You know I got to the end of the week when I’d just had enough of saving money. Visions of a hot summer were dawning on me. May be a lay out in the grass of the garden while reading a good book, or in one of the small square grass parks in the city. I wanted some new clothes. Sure I’d bought those skinny jeans that I’d got the courage to wear as part of my daily clothes but my only pair of boot cut jeans, that would at least still fit without breathing in and holding it, were becoming threadbare. Every single wash would eat away at the holes that head crept in on the legs and around the pockets. I could get away with those rips as a fashionable accessory but the holes were starting to look like they were just old rather than by design. Before they became embarrassing I decided enough was enough. I would, today, buy a pair once and for all.
I’d been looking for weeks, no – months, for the perfect pair. I wanted something similar to my jeans that were holding on for dear life. Boot cut, a little washed out and proper comfortable fit. They had to be so perfect that I could easily throw away the old ones without worry. The problem is I have this picture in my head. The picture tells a thousand textures, shape and feel of them and I’d tried for ages to match this image in every shop that I would consider shopping in and a few I’d never even tried. Wherever I went there was something wrong. The back pockets too plain, or no back pockets at all which are not me, too wide on top or not wide enough. The colour too uniform adding ten or twenty years onto my perceived age.
It was an impossible task. I know when I’ve seen someone wearing something, may be a jacket, a skirt or dress and I’ve searched the whole city centre and online and never found the same thing. Today would be different. I knew what I was going to try first. The nearest thing I could find, for weeks, was in Gap. I’d never shopped there before but every time I went to look at the pair I’d realise they were either just not quite right or on one visit realised they were on sale online and not on sale in the shop. I left them exactly where they were – on the hanger, on the rail, in the shop and the search would continue.
Today though I’d found a pair on the Fat Face web site. They looked just right. They were boot cut, washed out and a bit of stretch. The reviews were alternating, some complaining about the stretch and some not. I wasn’t going to allow the reviews or the potential mismatch with my dream jeans in my head stop me buying something. I was going into town and I was going to look at them properly and decide on them for what they were and not whether they matched the picture in my head.
When I arrived I headed for John Lewis. I knew they had a concession stand for Fat Face and if they didn’t have them I could go to the Fat Face shop as well. I darted between slow browsers and pensioners on the ladies clothing floor heading through the maze of rails and concessions. I slowed as I approached and briefly browsed some dresses and a denim jacket that was to die for but I knew why I was here and there was the rack. There couldn’t have been more than ten pairs. I pulled the first pair out, twelve, regular, the right size. They looked great. I checked the label where I read ‘Straight cut’. These weren’t the ones I wanted. I prefer skinnies and boot cut that always seem to give me the curves and comfort I want.
I moved down the rack flicking in and out the tags looking for the right style. There they were, ‘Smithy Bootcut Blue Vintage’. They were fabulous. I mean they were just what I wanted. They may not have been the image of those I’d imagined and tried to bring into existence by pure wish alone but these were just nice. I decided to keep them to hand and have a wander looking at some of the dresses. Something that might be just right for lazing on a blanket in the grass with the hot sunshine tingling at my legs.
I stopped my mind wandering onto other treats for a moment and thought about the jeans. Are they going to fit. I remember the reviews talking about the length and some people needing to go up or down a size; I couldn’t remember which. I pinned them against me. No one was around and stuff it, who cared, I certainly didn’t anymore. They looked like they would fit. It kind of niggled at me though. I didn’t want to have to return with them if they weren’t right. I decided to go to the fitting rooms. I rarely ever do this and given I wasn’t dressed for want of a better word I’d have to go in as male. Damn it, I was going to do it. I went to the mens section and grabbed any shirt off the rack, which was actually quite nice if it had the pinch in at the waist of a blouse, but it didn’t. I went straight to the fitting rooms that were staffed. “One item?”, said the smart gent behind the desk with a pleasant smile. The jeans were in my left hand, the shirt in my right. Was I going to just say these were a gift and just trying the shirt on. ‘Oh god, can’t believe I’m thinking this way. It’s never been a problem to just do these things.’ I thought. Was I out of practice? Who was I kidding anyway. I was wearing a hint of brown eye liner, a twelve inch pony tail and skinny jeans with a left handed zip.
I held up the jeans as well, “These as well.”
“Two items.” he said and handed me the yellow I have two items tag to take with me before I could even speak.
I couldn’t believe I ever bothered with the shirt. Why didn’t I just take the jeans in and try them on and forget all the other stupid stuff. I guess in the heat of the moment and that I’d not been shopping for quite a while that I was just in that place. Still, I pulled the curtain across and pulled my skinny jeans off hoping that no one would mistakenly pull the curtain and see me hopping on one leg struggling to get some jeans off with some black and pink polkadot knickers on show.
I pulled them on. They were just so nice. They felt curvy, a little stretchy as well clinging to my hips and shaping towards my waist and the washed look that wouldn’t age me as if I’d put on a pair of Mark & Spencer best elasticated waist or, conversely, under-age me. It wasn’t long before I was at the counter handing over near fifty pounds and almost skipping out like a bit of a lunatic. I hadn’t found the new beachie top and denim shorts or that summer dress that I fancied, at least not quite yet, but I was happy. Happy just because of a pair of jeans, that really, I needed for the last six months. I actually felt like I deserved them. That I’d spent money that I’d worked hard for and didn’t feel guilty about spending.
That moment of euphoria that we get when we buy something that makes us feel this way, the retail therapy, is short lived and this is the reason I rarely use retail therapy to get me out of feeling low. Like gambling the moment is soon lost, usually once home, and the same thrill no longer exists in the same way. What I do know is that I have other things to keep me occupied that are productive or creative but at least when I do put on my jeans next I will at least for a short moment feel good about myself, a little feminine, a little more towards being me and a bit better about the day ahead.
Until next time.