A Rebel in Blue Jeans

I got my first pair of jeans when I was 26 years old. I just moved to the United States, and, after some examination of my wardrobe, my stepfather told my mother that I needed to go shopping. Understandably, my Lithuanian clothes did not fit well into an American lifestyle.

My first jeans were from Gap. I still remember that odd feeling of foreignness that those jeans stirred in me. I finally realized that I was indeed in a different country, in an unfamiliar reality.

Jeans were not a very common form of attire back home. In the Soviet Union they represented the cold war. The Soviet Union would neither produce them, nor sell them. Understandably, the Soviet Union used fashion (I, personally, would not call it that) as a tool of political propaganda. I had to wear a uniform, with ugly brown and black colors, to school for ten years.

Even in the Soviet Union, there were always people who could get you anything you wanted. However, because those certain things that people wanted were not “soviet,” they were traded in the black markets.

Blue jeans were a hot item in those underground bazaars. The price of jeans were about $40-$50 equivalent. If you are wondering how expensive this was, let me tell you that you would have to put down your monthly salary for a pair of jeans. What is more important, no one could guarantee the authenticity of the jeans you had acquired.

In post Soviet Union time, when we were hungry for everything western and forbidden, jeans represented not just a new life without a Berlin Wall but a status symbol. However, I was not into jeans, because I never understood their appeal. I did not care about a status symbol. You won’t believe it but I was not really into fashion and clothes, and shopping. I was busy trying to figure out how to survive in a new independent world.

Fast forward to 2012, and I own five pairs of jeans: two pairs of skinny jeans, two pairs of straight and one pair of bootcut. The price range varies from $70 to $300. None of them are from Gap anymore.

I don’t really need so many pairs of jeans. I have two favorite pairs that I wear most of the time. Why do I own five pairs?

The problem lies in my relationship with the word “need.”  Since I came to the United States my needs somehow mixed with wants, and I lost the sight of what I really “need.” I need food to get me through the day. I need gas in my car to go to work. I do not need a sparkly black top, or a lacy blue dress. Or five pairs of jeans. I talk myself into “needing” things because it is so easy to do.

Looking back at my 26 year old self, I have to admit that those Gap jeans were not bad at all. They were cheap. They were comfortable. They looked good. I loved them. Even now, thinking about that pair of jeans, I feel somewhat nostalgic. What I miss the most is the simplicity I had in my life. Life was less about labels and things, and more about making it in America.


24 thoughts on “A Rebel in Blue Jeans”

  1. What an interesting story! I thought jeans were somewhat globally accepted, but it makes sense that they’re not.

  2. Wow I can’t believe that they were so expensive and that they were so desired. Some things are just taken for granted.

    1. You know, as far as I remember men mostly wear dressy pants. Women – dresses and skirts.

  3. I remember this time though not so extreme. I had jean and cords all the way through my teens. My regret at the moment is that the pair of jeans in which I landed in the UK won’t fit half of me (yep, these were the days when I looked like a teen boy rather than a young woman; and dressed accordingly).

    Enough messing baout. Aloysa, I think that what you are saying about ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ is very interesting – does an early life feeling of deprivation and longing for ‘stuff’ shape how we turn up in relation to consumarism? I am fine – I don’t, and have never, craved stuff; well, except gadgets but this because I am a geek.

    1. It definitely affected me -life without stuff. And not in a good way. 🙂 I think I am compensating myself for what I did not have back in a day. I just hope that at some point I will stop.

      1. I don’t know that this ever goes away. I know people who are in their 50s and grew up with very little, yet still hoard things or overindulge constantly (particularly with food). I think you just have to reconcile with yourself that you do have enough.

        I have about 8 pairs of jeans. I wear 3 of them. I don’t know why I have so many. I should get rid of the rest.

  4. Beautiful post. Crazy how one pair of jeans brings back a lot of memories for you. I like how you think 5 pairs of jeans is too much…I really need to reassess my wardrobe after reading this post. It is definitely about needs vs. wants, and learning how to control your urges. I still don’t have that down yet. I’m embarrassed to admit that I don’t even wear half of my jeans in my closet. I love my Citizens skinnies and that’s pretty much it.

    1. I wear two pairs the most. Sometimes I would throw my skinny on. But really five pairs is too much for me because I don’t wear them.

    1. Hahaha Unfortunately I don’t shop in Gap anymore. I don’t like their style. I moved on to J Crew.

  5. I have had a love/hate relationship with jeans. I do wear them and possess just one pair but I find that alot of the styles don’t suit me. My needs and wants have been analysed to death and I realise that I no longer want or need anything – much – except maybe food and water!!

    1. I need to this: analyze my needs and wants. I’ve been avoiding it for so long because I think I am afraid what I’d find out. Less is more? 🙂

  6. My work recently flipped from business casual to straight-up casual, and i have had invest in some more jeans as a result.

    I don’t really mind tho, jeans hold up much better than khakis with regular wear.

    1. We can wear jeans only on Friday and that’s when I know that I will wear the same to pairs all month long. Other three pairs simply stay in the closet.

    1. Beaker just got a really nice looking jeans on sale. $17! Really? I would never be able to find jeans like his for $17.

  7. Yes, simplicity. I miss that too. Our thinking seems to get more and more complicated as we get older. But we don’t have to let that happen. Fight it. Keep the simple mind and the peaceful quieter mind.

    Getting back to that is important. Good for you for recognizing that needs and wants have been mixed up.

  8. It’s amazing to be able to look back like that and see how much you’ve changed – and in such a unique way, with regards to blue jeans! It’s important to keep in mind where we came from, and what used to be a luxury. If nothing else, it can help you appreciate what you have now. Thanks for sharing!

    1. The sad part is that sometimes I think I take things for granted. I got spoiled. I need to go back to basics. I really need to.

  9. I take a ton for granted and then have days where I just sit around being thankful for it all. All wealth is comparable and it is nice to have those days that you can just be happy that your life is going well. 🙂

  10. Fun read about blue jeans and other countries. I had no idea! I wear jeans and plain t-shirts and then a few signature high end accessories that make everything look great. I have a great watch and a few nice jackets and shoes. It makes looking good simple

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