Tag Archives | levis

Blue Jeans III: Maybe It’s Me

The great blue jeans quest continues. After the fiasco at the Levi store, after the “no we don’t put things on sale” experience at True Religion, and thinking I’d almost nailed it (and for cheap) at JC Penney, I went to Lucky Brand. Well, I went to Banana Republic first, where I felt like Goldilocks without ever getting to “just right.”  So then, Lucky.  At Lucky, I found an amazing sales clerk, Alyssa, who helped me navigate the dauntingly high piles of jeans, all with fetching names like Zoe and Lola (which means “grandmother” in the Philippines, so they might want to re-consider that one).  Alyssa assured me that I needn’t be looking for the “June Cleaver” line of jeans and walked me through approximately four hundred styles–Lucky me, indeed.

Friends, I was in the hands of the Jedi Master of sales. She had me at “oh, I think you should probably try the 4, because the 6 will get too baggy.”  The 4 was a non-starter–although continuing the marketing madness of women’s fashions, some styles of 4 almost fit, while other styles of 4 simply laughed at me from the hanger.

I tried Zoe and Lola, Sienna and Charlie, and even something called “Lil Maggie” (being not “li’l” myself, Maggie was rejected almost immediately). Piles of boot cut, straight leg, trouser cut, low-rider (that was nixed when I realized I’d have to take up a second career as a pole dancer if I wore them)…Alyssa smiled and smiled and filled my dressing room with denim.  I was there for almost 45 minutes and then pulled the trigger on a pair of Zoe bootcut dark denim jeans that cost almost $30 more than I had told myself I would spend.  And a pair of earrings, because you know, they really go with the jeans.  Alyssa’s Jedi charms worked–the jeans weren’t perfect and they cost more than I wanted to spend, but I felt guilty about not buying anything after having taken so much of her time and she’d kept me there long enough that I had a sort of shopper’s endorphin rush that had me thinking the jeans were really cool and wearing them I’d look like…well, like a Zoe when I wore them.

Husband agreed, when I got home, that my Zoe’d butt looked fine but then…then, oh my friends, my endorphin rushed trickled away and I tried the jeans on again in the cold light of the long mirror in my bathroom.

Friends, it’s not the jeans. It’s the pudding. The pudding that results in a muffin.  That pudding–what’s that old-fashioned dessert that English kids get in Evelyn Nesbit stories when they’ve got a sore throat? Blancmange. That’s it.

The problem with these jeans? It’s the blancmange of my belly.

And the end result of this wobbly epiphany? The expensive name-brand jeans are tucked back in the drawer, to reappear when the blancmange has been reduced to a small custard, or perhaps a minor souffle. In the meantime, I’m back to my increasingly threadbare perfect pants from several years ago, which don’t have a sassy name but truss in the blancmange.  Really, when I wear these jeans? My name could be Zoe.

Continue Reading · on February 25, 2011 in food, shopping

South of the Border Jeans

I am not a size 6. I maybe waved at a size 6 some time in my late teens but I certainly didn’t stop there.

So the fact that my favorite Levis are a size 6 is a miracle attributable, I think, to the wonders of modern fabric making–and maybe to some smart marketer realizing that for many women there is a certain effervescent joy that happens in the privacy of a dressing room when–gasp–the smaller size slides on with a minimum of tugging, straining, and gasping.

In search of finding another pair of my miracle pants, I went off to the Levi store, where I found bupkes Elaborately styled, dizzying choices, but ultimately? Nada.

Following a suggestion from Karen, I went into True Religion Jeans but I did not find god. Found a sales clerk who, when I asked–timidly–about the possibility of their jeans being on sale, smiled at me in pity, shook her head, and said “they don’t do that.”  Fine. I didn’t really want pants with rhinestone buttons on the pocket flaps anyway. (Why yes, that is a sour grapes response, you’re absolutely right! I would love rhinestones–or rather, the life that rhinestones suggests. A sort of Loretta Lynn, Lucinda Williams rhinestone and scuffed boots kind of life.  I do not have that life. Alas.)

Then a friend on twitter suggested JC Penney (thanks Brenna). Yes, seriously, JCP, as they’re liking to call themselves these days.  I think they’re trying to Tar-jay-ify themselves and while I’m not sure that’s going to work, I have to say, going to Penney’s? An actually pleasant experience.  Helpful sales clerks, clean aisles, big dressing rooms, good prices…who knew?

And I found them. My 505s. Nothing fancy, no bleachy whiskers down the front, no rhinestones, no low-rise front threatening to expose my nether bits to the world. No three-digit price tag.

Brought them home, tried them on again –still okay– wore them around, washed them, put them back on and…within an hour they were sagging down to my hips and puddling around my ankles. Size SIX? Sliding down my hips?  It’s against the natural order of things. A jeanspocalypse signifying that the end of the world is nigh.

Husband heard my crabbing around about my jeans and unveiled an early birthday present – yet another pair of Levi 505s, this time from Levis.com  Tried those on. Same thing, baggy, saggy, puddly.  So his very sweet gesture will be…returned in tomorrow’s mail.

It’s like a weird story problem in math class: if there are 3 pairs of jeans, all claiming to be the identical size and style, how can the fit be so radically different?  The pair that I love has 98% cotton, 2% spandex; the JCP pair is 99% cotton and 1% spandex; the Levi.com pair is 99% cotton, 1% elastane, whatever the fuck that is.  Anyone want to venture a discussion of the difference between spandex and elastane? Perhaps something a dominatrix would have fun with, if done up in black?

But here’s the kicker–the pair I love and bought a few years ago? Made in Mexico.  The other two pairs? Made in China.

Is this great jeans pattern shift some kind of a strange Chinese plot, to make the butts of Western women look all saggy and baggy? To fool us into some false sense of security about our size six-ness so that we continue to eat ourselves into oblivion, and thus disregard the imminent Chinese take-over of the world economy?

My other pair is always snug, as if to remind me that weeks of unfettered cookie eating would NOT be a good idea. They keep me on my guard, my Mexican sixes.

So now I have a new shopping list for my great jeans quest, although a few things I already knew:  No funky rinse or wash or pre-made rips. Straight legs. A rise that covers my lady parts. But to that list I can add: 2% stretchy stuff.

And they have to be made in Mexico.

Continue Reading · on January 11, 2011 in shopping

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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Continue Reading · on January 1, 2011 in ranting, shopping

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