Shireen Fashion Blog
The Skinny Years
Posted by Shireen Sandoval 11/30/12, 4:21pm
We were approaching the roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France when I saw him standing on a street corner. He was wearing a black corduroy blazer over a crisp white shirt, a blue cashmere scarf, beige skinny jeans and suede loafers that laced-up just above the ankles. He waved wholeheartedly as we drove by.
It was the first time I'd seen a "normal" man in skinny jeans. Actually, it was the first time I'd seen skinny jeans in person, period. The look hadn't made it to the states yet and frankly, I wasn't sure it would. I had mixed emotions about it. It seemed like a total recall of Europunk from the 1970's. Don't get me wrong, I'd seen old pictures of the famously eccentric Iggy Pop at a vintage store in Manhattan's East Village. He was known for saying things like: "I like music that's more offensive, I like it to sound like nails on a blackboard, get me wild" which pretty much summed up how I felt about skinny jeans. Iggy would go about his music business donning a boa, a torn shirt and skinny lame' pants. I'd even been hypnotized by VH1's television feature on Mick Jagger. The "Behind the Music" series showed him prancing around on stage, shirtless, in ripped skinny jeans, acting garishly female. Indeed, both men had skinny bodies, wore skinny jeans BUT had fat excuses: they were ROCK STARS!
With the Champs-Elysees in front of us, we barreled toward Laduree, my favorite Parisian tea palor (their Macaroons are to die for.) Then we hightailed it to Cafe' Angelina, close to the the Louvre (it's known for its decadent hot chocolate, ahhh... but food and drink would not satiate me: I hungered for Marais (the old Jewish Quarter.) It's the best place in The City of Light to do major vintage shopping. I wanted to take a bite outta Pretty Box, a great retro store, to find an angora sweater. Once inside, my eyes ate up the atmosphere. I let my hands swallow into a stack of soft sweaters and still, I was strangely distracted. My fashionista faculties had an appetite for something else; street, corner, man, skinny jeans.
Back to that guy on the street corner in Paris. He was my former sister-in-law's husband, Mike (the names have been changed to protect the not so innocent.) He was born and raised in France. I was told at one time he was a pretty decent golfer (he was even on the European Tour.) "Mike" traveled the world, was fluent in many languages and apparently in fashion, too. Which surprised me (although later I would come to learn European men tend to be more forward thinking in fashion and say, other "activities".) I left Paris that spring without skinny jeans and without knowing the fate of denim, in general. I did have a sneakingly, skinny suspicion though.
A few years before my trip to Paname, (that's a cool nickname for Paris because of its hat fame,) I was in a boutique in Aventura called On My Own when I saw the most amazing dark blue, True Religion jeans. They were a low rise, with a straight leg, flared at the ankle and had bold white stitching with big back pockets. I was convinced they would make my bottom look like a juicy peach, until I flipped over the price tag and $445 dollars was staring me in the face. It was more than my car payment. Sweat beaded on my upper lip. The high price wasn't unusual. Around say, 2002, designer denim started making a resurgence, keeping pace with the glory days of jeans in the 80's, but instead of Calvin Klein, Jordache and Gloria Vanderbilt, it was Seven, True Religion and Citizen's of Humanity. During that time, I had a major love-hate relatioship with jeans. I loved the fit, hated the price.
Oh, the quandry! Do I spend my money properly on groceries and a car payment OR new jeans? It was like an old western stand off, cue the theme from Clint Eastwood's, "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly." I put the jeans on-hold that week, the next week and the following. It went on like that for awhile, until the shop owner figured out what I was doing. Then she quietly tucked them away and called me when they went on sale. I got to keep my car, and though slightly hungry, I proudly drove to pick up my perfect pair of pants, on sale.
Shari, my stylist, playfully tossed her hand between the dressing room curtains (we were at our weekly wardrobe meeting for Deco Drive at Koko & Palenki in the Aventura Mall). Hanging off her finger were the skinniest of skinny jeans I'd ever seen. Wait, wait, wait! It was all coming back to me; street, corner, man, skinny jeans, Paris. Shari said: "Shireen, stop with the other jeans, they're not in style anymore." I snarled and replied: "These are ridiculous, I'm not a rock star." Then I remembered all those years ago, how my "perfect pants" were such a pain in the ass.
I grabbed, slid, pulled and zipped. Yeah, they were ridiculous, alright. Ridiculously fabulous. They were light, stretchy and comfortable. The tag read J Brand, better yet, the tag read 90 dollars. I could have my jeans, car and eat, too? Brilliant! As the fashion stars lined up, so did my hem. Within a few months, everyone was slimming down their denim and almost a decade later, whether long, short, plain, printed or patterned, the skinny jean has plumped up the pant business. Now I know why they say: "less is more."
This season, slender your legs with the newest skinny look -- wet & waxy at http://www.jbrandjeans.com