I’ve got great family jeans. No, I didn’t spell jeans wrong. I mean jeans, as in denim. I’ve also got dog-walking jeans and going-out jeans and boyfriend jeans and mom-ish jeans. But, you know, cool mom-ish jeans. I have business-meeting jeans, picnic outing jeans, first date jeans, red jeans, pink jeans, optical-print jeans and shorts that used to be jeans. Basically, I have a lot of jeans. And no matter what I do, where I’m going or what my sartorial intentions are on any given day, I almost always end up in jeans.
As a child, my favorite jeans were by Sasson, a sister label of Jordache. They were high-waisted, dark blue denim with brown contrast stitching and a slightly flared leg. I used to stand in front of my bedroom mirror and repeat the tagline, “Ooh-la-la Sasson.” Then I’d flip my hair and flash a toothy smile. You might say the die had already been cast. It was denim as far as the eye could see from that point on, from zippered acid wash all the way to ripped stone wash with whiskers.
I’ve tried to break out of this denim prison of my own making. There was a week in the summer of 2000 where I exclusively wore skirts because I was convinced that jeans were the reason I wasn’t attracting any male attention. How’d that work out, you ask? Not well. By Thursday, I had developed a heat rash between my legs, and the self-tanner I had applied at the beginning of the week had started to fade in a weird, tie-dye pattern. I wore jeans the next day and met a hot guy at the bar who ended up being my summer fling.
Obviously, there are occasions where jeans are downright inappropriate. My best friend’s wedding, for example (though don’t think I didn’t try), or my mom’s swanky 60th birthday party. (Between you and me, I was wearing black jeans, but you couldn’t tell under my tuxedo jacket.) And that’s where the brilliance of this sartorial tendency lies: Once I throw a blazer on top of my favorite five-pockets and step into a pair of heels, I’m ready for just about any outing.
There was a time when jeans were considered strictly casualwear, only to be worn while running errands or tending the garden or working the factory line. (I don’t know, I’m picturing Rosie the Riveter here.) I remember those days, because it took me a lot longer to get ready to go out. By the late 1990s, though, I started wearing jeans and heels to go clubbing (a revolutionary turn in my fashion history) and my prep time was cut considerably shorter. My friends were thrilled because it meant they wouldn’t show up at 10PM on a Saturday night ready to hit the town only to find me in socks and underwear standing in front of my closet wailing, “I don’t know what to weeeeaaaaaar.” (Just ask my BFF. Trust.)
But then something strange happened last week and as I was getting dressed for a business meeting, I thought the blue skinny jeans I had slipped on looked unprofessional. Could it be that at my age — 38 — wearing jeans for a work-related event was immature? I started to sweat; I would have to rethink my entire fashion philosophy. Suddenly, my phone rang and it was my mom. “Will you come shopping with me tomorrow,” she asked. “I need to buy some jeans.” And all was right in the world again.