Forever in Blue Jeans

by Gwendolyn Anderson

I bet you own a pair of blue jeans, am I right? Even conservative skirt wearers probably have a few versions in denim, or is it jean? According to Levi Strauss and Co. denim and jean were two different fabrics when they first hit the mills in early America (George Washington’s day). But somewhere between that time and shortly after the California Gold Rush – and the quick success of Levi Strauss  – jeans and denim blended together to make a worldwide sensation that, whatever the current fads, is always in style.

I find it hard to believe that I even need to say this, but every girl needs a pair of jeans. If you don’t wear them for spiritual reasons, ignore me and go on to the next article – and good for you! But if you wear pants and you don’t own jeans, what’s the deal? Jeans are truly an American phenomenon, and therefore, not owning a pair of jeans is, well, un-American. And if you don’t own jeans, what are you wearing? Corduroys? Ech! So 70s! Lose them!

In our ultra-casual society, jeans are not only essential, they go with anything, anywhere. People are even getting married in jeans (though that’s where I draw the line). Denim blue jeans are my best friend when it comes to putting outfits together and I could never buy enough of them.

And until just about two years ago, nobody else could either because the fricking-fracking fashion industry kept changing the leg shape on us! Skinny jeans were the thing (remember stirrup pants?) in the mid 1990s. Then, as if to ensure that clothing industry would thrive, out came flared jeans on the catwalk and it was time to retire the skinny jeans. After a few years, it seemed futile to hold on to them anymore – gals probably thought, “These will never come back.” Well, never say never in the fashion industry. As you know, they’re back. And although I have to admit it took me some time to warm up to them, I love me some skinny jeans now!

This is a great time to be a jean lover because now, for reasons I still can’t figure out, every cut of pant leg seems to be acceptable. On the same rack you can find big bell bottoms to skinny jeans. It’s great. So if you’re looking for a sporty, casual look, go with some flair to your jeans – something loose and relaxed. For business casual, try a boot cut. And for that formal, dress-to-impress occasion, there’s the straight leg or skinny jean. The shade of blue is also important in making the right statement. Lighter, washed-out jeans will work in casual environments, indigo for business casual and get those knock-out skinny jeans in dark blue or even black.

Disclaimer: I know skinny jeans aren’t for everyone. Some of us just don’t have the skinny jean shape (whatever that is!). That’s OK, get yourself a dark blue pair of boot legs and throw on a silk shirt and you’re ready for that important occasion.

Even if you’re blessed with a body that befriends any jeans, some are simply not as attractive as others. I’m talking about the big, baggy variety here. What are you hiding under those? A mini fridge? I’m not a big fan of overly baggy jeans.

You probably have a favorite pair of jeans already, so let’s cover a few tips to keep you looking your best in them. First, I have to ask, are they long enough? If they are capris or supposed to be short, well, OK. But if the are just a little shy of touching the floor with shoes on, they are too short. I hate to break your heart, but those favorite jeans don’t love you as much as you love them. You’ve got to get the right length working for you! If you’re tall or just one of those figures that the fashion world didn’t contemplate in their sizing structure, I can suggest two things: special order for the size you really need – try ordering over the phone if you know exactly what you need but just can’t find it in stores. Don’t waste valuable time surfing the Internet, pick your online store and then pick up the phone. The other suggestion is to find a good tailor. Look in the yellow pages or even ask some older ladies you know if any of them sew, buy larger and longer and then have them taken in. I also found an interesting service called Zafu, which has a three-minute questionnaire that will supposedly help identify the perfect jeans for you. The questions got to the heart of what makes me hard to fit in jeans, but to learn which jeans were right for me (there were 11 pairs out there!) I would have had to pay $19.95. If you’re really hard to fit, that might be $20 bucks well spent.

Next, don’t tuck in your shirt, unless you enjoy looking like an icon of the 80s (one of the worst decades for fashion). Guys who might be reading this – that goes for you too (Dad). Keep the clothes flowing from shoulder to toe – please, no abrupt interjections along the waist line!

For almost any occasion, jeans are an option, and though my closet is full of them, I do find myself wanting a bit of variety every once in a while – some black pants, white or khaki. That wanting doesn’t last long though – the next day I’m back to forever in blue jeans.

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