I’m not much of a clothes guy, but since I have been asked (and by “asked,” I mean “ordered by a judge”) to be fully clothed any time I appear in public, from time to time I have to go shopping.
Last weekend was just such an occasion – I had to buy some new jeans. And, at the risk of sounding like an old fart, I’d like to ask a very simple and very sincere question: What the fuck is up with jeans theses days?
Back in the day, buying jeans was simple. There was one manufacturer – Levi Strauss – and one style – 501s. You’d buy them two inches too long and two inches too big in the waist because you knew they’d shrink like crazy. Plus, they were stiff as a board. In fact, you’d have to ask your mom to wash them a couple of dozen times before you wore them; otherwise, you ran the very real risk of abrading your genitals down to a nub.
Those days are gone. Today, jeans come in a dizzying number of styles from a plethora of manufacturers. And yet, it seems impossible for me to find a pair I’d actually wear.
As I said, I went out last week to buy some new jeans. I was doing so mainly because my wife said I needed them. She didn’t come out and say, “Dear, you need some new jeans,” but I’ve been married to her so long that I can read her like a book. For instance, I’ll put on my favorite pair and she’ll say something subtle, like “Gosh – is it time to mow the lawn again?” or, “Say, that reminds me – I just sent 50 bucks to Clothe the Children,” or perhaps, “So — working undercover at the homeless shelter, are we?”
Anyway, I go to the mall on a quest for denim. Five (OK, maybe 10) years ago, I bought the aforementioned favorite jeans, and they were a thing of beauty — dark blue, no fraying and no holes. If you’re under 30, you’ll just have to take my word for this, but they actually looked new.
I was hoping to buy a similar pair but everything I saw – I swear to god – looked worse than the jeans I was trying to replace. One looked like it had perhaps lined the bottom of a litter box for a year. Another appeared to have been involved in some sort of industrial accident. For a fleeting moment, I thought I was in a Goodwill store in Bangladesh – only no self-respecting Bangladeshi would have been caught dead in these rags.
I have to hand it to marketers — anyone who can convince the jeans-buying public to pay sixty bones for jeans that the Salvation Army would reject is a genius. An evil genius, sure, but a genius just the same. In fact, I bet that when he’s not busy pimping his book or drowning puppies, Karl Rove consults for these guys.
At any rate, I still don’t have any new pants. But I refuse to give up. I’m going out again this weekend, and I don’t care how far I have to go in my quest for a wearable pair of jeans. Does anyone know how to say, “Driver, take me to the nearest Goodwill,” in Hindi?
go to Old Navy! Better yet, just go to Khols and get 550 Levis. I hate the mall!
cabela’s in buda…now i have to ask myself…why at 5:17 a.m. on a Friday morning am I recommending a business establishment where you can go buy jeans..oh, and don’t forget to go look at the stuffed animal zoo and the aquarium
located throughout the store…fish are fed at 9:00 a.m. on Sundays..oh mine, now I have turned into an employee of the Buda Chamber of Commerce..i need a life…your 78704 home girl, Laura
“In fact, you’d have to ask your mom to wash them a couple of dozen times before you wore them; otherwise, you ran the very real risk of abrading your genitals down to a nub.”
I can’t confirm it, but word on the street is that Jeff learned this the hard way …
I’m sorry you’re having to waste so much time on a task that used to be the clothes-shopping equivalent of running to 7-11 for a tallboy and beef jerky stick.
On the other hand this sartorial trend, like many others in recent years, has to be great for the self-esteem of homeless people everywhere. No longer do they have to feel shame for lurching around rheumy-eyed and unshaven with greasy, matted hair, mangled thrift store shirt, jeans like the ones you describe and worn-out bowling shoes retrieved from the Dart Bowl dumpster. That’s exactly how every 20-something Hollywood heartthrob looks these days — for a lot less cheddar!
My advice? Google “dorky old guy jeans”.
I’ve settled in on either Carharts, or Eddie Bauer’s classic denims.
Both are old school, real denim, and cut for our age group.
I know this sounds like old fart bullshit, but the new “in” thing with denim is the substandard, cheap, “stripe shirt” Indo-chinese, version of denim that is not the full cord true twill denim that we and our forbears fully understood to be a high quality product.
Fuck cheap, empty headed, pop-fashion. Give me the real shit.
right on Scott! I still like 550 levis. Any problem with those?
I am perversely proud of still wearing some things I wore during my California misadventure, which ended in 1992. They weren’t fashionable then, either.
I can’t afford $45 Levi’s anymore. I spend $12 on Walmart Faded Glory, regular zip-up, no frills jeans. I’m surprised they have back pockets! Just as happy with those as with Levi’s 505’s. I know…WM = Satan. But I’m poor.
Good luck on your quest!
Ok, so Academy also has very reasonable “Austin’s Jeans” that fit me pretty well. I think they are $16. $45 for Levis? Are you sure? Wow.