my life in blue


I was tidying my wardrobe over the weekend when I found a pair of jeans I haven't worn in ages. Back in the day before skinny and straight leg jeans became the rage, I too, wore boot-cut jeans, haha. I wore them around the house, trying to remember what it felt like to wear these daily, and whether I could wear them out again. They feel tighter now!

But first, my denim history.

I got my my pair of "grown-up" jeans at 10, when my sister handed down to me her Guess jeans (I was tall enough at 10 to wear adult sizes). This was the 90s', before Guess moved into their "Paris Hilton" era, and I felt quite cool even though I think today we would refer to them as "mom jeans". I wore them with T-shirts and vests and felt insanely fashionable (I wore bicycle shorts and Body-Glove T-shirts too, the little hipster raver I was).

When I was 13, I saved up and bought my first pair of jeans from Calvin Klein'Jeans, because ckOne was the fragrance and and Jenny Shimizu and Kate Moss were the girls to be in the 90s, and it was probably my first big "brand" obsession - the day I officially became a victim of marketing. I wore these jeans so much that they wore out at the butt and knees and I had to patch them and chop them into shorts.

If anyone is wondering why Levi's wasn't a part of my life, when I claim to be a denim fan, it's because I've never found a Levi's cut for girls that fit. Nor did men's 501s do anything for me. Maybe today I could find a way to rock them, but back them I just felt spectacularly gawky in them.

When I was 17, I bought my second pair of jeans, from Mango - the only pair of jeans I could find then that did not have a huge flare - it was the reign of boot-cuts in 2001. I'm 5'11, and a US 8, or French 40, and until these high street brands from Europe came to Singapore, I could hardly find clothes that fit me well - Singaporean and Asian labels are made for smaller girls. Mango was also the beginning of "fast fashion" for me - chic clothes I could afford on a student's allowance and my part-time tutor wages.

I outgrew the Mango jeans when I decided I wanted real denim, not stretchy cotton made to look like denim. Around this time, my dad would also buy Levi's for me when he went to the US, but everything then was a boot-cut that didn't go with the Chucks permanently on my feet.

I started working at Diesel in 2004 as a part-time sales assistant while I was in university, and this was the beginning of my affair with "premium" denim. It coincided with the boom of brands like Seven for All Mankind, Rock and Republic, Hudson, etc, but I was obsessed with Replay, Diesel, Evisu.Unlike Seven et al, I liked the solid denim these brands used, and I was convinced they were the better deal than what Topshop, Zara, and Mango were offering me, even though I would paying through my nose for them. Around this time I started aspiring to better-made clothing too - I remember falling in love with A.P.C. when I did a summer programme in Paris. Buying better jeans was part of it all.

Working at Diesel gave me a great employee discount, and my very first pair are the ones you see me wearing. They looked comfortable with my sneakers. They were made of a yummy hefty denim that cried out to be weathered. The slight flare felt slacker cool and a little breezy So Cal, not fashion-y and crying to be worn with stilettos. The style was the right fit for my look at that time - I lived in cotton t-shirts, denim skirts, shorts, flip-flops, sneakers.

I wore these constantly for two years before I moved on to straight-leg jeans in 2005 (Diesel started making them) and then before long I bought my first skinny jeans in 2006, and basically, the narrow leg has reigned. I find them to be the best style for a flats girl like me, and I like the elegant, gamine touch of a narrow ankle. It took me a while to adjust my style to fit the new cut of my jeans - I see now that my jeans have always strongly influenced my style.

Trying on my boot-cut jeans again threw my current idea of myself for a loop, but I also felt strangely right. We never leave our selves behind, entirely, it seems.

Are there any style flashbacks sitting in your wardrobe? Would you resurrect them?



jennifer said…
I also LOVED Guess jeans when I was a little kid. I still remember my first pair of Guess jeans had zippered ankles and were white with pastel green, pink, and yellow watercolor splotches on them. Haha. I thought they were cool as shit in the late-1980s, but I'm not sure if I'd resurrect them now. I'd consider bringing back my old boot cut jeans though. Yours still look great on you!
I still have a pair of medium blue bootcuts sitting unworn by the now defunct Earl jeans. I wont get rid of them, I like the wash, the copper rivets, so "All American" looking you know? They just have to be worn with heels, which I don't really do casually anymore.

Very well written post by the way. And I believe you've used the denim stack before, but I still like it just as much :)
miss sophie said…
what an awesome post. i remember looking at the Guess ads in the early 90s and thinking that it all looked so chic and beyond my reach. i think my denim coming-of-age really was in high school when flares were everywhere. i had a pair of Arizona Co. flare jeans from JC Penney that i wore all the time with Spice Girls-esque platform sneakers...i think that was the start of my denim obsession! i may have to link your post and do my own version of this later this week :)
haha i totally had one of these moments this morning! pulled out and old pair and fell way back into the past :) i too can trace my style evolution through my (sometimes tragic) denim choices. it's such an interesting concept. oh and btw i'm totally linking to this and stealing your idea ;)
Fashion Tidbits said…
this is so interesting. it's like you evolved with your different taste in denim. cool. i am a denim fanatic myself. i remember my great-grandmother bought me my first pair of CK's when i was in the seventh grade and i almost had a fit in the dressing room cos i was so excited. hehe/
Amanda said…
My first pair of jeans were a pair of Levis that my mom paid full price for - and that was a big deal back in the day (when I was twelve). I guess it would actually still work now if I could fit into it - it was one of those light wash boyfriend fit jeans. My only experience with Guess is a pair of denim shorts that I was forebade from wearing because it was too short and too tight ala the ads.

I think the bootcut jeans still look good on you. Blessed are the tall =)
ess elsie. said…
I think my first pair of "real" jeans (i.e. not American Eagle) was from Antik denim. I was 13 or 14 and it was my first sample sale, and when I found out they were 100 dollars, I was aghast. Alas, they were amazing quality so I begged and pleaded and they're still in my closet today. However, like you, I've drifted towards the skinny fit, and these bootcut jeans I used to wear daily have fallen wayside. There are still days were I moon over Evisu and raw denim brands, but I can't imagine breaking in a pair of skinny raws though this one - - looks very appealing.
Ginta said…
I must have my Diesel boot-cuts also somewhere. I just can't part with them even if I haven't worn them in the last 6 years. Diesel used to be my favorite jeans brand 6-9 years ago. :)
0000 said…
Great post, definitely made my morning! I vaguely remember begging for flare jeans, finally getting them by seventh grade (2000), and wearing a couple pairs of flare jeans until my second year of college, when I bought my first skinnies from Pac Sun. I wore those pretty religiously, but that was still the era of the low rise and low rise + skinny jeans are a special kind of evil. I bought a pair of high rise, electric blue BDG jeans my third year of college and finally, for the first time since puberty, had a jean that didn't migrate to my knees over time. Then I found mid-rise, and I haven't given any other rise a second glance. I'm now happily married to two pairs of mid-rise Charlotte Russe dark wash jeans, which have held up really well over the past year. They aren't high quality by any means, but I'm so attached to them that I don't ever want to trade them in. I like how the variety of rises and cuts have changed and diversified over the years. I know different rises have always existed but I feel like it's was pretty tough to find low, mid, and high rise jeans in the same room back in middle school!
lin said…
Jennifer: I wasn't super into Guess, but I was definitely aware of the cache they held, haha. It pains me to walk pass one of their shops now though...

Pret a Porter P: Yes, Earls were very cool - I didn't feel "grown-up" enough back then for those. I would keep them around, since they seemed to define that era for me.

And thanks for the compliments :)

miss sophie: I would love to see what that looks like - I think we don't see enough style evolution on blogs! I wish I kept more of the nonsense I wore.

Fashiontidbits: I didn't realise how closely tied my dressing was to my taste in denim until I started to really think about it. I think I would have no style without finding the right pair first.

And yes, ever since I saw Kate Moss and then all the old Brooke Shields ads in CK jeans, I've been enthralled. The current state of the brand holds no appeal for me now, but they really defined an era.

Amanda: Those Levis sound very "now", haha.

And thanks...I may find a way to wear those jeans, if I can figure out some shoes apart from my chucks.

ess elsie: Yes, I have a pair of true raw denim jeans from Diesel and it's been four years and they don't look broken in at all. Those actually put me off buying a second pair, haha. They should look pretty good in eight years though. I wouldnt buy another pair unless I was prepared to wear nothing else.

Ginta: I still like it because their cuts suit me - even though other brands make good jeans, they don't always fit me just right. Also, their jeans, esp those from a few years ago when they were all still made in Italy, are really well-made - my tailor commented so when I brought a pair to be taken in (I lost weight).

0000: I agree, the variety now is great. I love mid-rise too and can never go back to the days of being held hostage by low-rise jeans. My first pair of mid-rise jeans were from H&M, and they are actually one of my favourites - I've had them for 5 years now and they really rock.
lin said…
oops, missed one. La fille mal gardee: You should do a post, it will be fun!
Flavia said…
I'm amazed by this post. It's always so interesting to read others musings on style and I love your honesty, this little article is very genuine and witty.
I like blogs with little text (like mine) but I am reading your blog from top to bottom (just found it).
Thank you for the incredible blogging/writing/style going on here!
Diesel was my first "premium" pair as well! I remember they cost around $100. Nowadays $200+ seems to be the norm for designer denim.

I mostly wear my boyfriend jeans these days, but I have a closet full of skinny jeans. Some are so tight - after wearing looser styles I can't bear to go back to tight ones! I still keep them around though.
lin said…
flavia: Thanks, I've always been a wordy person when it comes to writing, and wish I could be more succinct, but I;m glad you're enjoying the posts, and look forward to hearing more of your comments whenever something strikes you!

koko: Yes, jeans have gotten so much more expensive. I guess it's a good thing I bought most of mine years ago and I've not had to look for more pairs since. I love the boyfriend and skinny cuts, they suit fit any of my moods perfectly.

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