Day 23,673: The Price of Jeans

How much should a pair of jeans cost? It’s not an easy answer, and depends not only on your salary, but your life stage and need to feel good in your own blue skin. As a teen, I only bought Wranglers. I’d travel to find a real Wrangler store to get my specific Wranglers. The jeans weren’t super expensive, but getting to the store was, and when the store closed, I was at a loss. Wranglers can still be had, but they’re just not the same for me.

In my late twenties, I was thrilled to give up the blue and confidently don a pair of white jeans, a real achievement for a girl with hips always fighting weight. It was a moment in time in a mirror that I will never forget.  I have worn some white jeans since, but never with the confidence and freedom of that short-lived moment.

Perhaps in my early thirties I became a mom jean person. It was a time of life when you save your pennies to buy the cutest little jeans for your little ones, and momentarily lose your sense of the importance of decent fitting pants for yourself. They have happily disappeared from my life – the jeans not the little ones.

Sometime in my late thirties I was introduced to a specialty store when a woman convinced me that I really could find jeans that fit the way jeans should if only I could get up the nerve to enter the store. She was correct, but she didn’t alert me to the potential cost. That was where I purchased my most expensive jeans ever nearing closer to $79 if memory serves. It was a ridiculous sum, but I wore those pants for years.

Since those times I have settled in the $20 club that gets me everything from jean jeggings at Sam’s Club to TJ Maxx brand markdowns, and just this past weekend great jeans from Old Navy for about the same price. I am more particular, but not so particular that I feel I have to spring for overpriced denim.

Then I went shopping with my 20-something no-longer little one in a huge mall in Pennsylvania for jeans for her.  We went to all the stores from The Gap, to Old Navy, to every other store in the mall. Nothing fit right and she has a far better figure than I ever had or could hope to have. Finally, in desperation, we ended up at the Lucky Brand Jeans store. It was a Hail Mary stop. We’ve toyed with Lucky Brand before but only on deep discount at TJ. This day, however, they were the only jeans that fit her right and made her feel right. The price was an issue. They were full price not discounted.

Her budget is not at the point where she should spend hefty money on jeans, and yet I couldn’t say I hadn’t spent that at a time in my younger life when I, too, couldn’t find a perfect pair of pants.  I also couldn’t say that I wouldn’t or shouldn’t have bought them in my twenties when you’re the only age that can truly carry those type of jeans in a wonderful way.

We hemmed and hawed, thought about what’s right and wrong, took them off and put them back on several times, and discussed how many pairs of cheaper jeans had been bought only to be prematurely discarded because they just didn’t hold their shape or promise. We jointly came to conclusion the jeans had to be had. The brand wasn’t Wranglers, but the concept was the same. And, I no longer think there is one correct price for a pair of jeans. It’s all relative to time and place in life.