Blue Jean Blues

All I wanted was a new pair of blue jeans. I waited like a good little shopper until the post-holiday sales began and then went to the Levi’s store on 14th street, where a few years ago I scored the perfect pair of jeans. If I were a teenager, those jeans would’ve been my traveling pants, baby, oh yeah. I was smart enough at the time to buy two pairs, but I should’ve bought about ten.

I wore my perfect jeans into the store and asked where I’d find 505 jeans.

The clerk said I could have Levi’s new curve-id jeans in slight curve, demi-curve, or bold curve; I could get whiskered finish, dark finish, broken-in finish; I could get boot cut, straight leg, or skinny leg; I could get skinny boot cut; I could get boyfriend jeans in dark denim, distressed denim, gray denim; I could get boyfriend skinny boot cut; boyfriend baggy; boyfriend straight leg. I could get 501s in boot cut, straight leg, skinny leg; I could 501s in dark gray, black, deep blue; fade.

But I couldn’t get 505s.

Oh, I tried. I really wanted to buy something, so I explored every possibility.  I tried 501s and wrestled with the button fly; I tried the curve-id jeans and found that: slight curve did not go over even one thigh, much less two; demi-curve went over my thighs but were such a low rise that the simple act of walking made me look ready to work the stripper pole; the bold curve, which the clerk told me was designed for “big butt tiny waist,” didn’t work at all: I am effectively a woman without a waist. If you were to draw my torso, it would be a rectangle with boobs. Not at all “bold” (and what genius came up with that designation, I wonder?)

I tried men’s jeans. Men still get 505s, apparently, but they’re made without lycra. One reason my perfect jeans are perfect have to do with their gentlest whisper of stretch, so essential to those mornings when the jeans are fresh from the wash and you need just a little give to fasten the top button. (I mean, hypothetically speaking, of course. I never, ever need to do the suck-in-and-PULL to get my jeans on.) While sweating and tugging on the non-lyrca-ed men’s jeans in the dressing room, I realized that I’ve become a lyrca addict. Isn’t that the way addiction always starts? You buy something innocently enough–this seems nice, makes me happy, I’ll take it–and then you wake up to realize you can’t live without it.

Why, oh why, Mr. Levi Strauss did you have to mess with my perfect jeans? Now where am I going to go? Don’t even whisper the word “Gap” to me, people, because trying to find jeans there sends me into a choice-paralysis that I don’t recover from for days.

I stomped home, empty handed, wondering if it’s finally happened: have I gotten too old to shop anywhere but “lady’s stores?”  Is it impossible to buy a pair of jeans that just look like jeans, without spending hundreds of dollars? Am I doomed to stone-washed LL Bean disasters just because I don’t want to wear jeans that sit south of my pelvic girdle?

Maybe 2011 will be the year where I wear yoga pants. Everywhere, for every occasion.

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7 Responses to Blue Jean Blues

  1. Vanessa Keefe January 2, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    Pajama jeans… 🙂

  2. KSB January 2, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    Don’t laugh at me, but I’ve given up on shopping for jeans at GAP/BR/VS/CK/Levi’s et al. Life is just too short. I just click a few times at Land’s End or Coldwater Creek, and I’m done, my jeans are replaced satisfactorily. No fancy shamcy style names to confuse me, and enough good cotton with that little give you mention to be comfy all the time; no changing the lines every six weeks or so to ensure your favorite jeans are never ever available next time you shop, and enough coverage to keep you decent with practical petite/regular/long lengths to not make you feel like a smurf or guilty about all the material being wasted when you have to cut off about half the pants legs to hem them. I’m not sure if it is old age (I just saw a US TV show that defines “really old” as “like 30”) or shortness (what the fashion industry calls “dainty petiteness”), but works for me and keeps me clad and decently happy. Good hunting!

  3. Karen Skinazi January 2, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    Forgive me, but I have to tell you that there are great options out there. Levis are nostalgic. It’s easy to think of them as the only jeans out there, but frankly, the basic high-waisted (so called . . . I would never call them “high,” but they are high enough to, say, not show your entire tushie to the world when you bend down to speak to a child) Sevens in a dark wash with a boot cut are flattering on pretty much everyone and plain enough to wear every day. I am sure there are other great ones out there (I just got a pair of True Religions I am pleased with, but they are on the flashier side–they have rhinestones on the bum-horseshoes). Sevens, like most overpriced jeans, are thinner than Levis and they stretch (so you have to buy them tight, but note, if you should happen to get pregnant and keep wearing them as a certain person I know did, sadly, that thinness means they rip more easily). They’re not obnoxiously trendy, and you can find them on sale at dept stores around now (they’re not cheap, but calculate cost per wear and you’ll find it’s worth spending a few extra on good jeans). So I say: ditch the Levi’s. Take the leap! In something new!

    But if you are going to do the yoga pants, might I note that back in my “old” country of Canada, we believe that if you’re wearing $100 sweatpants–aka Lululemons–they don’t really count as that tremendous fashion taboo of wearing sweatpants out of the house. We call them the “socially acceptable sweatpants.”

    K.

  4. Suzie January 2, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    The mom of Alice’s classmate is the designer (engineer, jeans genius) of the GAP 1969 jeans and I believe she could tell you exactly what to get. She talked up the skirt, I tried it on, just to say I did and I ended up buying it and loving it. Just sayin’.

  5. Karen January 9, 2011 at 12:12 am #

    Seriously – try Lucky jeans.

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