So the time has finally come for me to buy some new jeans. This is something I’ve been putting off for some time, maybe because I was expecting the trend of ripped jeans that was so big in the ‘80’s to come back into style, although even back then I was never exactly fashionable. In fact when the jeans I wore every day to high school finally did rip at the knees, which didn’t take long because that was also the era of the stonewashed look which was brutal on fabric, I decided to look hip by sewing up the holes with bright green thread and I started an exciting new fashion trend that absolutely no one else picked up. And if I really wanted to be fashionable I’d probably stop wearing jeans and treating every day at work like it’s casual day, but I’ve never been comfortable in slacks, only in denim, really, even though the name sounds like it’s supposed to suggest comfort as well as a certain panache, a je ne sais quoi, a joi de vivre, a sacre bleu, a passe le moutard, a serge de Nîmes, mais c’est une autre histoire. I used to work with a guy who wore shorts all the time, no matter what the weather was like. The temperature could dip well into the negatives and he’d come in wearing a heavy coat but basically bare from his knees to his ankles. He explained that he only felt comfortable in shorts and even though I wasn’t exactly the same way I felt we were sartorially related. We both shared the principle that comfort matters because you don’t look good if you don’t feel good, clothes make the man, clothing is the suit of armor in which we battle the world, a stitch in time is a physics problem, you can’t make a sow’s ear out of a wolf in sheep’s clothing but you can pick your friends and you can have your cake and, as my grandmother used to say, that bright green thread will never be seen from a trotting horse. I also have a pair of black jeans I wear on more formal occasions, and even a pair of beige jeans which may not be slacks but who’s going to look closely enough to know the difference ?
And I hate to throw away a pair of jeans. It just seems environmentally irresponsible, although denim is cotton so it’s biodegradable. At least some of my shirts have the possibility of a second life. A friend told me that when it was time to retire one of my paisley shirts she wanted to use it in a quilt, and just the thought makes me feel warm. Certain items of clothing just stick with me, and I also know it’s time to wash them when they start sticking to me, but that’s another story. Every time I get rid of an old pair of jeans I feel there should be a certain ceremony, a time to say, goodbye, mon frere et pair, you served the lower half of my body well.
Actually I’m really just stalling, or rather avoiding the stall—which is what the changing room in stores should really be called. I know it’s possible to buy clothing online but I still prefer to do it the old fashioned way, pulling things off a rack and trying them on, because my body changes and what fit me a year ago won’t necessarily fit me now, at least when it comes to the waistline. I’m not getting any taller or shorter, although it’s frustrating to me that I’m below average height and that makes it difficult to find any pants that don’t go down below my feet. I also get unnerved in changing rooms because I always worry the mirror is two-way and while I doubt anyone would want to watch me what if they are? I know it’s not really going to be that bad and that I shouldn’t get so worked up, but worrying this much isn’t something I can just overcome. It’s part of me, it’s who I am. It’s in my jeans.