Such is the life of student, a tightwad, and a globetrotting serial intern that luxury jeans are somewhat unattainable. I look at them, I like them, I feel them, I need them…and then I go and find a pair for cheaper.
When there’s a city, or a sunset, or a cliff-top temple to visit, my wallet tends to fly open and dollars just dissolve from my account. Unfortunately, said generosity doesn’t apply in clothing stores, as the thought of throwing $100 on jeans makes me break out in a cold sweat.
I had a posh pair once — a polka-dot pair, of the most wonderful, most overpriced jeans you ever saw. Oh, how I loved them. Where are they now you ask? Well, the damn luxe denim was so thin it wore through, and it also happened to be the year I grew five inches anyway. (That was probably when my mum vowed never to buy me nice pants again.)
I’ve been blessed (or cursed) with a lanky, athletic frame — long legs, lame butt, no hips. Thanks, Dad. And so much so, that I’ve been mistaken for a "him" one too many times and I look wretched in bodycon. Granted, a pixie cut doesn’t exactly help my case, but nevertheless, getting jeans to fit both my shape and my unwilling wallet proves a nightmare situation. Until I shopped in the little boys' department.
To cut a long story short, I wound up in Sydney, I had no money, and I needed a job, pronto. FYI, Sydney isn’t the beer-guzzling, beach-bum paradise you’d think it would be — you need serious dollars to get by. I was given a trial as a formal waitress — bad decision on their part — for which I needed black pants and shoes. (I should point out I did turn up to my first trial in Bali-beaten sandals and the shorts I’d squeezed out from my suitcase but was hastily sent home, so technically, this would be my second trial.)
Cheap pants and Sydney are mutually exclusive. In a haven of chic boutiques and indie labels, searching for something "that’ll do" proved near impossible. "No, I don’t have $400, and eco-cotton isn’t my priority right now."
Giving up on both the job and the impossible, I spent my spare $10 on comfort food and wine instead. Perhaps one of my most brilliant decisions to date, that grocery store had all the answers. Cheap wine, reduced snacks, and a strategically placed kids' clothing section. I think on reflection I probably scared some parents as I ran with such glee over to the rack of boys' skinny jeans. Black, slim-leg, and a $12 price tag. Whether they’re actually meant to be cropped I’ll never know, but if I roll up the cuff, it looks intentional. Heck, they’ve even got an adjustable waist, proving handy for big dinner days and/or tucking in extra layers.
Dinner, drinks, jeans, and change from $20, and most importantly, a life lesson learnt: Never underestimate the grocery store.
At the time, I was working at a fashion magazine in Sydney where I paraded my infant jeans with pride. Whether it was the quirky length, the spray-on fit, or the fact that my jeans before really were just terrible, I’d never received so many compliments. Sydney gave me the thumbs-up. I think I even got my first wolf whistle.
From Sydney to Hong Kong to New York, and now back in London, to this very day I’m using “I bought them overseas” to satisfy people’s inquisitiveness, all the while sounding like an exotic shopper. I mean, I think people genuinely like them — at least, they say they do (or they’re just as good liars as I am).
At Fashion Week, I seemed to successfully convince a medley of street-style snappers with my bent truth, as they demanded to know everything but the fiber content of my what-I-like-to-consider-perfect jeans. Should I be blushing that I wore $12 children’s denim to sit behind Anna Wintour at the spring '13 Mulberry show?
Killer with heels, kick-ass with Converses, a match made in heaven with my thigh-high boots, and now the secret is out. The world’s best fitting jeans — the ones that invent curves (they’re that tight), add inches to my legs (the 7/8th-length does wonders), and cost less than my mojitos (well, mojito) from the grocery store. If you need me, I’ll be in the kids' department.