Is there anything so sacred as the relationship between a person and their beloved jeans? Those jeans that fit you like a glove, travel the world with you, surprise you with a forgotten fiver when you need cheering up most? I enjoy reminiscing about those precious days and nights we spent together, before they passed on to the denim afterlife.
I remember the fateful day when we had to say our goodbyes. I was sat at my desk at 10.30am on a Monday morning when I felt it – my flies ripped open, exposing my dignity and the fairytale belief that my jeans and I would grow old together.
In that instant, I did what any normal British person would do, went red with embarrassment and edged closer to my desk in a bid to conceal my shame. I untucked my T-shirt and pretended to work while my mind raced and I wondered whether a gaping crotch was reason enough to be sent home for the day.
I eventually came clean and made a joke of it to my colleagues, but my insides twisted as the reality set in: my beloved jeans were now deceased.
What’s that? Why didn’t I just get the zip fixed? Well, the truth is, I’d worn them to death. The once black jeans had become grey, they were falling apart, but I couldn’t bear to part with them – denim should look a bit worn, right? I figured I’d probably get round to getting a replacement pair before I finally got rid of my beloved ones. It’ll be easy to find a new pair, I thought.
How naive I was.
It had taken me around more than a decade to find a pair of jeans that I actually liked - that fit me properly, suited my body shape and made me feel comfortable.
I have a pretty large bum-to-waist ratio, meaning I’ll find a pair of jeans that will go over my rear, I usually end up with a gap between jeans and my lower back. My legs are short, so I prefer high-waisted jeans to create the illusion of legs longer than a toddler, this, in turn makes the gap issue even wider.
Like most of the non-models out there, my relationship with jeans has been testing over the years.
In the early noughties, when skinny jeans made their return I remember my mum snort: “Well, that’s a fashion trend you’re going to have to steer clear of. You better stick to bootleg.” To this day she denies ever uttering those words, but they are etched into my memory – not least, because bootleg jeans should stay banished in the nineties.
So, after years of defiantly wearing the wrong (read: skinny) jeans I found them: Urban Outfitters own brand BDG in high-waisted girlfriend jeans – slightly loose like a boyfriend jean, but high-waisted rather than low and slouchy. They fit me like a glove. I feel great in them. People even stop me to ask me where they are from, usually fellow big-bottomed girls who are clearly on the same laborious hunt for denim.
You’d think replacing a pair from a global brand like Urban Outfitters would be simple. But to my dismay, I bought my beloveds in LA and the UK do not stock the jean style I so desperately miss.
Hopeful, I tried other means to find some new jeans. After mentally preparing myself for the occasion, I traipse to Oxford Street in central London – one of the busiest shopping streets in the world – and spent hours laughing slash crying at my reflection in changing room after changing room – Jumping into a pair while hoisting the belt loops, only to find your legs look like denim sausages, is my least favourite pasttime.
I thought online might be easier, but this involved ordering about 15 pairs of jeans in more than one size (because we all know how much they differ from brand to brand) and putting the lot on my credit card. The receptionist at work makes slightly irritated jokes about by my constant barrage of online shopping orders – I think she’s cottoned on to the fact I march straight to the loo, try them on, balance awkwardly trying to see my reflection in the bathroom mirror and immediately package said jeans back up again to be returned to sender.
I’m not the only one. Whenever I complain of my failed attempts to find a good fit, I’m always met with knowing nods from others. From the close friend who recently and regrettably binned his jeans after they ripped at the crotch (too much manspreading if you ask me), to the colleague who carted home half a dozen pairs on the tube to try at home, so many of us are not only grieving for the loss our our favourite jeans, but struggling to find a replacement.
For me, the quest continues, but when I find my next beloved jeans, one thing’s for sure: I’m buying a back-up pair.