But I digress. So, armed with my wallet, a water and a rather obnoxious smile, I drove to the Depot of all things Denim: The Mall. Because, over the course of my lifetime, women have evolved from girdle-wearing Barbie dolls who wore full pantyhose, silk slips OVER a full bra, a colorful skirt/jacket combination and matching shoes/hat/purse/gloves to a uniform of jeans and flip flops and/or heels combos. We can talk about the death of fashion another day. I have to stay on topic here.
Okay, so how hard could this be? First stop: J. Crew. No, it's not logical. But I have a $50 gift card and that's like free money, so, thus, this is my first stop. Their jeans are not sized; they are numbered. Where I factor in the 24 - 29 spectrum baffles me. Luckily a salesperson steps in, sizes me up, so to speak, and hands me a 25 and a 26. And a stack of fresh denim. Oh boy. Finding two pairs that fit AND that almost screamed "hey her butt's not fat" I gave myself a good once-0ver. Can a mom in her 40's really get away with severely distressed jeans? The pair that fit best had a fine four-inch rip across the left knee and numerous "distressed" areas. In fact, they looked like my eight-year-old had worn them for half a year (had he been my size, of course). Disappointed that they fit, but convinced that I would look like one of the Desperate Moms (I'd need the bedazzled t-shirt to finish off that look), I shelved the J. Crew project and kept moving.
Next stop: White House/Black Market or whatever. You and I know it as 'the place that sells things that are either black or white'. Here, they have sizes. This I understand. And no, I do not understand what a Size 0 is. I'm not a math major, but if you are a zero (which I have continuously admonished my kids NEVER to be; a "zero" that is), that would tell me that you do not exist. So why start there? But, that's the way it is, and I'll say that zero must be the new 1. I remember that size. It was for Juniors. Anyway, nothing too exciting that made me run to the register. So I kept moving. Through the entire mall.
At then end of the mall, having now tried on a minimum of 25 pairs of denim products, I wandered, dazed, into Nordstrom. Into their fashion denim section, actually, where an impossibly tiny salesgirl (hello, Miss Size Zero!) happily flitted from rack to rack like a busy little denim hummingbird. Then she herded me into the Nordstrom fitting room, piled high with 12 pairs of perfectly presentable jeans and chirped "Mynameislindsayletmeknowifyouneedanothersize...."
Hopeful for the best, I attacked the stack. Most fit. Many looked okay. A few looked great. This is when I noticed two things: 1: The price must be based on the designs on the pockets. And 2, fashion denim is really, really pricey. For example, a very nice pair of 7 For All Mankind jeans, $155 (yeah, I'll be cool and leave off the exclamation point that went off in my head) had very embellished pockets. BUT the True Religions were extra embellished and they cost even more. However, the subdued Hudsons were slightly less. So it leads me to believe that if you are going to drop a Costco-sized chunk of change for one pair of jeans, your backside absolutely MUST look like there's a party going on back there. And the more you spend, the bigger the party. And, follow me here, but I am guessing that only the chicks with impossibly tiny butts would buy these, because, to me, a "big party" on a big butt would not have big appeal.
Frankly, I have neither an impossibly tiny rear or a party budget. So I left Lindsay and her perky size zero self to reshelve my rejects and sauntered into American Eagle Outfitters. I had avoided this particular store; it's a teenager store. I'm not a teenager. And I had low expectations, I might add, when the impossibly happy salesgirl came up to me and asked me if I needed any help. I was waiting for her to finish that off with "finding some jeans for your daughter." But she didn't. And she showed me all of her favorites, pulled sizes and again, armed with a dozen pairs of denim, I dragged myself to the fitting room. I was not the empowered, confident woman who had entered the mall hours earlier. Denim had defeated me. Boggled as to whether I should try on "the Artist" (sounds creative) or "the best boyfriend jean" or the simply titled "straight leg", I started all over again.
You know what I learned? Don't be afraid of the teenager stores. And that you can find jeans for under $40 bucks that look damned good and fit fine. And that teenagers will help you, even if you're old enough to be their mom. And that dropping two jeans sizes is fun, but the shopping sucks.
And, finally, that the best part of that day was the oatmeal raisin cookie I scarfed down on my way out of the mall. Sweet. And that will be two extra sets of squats tomorrow. Because, after going through this to buy new jeans, I am NOT going back up in size, lol.