If the jeans fit

Well, yes, they still do. Pity about the knees being completely shot about five years ago. Hence the shorts.

Quite suddenly, it has dawned on me that many items of clothing in my possession are twenty years old. This particular pair, if memory serves, and I believe it still does, are at least 17.

Postcard from the edge of my second youth – in my thirties

You can see that I have jazzed them up a bit, in an attempt to convey the liveliness of the market from which I purchased them.

In Harare, Zimbabwe, there was an open air market. We purchased our branded jeans there. Although authentic brands, they were “seconds”; each pair supposedly had some imperfection. It was hard to tell what the imperfection might have been most of the time.

Sometimes, the only thing wrong was that the label had been sewn on crooked. I am any designer-label marketer’s worse nightmare. For one, I remove labels from the inside of shirts (unless they come from the company that made “501” famous) to use for patch-up jobs on other clothing. Thus, some of my garments have Levi’s labels on them but are not the genuine article, as it were.

This results in brand confusion. The image below illustrates what happened to my favourite white shirt. I roped in a Nike label and stitched it to the reverse of a tear in the pocket. It was important to me to get the red and white to match the red and white Levi’s label on the front of the pocket (not pictured here), since I often wear these shirts with the buttons undone.

Not the best example of my hand sewing, but better than nowt

As you can see, a crooked label does not bother me. What matters here is my comfort and quality. If the only thing wrong with a frequently worn shirt after twenty years is a ripped pocket, then that says something about the quality of the shirt in the first place, designer label or no.

Which brings me to the subject of changing light bulbs. I shared student digs eons ago with a guy who was very designer-label conscious but was not very practical when it came to anything that might involve using products from a hardware store. I already knew that he thought little of my fashion sense, but this did not concern me in the least.

When the light bulb in the closed verandah ceiling needed replacing, I hauled out the ladder and asked my designer-label obsessed housemate take the spent lamp and hand me the new one. He held the ladder for good measure. I was standing on the rung second from the top. Despite his holding the ladder, it was still wobbly. As I stretched to insert the new lamp, he exclaimed, “Oh my God, I can’t believe it!” He called our housemate “Come quickly! You’ve got to see this!” Meanwhile, I am still struggling to insert the lamp into the fitting. I ignored him. Finally, I managed it and started to descend the ladder.

“Wait!” he said to me. “What?” I replied, thinking that perhaps I, the electrician’s daughter, had done something wrong. “You’re wearing XYZ Fancy Brand jeans! Where did you get them?!” (I cannot remember the brand.)

All that fuss over the label on the back of the only pair of jeans that fitted me in the whole of Harare back in 1985. Honestly!

©2019 Allison Wright

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