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February 21, 2017

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Shopping for jeans just got overcomplicated


I had to buy some new jeans
the other day, which was
traumatic in more ways
than one.
Perhaps it’s a symptom of
the complex world in which we
live. Maybe it’s a reflection of
the ever-changing nature of our
human population. Or possibly
people in the jeans industry
simply don’t have enough to do.
At any rate, buying jeans has become
very confusing.
First, you have to figure out
which brand to buy. In my
youth, the answer was simple:
Levis. They were the gold standard
of jeans. All the cool kids
wore Levis.
There were other brands, of
course, chiefly Wrangler and
Lee, and then there were the
store brands. In the status-conscious
world of the playground,
store-brand jeans were the
mark of the true doofus. Woe
to the kid who came to school
in a stiff new pair of storebrand
jeans. At recess, he’d be
left standing at the doorway.
Of course, that might also have
been because the jeans weren’t
broken in yet and he couldn’t
move his legs.
Anyway, it’s different now.
These days, you have to sort
through a bewildering array
from a variety of manufacturers.
And you don’t have the
Playground Fashion Guidelines
to help you.
Then you have to choose
what kind of jeans to get.
Traditional cut? Skinny cut?
Loose cut? Big butt cut? High
waist? Low waist? Fred Mertz
waist?
(For those who don’t know,
the Freds are the ones that you
pull up to your armpits.)
Like I said, confusing. And
traumatic if you’re me, and you
have a bad association going
back to a jeans-buying expedition
of your childhood when
your mom marched you up to
the saleslady in the boys’ department,
pointed to the selection
of non-Levis, and said “He
needs something in a size six.
Husky.”
Husky. The size for fat boys.
The way my fat-phobic mother
said it, “Husky” sounded criminal.
She might just as well have
asked for a size six, Ax Murderer.
It was so embarrassing that
I didn’t want to take home the
balloon offered with every purchase.
I might also point out that
these words were coming from
the same mother who insisted
we eat everything on our plates
at dinner. Go figure.
That’s where the jeans trauma
comes in, or part of it anyway.
I start looking for jeans
and my brain just sort of locks
up, knowing that no matter
how I am going to do it, in
the store or online, I am going
to be presented with about
246 jeans possibilities, none
of which will be completely
right for me. I end up making
my jeans selection by employing
the time honored Eeenie-
Meenie-Miney-Mo method.
And then I wind up with a
pair of uncomfortable pants,
pinching and binding and trying
to strangle me, which is
another kind of trauma altogether.
This gets me to the most
traumatic part of the whole
jeans-buying process I went
though the other day. Jeans,
the most utilitarian of clothing,
have gotten ridiculously
spendy, especially the ones I
chose: The Under-The-Gut
cut. And

Author: Mike Redmond

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