Monday, August 30, 2010

forever in blue jeans

Okay, so she's in Paris. Regardless, this look is 100 percent all-American.

Like many women I know, I'm a die-hard t-shirt and jean wearer. What used to be considered "slumming it" has in the past couple decades become the quintessential day-to-day uniform. In my view, the look can be done as either fashion pyjamas, or, with the right accessories, dressed up for week day. Many a day I've shuffled into work with a modified t-shirt and jeans ensemble, girled up with heels and nice jewelry, or a classic blazer.

I'll be perfectly honest: I need another t-shirt and another pair of jeans like I need a hole in the head, or another pair of red shoes. I am always on the lookout, however, for renewed classics: updated cuts, different colors, better fits, better mousetraps. Plus, we bitches have the intention to take on a $50 outfit fashion project, so this is a good first $50 project.

I have no earthly idea what has inspired me to go looking for the perfect slouchy grey t-shirt. Maybe it's because my work wardrobe is nicely filled out while my weekend couture is seriously lacking. Perhaps it helps that so many shops are catering to this unreasonable need for new denim—here for instance is Anthropologie's "Denim Decoder" with its million be-jeansed looks. It doesn't hurt that I love taking on fashion projects, especially low-risk, low-budget ones like this. I have, for example, a long-term project that involves $30 dresses. You'd be amazed how many great dresses are out there for this guilt-free price point . . . I'll save that for another blog post.

Back to me and the unsatisfied itch and my unreasonable criteria: I want, for no good reason, the perfect slouchy grey t-shirt. I'd like a pair of perfect slouchy boyfriend jeans to go with them, but I'm not willing to pay full price for either. And when I say Perfect, I mean it: my closet is too full to put in any ill-fitting clothes. And by "not full price," I mean sale—inexpensive, but good value. The $50 price point for the outfit means I don't have to explain anything to my spouse, and we don't have to eat hot dogs.

Lots of shops I notice put the word "perfect" on their lines, so I wanted try this out to see if it really meets my standards. Does putting "perfect" on the label help me cull the herd, or does it just irritate me?

Inexpensive being my most difficult criteria, I dragged my unwilling children to me for a shopping trip to the first least common denominator shop I could think of: Old Navy.

Old Navy perfect tee

Oh how you vex me, Old Navy. This "perfect" tee looked perfect on the shelf, except that it was too slim around my big ol' arms, and a bit too blousy in the torso. Not to mention the color I was really after (the perfect shade of heather grey) was not to be found in my size anywhere in the store. I was almost willing to settle for the next best perfect color (hot pink), however, it was also not on sale. That's three in the "no" column (bad fit, wrong color, not on sale), which meant no Old Navy "perfect" t-shirt for me.

Old Navy Weekend Jean

I love pre-abused jeans. These look perfect, don't they? And at a price point of $25 on sale, they sure sounded perfect, too. Had they actually had my size I might now own a pair. Sadly, they only had one pair of the Weekend Jeans in the store, and it might have fit one of my daughters. Or not. Old Navy is kind of funny that way.

Disappointed, my only option was to keep moving up the food chain to the next best thing: the Gap, which hasn't occurred to me in a very long time. But of course I should go to the Gap for t-shirts and jeans. It's what they do best! One thing the Gap have always done in the history of being the Gap is t-shirts and jeans. And khakis. But I'm not shopping for khakis . . .

Off I went, dragging my restless young-uns on a field trip to Gap World. I promise kiddies, it will be fun! And what should greet my wandering eye at the door (after it grazed the navy wool blazers and herringbone vests)?

Gap legging jean with ankle zippers

These are not what I was looking for. They're not slouchy, they're not beat up. And yet, suddenly, I'm willing to change my goal look because (like most Gap products) these fit me. Perfectly. However, they're $69.00—kind of pricey for my project. Even so, I know from experience that the Gap is also consistent with sales: all things new eventually go on sale. Plus, the nice saleslady gave me a coupon for 40 percent off any full-priced item purchased on Wednesdays in September.

Oh. Yeah.

I almost can see my way to these because I have nothing "quite" like them in my wardrobe, and a 40 percent off sale would certainly seal the deal for me. So, while the jeans are one in the Hell Yes column and two in the not-so-fast, that means no jeans for me until next coupon day. Pout.

Gap made up for their lack of cheap denim by having perfect tees on the sale rack.

Gap Jersey v-neck tee

Gap really does not mess around with their t-shirts. Their "perfect" tees do not disappoint. I can remember a time, many eons ago, when their idea of "perfect" was not mine, but lately, they seem to stay in my closet until I kill them by wearing them to death.

I found two v-neck sun-kissed slouchy t-shirts on the sale rack in my size for $10 apiece. Perfect fit? Check. Sale price? checkity check. Perfect color? Oh yeah check me out!

I want to hate you, Gap, and your stupid perfect fitting jeans, but I cannot.

Mom, WE'RE already wearing the perfect t-shirts. When can we go for ice cream?

I know for a fact that I can spend more money on a t-shirt, and some day I'd sure like to try one of those fancy 3 Dot $40 jobs. But do I need to? Not today, when I can get instant satisfaction for $10. Okay, so it took a couple of shopping trips. But I'm all about the thrill of the hunt, me.

The jeans thing, however, is still dissatisfying. There are two Wednesdays that have to pass before I can use that coupon, and I still have no perfect jeans. So on up the food chain I go. To BCBG.

Yes, BCBG is considerably up the food chain, but my unreasonable requirement includes Perfect Fit, and in my experience, they deliver. Also, if I shop online (since I know my size), I don't have to torture my children with further trips to shopping world. They have to finish their homework, after all.

BCBG Gina Boyfriend Denim

I like nothing about these. I don't like the color, the distressing seems artificial, and the cut? The cut makes her look short, although they are on sale for $74. Woo hoo. Maybe they're better in person, when I can cuff them and slouch them—but not at that price.

BCBG distressed denim cropped

Hello, what's this! They look fitted, but not ridiculous; not too tight to be cuffed, distressed but not absurdly so, and I know my BCBG, so I have a pretty good idea of what these will look like.

Even better? They're on sale for $49 with, get this, an extra 30 percent off!

SOLD, baybee!

So that's a $10 tee-shirt plus a $35 pair of jeans - coming in pretty safely under $50. We'll try and make the next $50 project a little more challenging...

So, tell the bitches: who makes YOUR perfect t-shirt and jeans?


Pamela said...

Nice work! That's my kind of shopping.

moi said...

For tee shirts, I buy Gap and J Crew exclusively. The style, quality, and price can't be beat.

My favorite pair of jeans is a pair of Gap Limited Edition 1969 skinny jeans that fit so perfectly, I live in fear of them ever wearing out. So far, four years and counting.

However, Gap's current crops of skinny jeans suck ass. Memo to Gap from Moi: whiskers don't do anyone's crotchal area any favors. Cut. It. Out.

For boot cuts, I don't think Sevens can be beat. At least on my bod. Yes, they're pricey, but worth ever penny if they're this flattering, well made, and long-lasting.

I also have a pair of CAbi black stretch skinny jeans that I wear the hell out of in winter. They hit at just the right spot on my hips, so that I have a bit of the low slung action going on without muffin top extrusion.

Allergic to Vanilla said...

I really want to be a tshirt and jeans gal, but my instinct says more, more, more, and so said tee and jeans become a mere backdrop for the leopard fur coat, the dangling necklaces, platform boots, and the 7 rings dripping of my fingers. I may sound like a lady of the me I'm not, although my boy may wonder..haha

xo Carlina

moi said...

Carlina: We Bitches understand. Especially when it comes to a leopard print. Hello!


I haven't bought jeans at the Gap since college until I was in there a few weeks ago to buy a bunch of 3 euro t-shirts for my husband. I spied a pair of 1969 lightwash cropped skinnies, and I have to say I am in love. Plus they were 50 % off. I wouldn't say they are my perfect jean, but they come pretty darn close!

As for tees, I am still stumped.

moi said...

Fashion Butter: Tees are tricky, for sure. While I think that a tee shirt and jeans is the ultimate in American casual cool, at the same time, the wrong combo can be as sloppy as a pair of Crocs with pedal pushers. Neckline, weight, sleeve, and cut is critical and can make the difference between awesome and frump-a-dump.

miki said...

for the first time in a long time, I ducked into Banana Republic (just half a step up the food chain from the gap) and found two PERFECT t-shirts. Black (alas) not on sale, but the periwinkle was 10 ducks! (and 5% organic cotton, whoa dude) favorites are an old pair of miss sixty's found at a Buffalo. I just have no patience for new's definitely becoming an issue.

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

nana public and gap are sisters - good call!

ahh, miss Sixty. She does some awesome things with denim - good thing you found them at Buffalo, they're rather pricey off the rack!

John said...

That woman in Paris and jeans - she needs to eat about 10 burritos and then hit the gym, before she blows away.

chickory said...

juicy couture boot cut. bella cut tshirt with my own iron on design.

moi said...

John: She's wafer thin!

Chickory: I have never worn anything by Juicy. I just can't get past the ridiculous name :o).