Originally published November 4, 2010.
Today I will tackle shopping for blue jeans.
I’ll wager Mr. Levi Strauss never dreamed that the sturdy trousers he began peddling to California miners in the late 1870’s would become an American wardrobe staple. I am a red-blooded American woman and therefore a well-fitting, comfortable pair of jeans is vital to my happiness.
Shopping for blue jeans is exhausting. For one thing I have some shopping idiosyncrasies, which tend to manifest themselves most profoundly when I am on the prowl for a new pair of blue jeans. Couple this with the sweeping number of choices that must be made in pursuit of the perfect pair of jeans and I get plum tuckered out just thinking about it.
These days there are styles and cuts to fit every conceivable body type. You can’t fit a round peg into a square hole, so I’ve given up trying to squeeze my callipygian self, ample thighs and all, into any pair of jeans bearing a tag with the words skinny, slim, or tapered fit. Even when I am at my absolute skinniest, the proportions of my body are much better suited for jeans that qualify as the the kind for chicks with big ol’ booties.
The concept of “rise” refers to the distance between your crotch and the waistband of your jeans, and was first introduced to me about six or seven years ago by my much younger next-door neighbor. She suggested we make a date to go shopping. Little did I know her hidden agenda was to get me out of my favorite high-waisted frumpy mom jeans and into a pair of hip, low rise boot cut jeans.
It was on this shopping trip that I discovered blue jeans were allowed to rest below the natural waist, and in fact looked much better when they did. Since then, I have tried a variety of “rises” ranging from traditional (i.e. frumpy mom rise) to medium rise, low rise, and extremely-low-Brazilian-bikini-wax-required-rise. SPECIAL NOTE: No woman over the age of 35 should attempt to wear extremely low rise. It’s just not pretty.
Indigo, faded, stonewashed, and acid-washed are just a few of the finishes available on blue jeans these days. I’m fine with this pre-washed business, but what I can’t fathom is why somebody would spend good money on ripped jeans. What’s up with that? When I rip my jeans, it’s usually inadvertently and I either patch them or deliver them to a Goodwill donation center.
I also wonder who exactly is responsible for ripping up perfectly good pairs of jeans prior to sale? What sort of qualifications does one need to get that job? Call me crazy, but if I’m spending hard-earned cash on a pair of jeans, I like them fro look new for a couple of months. I’ll wager Mr. Levi Strauss never imagined fashion trends would dictate destroying them prior to sale
I’m am fairly certain that an important feature of the product old Levi patented was their durability and ability to withstand daily wear and tear without ripping. Huh. Anyway, in 1885, a brand new pair of indigo blue jeans sold for about $1.50. Today an equivalent pair of jeans runs between $30 and $50, and the more fashionably faded and ripped styles will set you back $75 or even $100.
Call me old fashioned, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to bring myself to buy a pair of pre-ripped jeans. I’m pretty sure Mr. Levi Strauss would agree.