Dear Levi’s High Waisted Skinny Jeans,
You are my favorite pair of jeans. You came to me at a time in my life when I needed something to help me feel good, to help me feel better. My best friend had recently passed and I was in the process of reinventing myself – although I don’t think I was fully aware of this reinvention at the time.
I was shopping at Buffalo Exchange in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) when I found you. You were just a lovely shade of dark wash denim. I tried you on and you fit almost perfectly. You were just a tad big in the waist, but you hugged my thighs and butt in the most flattering way. I bought you; I knew I could work with the waist. You were actually the first pair of pants I had tailored. I remember being surprised at how inexpensive it was to have someone take the waist in. I thought tailoring was only for the rich and famous. When the alteration was finished and the tailor returned you to me, you fit perfectly. I think it was the first time that something as simple as a pair of blue jeans made me feel sexy. And for that, I’d like to thank you, for helping to boost my confidence and own my womanhood.
I don’t always like to tell people that I had the waist taken in. I feel body shamed with comments of being told “you’re so skinny.” They don’t know what I went through. The pain and the heartache I endured. The trauma I experienced. I was grieving. Grief looks different on everyone. I wasn’t healthy even if I was thin. It wasn’t a conscious decision. I went through phases of eating and not eating. Grief is a bitch that way.
At some point, I outgrew my beloved jeans and was forlorn over it. Of course, I held on to them because of the deep love. Before I outgrew them, I ripped a hole in the crotch from too many wears. I had it patched up. Some time later, I ripped another hole in the crotch. I also had it patched up. Even with two patched holes, I still felt sexy. These were my go-to pants. They looked great dressed up or dressed down, with sandals and boots. They hugged every part of my body below the navel and I felt comfortable. This comfort was a foreign feeling as I was living in grief’s house. If you’ve been to that house, you know there’s noting comfortable about it.
Some years later, I fit back into my beloved jeans. Eventually, I ripped a third hole in them, this time below the butt pocket. And I mended it myself. I repaired it because I know how to do that now. That’s what I do. I mend the broken parts of myself and I keep working, just like a good pair of jeans.
I don’t live in the house that grief built anymore. It did take some time to move out. And for the first time since then, I feel more comfortable in my own skin. I feel more confident than perhaps I ever have. These Levi’s jeans, simple as they may be, were a glimpse of what looking good and feeling good can do for a person’s mental health. These jeans made me feel sexy when that couldn’t have been further to what I was feeling on the inside. And I still feel sexy eight years and four patches later.
When you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, you have the power to change.
Whatever makes you feel good – a pair of jeans, a bowtie, red lipstick, going braless, or fresh white kicks – go for it. Wear it. Put in on. Take it off. Life is too short and too hard, sometimes through no fault of our own, to wear items that don’t make you feel like the sexy motherfucker that you are.
** This project was a homework assignment from the Fashion Revolution course Who Made My Clothes? The course consisted of researching an article of clothing in our closets down the supply chain to learn about the lifecycle of our clothes and see if we are able to find out who made our clothes. I choose to research my favorite pair of jeans. I learned that Levi’s is more transparent than many other clothing companies and was an early adopter of the sustainable fashion ideal. They are a company that considers the health and well-being of their employees and have checked to make sure their factories are safe to work in.
I bought the jeans second hand. However, after learning that Levi’s is a company with a plan in place to consider the triple bottom line more, I feel a lot better about owning and loving these jeans so much.