I recently had so much trouble buying a new pair of jeans that fit me comfortably, I honestly began to think there was something wrong with my anatomy.
Years ago, buying jeans was simple. You’d walk into the store, find your size, and seeing that jeans came in only one style - nothing fancy - if they fit, you bought them. And even if they didn’t fit exactly right, you still bought them. If they were too long, you’d wear them cuffed up. If you were a young kid, you’d wear them cuffed up twice, until you grew a couple more inches.
Well, when I walked into the jeans section of a department store a couple weeks ago, my first thought was that I should have brought an interpreter. The jeans were grouped by categories: baggy, skinny fit, relaxed fit, oxygen-required fit, boot cut, flare-leg, western fit, hip huggers, bell bottoms, capris, low rise, high rise, and talk-in-a-higher-voice rise.
I was so confused, I did the only logical thing a woman in my situation could do…I grabbed the first pair of jeans I found in my size. They were black and “relaxed fit.” I figured that with a name like “relaxed,” they had to be comfortable. So I tried them on. All I can say is they were so relaxed, they looked like an unmade bed. Somehow, the crotch-down-to-the-knees look just wasn’t for me.
And unfortunately, now that my backside has fallen with age and is located somewhere behind my knees, there was nothing to fill up all of the bagginess.
But even if the jeans had fit right, I probably wouldn’t have bought them anyway. I knew from experience that black jeans attract every lint ball and dog hair within a 10-mile radius. Every piece of black clothing I currently own looks as if I wore it while cleaning out the lint trap in my clothes dryer.
So I continued my search for jeans. I grabbed a pair of hip huggers. I’m high waisted, so I figured hip huggers would make me look as if I had a longer torso. I also figured they’d be perfect for me because the jeans would have plenty of hip to hug.
I tried them on and stared at my reflection in the mirror. The jeans looked pretty good from the front. Then I turned and looked over my shoulder at the back. Two inches of underwear showed above the jeans. I bent over. All of my underwear showed. The only way I’d have felt comfortable wearing those jeans would have been underneath a dress.
I knew not to even bother trying on the skinny jeans because the word “skinny” does not exist in my vocabulary. The thinnest thing on my body is my hair, and I was pretty sure jeans weren’t meant to be worn on my head.
Frustrated, I asked a sales clerk which jeans were the most similar to the ones everyone wore back in the 1960s. She said the classic fit, which made sense.
So I searched for a pair of the classic-fit jeans in my size and tried them on.
The minute I zipped and buttoned them, I breathed a sigh of relief. They fit exactly the way I wanted them to. The only problem was, when the jeans reached my shins, they abruptly ended. From mid-shin to my ankles, my legs were bare.
I walked out of the dressing room. “What happened to the rest of the legs on these?” I asked the clerk.
“Those are cropped jeans,” she said. “They are all the rage right now.”
“Where? In flood plains?”
She wasn’t amused.
Finally, after I’d tried on so many jeans I was suffering from denim burn on my thighs, I bought a pair of medium-rise, boot-cut, stretch jeans. At least they covered most of my backside and my ankles, and when I bent over, they actually stretched to the full width of my hips without begging for mercy.
The other day, I was telling one of my friends about my shopping experience and she suggested, in a roundabout way, that perhaps I should forego the jeans and T-shirts and start dressing more appropriately for my age.
I’m not exactly sure what she meant by appropriately, but I suspect it might involve polyester stretch-pants pulled all the way up to my bra.