Denim is a staple in many of our wardrobes. We wear it weekly, or even daily, not really acknowledging our involved and complicated relationship with this sturdy and versatile fabric. Our relationship with denim is like dating: at first difficult and tumultuous, developing into a beautiful and loving coexistence—only to eventually end in a split (sometimes even literally).
I will be examining our relationship with shopping for denim jeans, inspired partially by Kitty Hauser’s “Fingerprint of the Second Skin” (2005).
Shopping for denim jeans is difficult to say the least, in fact, I think it is something even people who love to shop find difficult. The process is exhausting. We enter a store, decide on styles and cuts that look appealing and flattering, grab a few different sizes and washes, and head to the fitting room—only to find out that in fact your usual size does not fit, and all of the styles are too long/short, frumpy, or unflattering. Not to mention at this point, you are drenched in sweat—getting in and out of denim is physically more demanding than one would think.
After these trials and tribulations, finding a pair of denim jeans you love is blissful. This process of selecting denim is deeply personal, laborious, and absolutely an investment of time and energy, much like the process of dating.
Once finding a pair, you are now set on a much longer and stable relationship with not just the pair of jeans, but also a company, style, size, and wash. There is a beauty to ordering jeans online that you know will fit and that you will like, without going through the tumultuous shopping process.
We then love and enjoy this relationship with our denim jeans. The versatile denim pants are worn time after time, accompanying the wearer through multiple seasons and phases of personal style.
Yet, like with any garment, our denim jeans give out. They rip at the seams or are simply too faded or worn out to wear any longer. You must then bid farewell to your beloved denim, and start the process over again.
Our relationship with denim is so intimate and delicate, yet the fabric is sturdy and strong. Denim’s longevity allows us to build a deeply personal relationship with these garments. The shopping is difficult, exhausting, and dreadful—but eventually, you find a pair you love and adore until it is time to say goodbye—a lasting relationship between denim and its wearer.
By Arielle Murphy