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First dear readers, this is not about crochet or the fiber arts today. Sorry. My crochet life got momentarily sidetracked by a quest for the holy grail of women’s wear–well-fitting jeans. The journey was fraught with angst and large hairy spiders (OK, made the spiders up), but it was not a cakewalk.

Here’s what happened:

Not sure what got into me. I think it was a combination of the beautiful spring day I woke up to and my observations at an event last night that convinced me I needed a new pair of fashionable jeans. This was an art event, so it was thronged with the young, the hip and the thin. The jeans they were wearing weren’t from the farm and tractor store or the giant retailer for the heartland that we love to hate. Most weren’t blue. Those that were had rhinestones sprinkled across the rear pockets and large open slashes across the upper front legs. Black dominated along with a bluish-grayish-rusty color I can only describe as corrosion. Not a mommy jean among them, even though I had read on a fashion blog that some celebrities had recently given new cache to the high-waisted, straight-legged staple of uber-moms everywhere. No elasticized waists (gasp!) or tummy panels here.

The jeans of the hip appeared to be even a step or two above those one might purchase at that cool box store that recently mismanaged all your personal information. Where do these incredible jeans come from? I didn’t want to ask; that would involve making up a story about my non-existent model-thin daughter, who has a hard time finding size 0.

That’s how I found myself in a large carpeted dressing room with three mirrors and six pairs of jeans in the largest sizes they had (apparently 12 is bordering on Rubenesque here). I had just emptied my bladder and had on a tunic top. Feeling thin, I picked out some oddly dyed pairs in–yippee–corrosion, the color of the cool. On the rack, it looked like the waist might come up high enough to cover my underwear, so off to the dressing room I went with the helpful sales associate close behind. “Let me know how those work out” she chirped, latching the door on what would soon become a mirrored hell–minus the flames–of agonizing screams, flesh blobs and wrinkles.

When the jeans don’t fit over your knees, you know you got problems. So what made me continue to wiggle and tug thinking that perhaps once they got over my thighs and butt a miracle would occur? Pure masochism, plain and simple. It was like self-flagellation without the leather strips and nails.  “Oh God, no” is the all I could say when I saw my backside from three angles in what had to be magnifying mirrors. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say one should not have both front and back cracks showing.

Me shallow on this score. I succumbed to the tantalizing, but false, notion that having what they had would make me at least feel like the hip, the thin and the young; that one could combat the effects of aging by buying the latest cool thing be it jeans or hair product. Try as I might, I’ve yet to find anything that fixes the dark circles under my eyes, the swinging flesh under my upper arms, the slumping skin around my waist or thinning hair on my head. I’m 63 years old with good genes. I’m reasonably fit, a cancer survivor, a mostly optimistic person, a happy wife and fulfilled mother. Still, the body ages and when (not if) I accept that, I can enter and exit a clothing store without the psychic trauma I experienced today. Especially if I don’t try on any pants (a swim suit will NEVER be part of the plan) or go into a mirrored dressing room. Or, I can just order online like my sister and completely avoid the brutal lighting and fun house mirrors.

Woman in dressing room.

Success. Found pants (not quite jeans) that fit.

So did I ever get any jeans? Yes and no. Say what you want about jeggings, but I’m the woman these were made for! After slinking over to Moderate Sportswear (way past Petites, but close to Curvey), I found some jegging-type pants that were not only on sale, but had a large sticker promising “Smoothes and Slims.” I scored another pair of slightly dressier black pants with jean-type detailing that fit perfectly except for the huge gap around the waist caused by my small top and big bottom. Alterations–promised to be free–weren’t in my case; $10 for basically redesigning the pants to resolve the butt/waist conundrum. I happily agreed to pay (after all the pants were on sale). If only that same miracle could be performed on the body (sigh!). They only came in black–no corrosion, cat whiskers or slashed fronts in this section–but they fit!

And here’s the best part:

Alteration lady: “You lucky to have such small waist.”
Me: “It only looks small in comparison to my butt.”
Alteration lady: “You made like woman. That is good. I’m made like a man” (patting her flat bottom).

OK, any young thin people reading this won’t think this is a big deal, but those four words: “You made like woman” lifted the dark cloud that had descended on me in the hell of “Better Sportswear” and allowed me to see unicorns and rainbows again. Just remember: It’s the little things. Grab ’em and run with ’em every chance you get.

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