I’m not a jeans girl. I’m a miniskirt and thick tights girl. I’m a shorts-and-bare-legs-even-though-it’s-grey-and-cloudy girl. I’m a maxi-dress girl. I’m a black velvet trousers rolled up at the ankle girl. I’m not a denim aficionado. I couldn't wax lyrical about the best places to find skinnies or tell you what type of Levi’s I love. I am instead the kind of girl (or should that be woman now?) who wears jeans so infrequently that people tend to comment on it whenever I do.
But maybe, just maybe, that’s less about taste and more about height. Being an inch or so off six foot, finding jeans that both fit and flatter can be something of a (hyperbolic and frivolous) nightmare. The pairs I do own are all second-hand, usually plucked up because they’re noticeably longer in the leg.
If you’re anything above about 5’8”, and even bother to look at the trousers rail, your eyes will be firmly stuck on the hems, searching for any that protrude below the others. Usually this is followed by disappointment in the fitting room when either you can’t pull them past your thighs, or the waistline is so voluminous that they immediately slip back down to your knees. Occasionally, very, very occasionally, you might get lucky. This has happened to me perhaps three times in the last two years. Admittedly that’s also because I’m more likely to be found shimmying my way into cotton sun-frocks than skinny jeans. Regardless, there was a genuine thrill in these acquisitions. Perhaps it’s all about scarcity – the harder it is to find something, the more they’re appreciated when located.
I feel like I need to clarify that opening statement further. I’m not a jeans girl, but I do enjoy wearing them. It’s just a sporadic pleasure rather than integral part of my wardrobe. There’s a kind of easy power to be found in jeans, whether we’re talking tight, high-waisted ones worn with a vintage yellow button-up halter-top (my best friend and I have decided we want to revive and occasionally embody the phrase “fifties sexpot”), green jeans with a fancy evening coat, or these seventies-esque flared beauties pictured above which work so well with prints, waistcoats and curly hair. I feel like I can stride in jeans. I can do practical things. I can jump about and cycle and climb trees - all activities that, in my usual skirts/dresses, mean I inadvertently end up flashing unsuspecting strangers.
Maybe it’s more about conformity then? As someone who, more than she’d like to admit, kind of hates looking like other people, perhaps I find jeans just a bit too ubiquitous. I’m not big on ‘staples’ or ‘must-haves’ or ‘basics’ (unless that ‘basic’ is a sixties shift). The last time jeans were a proper staple for me was aged thirteen or fourteen, when I wore my grey pair until they were more holes than denim – see evidence of them in better days here and here. In the former I claimed, somewhat hyperbolically, that “I couldn’t live without skinny jeans.” Well, six years on I’m still surviving…
Like any item though, I guess it’s what you do with it. Jeans can and do look brilliant in all sorts of circumstances – whether accompanied by a tailored silk shirt or the comfiest of comfy jumpers. They can be as pragmatic or as dressed up as required. To me they now just require some sort of special ‘something’ to give oomph to the outfit – crushed blue velvet perhaps, or an interesting neckline, or a sharply cut blazer.
So, I began this post by saying I’m not a jeans girl - though mostly due to a desire to wear other things, rather than any kind of denim vendetta. Yet still… sitting down to write this has kind of reinvigorated my interest. I suddenly remembered these Tommy Hilfiger jeans I nicked from my mum, and these ridiculous Jean-Paul Gaultier patterned ones that I still swing between viewing as marvelous and vaguely monstrous. Thus I’ll add to that opening sentence one last time – I’m not a jeans girl, but I may yet become one...
These second-hand jeans are here worn with a mix of vintage things from various charity shops - this shirt is a particular favourite of mine, while the velvet waistcoat was one of those 'whim' buys that proved incredibly satisfying. My trusty old Russell & Bromley men's boots proved great for stomping around the woods while my dad took photos.