Blue Jeans, Baby by Founder Tish

A good friend told me today that she’s never met anyone quite so obsessed with jeans as me. My answer was that if anyone else had had the wild and wooly denim ride I’ve had over the past two years, they’d be every bit as manic.

It began with what was supposed to be a one-time denim splurge–a pair of gorgeous, faded black, boot-leg Sevens that cost more than all the pajama bottoms and sweatpants I’ve ever owned. But, I reasoned with myself, the cost was justified as I planned to wear them constantly. The cost per wearing would be so low, I figured I couldn’t afford NOT to buy them. I picked them up just after Town House sold (and I went into my own personal agoraphobic hell, which left me five pounds lighter) and they served me well until spring, making me feel fairly normal and chic the few times I got out of the house and mixed with actual people. Their ultimate fate? My husband accidentally threw them into a hot dryer, I gained a few post-recluse pounds. There’ll be no squeezing into them ever again. Cost per wearing = about $18.

Naturally, once I got through the five stages of shrinkage grief, I dove back into the expensive jean pool, snapping up a faded-beyond-belief-with-requisite-rock-star-shreds-and-holes pair of flares. Also Sevens. The week after I bought them, the fashion world declared flares to be over and I had them taken in. Big mistake. My rock star jeans looked like something you’d see on a pasty teenage boy, only he’d have made them more stylish by sewing marijuana and ACDC patches on the ass and never, ever washing them. Ultimate fate? Other than my own bastardization of their once glorious cut, my husband threw them in a hot dryer, rendering them both ugly AND too small. CPW = $200. Worn once, they didn’t even take me into summer 2006.

Being a girl who learns from her mistakes, I thought I’d give chichi jeans one more go. This time, NO dryer and no more buying jeans that actually fit. Nooo way. I wasn’t going to be sucked into that scheme again. This time I bought overpriced blue Seven jeans one size too big. That the rear end sagged like my toddler nephew’s onesie didn’t bother me in the slightest. These jeans took me to New York and back. Through interviews and editor lunches. To LA, and Boston. They were with me waiting by my gate at JFK while terrorists were arrested for attempting to bomb the gasline. They were with me when David Spade held the door for my kids and I at Norm’s in West Hollywood. They’d be with me still if not for one unfortunate event: my husband threw them into a hot dryer. CPW= about $2. They served me well. RIP, my darlings.

This all-too-brief Golden Age in my denim history was followed by what I now refer to as my Fleece and Flannel Period. I’d been spoiled by blue Sevens and dared not attempt jeans again. It was nothing but sweatpants and lumberjack pajama bottoms for longer than I care to admit. Oh, I gambled on a few pairs of American Eagle jeans, but they were centimeters too short and, as a result of slipshod and callous bodily calculations, sliced me in half dangerously close to the bladder.

Which brings us to publication day. I didn’t need a publicist to tell me I couldn’t show up at book events in my flannels. Back to the expensive jeans store, the very source of my angst. This time, I choose a straightforward, mid-rise, dark blue pair of straight-leg jeans. Nothing spectacular, nothing rock star-ish. A sensible choice, I thought. My denim senses were maturing. I managed to squeak two wears out of them–one with Rex Pickett and Anna David, the other in a New York heat wave with far-too-wintry boots and always-summery Patry Francis. Then I went home and it happened. My husband threw them into a hot dryer. CPW = $120.

Two years later and it’s finally sunken in. I’m a denim fool. Having nothing to wear for my Word on the Street reading this Sunday in Toronto, I marched straight past the pricey store and straight into Gap. I bought two pairs of sale jeans, both darkish Long and Lean cut, and skipped out of there for less than a quarter of the cost of any of the others. And the truth is, my ass looks just as lousy in these as they did in the fancy jeans. And the best part? Based on my crappy average CPW of $85 over the past two years, I can’t lose. Even if my husband throws them into a hot dryer while they’re still inside the bag, tags attached, my numbers have to improve. They only cost $69.

23 Replies to “Blue Jeans, Baby by Founder Tish”

  1. I love denim too. I take better care of my Sevens and Joe’s Jeans (from Anthropologie) than I do most of my other clothes! And think of the cost per wearing for a wedding gown and maybe you’ll feel better about your CPW on your jeans?

    But my FAVORITE jeans are good old Levis! The make a straight leg style that’s hard to find now. I’ve actually bought two pair on EBAY (I know, from strangers! Ick! God bless Clorox.) to get a more into my closet. The bootleg version is at Kohl’s and sometimes even Costco. The Levi to Sevens cost ratio is about 6 pair of Levi’s to one pair of Sevens!

    Happy weekend!

  2. Kim–don’t feel guilty for feeding my obsession. I’ts not at all like giving an alcoholic a beer. 😉 PLEASE tell me more about these jeans so I can need them too! Are they 501s? I love them already.

  3. Nouveau low straight 505’s. I had to pull them down to my ankle to read the tag…. I’m rather straight down, not all that curvy. The boot legs are (running upstairs to check, be right back….) Huff, puff, “Nouveau boot cut 515.” Those are the ones I can find at Kohl’s and last year at Costco. Now Costco has Gloria Vanderbilt. I wore GV’s in 1978 and I am not going back. If only Vidal Sassoon and Chic would return to the shelves!

    And I think I told you on Backspace how much I enjoyed Townhouse. Great story and I’m from Boston, so I got a kick out of the setting. Congrats on the wonderful book.


  4. So I guess I shouldn’t be bummed that my husband hasn’t done laundry in 20 years?
    Ah, but now, my ambitious girls do laundry (if, and only if, their own clothes clean status is in the offing), and now my jeans are every bit as likely to be shrunk by my teens. I guess I take heart that my son won’t do a thing to them!

  5. Eileen – he does do laundry. But he draws the line at dog vomit.

    Kim – I’m going after the 505s. You had me at Nouveau. And thanks for the kind words!

    Jenny – Where does he stand on dog vomit? I’m impressed that any teens in your house do laundry. My teen is just as happy to wear whatever he finds under his bed.

  6. Hilarious Tish! It makes me want to go through my whole wardrobe and try to figure out the CPW. Also… I NEVER let my husband anywhere NEAR the laundry because he throws everything in together on hot.

  7. Tish, I hope I’ll see you tomorrow at WOTS and now I’ll be looking at your jeans with particular interest! (If you spot me coming up and checking out your behind, this post is the reason.)

    And please remind me to tell you about an amazing jeans store that’s (I think) in your neck of the woods. Buy one pair, the second is half price. Always. And they have everything, from Levis to the $250 ones. This could take you CPW down a fair bit.

  8. Larramie – You’re right – that title would be much better. I realized this morning that my title sucked and wanted to change it to Forever in Blue Jeans. Of course that would be a lie. Maybe Forever in Sweatpants.

    Gail – My friend has convinced me that you can justify pretty much any purchase with an optimistic CPW. You’re so smart to block off the laundry room from your husband. If I weren’t always so desperate to find a clean pair of underwear, I’d do the same. (Hey, when faced with nothing but the threadbare granny panties at the back of the drawer, CPW takes a back seat)

    Danielle – Ooh, I’m so happy you’ll be there! Come to the Great Books Pavillion at 4:30 if you can, I’m reading. You can ask wild questions during the Q & A! Actually, Bravo’s Arts & Minds is supposed to tape my segment, so I have to practice reading slowly in the morning…

    I know that store – but have never shopped there. I was going to last week, but got lazy and went into Gap instead. But the pair I bought for tomorrow is overdyed (I just realized tonight) and needs to be washed before wearing. And since I’m too paranoid about what might befall me if I DON’T wash before wearing, I’ve just washed them (in cold, fear not!). So now they have only, um, 17 hours to dry on their own. Right now they’re hanging near the fireplace. Cross fingers.

  9. Dog vomit goes to him. I pretend I didn’t see it 😉 . I have had my share to clean, esp after one of our dogs dines on deer/fox poo in the yard. And THAT is the worst of the worst…
    My ugly task is cleaning up parrot poo daily. Any idea how many times a parrot poos in a day? More than I care to count…

  10. Jenny – Deer and fox poo. Much more gourmet than dog and cat poo. I’m wondering if you should introduce your feces-loving dog to the bottom of your parrot cage. I mean, if he’s going to vomit anyway…;)

  11. We once had a feces-loving German Shepherd. He’d dine out back, then come inside and retch it all up in liquid form. No worse substance on earth. When my first son was learning to walk, he toddled out of the hall into the dining room and we heard a splat. Ran in to find my freshly bathed nine-month old had fallen face-first in a bog of partially digested liquid poo. He was covered in it, head to toe. There are no words.

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