Friday, December 2, 2016

Shopping for Jeans

Women's bodies are meant to store fat
so that we can do amazing things like have babies
 or rock a tight pair of jeans.
- Katherine Schwarzenegger

Recently I retired a pair of jeans, my number one outfit of choice since retirement. Hot weather finds them in the back of my closet, but even in summer they sometimes come out at night.

Since it was time for a new pair I went jeans shopping, not an easy task for me. I am short and many stores only carry lengths in regular and tall. Some brands advertise petites, but most petites are full-body petites. I am a petite in height, but the rest of my body, sadly, would not be labeled petite by anyone.

Except Chico’s, the store my fashion-conscious nine-year-old granddaughter describes as selling “clothes for old ladies”. I do not like to consider myself an old lady but when it comes to body shape, I am. No amount of exercise, except maybe fanaticism and I am not that kind of girl, will change that.

I discovered Chico’s years ago, when as a working person I sought comfortable yet somewhat stylish outfits. Chico’s fit the bill. Retail prices are on the high side (for my budget), but there are usually enough sales racks to find items that do not break the bank.

Except when it comes to jeans. I have such trouble finding jeans that fit I am willing to pay almost any price. Anywhere.

Whatever marketing guru came up with the idea of Chico’s sizing is an absolute genius. Who among us does not want to brag about wearing a size .5, 1, 2 or even a 3? Sounds better than a 14 or 16 for sure, or whispering to a young, slim salesgirl, “Do you have this in an extra large?”

And so I march into Chico’s under cover of darkness (it was only 4:30, but darkness arrives early this time of year) at the Tanger Outlet Center near my home. I did not necessarily choose to go outlet shopping, but a regular Chico’s or department store is miles from my town. The outlet center is a couple of miles away.

Jeans shopping can turn into a nightmarish experience, wandering from store to store, futilely trying on different brands and styles, narrow fit, slim fit, relaxed fit, wide, bootleg, straight leg, tight fitting, loose fitting...

I am sure I am like many women who do not relish the idea of trying on clothes in a well-lighted room covered with full-length mirrors, even when the rooms are private. Stripping off clothes, hiking on new apparel, looking in the mirror and too often frowning at the figure in front of me is not an ideal way to spend a day. But there are times this ritual cannot be avoided.

I grab a few pairs from clothing racks and neat piles of denims on shelves and reluctantly head for the fitting rooms. Then the misery begins. The pants fit around my butt, but are baggy around the legs. They fit nicely in the butt but are too long. Another pair fits great from ankle to the top of my legs, and then something happens from the hips north. The pants are too big or too tight or simply look awful.

Over the years I tried on various brands, from expensive designer ones (never purchased) to cheap bargain store jeans (do not fit). I eventually find a pair that fits, purchase and happily wear them until threadbare. Unfortunately the next time I visit the store that particular design is no longer available, and styles offered do not fit well.

I realize my jeans dilemma is not a major problem when compared to world issues, domestic matters, and life and death situations. But sometimes it is little things that annoy us beyond their importance in life.

Before my saga drags on too long, I can happily reveal my shopping expedition proved successful. I tried on almost a dozen pairs of jeans before discovering the right size and style that did not make me look too matronly, too fat, too ridiculous – the one pair that was just right!

And on sale! 40% off! I walked out of the store one happy lady.