Monday, June 29, 2009

I love the smell of bleached denim in the morning...

I loved my ‘80s-era bleached and ripped jeans, I really did. I took a pair of nondescript Zena brand jeans and turned them into a creation of holes and stains like nobody else. That first rip was so liberating…I felt like such a rebel! I made the first cut after careful examination of where it would end up as it grew and frayed. I cut, and then put them on and sat down to allow my knee to protrude through and make an authentic rip. Once in elementary school I had a power push with my mom over wearing my favorite jeans to school because I’d fallen on the hardcourt and ripped a small hole in the knee. I didn’t care, I wanted to wear them. But my mom I guess thought they made it look like I was unkempt or uncared for…I really don’t know, lots of kids had a hole in the knee of their jeans. But in high school, I would win the battle. I bought the jeans, I ripped the jeans, and dammit I would WEAR the jeans to school!

Of course, despite my anticipation of fashion glory, nobody really noticed my jeans, probably because half the school was already wearing the same thing themselves. They weren’t impressed with my admittedly cautious attempt at rebellious style, and I received no accolades for my wares. No, what I needed was more panache, more defiance to the preppy domination that defined my high school. I needed bleach!

Off to the utility sink in the garage I went, armed with nothing more than a spray bottle and a dream. Utilizing the spray bottle’s various squirt options I created a masterpiece of faded streaks, blotches, and spots. Yes! These…these are what the 1980s are all about! These jeans will get me featured in a cute candid shot on the fashion pages of the yearbook! (They didn’t.) These jeans will make little sophomores look up to me as a truly cool senior (Mmmm, if they did, they never mentioned it to me.)

In all honesty, nothing magical resulted from destroying said denim. But I wore the heck out of them, feeling all hippie flower child and Edie Brickell every time I did. I rolled the cuffs and paired them with my Reebok Freestyle hi-tops and Vuarnet sunglasses T-shirt. I was it, man; I was the ‘80s personified…in my own mind.

Twenty years later, I still have those jeans. It’s amazing what 20 years will do to bleached denim. They’re now an unappetizing shade of dingy yellow, with holes where I never intended due simply to chemical breakdown of the fabric. Somewhere along the line I sewed on some flower appliqués in an attempt to make them more hippie style. At one point the seat ripped open and had to be patched. But I kept them all this time for a few reasons. One was vanity: If I could still fit into my high school jeans, I knew I hadn’t gained weight. I didn’t need a scale as long as I had my Zena jeans. The second reason was that I wanted to wear them to my 20th high school reunion, which is next month. Trying them on last week I came to realize that’s not going to happen. Again, vanity wins. These sad pants just aren’t as flattering as they used to be. For one, they’re REALLY high-waisted and there’s no disguising that unfavorable feature. And, sadly, the few pounds I’ve gained since high school are in all the wrong places for this style of pants. So I won’t be showing up in public looking like I just stepped out of a DeLorean originating from June 3, 1989. And while the scent of bleached denim still transports me back to my teenage years, my beautiful personal-stylized jeans will remain where they are, in a storage bin under the guest bed. Unless, of course, I decide to construct a life-size shadow box in which to display them. That wouldn’t be weird, right?

1 comment:

  1. I noticed them....those jeans. Heather & I had our creative destruction day, as well. The key was in the proper fray-work. Sheezus...I hope this fad does not reappear as all the other lousy 80's styles have. Kids today....