Friday, June 5, 2015

A short - or rather, skinny - history of my life in jeans.

As I work from home, I tend to live in jeans. I have a few pairs in various stages of degradation, and nothing left for 'best', i.e. going into town or out to dinner at the local club.

Shopping for jeans, however, is hell.

I'm short, but I'm not skinny. I'm slightly overweight but you'd call me medium build. So in order for the jeans to fit snugly around my waist they are usually too long in the leg.

I am heaving a huge sigh of relief that 'high rise' jeans that actually fit around your waist are coming back into fashion. Curse Victoria Beckham for her statement several years ago that the hipster (low-rise) trouser was perfect for every body shape and thus prolonging the fashion. It bloody wasn't. If you were bigger than a size 8 you ended up with a muffin top. I did succumb to a pair of low rise jeans for $20 but never felt thin in them. I was ok standing up holding my tummy in but they felt horrible when I sat down, as if my tummy was bulging revoltingly over the top of them like a wobbly soufflé.

I used to wear bootleg jeans a few years ago, then I went for a half price straight leg when I had trouble getting bootleg. The straight leg doesn't really do me any favours. I look short and podgy, so it has been relegated to gardening wear. The bootlegs weren't bad but I got a bit sick of them and longed for a pair of skinny jeans, drainpipe jeans as we used to call them when I was a kid. Do I have the body shape for skinny jeans? Not hugely, but as I tend to favour mid-thigh tunic tops they work for me far better than bootleg or straight leg with tunics.  I bought a pair of skinny jeans two years ago (after going to five shops before I found a pair that had the waistband at the waist and found they were called Mummy Jeans - oh dear!) and felt twenty years younger the first time I put them on.

I do most of my clothes shopping by catalogue with Ezibuy, and I decided to try a pair of high-rise skinny jeans from them last year. While they're on the skinny side they are not skinny skinny jeans. They are skinny jeans for grownups and a bit stretchy. ;-)  I've noticed they have started to sag in the bum and legs, though, as the fabric isn't very heavy and I suppose the elastane element has worn out, and they don't do me any favours when I look in the mirror. They are now relegated to 'wear around home' status. They weren't expensive however, and these days you do get what you pay for in most cases.

Many jeans these days are stretch fabric, and the manufacturers claim they hoik you in and make you look thinner. I fell for a grey pair of Gordon Smith Miracle so-called Skinny Jeans a few months ago when they were on special; they were heavy wintery denim with 10% elastane and had a tapered leg rather than an actual skinny one. But the colour was good. Did they make me look thinner? Initially, but they stretched over the tummy a bit rather than flattened it once I'd worn them a few times. The real miracle about these jeans is that they are fur magnets. I had no sooner taken them out of the carrier bag than every bit of white cat fur in the bedroom migrated onto them.

Lesson: don't buy stretch jeans made with 10% elastane; there's something about that fabric that attracts cat fur. Unless you buy them in the same colour as your cat.

Today I was at my local shopping mall and found some Levi's on a mild special (they are never on a good special).

Now I've never worn Levi's. There was all that hype years ago when they brought out the 501s, the jeans specially designed for a woman's body. I tried a pair on at the time. They were horribly loose below my bum and looked disgusting on me, even though I was two dress sizes smaller back in the day. They simply didn't fit well. Obviously the women's bodies they were designed for were tall and had long legs.

So I've ignored Levi's for years. Aside from which they are pricey. I shudder at the thought of paying more than $100 for a pair of jeans, which is what Levi's cost in Oz. For the same reason I avoid Guess, Jag, Sass and Bide and other designer brands. I have been known to scour the racks at charity shops looking for jeans in my size for a fiver.

But….but…. these Levi's I saw today were skinny jeans, in my waist size and more or less my leg length. They were high-rise. They were a dark indigo, just what I'd been looking for. I tried them on. There was no elastane. They hoiked me in like billy-o. They fit where they should fit. They actually looked pretty darn good. And they weren't made in China, which is a minor miracle these days - they were made in Poland.

Reader, I bought them.

I am 52 years old and now own my first pair of Levi's.

I feel like a teenager.

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