“Black jeans are like fishnets, though — the right ones seem to come with lessons on how to wear them and what to do while wearing them that arrive when you put them on,” writes Alexander Chee in a post about the jeans that are getting him through quarantine. “I’m pretty sure they taught me how to move away from home, flirt with strangers in a bar, protest the government and strike a match one-handed.”
Chee’s retro jeans are a reminder that what we wear shapes who we are — or who we believe ourselves to be. A pair of black jeans can teleport us back to the ’80s, back to the Before Times, or even back to last week. As Mitch Horowitz writes in an essay about the spirituality of personal style, we’re always engaged in “acts of self-selection and self-creation.”
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Your black jeans, your working-from-home sweatsuit, your favorite Zoom Top, even the mask you wear every day when you leave your house — they’re getting you through “this time” in more ways than you can count.
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“It is the smallest thing, putting on these jeans, I know. That’s ok,” writes Chee. “Putting on these jeans was never meant to be a charm against all of that. It just means the first decision of the day has already been made and I can feel my way onto the path of another day.”