Wednesday, February 01, 2006

We don't see much of that around here

At the NY Times, Michelle Slatella tries to explain some sort of big city perversion involving blue jeans:
These days, when expensive designer jeans cost upward of $150, every pair requires a consultation. That's because standard-length inseams measure 34 inches or longer to satisfy the needs of even the tallest shopper, sending the average American woman (5 feet 4 inches tall) straight from the store to the tailor to lop off the same fancy stitching and distressed hemline she just paid so dearly to procure.

Can this hem be saved? Every case is different and expensive. It can cost $20 to shorten the jeans and then reattach the original hem. Some tailors painstakingly pick out the original thread to reuse on a new hem. Others issue instructions to rub a bleach-soaked cotton swab across the new hems to distress the fabric. My tailor, who has seen plenty of jeans gone wrong, specializes in reconstructive surgery to fix botched jobs.

Is any shopper immune from hem stress? "I was getting a manicure, and one of the manicurists was talking about how her tailor reattached the original hem for $6, and it looked great, you couldn't even see the seam, and it was all anybody in the shop was talking about," said Karen Bard Liszt, editor of the fashion and beauty site

After that Web site published a blog item headlined "Denim Dilemma," Splendora was bombarded by readers' comments. Some wrote to complain about hems that "never ever seem to hang the same way as when I purchased them." Others begged for referrals to tailors like the one in San Francisco who, one poster wrote, "is on O'Farrell right next to the old F. A. O. Schwarz, on the second floor. He is a great guy and will turn around your jeans fast!"

A perfect hem is the biggest fashion challenge of the decade.
Who knew? The point of the article is apparently that there are various sorts of new "jeans technology" to make it easy to change the length while preserving the original hem. Gosh, what's next? Canned beer and sliced bread?

At first I really couldn't figure this out because I figured that women's jeans came in different lengths just like my bib overalls. I guess they do, unless you are a trendoid and buy real "designer jeans":
Loomstate, a five-year-old company that uses organic cotton and distributes its jeans to online sellers like, and, has a different approach: an unusual kind of re-attachable hem.
Onto something big, I returned home to track down Scott Hahn, a founder of Loomstate.
While I had Mr. Hahn on the spot, I knew I had a responsibility, on behalf of all women, to ask the tough questions. So in a tone more typically associated with Mike Wallace, I barked, "Are you aware that according to the National Center for Health Statistics, the average American woman is 5-foot-4? Why are all your jeans so long?"

Unfazed, Mr. Hahn said: "You can always shorten jeans, but you can't make them longer. Ideally you'd have multiple lengths of inseams, but for a small company like us, it's difficult."

Disarmed (the jeans did fit really, really well), I politely said goodbye and headed to the tailor.
Yeah, they fit really, really well except they were way too long. Sheesh, I hope the folks at Dickies and Carhartt haven't heard about this stuff.