One of my favorite photos of Jane Birkin. It's all about the jeans.
Directly above and below: Images from Totokaelo.
I don't rant often on this blog so here it goes: This past December I was a Woman on the Verge of Departure. I was traveling to Denver for Christmas. Being that it was the holiday season I had gained a few extra pounds celebrating. As a result only one pair of jeans fit me in my entire closet: an old pair of J. Crew Matchstick jeans. Yes, my fat jeans had become my everyday jeans--I needed new jeans and fast! Just a pair of nice, skinny but not too skinny, dark indigo, un-embellished jeans. For $100 or less. Shouldn't be too hard, right?
Desperate, leaving the very next day on my trip, I went in search of said jeans. My first stop was Madewell. I've had success with their jeans in the past. Upon entering the store I found it to be a different story. All of their jeans were super skinny, with really long inseams, and the denim looked and felt cheap. I passed. Made a note to self: Madewell is not really geared for a Size 8, 37- year-old woman. Perfect for women in their 20's who are size 0-4 but not pour Moi. Moving on...
I stopped in Madewell's sister store, J.Crew. After all, the one pair of jeans that still fit me were made by J.Crew.
But to my disappointment, this J.Crew store had a very limited denim selection. What they did have: too much whiskering and 'distressing.' No thank-you. I passed.
I went to Barneys CO-OP. They had a nice selection...it was almost too much to sort through. I did find some Current/Elliott jeans that I liked...but not enough to break my $100 or less rule. A bit of an explanation: I grew up in the Midwest where jeans are JEANS. Denim pants originated as work wear. They were never meant to cost $100, $200, $300... so I just cannot justify dropping over $100 on a pair...or so I thought at the time...read on.
I have a limited attention span when shopping IRL (shopping online is a different beast). I can't really handle going into more than 3 or 4 stores total on a shopping expedition- it causes some kind of sensory overload in me and I get tired.
Realizing I was about to reach my store limit, still pantless (!), I stopped into Anthropologie. Talk about overload! Amidst all of the patterned clothing, pillows, drawer pulls, and books I somehow managed to locate a pair of J.Brand jeans that suited my needs...simple, un-embellished, dark denim-- a little bit too skinny (but I was willing to work with that, they had a little stretch so they weren't uncomfortable), the denim seemed decent enough, no damn whiskering at least. BUT they were ...$158. Shit! F@ck! I give in! Close enough! Sold.
I am still wearing those J. Brand jeans. They have held up pretty well. They are a bit too legging-like for my taste, so I tend to wear them with looser tunic tops that cover my bum & thighs.
I'm still wearing my old J.Crew jeans. I recently came across a denim line, Chimala, that seems to have nice cuts & finishes but the prices are so high. $300 for a pair of cut-off jean shorts?? Just. Can't. Do it.
Yesterday, Tomory cleaned out his closet. I inherited 3 pairs of his old Levi's. They are all a little loose on me. The denim is soft from age and is distressed in an authentic way from being lived in. There are paint splotches on them, and they are faded where my husband likes to put his wallet in the pocket. They have holes that can be patched if I feel like it.
One pair looks good with the cuffs rolled, the other is actually a pair of flares, which are back in style for spring (I have to say I am pleased with this trend toward an easier, wider- legged pant. Who wants to wear skinny jeans when it's 90 degrees outside anyway??). When I wear these second-hand jeans I like to pretend they are a bit like those Jane Birkin wore back in the 60's-70's.
They will do for now. They were free.
But back to New Jeans: Maybe I'm being too picky?!? I do want something specific, something it seems to me designers should be making: Simple, well- fitting, slim but not skintight, darker denim for around 100 bucks. That fit a solid Size 8 like myself. I'll even take denim that's a little lighter or distressed if it's not cheesy or overdone.
Does anyone know of pants like this? Do they even exist? At this price point? Am I being unrealistic (i.e. cheap)? What do you look for in a jean? Do you have a favorite pair? If so, who made them? What's the name of the style (be as specific as possible)? How much did they set you back? Why do you like them?
Please do share...and if you've made it this far, thanks for reading my pant rant :)