I’ve been buying Levi’s since some time in junior high. There was a point in my junior high school career where I finally figured out, if I was going to succeed, succeed in the game “fitting in” in junior high, I was going to have to ditch the Sear’s brand jeans my mom had been buying me for my entire childhood and start wearing the name brand duds. I remember, after much begging, Mom obediently drove me to Beno’s in Oakland or Berkeley, or somewhere not in Napa. I HAD to have Levi “elephant bell” bottom jeans, and corduroys, in as many colors as I could convince her to buy me. This was just practice, of course, because a few short years later, in high school, it was Dittos, in every color and a pair of “shrink-to-fit, button-fly 501’s”. If you didn’t dress like THAT, you were invisible. Let me tell you, no one was invisible in Dittos!
I have similar issues today with Michael Kors and Coach handbags. Same friends, different decade.
As an adult, as a mom, fashion was sort of important, but not as important as in high school, or as it is today. I’ve always worn Levi’s, but as a mom, going through what I call my “plump and frump” stage, I sought out the more “relaxed fit” style, the very forgiving, camouflaging, styles like the 518’s, found in the “misses” section of stores like Kohl’s and J.C. Penny. Dumb-ass jeans. I would even buy “gently used” Levi 518’s on E-Bay for “ranch duty” when I had horses and just needed jeans for getting incredibly dusty, grimy, hairy and horse snotted. I’ve grown out of them, fashionably speaking. In terms of volume of denim required to make a pair of jeans, the 518’s I was buying in that decade are about five sizes larger than I currently wear. Hallelujah, amen, praise the Levi’s, pass the skinny jeans, please!
So, yesterday, I walked into the Levi Outlet Store. I’ve been here before, for 518’s. I wouldn’t let anyone help me, I just bought my jeans and left. I’ve strolled through this particular store more recently, in search of something amazing, something form fitting, but retro. The selection was overwhelming, and, again, I denied any assistance. I actually left empty handed.
I ordered a pair of ladies button fly, already shrunk and appropriately faded jeans from Levi’s online, they cost a fortune, not as much as Miss Me’s, but nearly, and minus the butt bling. They arrived and they’re weird. I don’t like them. The waist comes up to my belly button and they’re snug in strange places and loose in others. They’re in my dresser in Alaska and I only wear them to clean fish or to go truckin’, and only if they’re the only clean pair of jeans and only if all the other jeans are just too disgustingly dirty to wear (fish guts, moose blood, DEET soaked, etc.).
I didn’t need jeans yesterday, I just wanted jeans. I’ve been contemplating this purchase for some time, and yesterday was the day, mostly because yesterday was payday.
Yesterday’s jean buying experience was the best clothes shopping customer service experience I’ve had since taking my daughter bustier shopping at Frederick’s of Hollywood when she was in middle school. Yesterday, I got “curved” and it was fab.
I was determined to buy Levi’s low-rise, skinny jeans yesterday and in as many washes as I could afford, or carry, whichever limit was exceeded first. I walked in and stared at the wall of jeans, shelves and shelves, stacks and stacks on each shelf, and the shelves reached from the front of the store clear to the back. I consider myself a fairly astute and savvy shopper, I should’ve realized how the jeans were organized immediately, but I was a little overwhelmed and, frankly, discombobulated, by the immense wall of denim before me. My presence went undetected just long enough for me to grab four pair of jeans. I was mildly aware of the new body-shape specific cuts Levi had come up with; one for flat-ass girls, one for average girls and one for bootylicious girls. I know I’m not a flat-ass girl and while I’ve got booty, I’m not the most bootylicious girl out there. I’m not Nicki Minaj or Kim Kardashian. I’m a bit closer to J.Lo, it’s definitely there, but you can’t rest a drink on it while I’m standing. So I grabbed two different sizes in the “average” and two different sizes in the “bootylicious”.
I was just headed to the back of the store towards the fitting rooms when one of the sales “ass”-ociates approached me and asked politely if I needed help. I replied with my usual, “thanks, I think I’ve got it figured out.” She asked a few key questions that caused me to doubt myself, and my selections, then she asked the crucial question, “Have you been curved?” Well. No. I haven’t. Now I’m intrigued. I laughed a little and told her I’d not been curved. She then asked, “Would you like me to curve you?” I know, it almost sounds like spooning, right? It sounds like something you might read about in Cosmo at the check stand and then toss the magazine on the conveyor at the very last moment before your groceries are totaled up for a more thorough and delicious read later. Alone. With wine. The adventurer in me took over, “Sure! Why not? Curve me!”
And so, I got curved. After “ass”-isting the sales “ass”-ociate in holding up various straps and tapes and things that encircled my lower body in various, key areas, it was determined, I’m a “demi-cut”, the “average”. I have an average ass according the Levi Strauss. Fair enough, I kind of figured. The sales “ass”-ociate continued to ask me probing questions, “What kind of rise do you want?” I responded, boldly, unequivocally, “low-rise”. I have an incredibly short waist, high-waisted things end up under my boobs and I look a lot like, well, my mother in her elastic waist, stretch pants (she’s 90, give her a break, okay?). “What cut do you want?” “Skinny jeans!” I don’t run three times a week, strength train, do Insanity, Zumba, yoga, Pilates and boot camp calisthenics to wear NYDJ’s. Another two years of training and I may even buy shorts. I lie, I have shorts. Another two years of training and I may consent to wearing them out of the house. The sales “ass”-ociate rapid fires another critical jean related question, “do you ever have ‘gapping’?” “Oh. My God. Yes.” She suggests, perhaps, getting the bootylicious jeans and I’m kind of elated for a moment, until she says, “but they don’t come in low rise.” Without a second thought I said, “I’ll deal with the gapping!” Then we addressed the wash and when I told her I’d like as many as they have, if the jeans fit well, she got really, really enthusiastic (she was already pretty effervescent). Like lightning, she grabbed three pairs of jeans off the shelves, way up at the very front of the store, which makes sense, the most popular, trendy styles are always immediately inside the front door of the store (in case you didn’t know).
I was directed to a fitting room and I tried all three pair on, all three low-rise, demi-cut, skinny jeans in exactly my size, all different washes. They were heavenly! How often do we women really and truly have a heavenly skinny jean fitting room experience? The only thing more demoralizing than skinny jean shopping is bikini shopping in a fitting room with really bad, fluorescent lighting. There is an art to fitting rooms. I should be a consultant. Few stores have this totally figured out. Victoria’s Secret is one. Levi’s, now, another.
Elated, I took my armload of low-rise, demi-cut, skinny jeans, in every wash available, in my size, up and plopped them cheerfully on the counter in front of the cashier. I gleefully thrust my debit card toward the cashier as the total was displayed. My sales “ass”-ociate came over while my hard earned dollars bled from my account and gave me a personalized card with my name on it and notes as to my size and cut and style and ass shape. I thanked her profusely and grabbed my large carrier bag with Levi emblazoned all over it and practically skipped out of the store.
Best skinny jean shopping experience. Ever.
Today, I wore a pair of my new Levi low-rise, demi-cut, skinny jeans all day long. I drove a couple hundred miles, sat for quite a while, walked for a while, just sort of did my thing, and do you know what? I didn’t get a saggy ass! You know how jeans tend to stretch out over the course of the day, especially if you sit a bunch? Dumb-ass jeans. Not these! These are some smart-ass jeans!
So, on my advice, don’t settle for dumb-ass jeans, get curved and rock your jeans!