Yep. There he is. Old Sisyphus, still rolling that rock. And me, I’m still shopping for jeans.
I wrote a post last month about that Sisyphean journey… shopping for the perfect jeans. Seemingly endless, frustrating, often futile… shopping for jeans is definitely worthy of the comparison to poor old King Sisyphus and his eternal struggle. Not to mention exhausting, humiliating, ego destroying, and budget depleting. Phew.
So why do we do it? Well, I guess as someone who was a teenager in the 70’s when we wore nothing but jeans, I can’t imagine NOT opening my closet and slipping into a beloved pair of denims. It’s just, now that my body has…ahem…changed, it’s much harder to find the pair that makes me sigh, “Ohhh, yes. These are MY jeans.” You know, the pair that look great and make you feel great. They fit your body, are flattering, and comfortable. They don’t slide off your hips, don’t pinch that fairly recently acquired spare tire around your middle, aren’t saggy in the rear, and don’t have pockets that are so low in the back they make your butt look as if it lost the fight with gravity. Oh, and they have no sequins or doo-dads. None.
It seems as if I’ve been everywhere looking for my perfect jeans. On-line and in the stores.
At Gap I tried their new “Resolution Denim,” supposedly the latest thing in “stretch.” The “high-waisted skinny” was too high in the rise for me. And too short in the leg. And the “true skinny” was too low in the rise. And I didn’t like the fit of the “real straight.” I had great service, though. The sales staff at Gap in Bayshore Shopping Centre are always helpful and enthusiastic.
At J Crew I had no luck at all. I love the look of the J Crew jeans I see on-line, especially the high-rise, straight-leg style. However, the staff of the Rideau Centre store were so unhelpful it was astonishing. Even though I was one of only two customers in the store that afternoon, I had to go looking for someone to help me. I approached three sales girls chatting near the cash, smiled and said, with not a hint of that sarcastic tone so familiar to all my friends, “Do you think there is someone here who could help me?” After a chorus of “Absolutely!!” from all three girls, I requested a “tour” of the types and styles of jeans they carry, and which style might suit me. One of the three languidly waved her hand at various parts of the store saying,”Over there you can find our toothpick style, over there are the slim boy jeans etc etc. “Okay,” I replied, trying again, “But I don’t know what J Crew means by those terms.” They gazed at me. “Uh, okaay,” I persisted, “Here is what I’m looking for: straight leg or maybe skinny, full length not cropped, and a high rise.” The same girl replied, smiling, that they didn’t have anything like that. Maybe I could try on-line. “Really? Uh… okay. Umm… thanks.” As I left, she and the other two girls resumed their discussion. Not one of them had moved a step. I swear.
I wasn’t upset when I walked away. Just kind of amused… or should I say bemused? I’m sure that Sisyphus had days like this too. I shopped there once last summer and had almost the exact same experience. And, you know… if I were the manager of that store, I would be royally pissed to think that one of my customers had had this experience, not once but twice!
I moved on. I had hills to climb, and rocks to roll. So to speak.
On my last jeans post, a reader commented that she had found great jeans at Aritzia. I wasn’t familiar with the store, but there it was… right beside J Crew. Thanks for that recommendation, Mélanie. Aritzia had a plethora of jeans. A veritable smorgasbord of denim. So many brands and styles and washes that I didn’t know where to start. Luckily I was soon approached by a sprightly sales girl named Ruth. I repeated the request I had made at J Crew… for a “tour” of the styles they offered. Ruth asked a few questions: did I prefer dark or light wash, skinny or straight, cropped or not? Then we zoomed around the store; she chatted about how this brand was higher in the rise, this one shorter in the leg etc. etc. This was certainly a girl who loved her job, and did it very well. Soon I was ensconced in the dressing room with about ten pairs of jeans. We sized up in one brand, discarded another altogether, moved to a darker wash in a third. And found these.
Citizens of Humanity, “Rocket”, high-rise skinny. I love them. So it would seem that I am not done with skinny jeans just yet. These fit me just the way I like jeans to fit. They are snug, but not uncomfortable. The legs are skinny, but don’t look like I donned a pair of blue support hose by mistake. Not that I own any blue support hose. Or any support hose. Yet. They are bit shorter than I had hoped, but I still like the length. Great with my loafers or sandals or sneakers. And… And …they are NOT low-rise. I can keep them up without hauling on the waistband every five minutes or wearing a belt. Success. Yah. I can send my low-rise J-brand skinnies to the thrift store.
But don’t count your chickens just yet, Sisyphus…. pardon the mixed metaphor. This journey is not complete. I still haven’t replaced my Paige Hidden Hills straight-leg jeans. These new jeans tick many of my boxes: a bit distressed, high rise, really comfortable. But they are too short to wear with my ankle boots. There’s still snow on the ground here. Lots of snow. And it won’t be warm enough for bare ankles for some time yet. I need to be able to wear warm socks and my boots for weeks to come.
So, as I predicted in my original jeans post…. I may have to buy two pairs of jeans. Not because I found THE perfect jean and want to buy two pairs. But because there is no such thing as the one perfect pair.
So my journey continues. For straight-leg, high-rise jeans. Maybe the new-ish Tangier outlet in Kanata. There’s a Shepherds there and they carry Paige jeans. Or perhaps a visit to Nordstrom, newly opened in Ottawa at the Rideau Centre, will be the answer. I’d like to try Frame jeans which they carry. My friend Liz who was the personal shopper at Holt Renfrew, is providing the same service to shoppers at Nordstrom. She’s awesome. If you’re in the store, stop by the second floor in the “Collectors” area and say hello to Liz.
And so back to Sisyphus.
He’s intent on that rock, maybe even thinking that life is all about the journey and not just the destination. Maybe. Camus certainly thought so. I remember when I read Camus’ essay “The Myth of Sisyphus” years ago, it affected my view of life. Big time. I started to enjoy the journey more. Even when it was hard. Okay, maybe I didn’t enjoy it exactly all the time. But at least I began to look for small victories along the way instead of focussing entirely on the destination.
Like finding the perfect pair of jeans
So I’m not bothered by the fact that I’m still searching for yet another pair of jeans. I mean, when was I ever not?
How’s your spring shopping going?