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The Denim Diaries: Part 3

Jeans are an essential piece of the California uniform, so I wanted to make sure I would have at least a couple of reliable pairs with me for my trip. The week before I left, my Earnest Sewns got another rip in the very top of the right thigh–which is where all my jeans seem to rip.

Earnest Sewn, Decca Straight Leg Sample

Because I got them at a sample sale, I can’t really claim this says anything about the quality (it may actually say more about the strain that my holiday indulgences have put my jeans under.) Anyway, I got them fixed at the New York Tailor Shop on Kenmare before my trip. They told me they patch holes in crotches of stretchy jeans every single day, and that they’re going to keep on ripping. But for the moment, I was happier with the investment of $8 and the time it took to drop off/pick up the pants than the idea of scouting out  a new pair of jeans.

So I packed my newly patched Earnest Sewns along with a pair of J Brand Scarlett Seven Eights jeans I got at Anthropologie last May into my suitcase for California.

It was news to me that these Scarlett jeans were marketed as “curvy fit” jeans until I just had a look at J Brand’s website, but it makes sense. Usually when I buy jeans to fit my backside, they gape at my waist. Or if buy them to fit my waist, they are outrageously tight everywhere else.

But not these–they fit my butt and my waist, and it’s likely because of that contoured waistband J Brand is touting on their website. That, of course, and a bit of stretch. I was surprised to see the content label say these have just 2% stretch, cause it feels like much more. The “Seven Eights” refers to the length, which is a good little capri length for shorties like me.

That shorter length makes them cute with espadrilles, which is what I was wearing yesterday when we took the California Christmas to another level, and went to see Avatar at the 3-D IMAX in Irvine. (So awesome!!) I ran to the ladies room before the film was about to begin, and when I went to zip my jeans…nada. I tugged and tugged to no avail. And this was not due to too many Christmas cookies, if that’s what you’re thinking. They buttoned up, no problem, but the zipper would not budge.

Luckily, the Laloo tee (purchased at the Steven Alan sample sale) and Edun cardigan (pictured here) I had on covered the open zipper, so it didn’t steal the thunder from my 3-D glasses, which provided an ample dose of wardrobe-related embarassment for the day.

One day later, that zipper still isn’t moving. It’s as if my denim supply is some sort of closed energy system, where once one pair is patched and back in action, another must become eliminated. Sounds sort of James Cameron, right? I just hope it doesn’t require an Avatar-sized budget and schedule to solve this, but I suspect we might be at the outset of a major project here.

Stay tuned…

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The Denim Diaries: Part 2

Well, it seems I’m not alone in my endless fascination with denim, and the industry is certainly providing plenty of material (forgive) to work with. And I’m not the only one. Today, one half of a seemingly life-sized denim-dressed backside, is gracing the front of The New York Times’ style section.

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The story touches on the often arbitrary nature of pricing jeans, which sounds like it has more to do with what the market will bear than with the actual cost of production. Maybe that’s why I’m wearing leggings today, rather than my J Brand jeans (pictured above) which The New York Tailor Shop is patching up for me–yet again.

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Jesus, who works at the Tailor Shop, along with his brother and his dad, said they get jeans with holes at the nexus (read: crotch), like mine everyday.

I loved J Brands when they emerged–they filled a hole (again, forgive) in the market for a clean, dark, straight jean with a bit of stretch. I bought one pair, and then a second. They became my everyday jeans. When I wore them to work my first week for Rogan, another denim designer, he gave me a once over and called me a “sucker.” At the time I thought he was bruised that I wasn’t wearing his jeans (flattered that he cared), but I’m beginning to wonder if he was right.

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When I asked one of the guys working the floor at Barney’s Co-op whether he got a lot of returns on J Brands for these holes at the crotch, he said “tons,” but he thinks they’re getting better. I actually fear they’ve gotten worse. The pair pictured above is my second one, and it’s getting a little overwhelming in the patch department. They’re starting to look like padded bike shorts. Not sexy. (For $158, they can’t last a year?)

It’s funny, in that New York Times story today, Jeff Rudes, a J Brand founder, says that $200 jeans were “just a fad,” and goes on to say that “the floors at most of the major stores were so overassorted that they almost looked like Loehmann’s.” Yet, on J Brand’s website, there are no less than 178 permutations to choose from–some of which appear dark, clean, sexy, and straight, just the way I like them. (Yes, we’re still talking about jeans.)

If I had any indication the price tag had some bearing on quality and durability, I just might consider purchasing a pair. But between my hole-patching fund and that story in The Times I may have to continue the hunt–just so I don’t feel like a sucker.

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