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 basically came in only one style, 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, boot cut, flare leg, western fit, hip huggers, capris, low-rise, high-rise, and talk-in-a-higher-voice rise.
And then there were the ones with so many holes in them, they looked as if someone had used them for grenade practice. When I was a kid, the minute I got a hole in my jeans, usually on one of the knees, my mother didn’t waste a second covering it with an iron-on patch. So it’s really difficult for me to grasp the “paying for holes” trend nowadays.
Anyway, 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 and discovered they were just a little too relaxed. Somehow, the crotch-down-to-the-knees look just wasn’t for me. And because my backside has fallen with age and currently is located somewhere behind the backs of 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 mean, experience has taught me 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 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 my underwear showed above the jeans. I bent over…and all of my underwear showed. The only way I’d have felt comfortable wearing those jeans would have been underneath a dress.
I didn’t even bother trying on the skinny jeans because the word “skinny” does not exist in my vocabulary. The only thing on my body that’s getting thinner right now is the hair on my head.
Frustrated, I asked a sales clerk which jeans were the most similar to the ones everyone wore back in the 1950s and early ‘60s. She said probably the classic fit, which made sense.
So I searched for a pair of those 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’d hoped they would. The only problem was when the jeans reached my shins, they abruptly ended. From there 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’re 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 skid-burns on my thighs and the residual pain of more than one wedgie, 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 hipbones without begging for mercy.
The other day I was telling one of my friends about my shopping experience and she suggested that perhaps I should forego the jeans and T-shirts and start dressing more appropriately for my age.
I wasn’t certain what she meant by “appropriately,” but visions of my grandmother’s cotton housedresses immediately popped into my mind.
All I can say is that after all of the trouble I went through buying these jeans, I plan to continue wearing them until I’m at least 95. And if they’re full of holes by then, all the better.
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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated humor columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at: email@example.com.