photo: charmar on flickr.
Oh JNCO's. How well do I remember thee.
I remember the tripping over tent-like pant legs down middle school hallways as if it were just yesterday.
I remember sitting on the lunchroom floor in a circle of friends, great expanses of heavy denim pooled around us, touching, intermingling, uniting us into one baggy blob of roughly-woven angst.
I remember the nonsensical combinations of tiny belly shirts contrasted with your incomparable girth.
I recall your absurd price tag (which now, gazing backwards from the era of $200 jeans, is little more than pocket change) and the hours of whining that went into convincing my mother to let me bring you home.
I remember the crispness of the breeze against my preteen legs as your massive openings formed wind tunnels around them.
Oh JNCO's. You were my wings! With your great expanse of pant I could have taken flight.
And yet, too, do I recall how quickly you were folded into the bottom of a dresser drawer, never again to reemerge. You were but a flash in the fashion pan, my onetime loves. Your presence was as fleeting as your hems were long on my 5'1" physique, and yet... and yet... there was never another you, was there?
How quickly upon your departure did a new generation of tighter, much harsher jeans emerge. First low cut flares, with their similarly open bottoms (although worry not, dear JNCO's, they were feeble compared to yours) but dramatically different tops. Tops which crept, sadistically, lower and lower until a new form of underwear emerged. Figuratively... but also literally. With you, dear ones, life had been so simple! There was no special underwear. There was no thought needed for how to decorate one's upper derriere.
Next skinny jeans claimed the throne. Their tightness imprisoned our thighs like support hose cut from an indigo hell, and while they've since softened -- relaxing into their reign -- thus far there has been no long-lasting sign that they will entirely set us free. In fact, sweet JNCO's, I do not think my lower half has been truly comfortable since I was 12 years-old! Since you left, dear heart. Since you disappeared like the wind up your billowing 20-plus inch hems.
But now. Now you are back. Or so every online publication has told me over the past few days. I must admit that when first I read of your return I was a bit hurt that you did not come to me first... but that's okay, I forgive you. It's clear that you've been very busy making your press circuit rounds. And why should you not be? Your prodigious presence defined an era!
Alas, darlings, must now I come to the bittersweet conclusion of this note. This letter is not only a hello again. It is not a reaching out with open arms ready for your rough denim-y blanket-sized embrace. As I tell you hello once more, I must just as quickly say goodbye.
You are not for grown up me, dear ones. Sweet JNCO's. One time beloved pant. These more fitted jeans have me firmly in their viselike grip and I'm not sure that I've the hipness to escape. But you, you will go on to greater things! Rihanna, the youth of today, those who are far hipper and less afraid of tripping in public than clumsy I.
Don't weep for me, dear JNCO's. We will always have seventh grade.
Rebecca Emily Darling is a writer, artist, and vintage seller living in Los Angeles. You can follow her on twitter, facebook, and instagram, and take a peek at her vintage treasures here. She dedicates this post to her longtime friends and fellow onetime JNCO wearers Shannon and Alyssa.