|My sisters and I, looking like utterly awesome|
1980s era ladies with our giant hair. Not
shown: our perfectly ripped jeans.
The decade in denim started for me in 6th grade, also known as the year that my mother decided to infuse my school wardrobe with color in the form of a rainbow of corduroy. No jeans for me, instead it was all corduroy, all the time. Thus began the great slacks rebellion.
After that, I only wanted to wear black and jeans—except for a super sweet plum colored corduroy pants-and-vest set that I wore in 84. My mom used to buy our jeans out of the JCPenney catalog, the orange-tagged Levis that advertised their length and width on the back patch—which we girls quickly marked out with our ink pens. Thank goodness these jeans were cheap because with a big family, there wasn't a lot of money for fashion over function. We would get 2 new pairs at the beginning of the school year, and they'd better last. Brand new, these jeans were stiff as cardboard and took months of wearing and washing to get just perfect, which was a badge of honor.
|Pale blue, slightly ripped jeans.|
Not shown, the friend on my right
and the cigarette on my left.
I liked to personalize my jeans. I hated the flared pant look and in the 80s, tight legged pants were what I was after, so I used my Home Ec skills from 7th grade to sew the legs of my jeans tighter. The skinny jeans of today have nothing on my peg-legged Levis, let me tell you. They weren't tight enough until you had to turn them inside out when you took them off at the end of the day. Which quickly morphed into they weren't tight enough until you had to use a pliers to pull up the zipper as you lay on your bed to put them on.
Because nerve damage is a small price to pay for fashion, right?
My favorite jeans that I wore as often as I could had both knees blown clear out. Even better than a perfect fit in my eyes was the perfect rip; not too big, unintentionally frayed like they get from years of wear. Bonus points for the seam around the bottom of the leg to be worn and frayed as well. My parents, of course, hated these pants. I got a lot of "Why do you want to dress in rags like that?" and "We can afford pants! Why do you wear holy pants!?" My parents just didn't understand that I worked hard to get my jeans to look this way. Silly parents.
Jeans got more complicated as the years went by. I had the Lee baggies that were trendy—the ultimate mom jeans with a high waist and pleated front so we all looked a bit fluffy. Then the colored jeans—I had a pair of soft gray colored jeans with pink pinstripes that I think my sister gave to me. I loved to wear them with a pair of Kmart store brand pink hightop Chuck Taylor knockoffs and I think a pink sweatshirt layered with a knockoff Izod shirt—collar popped, of course.
As we got older, the jeans got more expensive. Guess and Z Cavaricci, and I'm sure there were others. Labels were a big deal—especially when you couldn't afford to buy them. I had Palmetto's, with their Guess-like patch on the back pocket, and finally finally got a pair of Guess jeans and wore them completely out. And then my fashion choices got really questionable—from jeans with rips in the butt to postage-stamp sized jean skirts, I'm sure there were a few years my parents longed for the days when it was just a little hole in the knee we argued about.
|My kid has great taste in fashion.|
As she dressed for school this morning, she was wearing those jeans, which now feature blown out knees. I sighed. "Seriously? Don't you have jeans without holes in them?" I quipped, before I realized that I had suddenly morphed into my father.
I get it now. I don't want my kid to go to school looking like a hobo any more than my parents did. But it's up to her now, to decide what's cool. And as long as she keeps it on the modest side (ahem, unlike her mom did for a while there), we're good.