So, not too long ago, I wrote a post about my harrowing blue jean shopping experience. It got my mom thinking that the ladies in our family should get together and pen a blog. Everyone is busy…only Mom and Bam found time to give it a whirl. Three generations of blue jean memories. I’ll repost mine at the bottom, in case you missed me cursing about low rise, spandex-less skinny jean torture.
From Bammy: What I remember the most about blue jeans in the late forty’s and early fifties was the lack thereof. Women who worked in the war factories wore pants (mostly men’s pants). Girls in the country were wearing boy’s jeans and denim overalls. Since we moved to a small town outside of Anniston, Alabama in 1946, my sister and I wore boy’s jeans and flannel shirts because we had to ride a school bus a long way and it was cold and rainy a lot. We moved back to Atlanta in 1948, where my blue jean days were over as far as wearing apparel to school was concerned. Dress code back then was skirts and dresses only.
When the movie, “River of No Return” with Robert Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe came out, she looked so fetching in her cuffed up jeans it became the rage. My jeans came out of storage and I wore them at home or toodling around. Howsomeever, in the meantime, slacks and dressy women pants had made their way into fashion during World War 2 and had trickled down into everyday society. By the 1960’s, women were wearing pants for leisure but still adhering to dress code of skirts and dresses for work and formal wear. We have come a long way, babies! Just a little side bar here. The white cutoffs I was wearing in the picture with little baby Bee were a pair of sailor pants given to me from my brother in-law, Chick, from his Navy days in WW2.
From Mom: If you haven’t read Jo’s Jeans blog, do yourself a favor (and have a laugh-out-loud, roll-in-the floor fit) – the words are hysterical, but the visual images invoked by Jo’s clever pen will crack you up! I myself have experienced just the scenes she described, but not since the divinely inspired invention of Not Your Daughter’s Jeans (NYDJ). I discovered them about 4 years ago at Nordstrom, which was the only Atlanta source at the time, but their reputation and availability have spread like wildfire (or Spanx :-)), and they now can be found everywhere, including Neiman and Macy’s. In addition to their style and fit, an added bonus is that they are so stretchy, you have to buy a size smaller than usual – what a red-letter day when for the first time in my life I bought a size 4! And without problems in the “clutch” – our German neighbor in Ben Hill where I grew up said “pantsies have clutches”, and Bammy and I have called it that ever since – I am high-waisted and have struggled with clutch problems all my life. I can’t breathe when the inseam is too short, which must be how a thong feels, only in front. Life is too short for that kinda aggravation, not to mention how BAD it looks. Some body parts are not meant to be displayed, no where, now time, no how. “Tayisha, you’re showing your business!”
Speaking of the dreaded “camel toe” – I learned that useful and descriptive term on one of our beach trips but couldn’t figure out the derivation, until I was grocery shopping one day and came upon a lady in very tight leggings, worn as pants. Why must women persist in doing that? Only yesterday, I was stopped at a traffic light and saw a jogger in form-fitting spandex – you could see everything but her tonsils. And the garment was neon yellow – no way not to notice. What was she thinking? But there is a solution – allow me to share, in case someone you know should need this information. Now that I have added a few more candles to my cake, I receive a lot of catalogs for “women of a certain age”. They include everything from hearing aids to wrinkle creams to an embarrassingly well-described array of vibrators (personal AND discreet). On the page facing the “Nip-lomats” (silicone covers to avoid headlights in those clingy tops), ta-dah, drum roll, please – are proudly displayed “Camel-Nots”, amazing silicone pads to be taped into your panties to avoid displaying the lady bits in those just-a-little-too-snug pants. So there you have it – self-help solutions to every tasteless personal habit imaginable. And it usually involves silicone. But wouldn’t it be easier just buying properly sized pants? And what about women who go commando and have no undergarment to which to tape the Camel-Not? Boggles the mind.
Bammy and I have laughed often about how styles usually come around full circle – if you keep clothes long enough, one day they will be back in fashion. When I was a teenager, there were Levi’s jeans. Period. That’s it. No choice of boot cut, straight leg, high-cut, low-cut, faded wash, black or “aged” – just Levi’s. Size was all you had to figure out. Then, the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 21st century came along, and we were deluged with a million details to decide on a pair of jeans. Papa has always maintained that the biggest thing wrong with the world today is that we have too many choices – back in the “good old days”, there weren’t many choices, and people (our people, anyway) just worked hard, minded their own business and did what they had to do to keep a job, raise a family and build a good Christian life. I tend to agree with Daddy about most everything, including that philosophy. And I’m thankful that I’m back to just one brand of jeans.
BLUE JEAN MASSACRE (previously posted)
The only thing more frustrating than swimsuit shopping…blue jean shopping. Black stretchy pants are not cutting it right now. Well, they are cutting in some ways–cutting into my waist, cutting off my circulation, cutting into my will to wear pants at all. Even my wide-waist band leggings are causing me gastroenterological stress. They should be flattering, but no, I’m looking lumpier than Grimace wrapped in rubber bands. So, off to Nordstrom, Land of Sartorial Reveries, I go!
Bless that sweet young sales girl (Kayla–you’re awesome) for telling me that something was too big. I had to repress the guttural snort that was bare knuckle fist fighting its way to my nose. She picked out beautiful, skinny, slim cut, mid rise jeans in lovely washes, from midnight blue to pale gray. They were all in the contemporary section. Four pair in, I discover that the crotchular rise of these jeans is either woefully short, resulting in muffin mushroom cloud, or bizarrely stretchy, causing fierce Bactrian camel toe. And that her kind assessment of my sizing needs was WAY, WAY, WAY too generous. Ten pair in, this is now a suicide mission. None of these damn things, no matter how stretchy, are going to succeed. She keeps asking me to let her see how they fit…I’m sure she regrets that now. Especially since the pair she wanted to see couldn’t be buttoned or zipped. Even the HIGH rise don’t give me enough room in the clutch. They just give me really whack, super long camel toe. I’ll leave you to digest and enjoy that superb visual.
Never giving up, she brings me another assortment of jeans, slightly more forgiving than 7, AG, Joe and Citizens of Humanity. The sizes are better (I no longer look like denim sausage), but the clutch is still a problem. Finally, I try on the NYDJ (Not Your Daughter’s Jeans). OH HELL YES! VICTORY! The waist is actually near my waistline; the inseam is flattering; the legs are perfect; the wash is lovely. And the fit…heaven! I don’t gasp like a dying fish on dry land. I can sit! I can bend in half! Woohoo! Whale tail and muffin top BANISHED! Added bonus…they don’t look like Mom Jeans. There are no crazy 80’s pleats. (I realize these are coming back into vogue for people who enjoy ironic fashion. We all know I’m not a hipster or Chloe Sevigny though, so I won’t be rocking them EVER.) I’m proud to own some jeans that look fantastic AND will eliminate both crack problems and spare tire issues. As my sweetest cousins, Kelly and Meredith, love to say: keepin’ it classy, ladies!