I don’t know what happened in the garment industry, but it seems it has completely dispensed with its 2,000-year history of manufacturing clothing for the purpose of, well, clothing people. Although we now have more options than ever with myriad styles, cuts and washes–sadly, none of them fit. It seems a cruel paradox.
Walk into any retailer, and you’ll find a dizzying array of denim: Jeans that are skinny, super skinny, super duper skinny, slim skinny, confining skinny and can’t-breath skinny. And that’s just the skinny category. Then there are straight jeans, curvy jeans, straight curvy jeans, roundabout jeans and boyfriend jeans, not to be confused with the sexy boyfriend jeans or the metrosexual boyfriend jeans. That last one is the one I need. The metrosexual boyfriend jean: fashionable, yet fitting. Where can I find those?
While I’ve had trouble finding my perfect metrosexual boyfriend of the denim variety, I haven’t had problems finding other options. I can choose any finish from distressed to faded to whiskered to dark wash to not-too-dark-but-not-too-light wash to my personal favorite, worn crystal. Then you have the rises. There’s mid-rise, low-rise, ultra low-rise, low low-rise and half-ass-hanging-out-rise. But where, I ask you, is the high-rise? Where is the standard cover-your-stomach-so-your-flab-doesn’t-ooze-over-the-side rise?
Don’t even get me started on the skimmer jeans. There are approximately 54,000 varieties of those too. By the end of sorting through the vast deep blue sea of denim, casting aside pair after imperceptibly different pair in search of my size only to find it, but in the wrong length (regular and long, but not ankle) because for some reason The Gap thinks the average American woman is 10-feet tall, I had to ask the perky salesperson perched atop a ladder stocking the highest rungs of the towering floor-to-ceiling denim display for help.
“Um, excuse me. Sorry, I just trashed the whole pile of jeans you painstakingly folded and now have to refold, but do you have the dark-wash, always-skinny skimmer jeans in mid-rise size 8 ankle? I don’t see it here.” The 23-year-old sales clerk responded, “Well, we have the deconstructed dark-wash, always-skinny skimmer jeans in size 8 ankle, but in low-rise…or the super-skinny-always-skinny skimmer legging jeans in 8 ankle, but not in dark wash, and those only come in ultra-low-rise.”
“Let’s make this a little easier,” I exhaled. “Do you have any skinny jeans in this store that are mid-rise in size 8 ankle?”
“No, sorry,” she said, chomping her gum before returning to the wall of denim. I didn’t get the sense she was genuinely saddened by my loss.
“But you have a million jeans in this store,” I persisted, shaking my head. “How could you not have any in my size?”
But it was no use, because I am not 18, and the world and jeans are stacked against me.
Please note, because I’d really like to avoid any confusion here, and with full understanding I think we can all come to a consensus on one very important point: I am not, under any circumstances, advocating for high-to-your-eye-rise jeans. I talk not of your mom’s mom jeans but a new jean, a better jean, a technologically enhanced jean. A jean for the 21st century with a delicate balance of fashion and function for women who have birthed a child or developed beyond the age of 21. A jean for the woman who would like to maintain a sense of fashion along with her dignity. Because while we may have become, after years of exposure, a nation desensitized to unwanted butt-crack sightings, I assert crack is now and forevermore will be wack.
What really confounds me about the whole situation is why such a jean doesn’t exist already. This idea isn’t some fanciful notion. I know it can be done, because it has been done.
When these thoughts really get me down, like, say, after a particularly hard day at the mall, I stare mournfully out my window and reminisce about the good times, the heady days of yore when clothing actually fit. I remember a more innocent time before muffin tops, before jeans needed to be hiked up every five minutes, before special complementary underwear was an essential part of an outfit because undergarments actually remained under your garments. Mostly, I wistfully recall a bygone era when one’s exposed crack would cause embarrassment, when all the world considered plumber’s crack as the height of humiliation and not a given.
I say it’s time to take action. I submit to you, good people of the world, that a society in which mass unwanted crack sightings are tolerated is not a civilized society at all. We had fitting jeans once, and we could have them again. In fact, we must insist upon it. We must rise up and demand our jeans do the same, because while we have a multitude of rises, they have not risen far enough.
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