Blue Jean – I Just Met a Girl Named Blue Jean

When I told one of my dear friends that I was going denim shopping, she let out a bit of a little-girl-squee, and then pouted for a minute when she learned I wasn’t taking her along for the ride.

“This is what I do” she declared, “You have no idea how important the right pair of jeans is.”

“I am not a denim person, don’t wear it often – maybe once a month, had maybe three pairs in 15 years,  and I won’t let it become a big deal,” I reasoned.  I declared my intentions to shop at a relatively normal department store before being convinced by this friend and a couple of others that I really needed to try Anonymous Fancy Denim Place.

A week or so later I wandered into AFDP and my bullshit sense immediately started tingling as an Extremely Attractive Red-Headed woman headed my way with a cheery “Good afternoon, sir.”

There are few times when the really beautiful people face discrimination for the genetic accident of good looks.   When I enter a restaurant or retail organization and everyone is preternaturally haawwt, I assume the collective to be less qualified for their jobs because the applicant pool was so restricted.

“Good afternoon” I replied to the woman who could boil water just by looking at the glass.   “I need to buy a pair of jeans” I stated to demonstrate my talent for declarations of the obvious.

“It would be my pleasure to help; would you like to have a seat so we can discuss what you’re looking for?” EARH asked while motioning towards two post-mod chairs with distressed leather finish.

As we took our seats, it felt more like a date at some coolly elegant lounge – which is, I think as the designers and managers intended – when another genetically fortunate person came over to offer me “cocktail, cappuccino, bottled water?”

My bullshit sense was now in overdrive.

I liked the fact that EARH didn’t make suggestions but just asked questions – what kind of fit, what kind of color, how did I feel about the pockets, how do I wear jeans?

“As loose as is reasonable, normal jean color, standard five pockets, and infrequently but most often with a sport coat and a collared shirt or sweater” were my answers.  I added in the fact that I wear suits most days and really don’t like any trousers that fit more snugly than the ones in my suits.

After a bit more conversation, EARH declared that she was “ready to assemble a palette for me.”

I had a strong desire to explain that unless there was painting, or warehouse wooden flats were involved, she was misusing the word… but refrained mostly because pretense in response to precious is a vicious cycle.

After a few minutes, I was led into a fitting room and given instructions to don each pair and then come to the mirror for feedback.   On one of this fitting room’s three shelves sat five pairs of jeans.  The first pair was hipster tight to the extent that I saw no value in emerging from the dressing room to offer my feedback or get theirs.  The second and third pairs were still too fitted for my taste but closer to my thoughts so I go out to the mirrors to explain.

There were the expected “those look good on you” comments before I explained my discomfort.

“I don’t like the look or feeling of tight trousers on me, and both of these pairs we’re too tight for my taste” I tried to explain.

“All of those are either relaxed or loose fit, and they’re tighter than I expected” EARH said before fumbling a bit to recover from “tighter than expected” as unintended dig.

“Styles have gotten much slimmer over the last ten years, but my tastes haven’t.  I’m getting the sense that what some consider relaxed fit I think is skinny fit.”

I think we finally had a true understanding.  EARH grabs another pair from the rack and said “Try these next – I think this is what you want.”

She was right – a conservative dark blue, ample room through the leg, sat well on my waist and seat – I was happy… and then I asked about the price.

EARH smiled brightly and said “Those are on sale for three seventy-five.”  The number hung in the air for a minute.

“I am so sorry to have wasted your time.  I understand that for some people that is a completely reasonable number, but it’s just not for me.”  Because I felt a need to defend my financial priorities a bit more, I continued “The same people who would buy these jeans would look at me like I’m the crazy one for what I spend on cufflinks but it’s a question of what’s important to you… and I just can’t make a case for jeans being that important to me.”

EARH was earnest and undeterred “I have another pair with a similar cut that’s only three hundred.”

“I really apologize for having wasted your time, I guess that I didn’t understand what you all do here” I offered as I went to get dressed.

The opportunity cost of those jeans = (dinner at Central + drinks at Gibson) or (box of la flor dominicana cabinet selections #1 + a bottle of good bourbon) or 0.5(prescription drug cost for parental units for one month) or (too many other things that are more important to me)

EARH was professional and gracious to the end as she helped me with my jacket before giving me the valediction “If you change your mind, here’s my card and alterations are on me.”

All I could think was “At that price, you have to pay to have jeans altered?”

Let  me see if I can answer some question before they make it to the comments:

No, neither her mobile number, nor any personal message, was on the back of her card.

Yes, I did eventually find a pair of jeans that fit to my satisfaction, at Macy’ and for less than seventy bills.

my new jeans

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26 Responses to Blue Jean – I Just Met a Girl Named Blue Jean

  1. elle dubya says:

    short of my wedding dress, i don’t think i’ve ever paid $375 for any single article of clothing. and come to think of it – the wedding dress was a waste of my money too.

    I’m fine with spending way more than that for suits, but jeans? Blink, Blink, Jeans? Uhmm, No.

  2. OK, even I wouldn’t spend that much on a pair of jeans unless they came with a hot guy to take them off.

    My friends tell me that it works that way at certain clubs around the city. The drink is $300, the company of the woman who pours it is free.

  3. brookem says:

    now im a jean nut, i am always on the hunt for the perfect style and fit but i would never in a million years spend that much loot on a pair. three? maybe. that’s ridiculous and like you, i compare it to a night on the town, a yummy dinner, a fantastic bottle of red. i just can’t fatham throwing that kind of dough down for JEANS. and im a JEAN GIRL.

    glad you found a pair to your liking.

    It’s that whole opportunity cost principle that keeps being useful.

  4. Jaime says:

    I am an admitted jeans whore, and have spent that much or more on more jeans than I’m willing to admit. Not proud of it, but there it is.

    I make no judgments about you or anyone else who spends that much on a pair of jeans if they matter that much. I ask you not to think me a fool for the amount of cash I have dropped on wine, pens, lighters, or any other thing that is disproportionately important to me relative the rest of the world.

  5. Vie says:

    Never. Ever. Then again, I feel guilty when I spend more than $100 at a time, but I think that’s the consequence of being young and devoid of serious cash-flow. Still…$375 for any ONE article of clothing is just too much. And I’d include shoes and purses in that (though I do love my new $89 boots).

    Money is a relative thing. I am sure that you have something in your life in which you invest more heavily than most.

  6. Good God in Heaven! Or Jesus H. Christ!

    When I need a pair of jeans, I just go to Target. Pick out the right size — can’t try ’em on since the dressing rooms are permanently out of order — throw in my cart.

    DONE!

    I would do that too if it were an option for me; but I need to see things on before purchase.

  7. dorothy says:

    Don’t get jeans. Don’t own a single pair.

    I don’t get (though I don’t begrudge) the people who have a lot of different pairs. I need one pair, and wear them only on my rare sartorially lazy days.

  8. thoughts says:

    I haven’t spent $375, but I once got a pair that was worth that much for 60% off. I think the RR got it right. He’ll spend a boat load on cuff links but jeans aren’t his thing. I actually wear jeans to work nearly everyday so it’s important that they look respectable. So, since I was willing to drop around $100 or so on dress pants for previous jobs, I have no problem dropping something similar on jeans. And I have to say…the chasm between cheap jeans and designer jeans in terms of feel and look is pretty big…maybe not big enough to make up for the price difference, but my jeans feel like scrubs – so comfortable.

    I have to say that my last two pairs, purchased in 1996 and 2002 respectively, were from the Gap and suited my needs just fine.

  9. Alice says:

    i recently splurged on my first “real” pair of jeans – eg, jeans over $50 – and there definitely is a difference in fit/quality. HOWEVER. i don’t see how there could be a THREE HUNDRED DOLLAR difference in fit/quality. are these jeans also cleaning up my room for me at night and feeding the cats?? then maybe we can talk.

    Because of the variations between a woman’s body and mine, I can only assume that there are vast differences in quality for women. For guys, not having the added dynamic of hips makes things a good bit easier.

  10. Kevin says:

    For $375 I could get, perhaps, seven pairs of my jeans of choice. Twice that if I made the trip to the outlet in Leesburg. Jeans have, basically, two places to be worn: while drinking beer with friends and watching the game; while mining for gold (and similar pursuits).

    Then again, beyond my tux and a couple of decent suits, I have no fashion sense, but that’s not something a pair of $375 jeans will fix. And that works for me.

    Another example of very personal choices, as long as they work for you, who is anyone to judge.

  11. f.B says:

    375?

    375?

    Word.

  12. Gilahi says:

    First, I’d like to say that the fact that you’re quoting David Bowie in the title for your blog has ratcheted you up several notches in my already rather elevated opinion of you.

    Second, this reminds me of going to a certain concert at which they were selling the band’s T-shirts. For one version, they were asking $50.00. For a T-shirt. And people were BUYING them. Sorry, after paying already usurous prices for concert tickets these days, I’m not shelling out the equivalent of a nice bottle of bourbon for a T-shirt.

    I don’t understand why some people need to double-dip (ahem, Dan Snyder are you listening.) How much is enough for them?

  13. Wow. At least they fit… but I really, REALLY don’t understand what’s so great about so-called “premium denim”. Did you check to see if a restaurant gift card came sewn into one of the back pockets? Because if they’re going to do that to you, they should probably buy you dinner, at least.

    They did offer me cocktails… but I could also tell that the whole set-up was intentional. No price tags so guys have to ask the incredibly hawt sales woman the price, and how many really want the embarrassment of saying no?

  14. jamy says:

    “Real” jeans used to be Levis. Suitable for gold mining and rough wear. Necessary for motorcycle riding (second only to leather in toughness). I wonder how tough the designer jeans are if they are so soft? What is the point?

    I’ve never spent that much on a single article of clothing. I can see it for an excellent suit or formal gown that might get a lot of wear, but it really seems counter to the spirit of jeans. But what do I know?

    I’m so with you on this point – it just seems wrong for me.

  15. lacochran says:

    They have to find some way to fund the refreshments they serve.

    You made the right decision.

    It was a decent scotch they offered me.

  16. Lisa says:

    Holy cow. That I really, really don’t understand. I’ve spent $100 on jeans because they made my butt look good. But that was a stretch, and I justified it to myself up and down. But I’ve gotten plenty of $16 jeans at Costco and been perfectly happy.

    I’d have spent at least a c-note if I found a pair that made my ass look particularly good.

  17. Michelle says:

    And here I almost passed out when I decided to buy jeans at Bananna Republic instead of old navy. I blanched at the 70 dollar price tag!
    375?? Hmmmm….were you at True Religion?? 🙂

    I would have to be a true believer to consider that price tag.

  18. Jamie says:

    I own one pair of designer jeans which I bought several years ago. I was, literally, forced into the Diesel store in Georgetown by a friend who had been generally appalled by my lack of fashion.

    I left with a pair of $200 jeans, which is something that I would never have imagined. Even the $70 you spent is about $40 more than I’m usually accustomed to spending on such utilitarian fare. (Did you know you can buy a brand-new pair of jeans for $10 at Target? I’m sure they are made by children in Thailand, but that’s true of just about everything you buy, so whatever).

    Anyway, while I’m not a convert, what I will say in the defense of expensive jeans is this.

    1) They fit me better than any other piece of clothing I own
    2) I wear them a lot. It’s probably been four years since I bought them, and they are still without holes, and only minor fraying at the cuffs. These should easily last another 5 years or more.

    So at least for Diesel I found the quality to be very high – maybe even to the point where they are worth the money, considering how long they last, and how much I like wearing them. Even with jeans, I think there’s something to be said for paying extra for something that is well made.

    Part of the problem for me is that I wear them so infrequently.

  19. kitty says:

    I adore stories like this. Thanks!

    My pleasure.

  20. LiLu says:

    I’m trying to think of ANYTHING I’ve ever spent that much money on, short of a roof over my head or travel.

    Oh, right. My ’87 Civic hatchback in college.

    Yup. That’s about it.

    I once went across country in an 87 Civic hatchback… without AC… in August… through the South. Yes, there was a woman to blame.

  21. Titania says:

    375?…. I mean… 375??!!!!!????? WTF? Do they have precious stones incrustated (does that word exist?) or something? (although that would make them extremely tacky, under my point of view). I feel fashion-suicidal, I buy all my clothes (including jeans, and would never NEVER pay more than $70 for them).

    No diamonds, no bling, just too high a price for five pocket denim.

  22. liz says:

    oh my god! i had no idea such expensive jeans existed! (i am currently rocking a pair of $8.00 bill blass jeans purchased from the 75% OFF rack at Peebles . . .

    I love the discount stores. Give me an hour at Filene’s Basement and even my worst moods can be erased.

  23. Kristen says:

    Love my GAP 1969 jeans that I got from the lovely brookem’s GAP jeans party. And those, my friend, were free.

    Nothing beats free.

  24. kitty says:

    can you comment on this article?

    Working on it, expect a post about it or an email.

  25. Wednesday I was offered a ticket to game five of the Phillies/Yankees for $225 (face value). “I’d rather put that toward a pair of shoes,” I said to the guy selling the ticket. His answer? “You’re the second girl to say that.”

    As for the price of denim, I work at Banana Republic and get a generous discount. I still buy my jeans at Old Navy. They just fit better. Plus, anyone with a sense of style knows how to shop across the wardrobe spectrum. Only a fool buys according to label and price. And yes, I’m judging.

    Having never attended a World Series game with my team involved, I might have been tempted to buy the tickets.

    And because I am not judgmental, I am only quietly applauding your judging.

  26. (Game five was…Monday? Tuesday? My brain is screwy this week. Apologies to true baseball followers.)

    Pretty sure that no one held it against you.

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