I’ve worn blue jeans most of my life. As a younger child, I wore whatever Mom bought for me, sometimes horrible “girl” jeans, with a side zip and no pockets. By junior high, I knew more of what I liked, and by the time I hit high school it was 1970 and girls were finally allowed to wear pants to school. For many of us, it became all jeans, all the time. Levis 501, button fly, shrink to fit were the best.
Worn to school, to hike in or ski, jeans were sturdy, all purpose clothing. And as cutoffs, they were just the thing in the summer. They’ve been part of my life for a long time. Professionally, I had to wear something a bit more formal, but for days off they’ve continued as my go-to. I no longer ski in them, and I’ve found all cotton isn’t so good for hiking. Things have changed, high tech fabrics are more suited to mountaineering and yet the jeans have persisted.
I haven’t have a pair of 501s for long time. In fact, with time, it turns out that Lees now fit me better than Levis. And that brings me to a point of great frustration. Jeans as fashion items. The manufacturers keep changing the cut, fit and style of jeans. I understand this on one level, but I also find it means that what worked well the last time I got a pair may not work at all the next time. And super low cut skin tight isn’t the fashion statement I’m looking for. I’ve always been a comfort and function ahead of fashion person. I am happiest when I forget what I’m wearing because I’m comfortable and whatever I’ve got on is non-distracting.
A while back, I did a major purge of my clothes. I’d read Marie Kondo’s work on tidying and decluttering and decided to apply her principles to my wardrobe. Basically, if it doesn’t fit and give you joy and you don’t use it, out it goes. So I cleared out a lot of stuff. And my closet is a tidier place, with lots of room, I no longer need a dresser, and its worked well, for what I think is going on 5 years.
Since that purge, I haven’t bought any jeans. I’ve been wearing the few pair I kept that worked for me. Periodically, I looked for some new jeans, and didn’t find the “right” ones. So I kept wearing my increasingly threadbare jeans. I even patched a few holes–the “kids” may think torn jeans are cool, but sharing my underwear choice with the world doesn’t float my boat. The Kohl’s store near me had been my go to for years, but it was hit and miss as to whether or not they would have what I liked and in my size (the downside of being a pretty common size is that they run out of that first–whether it be running shoes or blue jeans). Then Kohl’s relocated to a busier street about 5 miles away.
By late 2019, I was getting desperate. My two pair of jeans were even more worn. I visited the newly opened Kohl’s. It was poorly stocked, mainly holiday stuff, but not much in the way of jeans. After the holidays, I tried again and still no joy. Then the pandemic struck. Shopping was markedly reduced, and even if you did go and shop for clothes, the dressing rooms were closed. No trying on. So I quit trying. I made it through the pandemic with my two pairs of jeans. Given that I was working remotely, I wore them more than ever. So now I have really threadbare jeans, both pairs of which will spontaneously rip at times. I need some new jeans.
I think I’m going to have to go shopping. I don’t enjoy clothes shopping. It’s a pain. Finding what I want and what fits is so frustrating. But I do enjoy wearing my jeans, so I’m going to have to give it a try. Some stores have reopened dressing rooms. I’ve been vaccinated against Covid, which has me feeling more comfortable shopping. Wish me luck.
Written for the Blogging from A to Z challenge.