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Distressed over jeans

The other day I saw two young women walking down my street. One of them wore a pair of distressed jeans. You’ve seen these around. I mean, these poor jeans were in such distress they were about to dissolve into thin air.

Another way of saying this is they were ripped to shreds, as in, there were more shreds than material holding them together. I’m not exaggerating this time. I marveled at this phenomena. At first I thought she’d painted her legs with white, horizontal stripes, which would be cheaper.

Now, I’m from a generation who understands odd fashion trends like, well, I can’t come up with any on a par with this one. Except we did fork over too much coin for mini-skirts and hot pants, which left little to the imagination.

Since seeing this extreme version of “anti-jeans,” I’ve wondered how challenging they would be to put on without getting tangled and watching my feet erupt at odd places and angles. Other pieces of me would likely sally forth as well. I’ll get back to this fashion anomaly shortly.

So, here we are with an open state! Woo-hoo! Yeah? There are friends, plays, churches, concerts and wineries at the beckon. When we’re not busy setting heat records, I’m ready to emerge again, though my clothes have shrunk. Nothing fits like it’s supposed to. Can I get an amen?

The other day I went shopping for groceries at Fred’s, and in a frenzy of panicked determination, I veered left toward clothing. I found a nice roomy top — beautiful blue that will blouse nicely over my generous portions.

Then, I tried on jeans — that most dreaded of futile exercises. Why kid myself, I thought, and grabbed a couple specimens two sizes larger than my former self. One was a white, skinny (in name only) number with, you guessed it, distressed (oy vey) knees. I felt just reckless enough to give them a shot. Did I say they were white?

I entered the dressing room valiantly and proceeded to stick my right foot right through the knee-hole. Most britches don’t have knee-holes, I reminded myself. Did the same thing with the left, but I extricated them successfully without further duress to the jeans, which had been through enough. Though they were holey, it was an intentional statement of fashion, making it OK, and I decided to plunk down perfectly good money to wear something, anything other than the same three pairs of fading, frowsy jeans I’ve lounged in for the past 14 months, which were already on the tacky side of old. I’m sick of the sight of them.

Yesterday I found two videos on YouTube about the propriety of “wearing distressed jeans after a certain age.” Yes, they’re out there, people. These kindred spirits were confident as they modeled their understated ripped numbers in varying styles. One of them said distressed jeans were OK for older women as long as they didn’t go “too far.” The women or the jeans, you might ask.

Like, you might want to keep the rips lower down and smaller in circumference. Less is more. I find all this utterly charming and ridiculous that they’re even discussing it. I mean, who buys pants that look like you’ve been scrubbing floors on your hands and knees for years? Or, in a fit of pent, cabin fever rage you went hog-wild with a box cutter? Anyway, I did. And the sweet, Southern ladies convinced me that my fashion hunch was right, plus I’ve reached the fine vintage where I don’t really care that much.

Time and intentional eating habits will return me to my rightful size. Until then, I will embrace the present me (and you), and greet sunny days (indoors) and breezy nights in my new coming-out clothes, literally and figuratively. I just hope that when I sit my ivory knees don’t rise like bread dough through the holes. That would be embarrassing.

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer/author, while posing as a fashion bon vivant. Reach her at pcdover@hotmail.com.