Denim Days: My Jean-etic Struggle

This week was a big week for Lidl’s, the cut price, German supermarket we’ve all grown so fond of.

Heidi Klum had weaponised its clothing range. A rash of leopard print and suede dominated the Middle or ‘Mystery’ Aisle.

I’ll admit to being wary of supermarket clothes. Useful for budget tights and the odd emergency cami top (don’t tell me you’ve never dropped something in tomato sauce down your cleavage at some point) but generally too much acrylic in the mix for my liking.

However, in amongst the cheap, viscose tops, scarves and machine-washable blazers, Heidi has thrown the ultimate wardrobe grenade: skinny jeans.

Reader, I invested. At £9.99 this dragon was ‘in.’

As I drove home with my new jeans safely stowed between two large chickens and some dried German sausage I reasoned with myself.

“They’ll either be bloody awful, in which case you’ve only lost a tenner, or they’ll be a perfect fit, so, happy days.”

They weren’t bloody awful. But neither were they quite the perfect fit.

Supermodel Heidi is 5’9” and hangs out with other supermodels of a similar height. She obviously thinks everyone has a 34” inside leg measurement.

So, they’re a little long. But, rolling them up to graze my ankle, they actually look… fine. Good, even.

And come November when I’m back in boots, no-one will ever detect those unwanted four inches. (Make your own jokes here, people.)

Jeans are a bitch to buy. The search for a good fit is seemingly endless. I know, because I started searching for ‘best fit’ in my teens and I’m still on the job today, in Executive Youth.

I remember my very first jeans. Made by Lee, my little tomboy self enjoyed wearing them as I hared around on my roller skates or tore around the adventure playground.

But something niggled.

They weren’t Brutus jeans. And Brutus jeans had the best advert with a catchy tune by David Dundas.

I had to comfort myself with generic ‘blue jeans.’ And that meant Neil Diamond. Middle of the road. Sideburns and over emphatic eyebrows. Not cool.

I had become aware of brands. This was to impact heavily on the fashion choices I made through the eighties.

No-one whose body was awash with hormones during that decade could forget the Nick Kamen ad for Levi 501s.

When I finally arrived at university I headed straight for the launderette. I thought there’d be guys stripping to their boxers left, right and centre to the strains of sexy Marvin Gaye tracks.

(What I didn’t realise was that boys don’t wash their clothes that often. Their Levis probably only made it onto the hot cycle during the vacations.)

501s were prolific. Everyone had them.

I wore them even though they were entirely wrong for my frame and leg length.

Understanding the relationship between jeans and your body shape is the basis of a good fit. It took many years writhing on the floor of assorted changing rooms to learn that one important lesson.

I struggled into Pepe, Lee Cooper, Wrangler, Esprit and Guess.

At various points in my denim history I have looked like a ranch hand, a Bros fan, a plumber’s mate and a smurf.

Through the nineties I went low rise, hipster. I tried kick flare, boot cut, straight cut and baggy. I was balancing boobs and waist and ankles.

And then everything went skinny. Which is ok, if you are just that.

But I have a small waist an ample bottom and hips. I have a long body and short legs.

It was Groundhog Day. I was back on the floors of dressing rooms across the retail sector trying to match my bodyscape to the new trend.

I wrestled with 7 For All Mankind, Moto, Zara, Gap and French Connection.

My most expensive skinny mistake was from MiH (Made in Heaven). They weren’t. They were made in Hell.

I broke out in a sweat just climbing into the things and they practically cut off the supply of blood to my ankles. All to the tune of £165.

Buying jeans sends you mad enough to pay that sort of money.

My Lidl jeans tell me I have regained my sanity.

Hurrah for Heidi. She has the interests of the impoverished aspirational at heart. (And she knows how much elastane is needed to accommodate a bottom.)

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  1. That’s it, I’m off to Lidl tomorrow. I detest shopping for jeans, but if it’s a case of spending a tenner extra whilst doing the weekly shop, what’s not to like? That and the fact that the other half will pay without even realising as it will be hidden in the ‘grocery shopping’ receipt 😉

  2. Denim jeans the great morale booster! After having my first baby the Health Visitor arrived amazed to see me in a pair, they were my Husband’s but boy was it good to wear ‘ordinary’ clothes! Many years ago but still remember the pleasure and still wearing the denim, ageless!

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