Although my cousin kindly refers to me as the Jolly Green Giant, I would probably be of an average height if my legs were of an average length.
However, this is not the case.
Originally, I believed the problem to be a simple matter of length, but later discovered that my lacking a meaty enough butt and thighs also creates a pants-falling-off issue. My struggle began sometime in seventh grade, at the age that I discovered that there was a thing called fashion. The go-to store at this time was Kohl’s, which generally offered the shelf denim for around $15, a decent price for clothes that a preteen would soon discard.
In school, I noticed that jeans were supposed to be cut a certain way before I noticed that they were also supposed to be a certain length, and my first round of jeans were all beautifully flared (the must-have of seventh grade) but not even long enough to hit the tops of my shoes while standing. These, predictably, were phased out shortly, passed on to some smaller neighbor child, and another shopping trip took place. At this time, I discovered that jeans were cut to different lengths- “inseam” became a new vocabulary word- and not long afterward, I learned that the long was not long enough.
With my mom, I made the rounds of the stores. It didn’t take too long to realize that there was a standard length, and very little variation among the stores. There were moments when I seriously resented shorter people. I was upset that a short inseam length even existed in the denim section- I was convinced that the material from those jeans should go into making the longs longer. I looked at the models in store advertisements, models who were tall and leggy and whose jeans seemed to be the perfect length, and I seethed that those cuts became boxy and short when they landed on the store shelves. In the time spans between denim rages, I wore jeans that were too short.
Sometime during high school, I discovered that lower-end designer jeans came in extra-long inseams. They seemed unbelievably expensive after Kohl’s’ prices, but I was sold when I tried on a pair and the hems swept the ground.
The length problem was solved, but I shortly discovered a new one- the issue of sizing. This denim, unlike the lower-quality I had worn before, stretched out significantly in washing, making jean purchases an exercise in guesswork. European sizing helped in the initial fitting, eliminating the problem of brands whose sizes ran large or, oddly enough, small (to make their customers feel more like whales). However, the pair that fit perfectly in the store stretched out nearly (but not quite) a full size after the first washing, and continued to stretch during wear until the next washing, where it shrank back to nearly one size too big. I took it back, and kindly enough, they allowed an exchange for one size down.
The new pair seemed perfect. They were a quite a bit too tight at first, but only a little too tight after washing. They settled into a cycle of varying looseness depending on the frequency of washes. After a year of wear, the denim had softened to the point that it molded perfectly to my legs, fitting well for much longer before needing a wash and shrink. One sad day, though, I split them right across the crotch while sitting down cross-legged on the grass.
For awhile, I gave that pair a mental funeral service every time I tried on jeans. Later, as I tried on more pairs in the same style, I realized that it was not the cut, but the wear, that made them so perfect. Buying already worn jeans would be ideal, but it’s hard enough to find a new pair in the right size.
Nearly all stores have jeans designed for the “curvy” figure, designed with extra space in the hip and thighs. But where are the jeans designed for the figure on whom average jeans hang a bit too loosely? Each new pair of jeans I bought dragged themselves downward, off of my too-small butt, until the denim had worn thin and soft enough.
And recently, at the end of a long and arduous search, I found the solution to all of my problems in skinny jeans. The tight-fitting calf keeps them up, and the normal 34″ “long” inseam is exactly the right length. However, I had to search for a store that actually sold them in long, because it seems that most stores don’t bother producing these, for some reason unfathomable to me. A trip to American Apparel yielded the first pairs of skinny jeans that were even remotely long enough, being cut for males, although the waist was too high for my preference and the price, although not unusual after the Buckle, was a little high for my college-student wallet’s preference.
An Internet search of a few local stores showed that most offer a long in all cuts but skinny. On a whim, I tried Express, a store that I had overlooked in the past, and found to my delight that they sell skinny jeans with the long inseam. Ten minutes in the store, and I was walking out with two new, perfect pairs, thanks to their current buy-one, get-one-half-off sale.
So the journey has ended, at least until the fashions change drastically enough that I have to revert to boot-cuts. I find skinny jeans to be the most comfortable new jeans I’ve ever worn: oddly enough, they offer a lot of mobility without all that extra fabric, and you have the added bonus of looking city-sophisticated and flaunting those troublesome legs.