as tidy and organized as if the shop was created yesterday. Every pair was clearly labeled, so I could find everything in a snap, and their dressing rooms were equipped with the first rear view mirrors I have seen since I began this endeavor. Who can pick out jeans without seeing what they do to your posterior?

Well I have chosen my jeans. They are already broken in though no life has been lived in them yet.
No badge of honor will ever be achieved because of the jeans I’m wearing.

I just feel better equipped for life’s adventures.

Did I tell you? I’m a country girl.

(Thank you to Kim Harris Thacker for the perfect stack of jeans photo at beginning of post!)

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