Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Blue Jean Queen

So there I was in a ritzy, super-trendy store with chandeliers and shiny, happy, commission-based salespeople and tiny racks of tiny clothing that cost enormous sums of money. And everywhere you looked – jeans. Shelves upon shelves of them. Rows of them. In every corner. And I ask you this - why does a store that specializes in jeans need a chandelier?

But I digress. I was there for a new pair of jeans. And not just any jeans. The hippest and trendiest and newest and, yes, most expensive jeans. The ones all the actresses are wearing in the photos you see in People magazine when they’re “caught unaware,” out shopping or lunching with baseball caps on and the no makeup look that probably takes two hours to perfect.

And as the perky, efficient salesgirl with too much lip-gloss methodically added to an ever-growing pile of jeans, I stood there in my Gap jeans and T-shirt with spit up on the shoulder, wondering how she was picking them. She’d grab one, touch another, pass it by, go to the next pair, give a subtle but definitive shake of her head, move to another pair across the store, smile, grab them, move on. I’m not sure what her criteria was or if it was even specific to me, but she worked with efficiency and speed that would have made Martha Stewart on methamphetamines proud. Perhaps there’s a science to it. Maybe they have to go to a training course. (If there are 322 brands of schmancy jeans and each brand has 200 different styles -- low rise, button fly, frayed bottom, big bottom, whatever -- and the wearer weighs 80 pounds and is seven feet tall (that’s who they seemed to be made for) and you’re on commission and want to sell the most expensive pair of jeans, how many hours will it take to get from New York to Idaho?)

I ask you this - When did a pair of jeans become an investment rather than the most casual thing in my closet? And why, why, why was I about to spend $150 plus on something that already looked old and worn? Was I insane? Was I so excited to have lost the baby weight that I could only strut my stuff in something that cost more than my share of the rent for my first college apartment? Or was it a sad attempt to make myself feel younger, sexier, less like someone’s mommy and more like some mod twenty-something you’d see gallivanting around a club with a chocolate-flavored martini?

Not since seventh grade and my quest for the perfect pair of Jordache have I succumbed to such silliness. But lately I’ve been feeling out of sorts. Unattractive. Unkempt. My hair is wash-and-wear, my nails are home-painted, shapeless and chipped and my clothes from my former life are either a bit too tight (okay, so I’m busting out of the shirts which makes me very, very happy even though I know it’s temporary) or out of style (one winter ago I was in maternity wear). Add to this the fact that the last time I went to the mall, it seemed that every female I saw wiggled by me looking svelte in their Sevens or Citizens of Humanity (no, it’s not a non-profit group trying for world peace. It’s a brand of jeans. No, I’m not joking).

So there I was watching as my pile of jeans grew and grew and then I was in a dressing room with hardwood floors and walls of mirrors pulling on pairs of jeans that all looked pretty much the same. I felt thirteen again, with the unerring belief that the right pair of jeans would transform my life (minus the zits, feathered hair and varying shades of purple eyeshadow up to my eyebrows).

I modeled each pair for my poor, saintly husband, who sat outside the dressing room on a stark, uncomfortable backless leather couch, baby in stroller by his side. And each time he said, “Didn’t you just show me those?” or “Those look nice,” I knew that he liked my Gap jeans better. But because he’s an angel and wants nothing but my happiness (translated: doesn't want to deal with me when I'm cranky and unpleasant), he nodded and smiled and encouraged me to buy them.

So I did. I haven’t worn them yet. They’re getting altered (another $20) because they were eight feet long and I’m not. But when I get them back, I’m going to wear them everywhere -- to the grocery store and mommy groups and baby music class. I’ll sit my $160 butt down on the floor and play with my little guy and I’ll feel cool again.


At May 1, 2005 at 2:54 PM, Blogger Army Wife said...

I still think levis look nice on everyone.......and you can several pair for $160


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