“What did you do to your pants?!” This from my 91-year old mentor.

She doesn’t really use the sound “tsk tsk,” but I have to say that she has a way of saying it with her eyeballs.

The hem wasn’t finished and I wore them anyway: partly because I was so proud of the taper job, partly because they fit comfortably (but, well, more on that later), and also because they were clean and at hand.

“I haven’t finished them. I need you to show me how to hem.”

A hmph and then a twinkle smile. Actually an awesome combo–somehow mixing them makes them both more real.

Then later from my other teacher (91’s daughter), the patient, generous, time-giving, secret-sharing, encouraging-but-not-coddling one who is showing me the ropes: “UNACCEPTABLE!”

This was after I hiked up my shirt to show off that I’d moved the buttons on my pants so that they fit better.

“You can’t do that.” Head shaking.

Me: “you can’t?”

Her: “You can’t do that. Go look in the mirror. Go look.”

And, well, sure, she had a point. The zipper was all visible and waving to America. It’s not supposed to be at the party. It’s supposed to be hiding.

Still. They were more comfortable, everyone.

And I value this in a piece of clothing: I remember wearing A Smile jeans in the 70’s–the ones with the elastic in the back and the upside down triangle logo. I wore these amidst a sea of dittos (signature butt seam) and Chimen de Fers (choo choo train logo). I would look at the girls wearing those tight jeans and literally sort of tighten the muscles in my brain to try to squeeze out a reason that they would wear those when they were clearly not as comfortable as my A Smiles.

Sadly, I didn’t have the 13-year old chutzpah to tell my mom to take me to Beno’s for Levis. But I do remember thinking that the fact you could have a Beno’s logo spray painted onto the side of your car and get a FREE PAIR OF LEVIS for it was the best idea I’d ever heard of, and something I definitely planned to do when I go my first car.

I’m still all about comfort. And now the alchemy is going to be comfort + style. I’m on my way, fools. Watch me. I’m gonna get both. I feel sure of it.

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