I’m a big believer in signs. I got two glaring ones that my husband and I were meant to be. The first came when I realized “Enzo” as his friends called him, was short for Lorenzo. The same name as my cat. The second came when he recognized not just the brand, but the cut of jeans I was wearing on one of our first dates. Lorenzo, like me, is addicted to premium denim.
I consider myself a frugal person. Not cheap, but frugal. Maybe it’s the Italian in me. I do like nice things, but I don’t like to spend a lot to get them. So, I’ve learned how to sniff out the best deals and have acquired some great stuff at deep discounts. (for ex: i’m a big fan of efashionhouse.com for their deeply dicounted handbags. Tanos are my favorite.) As a general rule, I never, ever pay full price for anything. With one exception – jeans.
When it comes to jeans, I think nothing of $319 price tags hanging from a rack of True Religions. A pair of $165 7 for All Mankind bootcuts are so “cheap,” I can’t afford not to buy them. $225 for AG stretch skinny jeans that I can only wear with one particular pair of shoes? Sure, why not? My butt looks good. Oh yes, it’s bad. And, it’s contagious. I’ve gotten several friends and even my older brother and sister hooked on premium denim too. I’m proud to say I was there the first time my brother tried on True Religions. “Fucking awesome.” That’s all he said. The next day I swore I saw one of his Guatemalan laborers wearing his old jeans.
While I was on my honeymoon, I walked by the Levi’s store just off Rodeo Drive. A pair of super cute, 501 low rise boyfriend jeans called to me from the window. I pulled them off the shelf and over my hips and almost cried at how they felt (not to mention how they looked). I could already see myself walking around Boston in them – a white tank, a bright scarf, maybe a pair of gladiator sandals and raybans to top it off. I threw my dojos back on and went to the register to pay.
I pulled out my debit card to cover the cost. Went to swipe. And then I saw the total in little green numbers on the screen. $55. $55???? $55. WTF?? I whipped around fully expecting to see Ashton Kutcher and the rest of the Punkd crew.
“Enz, these are $55.”
“Are they used?”
Turned to the full sleeve tatooed, pierced neck salesboy – “Are they used?”
“No, we only sell new jeans.”
“Why are they so cheap?”
“Ummmmm, becuz that’s what they cost?” Wiseass.
Wow. And then for a second I thought to myself, “maybe I shouldn’t get them.” I had sticker shock. They cost about 1/4 of my typical pair of jeans and I hadn’t paid less than $100 for jeans since my original Guess with the red and white question mark label circa 1986. And if you factor in inflation and cost of living, I was paying top dollar even then. How could this be? They look sooooo cute. They felt sooooo good. I felt confused and cheap and deceived and used. If I bought them, what next? Would I soon find myself in a pair of Lee Custom Riders?
After ten minutes of mental ping pong I decided to buy them. I’d figure out what to tell my friends later.
What do you guys think? Is any pair of jeans worth several hundred dollars? Are today’s designer jeans better than the original tried and true, all American Levis?