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Buying jeans can be a traumatic experience

Posted Tuesday, December 20, 2011, at 1:56 PM

I have way too many choices to make in most avenues of my life. A casual glance at most restaurant menus is enough to make my ears bleed.

On the rare occasions that I enter the inner sanctums of Kroger I get vertigo trying to wade through the maze of brands. I had the same experience recently when I went into the land of denim to buy jeans.

I never knew Levi Strauss when I was in my salad days on the farm north of Calvertville. We wore bib overalls about 90 percent of the time and we purchased those from Sparks Department Store in Bloomfield or Penney's at Linton. Not chic. They covered our naked "dairy airs" and protected our flanks and shanks from briars and bites from brothers and other animals. Unlike Neil Diamond's very popular song, "Forever In Blue Jeans," our song would have been titled, "Forever In Bibs." All of the significant others in my life wore them so I wanted to also adorn my manly frame with Overalls.

I don't remember my mother saying to the clerk at Sparks, "I want to purchase the latest brand and style of overalls for these two rag-a-muffins; the latest and greatest and nothing but. Price is no object." Mr. Sparks knew that she wanted the same generic overalls that everyone was wearing. There was nothing fancy about them. New jeans used to be so stiff they would stand up with or without you in them and they always faded on your skin and "whitey tighties" until they were laundered several times.

Today new jeans must look used and worn so they are stone washed or acid bathed or washed many times or bought used from cowboys, farmers and construction workers and resold to an adoring public.

Denim has become haute couture during my life. In my formative years and until relatively recent time, denim and jeans were to be worn at work or at play but now they are acceptable in every venue. Loyalty to brand is mandatory.

I noted in my denim trek that everyone from thin, physically fit athletic type people to sumo wrestlers is making or endorsing jeans today. Shoppers, and some who are old enough to know better, buy jeans with holes in them. The more holes the better. Not only can one see Paris and France one can also see parts of Bavaria. Wouldn't happen at Sparks' Store.

I blazed a trail through the Land of Denim dropping bread crumbs so I could find my way out, bewildered by the decisions I had to make: Traditional cut, skinny cut, loose cut, big butt cut, boot length, tapered, high waist, low waist or the Geezer cut that can be pulled up under your arm pits.

Prices go up to $150. I selected the relaxed cut. That is a euphemism for big "dairy air" and "tool shed." If you do not know the meaning of the "tool shed" cut ask a curmudgeon who has cut his foot in the barnyard. I chose that size because all of the others were uncomfortable because they either pinched, bound or strangled me which is traumatic.

Got mine at Wally for under $25. I wish the Sparks Store was still open.

(Note: My latest book, A Red Sea Of Red Tape, is at the publisher and will be out soon.)

Larry grew up north of Calvertville on a farm and graduated from Worthington High School and Indiana State University. He can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or (317) 839-7656. Write him at 6860 Sunrise Drive, Plainfield, Ind., 46168. He has written five books.

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My Dad had Sears Robuck work pants; for everything, until we bought him Acid Washed Levi's. Those quickly became the "going to town" pants he wore every Sunday :). Thanks for the trip.

-- Posted by switzie on Wed, Dec 21, 2011, at 1:46 PM

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