A JEANS PERSON I’m not. If the waist is big enough, the hips are huge; if the hips fit, I can’t button the waist (a problem exacerbated by older abs that won’t lie flat). Plus, I find the fabric stiff and unyielding, and I don’t have the patience to browbeat it into submission. Leggings and yoga pants feel better. And yet, I’m wistful. I feel I’ve missed out on my entire generation’s uniform.
Until now. Last year, Gap launched a “premium” line called 1969 (in honor of the year the company began), but instead of costing $200 (not that I’d pay that) they’re more like $70. Made of soft, comfortable Japanese denim, these jeans (mine are called Always Skinny; there is a range of cuts for different bodies) have a low-ish waist that sidesteps my problem area, and straight, narrow legs that are the right degree of tightness. No gimmicky stitching, strange washes, or visible logos. I got a black pair, a gray pair, and an indigo pair.
Caveats: I have to wear a belt lest they fall down. On one pair the top of a copper stud came off, leaving an incongruously bright blue bottom (when I wrote to complain—a hereditary trait; my grandfather did it, relentlessly—Gap customer service sent a gift certificate for new jeans: bravo!). And finally, I wonder how much I actually do want to look like everyone else. Then again, I’ve been a joiner since grade school; I’ll even wear name tags. You remember that old Bertolucci film, The Conformist? That could be me.