Last night, I was minding my business, knitting on the loveseat and watching Firefly. I get up, I hear a suspicious sound, and lo and behold, my jeans had ripped in a part of the fabric that is not easily fixed. I had TWO pairs of jeans. All of my other jeans had met similar fates over the last few months.
I don’t think I’m terribly hard on denim. I’ve been wearing my jeans less in the last few weeks, actually, as the trip to London inspired me to try to be more adventurous with my “adult” clothes (read: work appropriate clothes that don’t include jeans and a t-shirt). I think I had this pair of jeans for maybe a year, possibly closer to eight months, and I was seriously dejected by the prospect of having to find another pair of jeans, as the one remaining pair of jeans is not my favorite.
(Actually, I do have another pair of jeans, but they’re sort of hand-me-downs and I only wear them when the other jeans are really dirty or in the wash. So I never think about them. Anyway.)
I am not one of those girls who likes shopping, period, and there are many, many reasons for this. For starters, I’m a medium-to-big sized girl, at the upper range of most “average” clothing lines and at the bottom or not even on the range of plus-sized lines. My body type is fairly proportional—my bust and hip widths are pretty much the same, but I carry most of my weight in my stomach, so there’s not much of a waist curve. There don’t seem to be a lot of fashion lines that cater to this body type, or at least there aren’t in my price range (if you know of any, please let me know! I’d be willing to sell kidneys or be responsible and save money for months to buy clothes that fit me well). The average “curvy” jean is too small in my legs (which again are fairly proportional for a girl my size, 5’8″ with an athletic build and a bit of extra around the middle) and too big in the hips. You can forget about skinny jeans. The best pair of jeans that fit me are Gap’s long and lean, but as I’ve gone through two pairs of those in maybe a year and a half (the second being the pair that ripped last night), I’m a little wary about shelling out at least $60 on a pair of jeans that are just going to rip again. (We will not discuss the current trend of pre-distressed jeans—I don’t need further proof that the denim is going to fall apart after a few months!)
I read an article a few weeks ago that denied the idea of vanity sizing, making the point that different clothing lines can use different numbers because their target audiences are of different sizes (this particular discussion struck me as elitist—”rich people are thinner, therefore the sizes at the stores they visit are different than people who are poor, bigger, and shop at Wal-Mart”—although I am paraphrasing and taking this idea out of context). This is hooey. A number is a number is a number, at least in base-ten and our current reality. Five oranges is five oranges is five oranges, just as a 36″ waist is a 36″ waist is a 36″ waist. There could easily be a standard sizing structure that’s based on, I don’t know, real numbers and real sizes rather than an arbitrary number/signifier system designed to make us feel better and spend more money on clothes we don’t need. I would fully own my size, even though it’s an “unfashionable” number, if I only knew what my size is. Instead, I have to grab at least two different sizes of every kind of jean on the rack and lug them all into the dressing room and hope that they’ll fit in a similar fashion to others that I’m using for reference.
This is one of the things that drives me absolutely batty about knitting discussions in various forums. I see some people complain about the sizing in patterns and how various publishers don’t accommodate their body types. For the record, folks—not every fashion trend out there works on every body type. I actually have a plan to go more in-depth on this in a future post, but for now I’ll leave this with the following instructions: be honest with yourself about your body type, and then go watch a few episodes of What Not to Wear and pay attention to what Stacey and Clinton suggest for people with a body type similar to yours.
Sizing difficulties aside, I hate going into a store with the idea that I’m not an “ideal” size. This is both a personal construct—I’d like to be a reasonable, smaller size because I think it would be a healthier state for me, and yes, it would do my ego a bit of good—and a social construct. I believe we’re all familiar with the social construct, so I’ll just skip that. There’s also the fiscal pressure, as I have an English degree and am never going to make lots of money, a pressure that is compounded this time in particular by the amount I’ve spent on yarn and work-related purchases (for which I will be reimbursed, but I still know they’re sitting on my credit card right now) and the fact that my car registration was due this month; actually I’d be very copacetic regarding my bank account if that hadn’t occurred this month. And the fact that I’m going to Austin soon and will need to spend some money there. All of these factors contribute to a rather uncomfortable gestalt surrounding shopping, for me, and I just had to get this out there and exorcise the demon, so to speak.
Ranting and shopping aside (I did find a pair of jeans, they are sadly of the somewhat pre-distressed style, but they were on serious sale, so when they fall apart, I won’t feel too badly about it), I hit up the last of the yarn stores on the yarn crawl today. And I did what I said I wouldn’t do, which is buy more yarn, but I was very good about budgeting myself (and I felt kind of bad going into a store with the idea of just getting a stamp, when clearly the whole thing was to generate some business and in this economy, everyone needs a little bit of help).
Apologies for the crappy webcam photo. I picked up the Berroco Comfort DK/Sport for about $6.50, and the St. Denis Sport for $12. The St. Denis was on sale at My Sister Knits, as part of their anniversary sale. I also grabbed Ysolda’s Whimsical Little Knits 2 at MSK, using a 30% off coupon I had. And I nabbed a set of short DPNs at the first store we hit.
Even better than yarn on sale is yarn bought on sale with a purpose, and I am planning to knit myself some knee high socks in the near future. They’re apparently quite the item right about now, cropping up in knitting magazines and books left and right, and I have to say, this is one fashion trend of which I heartily approve.