2011-01-26 / Loose Ends

My jeans are the first to go

Susan Nienow

I am a jeans girl. My age group is probably at the forefront of denim jeans fashion. Those who are older didn’t grow up in jeans and don’t really understand the strong connection we have to those double-seamed, riveted pants. It could be the comfy factor. The older they are, the softer and more comfortable they are.

But if I gain a pound or several, my jeans are the first to know. It’s sitting that’s uncomfortable. The opposite happens when I lose a few pounds. Nothing looks worse on me than baggy jeans. Denim is a heavy fabric and too much of it is, well, too much. Adding a little spandex to jeans has eliminated a lot of the bagginess that comes with long wearing. It also helps with the comfort factor.

Two things stand out when I look at the jeans big picture. One is fit, and the other is style. I can choose from bootleg, skinny leg and straight leg jeans. For several years now, the fashion industry has been telling me that the wide bottom on the legs balances the shoulders at the top and creates a slim look. Now they are trying to convince me that skinny leg jeans, or jeggings, make me look slimmer.

What happened to the theory that tunics and leggings throw the body out of balance and actually make you look heavier? I believed that. I had a balanced top and bottom and thought I was happy. Then the fashion pundits decided I needed to have a new wardrobe, starting with the now-fashionable jeggings. I am sticking with the boot cut. The explanation of how it makes me look thinner makes more sense to me.

Having decided that the bootcut jeans are what I want, I only need to decide if I want tummy control, five-pocket or flat front, and that’s just the top part of the jeans. Then there’s spandex, corduroy, old-fashioned denim, twill or cotton knit. But the whole key to wearing jeans is finding a pair that fits. Since I only get new jeans every couple of years, I can’t find a brand and keep buying the same thing. The styles change. New style equals new fit, and that means a “try on jeans marathon.”

The fit thing is tricky. I tried on five pairs of jeans at one store. One was too short, another too tight in the waist. Two were baggy in the legs, and the fifth pair was an odd shade of tan. The next store had three pairs, all with extra loops and bits of leather. After that was a department store with more jeans than I wanted to try on. Actually I didn’t have to try them all on. Some were petites, and I’m not. I want a dark denim bootcut pant that fits with a little spandex, no rips, no cuts, no bleached out thighs and no ragged hems. Is that too much to ask?

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