My Life in Jeans

by Michele Klausner

In the olden days we called them dungarees. They cost about five bucks and we wouldn’t be caught dead in them. Girls were required to wear skirts all through my school years even up to and including the first orientation week of college way back in 1965. Dungarees were heavy, in those days, and hard, not very comfortable; think Levi Strauss, Lee or Wranglers. But then, right around the same time, dungarees suddenly became “jeans,” and I remember wearing them all the time.

As a bohemian beatnik art major, (and later wanna-be hippie,) throughout my college years and beyond, jeans were my uniform. They had cuffs back in the day or they didn’t, (and now they do again, or they don’t.) We sat on our bunk beds and frayed the bottoms, or we didn’t, and then, as high fashion always has to evolve they became bell bottoms or flares “Bells” we, oh so trendy, fashion-forward (not) kids called them. My,(later to become, father-in-law hated them. I have no idea why; he didn’t care for our music much either, and when they looked worn we got rid of them and bought new ones. By then then they were straight-legged, hip huggers, some even embellished and embroidered. Then along came Calvin Klein, Jordache and Gloria Vanderbilt.

I’ve been wearing jeans ever since. Still love them today, although I’m not sure they are the best fashion find for a 70-something year old grandmother, even one with occasionally blue hair. The cuffs are back. “Boyfriend jeans” they’re now called; hip-huggers or egads, Mom Jeans. Skinny jeans are in, jeggings if you want them even tighter than that. I have them all. And in every shade of denim: acid wash, rinse-wash, mid-wash, light wash, bleached, stone-wash, dark-wash, basic black, summer natural , winter white and ombre. Oh, and regarding the fray, you can buy them pre-frayed, torn, snagged, even already worn at the knee. But today you pay extra for those fashionable defects. A pair of 7 for all Mankind jeans, complete with “distress” will set you back $225. Gucci buckled hi-rise (whatever that means) skinny jeans only $3,200. I don’t own them; I haven’t even seen them. They popped up in a google search. I don’t plan on buying them but hey, two-day delivery and shipping is free. Wait, what’s this? An ad for yoga pants …