I had a gift for driving my grandparents to tears, especially when it came to clothes.
Buying a new pair of jeans took a lot of work. You couldn’t just buy them, wear them, and off you go. First you had to make sure you got the right kind; Lees or Levis were the only permissible options. Then you had to bleach them or make the jeans look old as hell. That involved bleaching or making them filthy and grinding in the dirt, and washing them repeatedly.
Anyone caught wearing deep blue, brand new, blue jeans were completely crossed off the guest list for the cool kids table at lunch. Of course we had rebels, boys mainly, whose moms shopped for them at the local hardware store and bought them flannel and denim without any consideration for their child’s social health. I look back at some of those pics and shake my head. Imagine walking out the door in the morning and looking over and seeing Dad, Grandpa, the drunk from down the road, and 50 other men in your farming community with the exact same outfit on? Try that and then go to school and see if you can lean back against the lockers and wheel in the girls … no way.
I have never attended any of my school reunions but I bet if I did, some of those farm boys are still single, or they had an arranged marriage for the sake of merging cattle herds or farm land. No-one talks about that but it is the only explanation for two people who never spoke to one another at all during their entire lives until they woke up one morning married and headed out to meet the day, he on the combine, she on the bailer. It’s like they were kidnapped after they went to bed the night before, married and placed in the home place, with their parents finally able to take a weekend in the Okanagan and try swimming.
It is either that or when there was no-one left to marry they got each other by default, like the last two people left after the pairing up in gym class for the section on square dancing … “OK, and that leaves John and Mary, go stand next to Muffy and Biff!”
May they live happily ever after.
They probably have a happier life than any of the rest of us. It is either the arranged marriage of the lack of teeth that makes the magic happen.
So back to the jeans … after we got them looking suitably distressed (those kids of the 80’s have no idea how lucky they were to be able to buy jeans already done for them) we had to get the hems frayed as soon as possible. You always bought them longer than you needed so you walked on them a bit. You spent a lot of time walking on them and blocking out your grandparents whining about how you were walking on your jeans and you were going to wear them out. Then they would point to the fraying bits and start to cry and look at you with such disappointment. I was never sure what the correct response was in that situation. Did you say you were sorry, you were disappointed in yourself too? Did you get them a sympathy card saying that you were so sorry that their child had ended up being a pant destroyer? I swear there were times I just had no idea what the heck they wanted from me. The worst was when they would insist you needed a belt to keep the hems from dragging on the ground. Have you ever had to wear hipsters pulled up under your arm pits with a belt tightly cinched across your chest to keep them up so your pants did not drag?? It was even worse when your grandfather got out a pair of suspenders.
And then … came the splitting the bottom seam and adding in more blue jean material or some cool fabric to make them bell bottoms. You had to do that in the dark, under your bed, hiding your stash of needles and thread, and not present the jeans until the damage was completely done and there was no going back. It helped to strengthen your buttocks, hide the belt you had been given (being disciplined with your own apparel has to be beyond humiliating) and clear your social calendar for the amount of time you were likely to be grounded.
Once you got out of the hole, you could carry on being cool.
Don’t tell me that good fashion does not exact blood from it’s loyal servants.
At least when those jeans wore out it was just another excuse for a cool patch of some kind. And then when they were in shreds you might still be able to salvage them for shorts and then keep any other material for fringe to sew on a shirt or jacket or purse, or even patches for other jeans.
We may not have had a computer generated “paint” program back in the day but we had denim.
Recycling should have bought us some brownie points with the parental units but my sojourn into blue jean design taught me more than fashion, art, social awareness and unfair penal practices. It taught me about communicating to win. Trying to reform the existing practices of punishment by proving your parents wrong and showing them how you actually did respect your clothes, and made them last, AND managed to graduate high school alive and with street cred and friends who signed your year book is not a good move. It just makes you a bigger target for reprogramming, involving the need to break you prior to more brainwashing.
I think that is why so many of my generation left home as soon as we could and headed straight to Woodstock.
SKIN: Lara Hurley
Dakota – Blondes
..Eyes Intense Dark Brown
s Whisper Lashes
] Elly – Glam Lipstick/Teeth – (Burgundy)
JEANS: :Moon Amore: Ohana Jeans (Patched)