Thursday, October 23, 2008

Good Jeans? Good Luck!

Can you find the one pair of jeans that fit me perfectly in this photo? They're buried in there, someplace. By the way, apparently I collect ball caps, only a few of which fit my head properly. But I guess that's a topic for another blog.
Just recently I mentioned on my blog how hard it was for me to find a great pair of jeans that fit my body-- imperfect as it is-- and allow me to ride comfortably. Apparently I am not alone. I heard from several readers that they, too, are haplessly searching for decent denim. Over the many years I have written for Horse Illustrated, I have also heard the same sentiment: "Where are all those wonderful jeans I see in all the ads? None of them seem to fit me like they fit the models." My reply is usually, "I feel your pain." Worse news? I've been a model and most of those jeans don't fit me, either. So here's the latest chapter in Cindy's Never Ending Search for Decent Denim. Hitch up your pants and sit down because it's sort of a long story.
There's this really nice lady who manages a cute, boutique-like western wear store a few blocks from my house. I will never forgive my trail riding friend, Natalie, for introducing me to this little store. I'm like a barn sour horse every time I drive past the open door and catch a glimpse of the racks of pearl button shirts in the window. I simply cannot stay out of that store! Anyway, the lady who runs it carries many different brands of jeans and she's an expert on which brand fits which figure types. And thus I threw myself on her mercy and begged for guidance, lest I be forced to rummage through stacks and stacks of denim scrounging for that One Great Pair.
I explained my criteria to this Queen of Jeans: I didn't want jeans that were relaxed fit, as my thighs (though expanding with age) are slim, and my calves and ankles are the circumference of rigatoni. Too generous of a boot cut and I end up with a pound of denim swirling above my toes. Yet I didn't want the jeans to be so tight that my legs looked like a pair of summer sausages. One other concern? I am long waisted. Low rise-- especially the current rage of super low rise-- was not going to work for me. I've tried them and when I climb into the saddle my low rise jeans don't always come with me.
After all that discourse, Madame Jeanswear simply took a few steps to one shelf and handed me a pair of dark blue jeans. "Try these," she said calmly.
The brand was called Posted, a name I hadn't heard of before. I put them on and I was in love! They were PERFECT! I bought one pair for riding (36" inseam) and one for street wear (34" inseam).
I went home and added them to my collection of jeans. Immediately they took the coveted spot of Best Loved Jeans. The other jeans in my stable of denim?
Levis 505: Good enough for hunt seat riding, as the straight leg and lightweight denim fits easily underneath my half chaps. But they are not available in long enough inseams for western riding. And they are almost too low in the rise for me. I have to wear a belt with them or I'm forever yanking them up above my hip bones, sort of like my grandpa.
Wrangler Slim Fit with Stretch: Great for western riding because they're extremely durable and available in the proper inseam. But that industrial strength denim makes them a little unsuitable for Date Night with The Husband.
Wrangler Aura Jeans: Tailored enough to wear out (my husband loves that they don't look like "horse jeans") and they have enough stretch to be comfortable. Problem? I cannot ride in them because I end up with a skirt of denim ballooning around my stirrup. (See note, above, about my skinny ankles).
Cruel Girl: I want to wear them. But they don't want to fit my body, regardless of what style I buy on impulse. At some point I have to accept that I am not a 19-year-old barrel racer and sell them on ebay.
Once I got to enjoy the Posted brand jeans, I decided that I needed to add more to my Mountain of Denim. So I went back to the castle of jeans and consulted with the queen. But guess what? SHE DIDN'T HAVE ANY MORE! This has happened to me many times in the past: I find a good pair of jeans and that's a sure sign they'll become extinct. The reasons are varied. The manufacturer goes bankrupt. Or another company buys the brand and changes it. Or trends pass and the company decides that they cannot afford to be making jeans just for Cindy Hale's bizarre tastes.

Of course, I went home in a state of panic and searched online. Every western wear store that claimed they carried Posted jeans were selling out of them. As in, "We don't think we're going to be getting any more of these jeans, so sizes are limited." Naturally, those would be the sizes that I wear.

On page 3 of my frenzied Googling I unearthed some tack store in Canada. I called. Yes, they had Posted jeans. Yes, they had my size, but they only had ONE PAIR. I considered consulting Map Quest to determine just how far it was to drive to British Columbia, but then I figured, what the heck, just entrust the sacred jeans to the whims of the mail service. However, once the price of the jeans was added to the shipping from Canada-- which is considered "international"-- this one pair of jeans became a luxury item. The grand total was nearly $70!
And you know me. I quickly calculated how many bales of hay that would buy. So I cancelled the order and hung up the phone.
And thus I cradle my pair of Posted jeans each time before I put them on. They are that rare treasure: a pair of soft, moderately stretchy, functional yet flattering jeans. Denim I can ride in! Denim that won't embarrass my husband when we're out on the town! Denim that doesn't make me look like either a rodeo rat or a little girl playing dress up in Daddy's clothes! But they are rare indeed. In fact, I may never find another pair again. However, I shall wear them to my heart's delight, enjoying every moment that allows me to realize that I own a great pair of jeans. And then, when they are finally ready to be euthanized, I can begin the search once more. Perhaps the Queen of Jeans will be able to conjure up something new by then.
******If you'd like to contribute to a jeans discussion, click on "comments" below. I'll commiserate with you! ******


Anonymous said...

Every once in awhile I will wear sweats to ride in. I look quite fetching wearing my sweats and t-shirt with my riding boots but sometimes I just want to be comfortable. I have one pair of jeans that fit well and they are my "work" jeans--I work at a grain elevator. My mare doesn't seem to mind what I wear I don't think.

Christina de Pinet said...

I have two pairs of riding jeans - both are Wranglers. The best pair is a dark blue pair of Wrangler Q-Baby jeans with a no-gap waistband and stretch denim. Honestly, though, given that they were $50 I keep them in a bag in my closet; I am saving them for that magical day when I decide to once again drag my butt to a horse show. Normally I wear the other jeans, my Wrangler Cash pair. They don't have the stretch, so they feel more durable. Hence, they get worn more...

Anonymous said...

I recommend GLO jeans! They're practically industrial strength and doesn't rub or tear, EVER. I have a synthetic saddle and several of my other jeans have ripped from being used with that saddle, but my GLO jeans just ... don't die. They're more of a teenager's type, but I definitely would recommend them!

Sevens jeans are really good too - insanely expensive, though. One pair is like $70 or $80. Very wonderful, very attractive jeans, though!

I'm an unusual body type. I've got wide hips, a short waist, and my inseam is less than 30". I've got these big muscular thighs and skinny little calves and bony ankles, so finding jeans that actually fit is practically impossible! I'm glad I can sympathize with someone. :)

Cindy Hale said...

Are the jeans manufacturers listening to us? Or to anyone? Who designs these things, anyway? I'm sure it's MEN. No, wait. It's men who don't ride.

At any rate, I'm glad to see that I'm not alone in my quest for decent denim.

Oh. And if I could find sweats that were long enough for my legs, I'd probably ride in them, too, at least on cold, windy days. But finding good sweat pants that fit is another topic. (I already buy them in the mens department!).

Anonymous said...

My sister and I are good in the jeans department, but of course that's because we're only 14(her) and 16(me). We simply go to any old store (I like Ross, they sell jeans for CHEAP- like $9-$16 cheap)and pick out our size. Usually the only problem I ever encounter is not being able to get the jeans past my knees due to big, muscular thighs. I can wear low rise with no problem because I don't have a single pair of pants that have beltloops that I don't wear a belt with. If a pair I try on and like doesn't fit perfectly, I just wear them anyway and I stretch them out enough so that they do. I have huge calves (the muscle sticks out so far that I sometimes cut myself shaving on it), but that's not a problem because I won't wear anything but flare because everything else I find uncomfortable.

Anonymous said...

I personally find my fav type of jeans to be L.E.I.'s They look good, so wearing 'em out is a no biggy, most come in a color that dirt sinks out of, so no more permanatly-stained-rear-end-after-riding-bareback-and/or-working-in-the-barn-dirty-butt-look again, they are super soft and stretchy, so riding is a breeze, and the nasty stitched inseam is comparative to those of breeches.

Anonymous said...

I don't own a horse, and I don't get to ride very often. But I do collect everything horse. =D I do understand the jeans problem. When I find some jeans that fit around the waist, they're too short. (I'm not tall, but I have coltish long legs.) When I find jeans that fit in length, they fit me like a barrel around the waist. This has made jeans shopping a nightmare, but I found a certain size that fits almost perfectly (with a little help from a belt). It's size 0, But a lot of brands don't have that size or the right thickness or look (too worn, too dirty looking, too thin etc.), so thank goodness there are a lot of brands to choose from. I think that what usually works best for me is a pair of old hand-me-downs, provided that they fit, because if they last long enough to be handed down they usually have pretty good wear.

Anonymous said...

Hey I found out that Posted jeans did not go out of business, I found one store online that will order whatever sizes you need. They aren't just a big seller, so not too many people stock them. I found a pair for 99 cents at our local thrift shop last week, and searched the internet for them and one store came up. I've got 4 pair coming, these are great and comfortable. And planning on stocking up on a bunch for the future!!!!!

If you want to know the store give me hollar here in your comments and I'll email you back!

scooter said...

Cowpony,I have been frantic trying to fined my favorite jeans (POSTED)! Please send me the info., on the web site that you know of. Appreciate it if you would. Scooter

Unknown said...

I'd love to know where to get posted jeans they're the only ones that fit