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December 21, 2010 / Danielle

in the jeans

Bonjour, mes chers amis – and I hope that your holiday plans are all running smoothly and weather-hassle free. It is the most wonderful time of the year, after all, and as one of my jobs hots up and the other settles down (at least until New Year’s) I’m looking forward to home, stockings, gift-giving and most of all family and friends.

In the meantime, however, Shopaholic’s gotta get through her last few days, and boy howdy are they busy.  All of this is good – I have some wonderful, delightful plans coming up that need to be paid for (Montego Bay in February, anyone?) – but does leave me a little vulnerable to my “oooooh redhead needs a pick-me-up” tendencies.

Darlings? I broke down. I bought the jeans.

And I couldn’t be happier.

Three years ago, I was working as the denim specialist at Bloomingdales. As such, I was responsible for all of the run-of-the-mill sales associate duties, but also on the hook to communicate with the buyers about what was selling and what was not, share specialized knowledge with the rest of the team, and maintain the standards of my zone of the floor. In exchange for these duties, if we made our sale plan, I’d get a free pair of Seven for All Mankind jeans.

Yes – I KNOW – how exciting.

And yet? Sevens? Don’t really fit me right.

In any case, I had (still have) a handful of SFAMK denim pieces – two adored skirts and a wealth of different-washed/cut jeans  – and yet what was my favorite thing?

The pair of straight-leg, Howl-wash, “Angelina”-cut Adriano Goldschmied’s that were returned and went right to the sale rack, where I picked them up for $17.

Your favorite jeans are like a long-term love affair. They grow infinitely comfortable and completely vital to your wardrobe. We live in them; we forgive them their faults and flaws; when they rip, or grow threadbare, or ratty at the bottoms, it’s a terrible crisis causing great anxiety for their well-being.

I loved their color, a bright blue without being too light or too dark. I adored the softness of the AG denim, pliable and pajama-like while still holding a great shape. The cut was perfect; flattering to the thighs and hugging just the right curves in the back. I lived in them nonstop for three straight years.

And they’d tear, and I’d freak, and take them to my mom, who would do her creative best to patch them and sew them back up. Eventually they wore so thin you could see the outlines of the patches through the back. When they ripped a fifth time, she refused the final repair.

I folded them and put them under my bed, on top of other boxes holding high-school memorabilia, programs from long-ago children’s plays, speech trophies and love letters;  somehow I couldn’t bear to throw them out.

So when I bit the bullet this weekend and pulled on a new pair of A. G. “Stevie”s  in a different wash – well – it was a moment fraught with the potential for peril (“I will NEVER find them again!”).

But as I surveyed myself in the dressing room mirror, I realized – I’d come home again.

They’re no Angelina’s – the color is different, and I was able to get something closer to my true size (my sale-rack-find jeans were always the slightest bit too big) – but I stepped out of the dressing room into the three way mirror not ever wanting to take them off.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce my new denim;

my new blue true loves

I know, I know – only time will tell if they will worm their way into my heart as their previous brethren have.

But I’m thrilled to have the option back.

Now – leaving the romance aside, turning to the practical  – why did this take me so long? 

Seriously. Seriously.

I’ve worn my new white T-shirt three times in the past three weeks, and each time thought “Gosh, it’s so nice to have a shirt that’s not stained, and whose elasticity is still intact so it fits rather than draping, and whose sleeves haven’t shrunk up past my wrists. . . . ”

For a mere $8, I have felt properly and well attired for weeks.

Ditto the jeans. Granted, these are much more expensive, but when you add up all the little “Oh! This amazing sequinned vintage dress is just $30!” incidences, there is certainly money in my pocket to be able to afford them. Which, I think, speaks to not only my instant-gratification urges (saving is hard), but also to my delight in indentifying as a girlwho wears fabulous vintage dresses . . . . though I am, clearly (and happily) also a girl who wears comfortable, stylish jeans.

Delayed gratification is hard. So is thinking usefully rather than impulsively. Part of me worries,  I think, that I’ll never EVER see anything as cute as this dress/top/sweater/shoes again – whereas jeans and white t-shirts are a relative constant in production and consistant design.

So, in a way, this is just another symptom of the shopping problem – my tendency to incorrectly prioritize, to value the pretty and immediate over the useful and long-term-valuable. (She said as she sat typing in two of her “OMG it’s just $10!!!!” finds) (let’s not read too much into all of this, I mean, lifewise . . .drip drip drip crickets crickets crickets in the “emergency savings” bank account.)

In any case.

We’re less than 30 days away from my personal challenge to do with what I got.

And I’m now even better equipped.

Bring it, New Year.

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