By Melody Vallieu
January 19, 2014
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union between my body and my pants, establish justice in advertising, insure domestic tranquility in the fitting room, provide for common defense of decency when bending over, promote the general welfare of those who happen to see me, and secure the blessings of the fashion police, do ordain and establish that the manufacturers of blue jeans need to wake up and smell the denim.
Just kidding about the part of securing the blessings of the fashion police. I am plenty far removed from their jurisdiction. My cavalier attitude is reinforced by my not caring one iota what they think. Any institution that holds the Kardashians up as icons has forfeited credibility on all fronts. And backs.
But I am serious about every other reference to attempting to find blue jeans that fit. To begin, it would be really really extremely more-than-I-can-say helpful to find the dictionary by which jeans makers define “natural waist.” Maybe what they are trying to say is “natural waste” because it has become a colossal waste of time trying on jeans that claim to sit at the “natural waist.”
Let me explain. An innocent consumer has finally worn out the pair of jeans she bought in 2006. They are like a trusted friend: comfortable, predictable, and hard to find. The innocent consumer morphs into an innocent shopper. She visits the store where she found her dearly departed jeans, hoping to find an exact replica. This is folly of the first order, of course. Every clothing manufacturer on the planet houses a clandestine department whose sole function is to change the style of the product they push out the door. This change happens with dismaying frequency. Perhaps hourly.
Thus, the jeans you bought last month or last year or, Levi Strauss forbid, in 2006, will no longer be available. Some particularly sadistic companies will even reuse the sought-after style number on a completely different cut of jeans, giving our innocent shopper a brief surge of optimism that her search has ended in success. Madness, I tell you. Sheer madness.
Being an honest person herself, our innocent shopper believes the label on the jeans. “Sits at the natural waist” has been exposed (pun to follow) for the cruel hoax it is. These jeans do not sit at the natural waist. They do not sit within inches of the natural waist. They sit somewhere well south of the natural waist and there is nothing remotely natural about how they fit. Many folks who should know better insist on wearing slow-slung jeans. Occasionally, and only occasionally, the jeans will cover all the pertinent body parts when the wearer is standing perfectly upright. If the wearer should happen to bend over to retrieve a dropped coin or to fetch a can of soup off a low grocery store shelf, those same pertinent body parts will begin to pop out of the jeans in a most unflattering manner.
Other jeans claim to have a “no-gap” waistband. In a perfect world, one should be able to assume this means there is — how can I put this simply — no gap around the waistband. In many an over-heated claustrophobic fitting room, the reality is a “no-smaller-than-6-inches-gap” in the waistband. Not quite the same thing.
I can’t even begin to make sense of the boot-cut versus straight-leg brouhaha. According to the gurus, any woman with hips larger than her waist should wear boot-cut jeans. This demographic would indicate a market for beaucoup boot-cut jeans. To quote people who apparently study stuff like this, wearing boot-cut jeans will save women the horror of having nothing to “balance the width her hips.” Balancing the width of the hips requires more effort from some people than from others.
Let us sum up our shopper’s dilemma. She is struggling through life with an unnatural and vastly gapped waist. Straight-leg jeans haunt her. The fashion police have issued an APB for her and her unbalanced hips. If she could find an article of clothing that would rectify these ills, she would buy it. But she can’t. Even the fashion police have to admit this is a crime.