Okay, peeps, we need to talk about jeans. I was going to play this one straight for comedy, but like all things that are truly funny, this cuts a little too close to the bone for me to leave my insecurities completely, ahem, behind.
I’ve been perturbed by the term “mom jeans” from just about the first time I heard it. (Another variation of this post is filled with righteous indignation, which is an excellent alternative to comedy when the truth cuts too close to the bone and you are not blessed with a sense of humour.) But seriously, why exactly do we imply high-waisted, unflattering and poorly fitting jeans are “mom” jeans? Are moms by default more slovenly and worthy of scorn? It has been many years since I went to work with baby shit smeared from my wrist to my bicep, but somehow just by being the bearer of children my choice of denim should be disrespected?
So I could get all righteous about the term “mom jeans” but truth be told, getting worked up about anything related to fashion would be completely hypocritical of me. It’s one of the major reasons I’m so relieved to have a passel of boys and no girls to worry about. I don’t really follow trends, I forget to wear makeup most days, and if I wear anything but comfortable shoes my knees ache all the way to my hips. I don’t do fashion, I do smart-casual-meets-comfortable. Jeans are my go-to staple from work to weekends. I stray occasionally into the fancy world of dress pants and even (gasp!) skirts, but the predominant fabric swathing my legs is denim.
In particular, I live in GAP jeans. I discovered the Long and Lean style about three years ago, and snap them up when they go on sale. The sticker price is around $65, but I usually only pay about half of that. Including the deep indigo wash and the midnight black ones, I think I’m up to about five pairs in my closet. I thought I was being fashion-forward. I mean, it’s the GAP, right? They’re a cool label, no?
Apparently not when it comes to mom jeans. Apparently, GAP and Old Navy are ‘gateway’ mom-jeans.
I found that post through a friend’s Facebook page. At first I was filled with righteous rage. When are we going to get over this stupid “mom jeans” term was my first thought. Then as I was reading, I was justifying and rationalizing in my head. “Oh, this writer is American. It’s probably different there. I’m sure the fits and labels are all different.” And there, down near the bottom of the post, are my beloved Long and Lean jeans. the ones that make my legs look like they’re about 11 feet long. Or so I thought. Until I got to the bit where she said Long and Lean are “the only pair that qualified beyond Gateway and straight into Mom Jeans.”
I’m feeling very conflicted now. I’m 43 years old for god’s sake, I’m way too old and comfortable with myself to get my denim worked into a twist over this. What do I care how my jeans look, beyond the fact that I try to leave the house without too much breakfast and dog hair smudged on them? I’ve borne three babies on these hips, they’ve earned a little extra padding. And it’s not like I’m trying to impress anyone with my caboose anymore – that horse is waaaaaaay out of the barn. So why the hell should I care what some cheeky blogger things about how my ass looks?
See all that righteousness? Methinks she doth protest too much. Apparently I do care, because my idle brain keeps coming back to pick at the idea like a festering scab. Maybe my ass is not as cool as I thought it was, wrapped in middle class friendly but not boutique-level denim? Maybe I need to drag Beloved to the Rideau Centre and have him trail around behind me taking pictures of my keister in Lucky Jeans and American Eagle and oh my god I’m so uncool I don’t even know what the cool stores might be! Good Christ, I’m 43 and I NEVER LEFT HIGH SCHOOL. Or perhaps more acutely, high school never left me.
In 1982, the thing I wanted more than anything in the universe was a pair of Road Runner jeans. We weren’t exactly poor but we weren’t exactly wealthy, either, and they were a little more costly than the Zellers house brand jeans I had been wearing. I remember how amazed I was when my mom actually bought me a pair. To my great dismay, I was just as unpopular in Road Runner jeans as I had been without them. It only took about 25 more years for me to really start to understand that what’s in my head is way more important than whatever label is on my jeans.
But my head keeps thinking about my ass, and wondering if maybe I’m at an age where I deserve a little help in the fit department. Clearly I’m conflicted, bloggy peeps. What say ye, oh wise and wonderful friends? There’s lots of food for thought here – mom jeans, societal expectations of women of a certain age, and my obvious inability to get my head out of my back pocket. Care to riff on any of those themes?
And, ppsssstt – where can a shallow girl of a certain age and fuller-than-waifish shape get a pair of jeans that are comfortable, flattering and on sale?
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