Buying jeans

Like you, I’ve bought jeans since I was probably 10 years old. The nice thing about buying jeans once you are past your adolescent years is that they stay with you for a long time. I think one of my pairs is 10 years old and I still love it.

As I was largely using 2 pairs of jeans and since one was rapidly deteriorating, I decided to buy 4 more pairs of jeans over the course of last year since I wear jeans every day and since my job after graduation won’t require me to wear formal pants anymore. In doing so, I unwittingly ran it as an experiment. In the first run, I bought what I thought was the perfect pair of jeans as it was just the color I was looking for. However, as you might guess, there’s more to a good pair of jeans than color and I realized a few days in that the pair didn’t feel comfortable. I still wear it but I don’t love it.

In my next round of jeans shopping, I decided I would prioritize feel. And, so, I did. The pairs turned out to be very comfortable. But, I realized that one of the three pairs had a really small pocket. This makes carrying my collection of items – a phone, headphones, a handkerchief (old fashioned, I know), a Fitbit and a key nearly impossible. So, I use that pair slightly less than I’d have hoped.

Now that I’ve bored you with what must seem like painfully minor details about my wardrobe, let me get to the lessons I’ve learnt –

1. Things that seem obvious often aren’t so. You’d think I would know how to buy a good pair of jeans by now. But, I only figured the process out with experimentation. My priority list expanded from color to comfort to usability (pockets). This should have been obvious but, somehow, it wasn’t. A little bit of thought can help us get to the kind of clarity that makes things obvious.

2. Conscious buying is very important. I don’t like shopping. Maybe that explains the absence of a priority list for buying jeans? I do my clothes shopping in a few hours once or twice every year. As a fan of a generally minimal wardrobe (everything I own can easily fit into 2 suitcases), being conscious while purchasing clothes is very important. That is the only way to minimize waste and make sure I make full use of whatever I buy.

3. The scientific method. The process of experimentation is vital to making good buying decisions. Jeans are a very rare buy in my case. It has been at least 4-5 years since I’ve bought a pair. As a result, I wasn’t high up on the learning curve. However, I’ve bought t-shirts more often and I’ve gotten much better at buying t-shirts that I actually like and feel comfortable wearing. This wasn’t the case a few years ago. But, you experiment and learn.

A bit of thought tends to go a long way.

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0 thoughts on “Buying jeans

  1. This is one of those personal choices that almost aligns itself with a person’s identity (maybe more so for those guys who pull on their personal “uniform” anytime specific situations don’t force them out of it). That degree of stickiness to a brand may be one of the most curious lost opportunities for brands who’ve not made the fundamental 21st-century transition into gaining future value by tapping into your consumers’ behaviors (the big-data paradigm).

    The second most curious (and frustrating) thing about finding that brand and style that fits just perfectly and contains all those features one wants is just how ridiculously inconsistent their manufacturing is in this day and age. For me, the only jeans I love are Levis 514s. But I have to go into a store and typically try on 3-4 pairs in order to find one that I sense will become another “favorite” pair. Within the same brand, style, and size, different pairs will fit slightly differently around the waist, seat, and even length. And yes, to the point of your article, I have pairs of 514s that even have different pocket depths. It’s nuts, it’s inexplicable, and it’s a lost opportunity for customer loyalty (and sell thru)!

    1. I feel your frustration.

      I think the pocket depth is one that deserves a proper rant from a designer. Every human being on the planet who can afford jeans has a mobile phone. To not have space for that feels a bit stupid.

  2. I loved Girbaud jeans back in the late 80’s early 90’s. I have a very slim waist with disproportionate large thighs. Finding the right fit is tough for me. Nice post!

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