lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Location: Kolkata, India

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Baby's got her blue jeans on

I put it off as long as I could; six months, in fact. But there was no getting away from it, I needed to buy a pair of jeans. Much as I loved the old pair, they were getting too disreputable even for my lax standards.

So I devoted a morning for the expedition. I thought it through and decided to avoid the malls and big shops. They are too crowded and the trial rooms are always occupied, the assistants disinterested and the styles too trendy for matrons. Instead, I went to the discount outlet my son favours. He has his reasons to patronise that place, mainly that he can save money and buy games, but he always manages to get decent jeans from there, so it was worth a try.

Years of experience have taught me well. You buy footwear late in the day, when your feet have put in a day's work and will tell you immediately if the shoe fits. But you buy clothes in the morning, when you have the energy and enthusiasm to try various outfits. So I went in the morning.

It is silly to wear ethnic outfits when you go shopping for clothes. You have to keep getting in and out of clothes to go back to the racks and get the next outfit, after all. How many times do you wriggle into and out of a churidar before you cave in and buy an outfit you will regret buying a day later, or give up on shopping for that day? So I wore a skirt.

I stated that I was looking for ladies' jeans. A pleasant young man directed me to shelves marked 'Girls'. No matter, I thought, I am youthful at heart, after all.

Next came my pet peeve when I buy clothes– the size. There must be millions of women like me with measurements that are odd numbers, but you will never find odd numbered sizes in any store. That is a rant is worth another post, so I will just say that I added an inch to my waist measurement when asked for size.

There were a bewildering number of cuts and designs to choose from. Boot cut, straight-leg, low-rise, mid-rise, flares, embroidery, patches… but no high-rise fitted waists, though. That seemed to have gone out of fashion. After browsing through the samples I selected a couple and went to the trial room.

There's a thing that always makes me wonder; the trial rooms are always tiny, there are never enough hangers or hooks, nor any ledges to park handbags on, and the mirrors somehow always make me look pudgy, unlike mirrors at home. Is it the lighting? Is it the double mirrors and an infinity of reflections in a tiny closet that makes trial rooms seem eerie?

I stepped out of my skirt and pulled on the first pair, or at least tried to. Going by the waist size was a bad idea. Manufacturers don't care about waist/hip ratios, it seemed. Indian women by and large, and I mean large, have wide hips even when they have wasp waists, and yet not a brand considers this or makes jeans to accommodate the wasp waist versus wide hips figures.

I couldn't pull either of the pairs up beyond my thighs. Not comfortably, anyhow. I suppose holding my breath, sucking my stomach in, and some wriggling might have worked, but I wanted jeans to live in, not jeans to impersonate a mannequin with.

I wriggled out of them; stepped into my skirt and went back to the racks. The young man suggested the next size.

I took two more pairs into the trial room; these, I could pull on comfortably and zip up without discomfort. So I applied Missus Em's test. Most articles on how to choose a pair of jeans will tell you to walk around and try a couple of jumps. Maybe bend over, or do some deep squats to check the jeans. The Missus Em Test involves sitting down cross-legged. If I can't do that comfortably, there is no point in my buying the jeans. These two pairs passed.

I got out of the jeans, stepped into my skirt, went out and asked the young man to keep them aside. But you didn't show them to me, he said. I was surprised. Was he being sympathetic because I came alone, without a friend to offer remarks and criticism?

I went back to the trial room and went though the 'step out of skirt, pull on jeans' routine. Yes, it fits well, he agreed, kneeling to turn the edges up. I sat on a handy ledge at a mirror, pulled the top I wore up a little and looked behind me; just as I knew it would be, there was a gap of three inches between my back and the jeans. He said a belt would take care of that. I shook my head. I don't wear belts. He supposed the waist could be taken in.

As he whipped out a tape measure and measured my waist at least two inches below my natural waistline, I pondered why it was that women don't feel self-conscious about tailors or sales persons invading their personal space, why they don't feel awkward letting a perfect stranger wield a tape measure, tug the seams of the jeans into line and more. Perhaps it is only with doctors that we are that trusting and unembarrassed otherwise.

I obligingly held my top rucked up as he considered the waist, front and back. It didn't show much if I stood, but the gap was definitely gaping if I sat down. He then hooked a clinical finger in the waistband of the jeans and checked the gap, cinched the excess at the sides, and judiciously pronounced that an inch taken in at each side ought to do it. I repeated the 'get out of jeans and get into the other pair' routine and he repeated his examination.

We considered other styles. He suggested a low-rise pair. I was doubtful, he coaxed and I tried the jeans. These actually fit perfectly, until I sat down, rucked up my top and looked behind me. There, peeking out of the gap was the flash of my panties. I sighed.

We, and I say we because we were a team now, tried another pair. These fit well, too. Again, except for the gap at the back when I sat down. I considered my selections. Which did I want to buy? Take them all, he said, adding that the pair I had on fit so beautifully there was no question of leaving them out.

There are purists who say jeans ought not to be sized, but I dislike edges that are overlong and fold like accordions; that looks odd in my opinion. As none of my selections had a large flare or fashionable flourishes, I decided to get the lengths adjusted.

I went back to the trial room and did a last round of the 'step out of jeans, step into skirt' routine and emerged to hand the jeans over for adjustment. He noted the length and was adding the waist measurement when I told him not to bother about the waist. I said that I don't wear short tops. This was true, also it occurred to me that adjusting the waist might change the comfort factor, and the one thing all my selections had in common was comfort.

I collected them yesterday, and dear Reader, I type this wearing my new jeans.

This post is dedicated with affection to the reader who prefers to remain anonymous, who quibbles, banters and makes me laugh, who brought to my notice the other definition of the word cheesecake, and most of all, who directed me to this lovely song.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell me Lali, please. You dedicated this to me, right? The poem, too?
Secret admirer

11:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One notices you did not ask him to get a name this time. Here is someone of the same sort : -

Amman in jeans ? It boggles no, the mind ?

Oh well, I suppose the ends justify the jeans.

And your son buys jeans at the same place ? Jeanetically disposed, perhaps.

Jean and tonic, v refreshing.

==> Exits, pursued by a Bare Necessities(1).
1. Popular Brand name in jeans

8:05 am  
Blogger Lalita said...

Anon- Read the dedication again, what do you know of cheesecake, eh? And for the last time, get a name.

Hehhh- Come back, you coward. Amman is in Flying Machines, only.

9:02 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is this anon? Why do you dedicate a post to him? Why not to me? I am a regular, and I have a name too.

So you finally got rid of the old pair. No loyalty to old faithfuls, it seems.

11:25 am  
Blogger Priya said...

Oooo Babe, you should've got that low rise wonly, at least to gimme company. Between you and me, more cheesecakes could've been unleashed on this earth, no? :P

11:27 am  
Blogger Lalita said...

Rajesh- I said the reader prefers to remain anonymous, and why do you assume it is a he? Plenty of loyalty to old faithfuls, I tell you.

Priya- I did buy the low rise jeans. We can set Calcutta alight when you next visit. :-)

1:38 pm  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

Good for you. Am glad that you finally did settle on a pair :) My fav is low rise boot cut. They do fit well.

6:59 pm  
Blogger Ravages/CC said...

Heh? I am not sure why, but I never find jeans that fit me. Hmmm

7:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mean Lali the encyclopaedia didn't know the 'other' meaning of cheesecake? Tut tut. You are slipping, milady.

9:27 pm  
Blogger Rimi said...

Ooh yes, I second M. Low rise bootcut. though to be honest I choose a mid-rise myself. Tucks the tummy in prettily.

What a coincidence, eh Lali? :D

(It's quarter to eleven, and I just noticed you text. Not a good idea, keeping the phone on silent)

10:44 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

I so hate shopping for a pair of jeans, can never find one that fits me. Haven't owned one for almost a decade

5:56 am  
Blogger Lalita said...

M- I ended up buying four pairs. Went overboard I suppose, but on the other hand, I am set for the decade. And yes, I bought a low rise boot cut, too.

Chandru- The song of the misfits, no? It takes a deal of searching to find a decent pair, I ought to know.

Ash- Not applicable, so there. But I'd have known it if it ever featured in a crossword clue.

Rimi- Yeah, all hail the low rise boot cut. I loved that pair.

Coincidence or telepathy, Princess? I know all about missing messages and calls because the phone is in vibrate mode, too. No worries.

WA- Once in a decade is my shopping frequency for jeans, too. I bought the last pair in '97.

8:51 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We are spirits clad in veils:
Man by man was never seen:
All our deep communing fails
To remove the shadowy screen."

1:47 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

CA- "Like the stars that gem the sky,
Far apart, though seeming near,
In our light we scattered lie;
All is thus but starlight here."

Missus Em has googled it.

6:48 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

missus em: high-rise buildings are in vogue these days in India .. not jeans ..

6:37 am  
Blogger Lalita said...

Ram- Too right. But jeans with waists where they are supposed to be, well fitted, are so good their passing ought to be mourned. I hope they come back in vogue soon. :-)

9:30 am  

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