Monday, January 19, 2015

still-sound 207. Jeans

Sometimes some details have to be perfect, and you can not compromise. At this time in my life, my jeans must be perfect.

I got a pair of forest green jeans nearly two years ago from Levi's fancier, prestige line called Made & Crafted.  You can imagine...Made in the USA, perhaps from vintage looms, based on classic American patterns.  I loved the jeans and wore them nearly every day for over a year.  This isn't an exaggeration.  I still wear them regularly.  They fit my legs perfectly which is not true of most of my other jeans.  I won't wear skinny jeans anymore because only Goths or Emos wear skinny jeans now.  And a 42 year old Goth / Emo is very uncool.  I'm 42.

I decided that I needed to add another pair of jeans to my wardrobe - allowing me the possibility to rotate between two, perfect pairs.  I found some of the raw denim, indigo, selvedge variety in a shop in Venice called Stag. Made & Crafted, like the forest green jeans.  They were even the same style (called Tack).  In the changing room I rummaged through the garment looking for a tag claiming 'Made in the USA'.  They were made in Turkey.  Obviously I have nothing against Turkish clothing but I had expected Made & Crafted to be proudly made in the USA.  I mean, it's kind of the point...

I bought them anyway.  They're perfect jeans.  I wear them with black boots.  

The legs were too long and I cut and hand stitched a new hem but the hem was not perfect.  They need to have been executed on a factory machine.  I wore the jeans rolled up twice so that the hem was not visible at all - but still the imperfect hem niggled at me.

I brought the jeans to a store called Denim Doctor, exactly one block away from the perfume store where I work.  I spoke with a man who introduced himself as Osweyo.  Being an unusual name, he spelled the name immediately after saying it.  I'm not exactly sure if the name was Osweyo in fact - he said it and spelled it all too fast for me to register the information.  I asked him how much it would cost to secure my hem with a sewing machine.  He said "Normally $25, but for you, $20." He wrote 'Rush' on the work ticket and told me that they'd be ready by Tuesday.  I asked him what the stitch would be like, and he answered 'the classic chain stitch'.  There was a display of Japanese magazines in the front of the store.  Apparently Denim Doctor was featured in nearly all of them.

$20 was a bit more than what I had expected to pay for the alteration.  J Crew and Nordstrom does hems for $5 - or at least that's what I had in my head.  But the perfect jeans need to have perfect hems.  Apparently perfect hems are chainstitched.

When I returned to work I told my friend Yvettra about my trip to Denim Doctor.  "Who helped you?  Jake?"  

"He said his name was Osweyo" was my reply.  

"You mean the black guy who runs the shop?'  
Yvettra exploded into laughter.  "He told me his name was Jake!"

Yvettra told me that her alterations from Denim Doctor took much longer than what Jake originally told her.  "Like a month.  You might not have your jeans for a month."  A mild panic crept into my shoulders.  Those jeans make up 50% of my wardrobe from the waist down.  A month without them would prove to be a real sacrifice.  And I paid $20 for it?  

Osweyo didn't call me on Tuesday to tell me that my jeans were ready.  No one called me.  On Wednesday several of my errands caused me a fair amount of stress and when I found myself especially strained, started thinking about the jeans.  'My jeans aren't even ready....and I paid $20 too...'

Someone called me at the end of Thursday to notify me that my jeans were ready to be picked up which is what I did the moment I got to work Friday morning.  Osweyo/Jake was not there. A man with a Jesus hair/beard combination with a Jesus physique gave me my jeans.  I put them on immediately.  

They look fine.  They're the correct hem but I'm not sure if I could confidently state that they feel like the perfect hem or if these were the perfect jeans at all.  Maybe I just need to grow into them.  Sometimes you don't realize something is perfect until you're used to it.

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