A second helping of Fashion Friday

DISCLAIMER: This entry's gonna make me sound like a hopeless girl drowning in her own vanity.  Straight males and girls who have better things to think about, feel free to move right along.

I have a confession to make this Friday evenin'.  After a few months living with the Paiges I bought at Century 21 (NYC's best kept secret), I realize I love them.  Now, one thing that frustrates me about peoples' obsession with premium denim is that I've rarely heard anyone who was able to articulate a) exactly what makes them different from the regular store-bought variety, and b) why they were worth the absurd price.  Because of this, I always assumed they were brand whores interested mostly in the status they were buying, deluding themselves into thinking they were paying for higher quality or better fit, and collecting designer jeans like some people collect broken hearts.  I don't care what you say, 8+ pairs of $150-$200 jeans in anyone's closet is absurd.

That said, I am considering investing in another 1 or 2 pairs.  And I'm going to try to articulate my reasons in an attempt to show it isn't really the status I'm buying or just another excuse to show off.  Feel free to let me know if I'm only kidding myself.

1) I refuse to pay more than about half off retail for these jeans.  I think my current upper limit is about $100, which when you think of it is not that much more than a pair of full-priced jeans at your usual BR or Express (though it is a far cry from my grubby $23 Gap jeans).

2) They make me feel more polished and grown up.  I think it's the tailoring that makes them decidedly un-grubby, and the slight heft, the weight of the fabric does a good job keeping my fatty little pooch in check (all that food comes at a price, eh?).  I guess you could say it buys me a little bit of confidence.  Which is what true fashion is about, in my humble opinion--some combination of self-expression and aspiration.

3) Butt pocket designs.  I'm sure 75% of the reason I love my Paige jeans so much is the gorgeous embroidery on the butt pockets.  They are a delightful surprise every time I catch them peeking out in the mirror, and they instantly elevate everything else I'm wearing.  When I see designer jeans with plain/bland butt pockets, I can't help but think, "Why bother?"

4) Fit through the thighs.  It's pretty inevitable that regular jeans, without the added lycra or tailoring, stretch out and sag abominably just under the butt.  I never used to notice it before, but now I see it everywhere, on everyone. One thing I've come to appreciate about my Paiges is their uncanny ability to cling to my butt.  Hah!  I don't think all designer jeans are created equal in this respect--I've really only tried on 1-2 brands so I'm not sure which have mastered it, but I've definitely seen coworkers (my coworkers are all obsessed with premium denim and refuse to wear anything else) wearing designer jeans that also sag abominablyAgain: "Why bother?"

5) A beautiful, confident drape.  See the pictures below.

6) Lovely washes--though many regular denim brands do this just as well.

Anyway.  I decided to educate myself a bit on some of the brands available out there, so I could begin to sort out my preferences.  Here are some ones I particularly liked:
  • AG, or Adriano Goldschmied - shown here are his 'Angel' and 'Legend' styles
  • Antik Denim - kind of risky with its mod-western styling, but I kind of like it
  • Stella Jean by Chip & Pepper - just an all around classic shape
  • Passion Jean by Goldsign - my favorites after Paige!
  • Standard Glory Jean by Habitual - I like the unique Maltese cross
  • J & Company - they have the most ornate/elaborate pocket design, and yes, I love it.
  • James Jeans - yup, the butt pockets
  • Paige jeans - practically perfect in every way
  • The Bellisima Jean by Rich & Skinny - lovely shape, bratty name
  • Good ole Rock & Republic - showing their Jaguar and Kurt styles.  R&R is definitely overworn though.
  • Classic Dojo Jean from 7 For All Mankind.  Also overworn but still rockin.

Anyone else have favorites they want to recommend?

As a side note, I am really liking the Gilt Groupe's offerings.  It's just barely within the price range I'd be willing to pay for certain items...not cheap (I still have to hem and haw about everything) but not impossible.  In other words, I'm doomed.

Yes, please congratulate me.

A month ago, I bought my very first pair of designer jeans, a pretty little denim number by the illustrious Paige.  Normally I would spit in my own eye and scream "SELLOUT!" but rest assured I did not pay full price for them--I paid $89 at Century 21, "New York's best-kept secret," this amazing place where you can get a Linea Pelle belt for $50 (they retail at $200+) and DKNY tights for $5.

Really, the only reason I bought them was not because I really needed a well-fitting pair of jeans (my $25 Gap jeans do me just fine), but because the butt design is so pretty.  I couldn't help it.

Now, we'll see how long it takes before I make the leap to designer handbags.  I think it will be quite a long while, because there are thousands of other things I'd rather spend my hard-earned money on.

Update: Steph Wong took this picture.  She wanted credit for it =D