DIFFERENT types of shopping trips have their own particular shortcomings, but nothing compares to the denim aerobics for pain, sweat or tears.
Even rom-coms haven’t managed to glamorise jeans shopping – there is no joy in a day spent struggling in and out of one of the world’s least malleable fabrics in a climate best suited for growing tomatoes, punctuated at intervals by the need to stare at a mirror, developing an almost academic knowledge of the contours of one’s own thighs.
So awful is jeans shopping that I simply refused to do it for most of the noughties.
Living year-in, year-out in weather-inappropriate skirts, my legs took on more sea breezes than a cocktail bar hen do.
But at least the mega flares of 2002 were quick to climb in and out of – things are worse now, because the advent of ‘boyfriend’ and ‘mom’ jeans means it’s no longer just a matter of fitting or not fitting. They can fit in the wrong way, and not-fit in the right way.
Even once the zip’s up, there is a good chance you’ll be looking something more akin to a geography teacher on a field trip rather than 1975 Felicity Kendal.
I need new jeans, because my only pair have a hole in them, and not in the trendy way.
Were I a more practical person, I’d have darned them.
But, as it was, I just said ‘darn’ and headed for the nearest denim merchant.
Then the second nearest, then the third nearest...
Then I took a deep breath, knocked back a whisky and headed for Westfield.
If you’ve never been to either of London’s Westfield shopping centres (and why would you, when getting to Churchill Square in Brighton is hassle enough?), they are like very shiny space cities that smell of sugared pretzels, designed to leave you dehydrated and sartorially confused.
“Who is still buying low-rise jeans, please?” I wonder as I flick through the racks of 26-inch waists, looking for the ones labelled ‘pie and chips’. “Is your belly button that claustrophobic?”
Stretch is good. Stretch does up. But then stretch also means oddly velvety, and so clingy you can almost see veins.
Hardwearing ‘authentic’ jeans are also good, but they feel like the Tinman’s trousers and I can’t actually sit down.
Sitting down soon becomes the main priority. After four hours of enforced plies and zip workouts, my sciatica has flared up and it turns out there actually is something worse than jeans shopping.
There is jeans shopping with a bad back.
On second thoughts, I’ll have a go at darning that hole...