I was stuck in traffic for a little while yesterday, and I got distracted by how many people in the opposite lane were on their cell phones. I checked each car in the line: texting, texting, texting, not texting, texting, texting, not texting. Then there was a longer stretch of cars containing people who were looking at the road and I started to feel more positive about things again—and had to slam on the brakes as I nearly hit someone because I was counting how many people weren’t looking at the road.
The jeans I used to like at Lane Bryant were replaced awhile back by a new version that seems made for a completely different body type than mine: they squeeze hard in some places but fall down in others, so that I feel unhappy and uncomfortable and uncute. Also the inseam is about three inches too long so I have to roll them up, and I feel as if I finished with rolling up my jeans somewhere around college. I went on eBay and found a couple of used pairs of the ones I liked, but finally even those had worn out to the point of rising panic. The holes in the thighs were so large, I had to sit as if I were wearing a skirt.
I’d heard many good things about Torrid, so one day when the wind was right and my spirits were high and I was able to imagine facing the try-on session as long as I could get lunch afterward in the food court, I headed for the mall. I took samples of three different styles of jeans with me to the fitting room—and to my incredulous delight, every single pair fit great and looked good. One pair was slightly less good, so I took the other two pairs to the register—and the clerk manipulated coupons and deals until I ended up with one pair free. I practically FLEW home on wings of jeans happiness. I had expected a trip of torment, and instead had found easy success.
As soon as I got home, I put the jeans through the washer and dryer. Then I put a pair on, and took all the stuff out of the pockets of my tattered jeans to put into the new jeans—and the new jeans had no pockets. No. Pockets. The pockets were fake. They LOOKED like pockets, but there were no pockets. I looked at the second pair: that pair had pockets, but they were about a third the depth of regular pockets: instead of being able to put my cell phone in there, I could only fit half of my cell phone, and only if I turned it the long way.
It was a crushing betrayal. You will understand, I think, when I tell you I sank deep. What was the point of anything. Who even cares. I considered purchasing a fanny pack. Etc.
With time comes healing, and eventually a glimmer of hope returned. It was a small, faltering flame, but I nurtured it well until it grew. One night, after making the mistake known as “We should finish off this bottle of wine or it’ll go bad,” my eye fell on one of the several sale emails I get per day from Roaman’s: the particular email offered a buy-one-get-one-free clearance section. In a flash I was sifting through pages of jeans with elastic waists, and plus-sized jeans modeled by non-plus-sized women, and pants cropped to exactly the wrong length between capri and ankle, and tight pre-ripped jeans with those familiar rolled cuffs favored by Co-ed Swistle.
I persevered, and I was rewarded: I found several pairs of jeans that APPEARED to be nice, normal jeans that a thin woman would wear, available in my non-thin size. I added one of each to the cart.
Then my eye fell on these:
It was hard to tell, especially with the shirt tucked in. Were those fashionably, refreshingly light, a swing of the pendulum back from the dark-and-darker options, or were they reminiscent of the bleached denim of Swistle Youth? The embroidery made me feel happy, but would it look silly? The model appears to be wearing cowgirl boots; does this mean the embroidery has a country vibe rather than the flower child vibe I would prefer? Well, I had three pairs of plainer jeans in the cart already, and it was buy-one-get-one-free, so the embroidered ones would be free. The last of the wine kicked in, and I pressed the button to complete the order.
When the package arrived, I let it sit for almost two weeks. Schrodinger’s Jeans: as long as I didn’t open the package and observe the jeans, maybe they would fit AND be cute AND have pockets.
This past Friday night, I was in a teary slump. Everything was terrible. Nothing was okay. This is the perfect mood, in my experience, for doing crappy tasks: if I’m down in the misery pit, I might as well do something that would have shoved me down there anyway. I tried on the jeans. The first pair fit, was acceptably cute, and had pockets. REGULAR pockets. The second pair fit, was acceptably cute, and had regular pockets. The third pair fit, was acceptably cute, and had regular pockets.
I left the embroidered pair for last. I tried them on. I looked at myself in the mirror. I went immediately to the website and tried to order more pairs, but they were sold out in my size. I have worn them every day since. I love them.
“Bootcut” is not the correct descriptor word, I’d say; they are more of a flare. They are fairly fitted through the thigh, and then they just wing right out free and happy, with way more embroidery than shows in the picture: there is a whole triangular inset panel of it. I will demonstrate, with a picture taken in my dark computer room, literally in a mirror, with my size 11 sneakers for scale:
(They are a little less fitted in the thigh in this photo: I was all the way to the end of day two of wearing them, so they’d loosened.) The cuffs are deliberately frayed. They are light, but not as light as they looked on the site. The whole effect, I’d say, is of a pair of extremely awesome jeans purchased quite awhile ago when flares and lighter denim were in fashion. I love them so much. I am not kidding when I say I am getting a lump in my throat thinking about how one day they will wear out. And they have REGULAR POCKETS.
As I am writing this, most sizes have sold out and they are only available in 12w, 14w, 16w, and 18w. I am not sure, but if I think back to the days when I balanced right on the edge between W and non-W sizes, what I’m remembering is that a W adds a size. That is, I believe a 16w is more like an 18-non-W? I think the transition went 14, 16, 16w/18, 18w, 20w, etc., but I am not positive about this, so check the measurements. What’s throwing me is that usually I don’t see 12 or 14 with a W—but it’s a site aimed mostly for plus sizes so they may want the sizing consistent. I bought the same size I wear in Lane Bryant and Torrid, and the fit was right.