My inbox stays constantly packed with emails of butts in jeans. Texts of butts in jeans. Questions about butts and jeans. I suppose when one is willing to show the world photos of their own butt in dozens of pairs of jeans in multiple posts over five years, people feel comfortable sharing their own butt woes with that person.

And I’m totally cool with that, and answer every single one of them.

But every now and then, I get a real jewel of an email. An email that captures some essence of the Denim Quest that I have not yet covered.

This is one of those emails.

Gina is an American living in Egypt, and after she read my jeans posts, she felt the need to explain to her husband why she needed more jeans. But instead of saying it, she decided that writing him a letter would help him better grasp the gravity of the situation.

I think that all women everywhere can resonate with her explanation, and perhaps use it to help educate their own husband next time they need to go shopping.


Pile of Jeans

To my husband,

To help you better understand women, shopping, and the giant stack of jeans in my closet:

In my closet, I have 10 pairs of jeans. You might think this is plenty… at least for a couple of years.

And I would like to agree with you.

But I can’t, because there are so many factors involved in a pair of woman’s jeans that keep them from being a simple, easily replaced staple in one’s wardrobe.

Let me explain a little bit about my 10 pairs of jeans.

Pair 1 is “Skinny”, specifically designed for wearing only with boots or flats.

Pair 2 I can barely button around my waist, but the legs on them look great with tunics, a staple here in Cairo, so I keep them in my closet but only put them on when I’m wearing a tunic.

Pairs 3 and 4: should only be worn with boots AND tunics because they shrank in the wash. They are now tight everywhere AND short. Boots cover up the shortness nicely, and because the pants are tight, they need a longer blouse to cover the tummy area.

Pair 5 is perfect, and they can be worn with most everything EXCEPT they cannot be worn to dressy events because they are “distressed” (which is ironically also the feeling I get when I survey my current collection of jeans.)

Pair 6 has RIDICULOUS pockets (even YOU admitted to this when you saw them) and I want to toss them out, but they are a 200 dollar pair of designer jeans that were given to me, and I hate throwing out gifts.

Pair 7 is my designated “dressy” jeans. That means they are on reserve, only to be worn now and then to “dressy jeans” appropriate events. Light usage keeps their tone rich and dark, prolonging their fateful demotion to “casual jeans.”

Pair 8 is adorable, and can be worn with most things, but tiny holes are starting to appear at the top of the back pockets, so like my “dressy jeans”, I only wear them every now and then in an attempt to slow down their trip to the trash.

Pair 9 I bought in an unsuccessful attempt to acquire another pair of dressy jeans, but they are actually so long I have to cuff them, and the fabric bags at my knees making me look like I’m sitting down when I’m not. They are just a bad fit all around, but I spent a chunk of money for them, so I hate to throw them out.

(I mostly wear them around the house when no one is home.)

Lastly, pair 10 are capri jeans, which are good for warm, sunny, informal occasions and should only be worn in the summer time (possibly in late spring or early fall.)

Now, with all this in mind, I have to consider these jeans in light of my body weight, which fluctuates monthly (not to mention when dieting.) Therefore, these jeans will look and feel differently at various times of the month – sometimes even at various times within the same week.

So now you see that my jeans are never all available to me at one time. In fact, I’m doing great if one pair fits (literally and figuratively) for the appropriate occasion. To be cliché, not all jeans are created equal. They are designed for various styles, and once in a woman’s closet, will dwell there in various stages of wear and tear. Thus, shopping for jeans is complicated. When a woman shops for jeans, she might be specifically looking to replace a particular pair, but can also at the same time be scouting out possible replacements for jeans that are coming to the end of their life span or the end of their cycle (a cycle such as the migration of a well worn pair of “dressy jeans” into the “casual” category, thus opening up a vacancy for a new pair of “dressy jeans”.)

On top of ALL of this (ha ha – you thought I was finished!): Designers like to tweak the styles just a bit so that their jean designs are NEW and FRESH on a somewhat regular basis.  Consequently, a pair that I carefully selected last year and (hallelujah! Still work after 365 days) may not be on the racks, in stock, available for back order, or even selling on EBay. So an equal or better replacement jean is never a guarantee. We ladies buy when and where we can, and we always approach the jeans section with the mindset that we have NO idea if we will find what we are looking for.

Lastly, (as I’ve implied throughout this article) countless other women are in my same dilemma and buying alongside me, creating yet another reason that jeans might be unavailable, sold out, or not within my grasp. That is why women always want to check out the jeans section in stores, even when we just purchased a pair an hour earlier. It’s a race of sorts, with the prize being only temporary for the winner: A pair of jeans that looks good in the dressing room and has the potential to look good after being paid for.

The most frustrating truth of all? This is just a tiny glimpse into our world of clothing. These difficulties are not just with jeans, but with many other items in our wardrobe.  However, we are brave, and unwavering in our resolve to keep our wardrobes nice. The clothing search is always on, and as long as husbands everywhere don’t insist we live in nudist camps, we will never give up.

GinaGina is a writer, studies languages, and is unashamedly passionate about fashion.

She lives with her husband in Cairo and has no children, but they do have a large Siamese cat.

Her favorite phrase in Egyptian Arabic is “Mafish Mushkila”, which means “no worries.”

15 thoughts on “The Economics of Denim.

  1. I love this! Now I just need one about shoes…purses….jewelry…to keep on hand in case of inquisitions via hubby.

    I have a request for your next denim venture…maternity jeans! (As far as I can remember, you haven’t done a post on them yet, although maybe you did and I’m just experiencing my first bout of pregnancy brain!)

    But yeah, I seem to be one of the lucky ones (read : sarcasm) who chunks up almost immediately. Right now I’m getting by with my old jeans using the ‘ole ponytail-holder-around-the-button trick, but that isn’t going to last much longer and I’ll have to start the great maternity denim hunt. I just can’t imagine how jeans that come in sizes like small, medium, and large can even remotely fit well or be flattering! So any advice you can give, Oh Great Denim One, feel free to toss it my way :)

  2. very well written! Although I must admit… I have only 3 pairs of jeans… one that I wore before EVER getting pregnant (that I still dream about fitting into someday)… the second is a pair that I got between my 1st and 2nd pregnancies that actually fit me between the 2nd and 3rd pregnancies (of which I am in now) and I desperately hope i can fit into after baby #3 is born… and then my 3rd pair is the only one I can “fit into” at this time, but it is a pair of maternity jeans that i have worn through all 3 pregnancies and are now looking pitiful, have shrunk in length, the belly part is stretched WAY out and therefore constantly require me to pull them back into position… so… I am beginning to feel slightly jealous of the fact that someone has 10 pairs that usually fit in some way for a certain occassion…

    please continue to jean shop and donate any maternity jeans my way… ;)

    1. All maternity jeans are horrible. Horrible, horrible, horrible! So just bear through this difficult denim time in life and promise yourself to buy some great jeans once you’re back to being just you.

  3. So proud that I’ve finally gotten rid of my Old Navy jeans — I saved up and bought 6 pair (most from Express, but I did luck out on one pair from a 2nd hand store! and bought one pair in a western wear store locally!).

    Now that I have my six pair of jeans, all my Old Navy Mom jeans are out the door! I’ll donate them, though, instead of toss them. They all have a lot of wear in them – just not by me!

  4. I’m on the hunt for a pair of jeans that will LIFT my backside instead of letting it droop. ;-) Oddly enough, the best ones I’ve found so far have been at Cato – not a brand name at all. I’ve only bought capri jeans there, but they are my favorites. I’m still hunting, though. ;-)

    1. Interesting! I’ve never searched specifically for butt-lifting jeans, but I suspect the illusion of lift or droop has a lot to do with pocket placement. Make sure your pockets come below the curvature of your butt, and it won’t look droopy!

  5. How do I avoid waist gap? Like I’m constantly having to pull up jeans no matter the rise because I have such a problem with gapping. I have a large butt, full hips and thighs, but in comparison a smaller waist. How do I avoid showing butt cleavage?

  6. I would never keep a pair of jeans that didn’t fit me perfectly for any reason. That said, I have a lot of skinny jeans, that I no longer wear much, because I am simply tired of skinny jeans. Maybe in the winter when tall boots are needed. I threw away all of my low and lower mid rise jeans, and all jeans with wacky back pocket designs. Pockets should be plain, or else they should be Levis. Really, I don’;t mind jeans being short. I like showing off my ankles with heels. I also don’t mind jeans being long, I wear heels under them. I like too long flared jeans( not bootcut) I have a LOT of jeans. But the only reason is that I love how I look in them. There is nothing better to strut your stuff. Of course, I strut MY stuff in high rise exclusively, and mom jeans as often as not. And I have never heard any complaints about my ass. Quite the opposite. BTW..thats how you avoid back gap. Stop wearing jeans that are below your hip bones. PLEASE!!! SOMEBODY STOP ME BEFORE I SHOP AGAIN!!!!!!!!

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