My very first pair of jeans was delivered to my house in a blue Simpson Sears truck. I convinced my mom to order them from the Spring –Summer catalogue. They were “Western Style, Fly Front.” These were my first zip-up pants with a waistband and belt loops, and I was nine years old. Before this, I had worn mostly skirts, sewn at home by my mom, and stretch-pants, also from Simpson Sears (the kind that came in a set with a matching candy-coloured striped stretchy shirt).
I felt like a cowgirl when I squeezed on my new jeans. I was still a “goblin-shaped” girl, so I sucked in my tummy to help the zip reach the top, then threaded a hand-woven inkle belt through the loops. I finished the outfit with one of the tops from my stretch pants sets. It was the first of many mix-and-match fashion adventures.
I wore my jeans to school almost every day. One day, at recess, something made me laugh so hard that the zipper on my jeans split wide open – broken. The principal drove me home and waited outside while I changed back into my old stretch-pants.
Soon, I was in high school, where I joined the jeans explosion of the 70s. Star Jeans, with a rat-tail comb in the back pocket for grades 8 and 9; Seafarers, and Le Cullotier in grade 10. Jeans were the uniform that signaled every kid’s status. There were real and fake styles, depending on how much Mom and Dad were willing to spend. Regardless, we wore those jeans long, with platform shoes, and stepped on the hems, dragging them through the mud on the way to school until they trailed behind us in cool tatters and wicked the dampness halfway up to our knees.
Then there was graduation and university and the new wave Euro-chic 80s, with stone wash, acid wash, floral print, skinny legs, coloured high-top shoes and asymmetrical jackets to match our trendy haircuts. I listened to my boyfriend’s import EPs, studied the album covers to see what people were wearing and sewed my own jeans to beat the trends.
Then, out of nowhere, there were babies, whose jeans had snaps up the insides of the legs for easy diaper changes, then denim overalls from Please Mum. I focused on dressing the children, and slipped off the fashion bandwagon to the ease of Cotton Ginny – and that was on a good day. Sweat pants were the new jeans.
Now the babies are grown, and I negotiate: HOW MUCH?! When my children shop for new jeans, and stifle my boring stories about the days when $24 for a pair of French Jeans (with the red white on blue stripe label stitched into the seam) was thought by my parents to be excessive.
I wear Mom jeans, with just a tweak of spandex for comfort, and watch “What Not to Wear” on television, and hope I won’t embarrass the kids with my fashion ineptitude. On the weekends, yoga pants are the new jeans, and I never, ever suck in my tummy to help the zip reach the top.question: what are your jeans memories?
mompoet - miles and miles of denim in one lifetime