Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Great White Hope

Few fictions have fueled more foolhardy quests and beguiled the hopeful hearts of full-grown women more frequently than the legend of those ever elusive, so-called “essentials of summer" -- white jeans.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of white jeans, it’s their reality I have yet to encounter. Oh, sure I’ve seen them tagged in captivity, dangling from racks of department stores as bait lying in wait to ensnare those still na├»ve enough to believe in alabaster denim. Yet, once purchased and worn outside of the confines of the dressing room, this fabled fabric has been the foil to many an aspiring fashionista.

White jeans are a hoax greater than Big Foot, El Dorado and Santa Claus all rolled into one. And just like any great con, every single spring, it starts with proof. Supposed irrefutable evidence of their existence. Photographs.

The bamboozle begins between the bound covers of publications promising the inside scoop on this season’s most sought after styles. But no blurry backwoods beasts or grainy lochs in Scotland here. These are carefully crafted shots of emaciated females in digitally brightened brilliance so pure it practically pops from the page. Or supposed action shots of carefully coiffed celebrities in the wilds of Los Angeles snapped by paparazzi of the occasional white jean at preschool pickup or baggage claim…but always at a distance and of course after publicists’ approval.


The myth is perpetuated in movies. And no greater disservice was ever done to the damsel
on her crusade for cloud-colored cotton than the film DIRTY DANCING. Sure, nobody puts Baby in the corner, they just put her in immaculate white jeans so superb, any female who matriculated in the late 80’s/early 90’s will forever pine for a pair so perfect! She was able to waltz through the woods, lay on logs and leap from lakes without so much as a dark mark on her delicate denim.

Ideal? Yes. Realistic? No.

And don’t tell me that white jeans exist in the real world, if only I cared for them properly. It is suggested that to keep white jeans white one must: wear them no more than two hours at a time, treat stains immediately, use specialty laundry soap, wash them separately, Scotchguard them, use bleach, don’t use bleach, rinse with vinegar, air dry, sun dry, tumble dry on low and my favorite…SHOWER WITH THEM. That is not the real world. That is white jeans fantasyland.

And yet…


Hanging in my closet, this very minute is one pair with the tag still on. Knowing all of this, still, I was hooked. They have been there all summer, I suppose as to not shatter the illusion. 

I have promised myself I will pull them out before Labor Day. Because despite all that I know, the little girl in me still wants to believe in Santa Claus, at least a little bit. I suppose she still wants to believe in white jeans too.


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