I admit it. I'm a blue jeans junkie.
Blue jeans have been a staple of my wardrobe since before I got pregnant with the oldest of my five sons in 1969. Whether fat, thin, round with child or puffy with post-delivery pounds - jeans were my go-to wardrobe staple. Most of the time, I probably looked downright unremarkable. A few times, though, I felt like I looked a tad alluring - a very heady feeling when your station wagon sports three car seats and is littered with smelly soccer socks and ripped apart candy wrappers.
I got the idea I had entered into the short-lived realm of being sexy because twice in one day I got extra attention - from the car wash attendant and the bag boy at the supermarket. (My best friend thought the looks were more out of pity, but I prefer a more upbeat interpretation.)
The years passed. The children grew - along with my hip width and general girth. And I still preferred donning blue jeans every chance I got while regularly shunning fashion dictates and apparel trends.
You would think that heading at lightning speed into my sixty-eighth year would critically curtail my blue jean habit. It doesn't. (Sorry, Mom, but my closet is still well stocked with denim and my obsession is not abating.)
Currently I have 13 pairs of jeans - in all shades of that ubiquitous denim fabric. I've got carpenter jeans, tapered cut jeans, bell bottom jeans, capri style jeans, bootcut jeans, boyfriend jeans, drainpipe jeans and low rise jeans. The fit is touted as loose, slim, comfort, relaxed or regular.
Out of the 13, six currently fit me. Okay, only three really fit me comfortably. But, hey, there's hope. Shedding just another five pounds will allow the zipper to go up effortlessly and allow me to breathe normally in my other 10 pairs. As for my never-worn, skinny-cut dungarees - that's a greater challenge. Immense belly sucking isn't facilitating this endeavor. Nor is skipping my late night caramel popping habit. So the skin-tight dungarees stay draped on a padded hanger in my closet - season after season. It's my last hold-out. I'm simply not ready to donate to Goodwill the jeans bought on a whim seven summers ago, with the expectation that one day I would effortlessly slither into them.
But I am not totally in la-la land about my jeans attire. I gave up stonewashed. I gave up bleached. I gave up low-waisted. I gave up low rise. I gave up embellished. I gave up ripped. But I can't give up my blue jeans entirely. Even if I have to resort to jeans with elastic waist bands.
If sexiness defers to practical concerns (and much does as we age), jeans have a lot going in that regard too. They are comfy. Pretty much stain resistant. Durable. Cool. Easy care.
My husband and I are about one third through binge-watching Sons of Anarchy. I have become obsessed with tattoos and thick silver chains. The tattoos are on clear display. The chains hang down Jax and fellow club members' jean legs as they swagger around and are apparently attached to a wallet. My husband already "advised me" to not even think about a tattoo. Since our anniversary is creeping up soon, I may be able to successfully pester him into buying me a thick silver chain to wear with my jeans. I will then need to take "swagger" lessons and replace my coveted Louie Vuitton shoulder bag with a biker's wallet. The purse could be a tough sacrifice. Internet surfing revealed no Louie V biker wallets. Hmmm... maybe I'll jumpstart a new LV collection: Biker Babe Wallets for the Aging Baby Boomer Set.
So these days, I have an emerging image of myself as an aging combination of Carmela from The Sopranos and Gemma from Sons of Anarchy. Both are women past the bloom of youth. Long married matrons who are still edgy, sexy in a slightly sleazy manner, and definitely still garnering male attention. Let's face it: sexiness is like your ability to dance. Even as your youthful bloom withers and fades, you don't lose your sense of rhythm. I believe that is true of sexiness too. Like rhythm, you either have it or you do not. I have never been blessed with rhythm. I am a horribly clumsy dancer. And I only dance with my husband when I am slightly tipsy - a state which seems to cut down dramatically on my relentless stepping on his toes as he attempts to twirl me around. The fact that he' pretty hot on the dance floor only adds to my humiliation.
But at the risk of seeming totally immodest, I have been blessed with a little bit of sexiness. And it's time to preserve that reserve and start flaunting it in an individualistic way. After all, I'm not exposing aging cleavage like Gemma. I'm not wearing tight fitting, bosom clinging tops like Carmela. I'm just returning to and fully embracing the most daring fashion staple in my closet - my beloved blue jeans - and adding a silver accoutrement.
So, if you see a five foot, two inch, aging hippie baby boomer wandering the aisles of the supermarket, wearing jeans a little too tight - with a fat biker chain casually dangling from her waist band - wink at me. You can even add, as Clay so compellingly does to his wife Gemma, a throaty, half-whispered, "Hey, Baby."
These days I need all the attention I can get.
Want more stuff from Iris?