2.08.2011

Jeans Jeopardy

Every now and then, there comes a time when - in order to form a more perfect wardrobe - a girl has to go out and find a new pair of jeans. Because it's a sad day when you realize your favorite pair of Levi's is looking a little scruffy, after multiple years of bearing the title "favorite."

Jeans are a wardrobe staple, but as much as we say we love them, we never seem to think about why we do.

We say they look nice. But nice is sometimes relative.

We say they're comfortable, but who are we kidding? Whenever your jeans first come out of the dryer, admit it - you eye them with suspicion and dread. By definition, nothing made out of denim is comfortable. Jeans are stiff, heavy, and if your legs happen to get wet in the rain, you get to have icky wet-jean feeling the rest of the day.

We say that you can wear them every day, like that's an advantage, but wearing jeans gets pretty boring. After all, everyone else is wearing them every day, too.

So basically, other fabrics are much more functional and interesting, yet for reasons unknown, we all remain obsessed with our jeans. And that obsession, ladies and gentlemen, is what lands us in...

Jeans Jeopardy.

It is the point that you find yourself gazing...or, more likely, squinting...at a "jeans wall" in some department store. It is the moment of truth. You know that you will either pluck a treasure from the heap, or walk away empty-handed, face downcast. Staring at the wall, you are too invested to turn back now. It's a wall featuring mounds of folded up jeans with the stick-on label showing at the fold, labels that are supposed to help...but that actually make you want to scream.

Do you want "mid-rise, slim fit, boot cut boyfriend style"? Or maybe, "low-rise, easy fit, straight leg fit solutions"? If you're at Old Navy, where they have given their jeans styles hip-sounding names in the spirit of coolness, you are forced to puzzle over The Dreamer, The Sweetheart, The Diva, or The Flirt. And no matter where you go, the jeans wall is usually in disarray, especially during sale times, when everybody and their mamas have picked over the whole lot, leaving you to pilfer through the wreckage.

After trying to make sense of all this marketing madness, you begin to mutter to yourself, crazily, "I just want my size. I don't know what I'm getting here. I don't even know what I'm looking for. I'll find out in the fitting room. Just give me my size. That's all I ask. Where...is...my...SIZE...?" Other customers slowly edge away from you.

"I'll take 'flare leg classic fit comfort waist' for $600, Alex," you say to no one in particular, and then you know that Jeans Jeopardy is beginning to take a serious toll.

There in the fitting room, you fuss, fret, frown, grit your teeth, suck in a lot of air, and work up a sweat as pair after pair of jeans wind up on the designated NO WAY side of your fitting room. Too loose. Too tight. Too weird. Too young. Too old. It ranks right up there with the horrendous chore of swimsuit shopping.

Leave that store, on to the next one, repeat the entire process again and again, until, finally, you zip, snap, and smile in delight. You found it. The One. How do you know it's the one? You just know. (The standard answer people always give to such a question). You just won Final Jeopardy. You triumphantly plop your find on the counter in front of the sales associate, certain that this new pair will soon bear the title of "favorite."

Alas, that has not happened to me yet. It is the outcome I am hoping for...the one that happens in jeans movies and jeans fairy tales, if there were such things. But as of now, the cold reality is that I have just duked it out in round 1 of Jeans Jeopardy.

Score...Jeans That Don't Fit: $10,000. Me: $0. But Final Jeopardy can change everything. And, as Scarlett O would say, "Tomorrow......is another shopping day!"

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