We first met Elle writer Leah Melby Clinton when she turned us into the living embodiment of the blushing emoji with her piece about our black skinny jeans. Leah’s a true-blue denim devotee (one of us, in other words), so as we got to work on our latest version of our Denim Report (in stores and right here), we wanted to get her take on jeans and why they have such a hold on our collective hearts. We won’t say much more other than…yeah, she gets it.
By the time you hit adulthood, you can probably count the amount of good friends you have on both hands. I tuck down one finger for my sister, three for my best college girlfriends, another for my work-wife and…one for a pair of perfect ankle-crop, a-single-hole-in-one-knee pair of skinny jeans. Personifying material things isn’t something everyone does (it’s a bit inevitable that I’m friendly with my clothes, really: I’m a fashion writer and editor), but if you look in your own closet or dresser drawers, I’d venture to say your eyes will land on something that brings up memories and makes you smile, all warm inside, in almost the exact same way you would if your best college friend surprised you at your front door.
My high-ranking jeans didn’t just appear out of the blue, saddled with a fuzzy origin story I can’t fully remember. If I close my eyes, I can still picture the friend I was with (the curly-haired girl referred to with finger #2 in the first paragraph) and where we were (the townhouse-shaped Madewell store in Soho). I remember the friendly person who helped pull our sizes and the way we both ended up buying a pair.
From then on, it’s been a feelings-filled thing that’s difficult to term anything other than a friendship. Like my living-and-breathing BFFs, those jeans can hang casually or somewhere more formal. They’ve never made me feel bad about myself and have rolled with whatever I’ve thrown at them (consider: my jeans have hung in there when I’ve lopped the ends off for a raw-hem look, and my best friends have still talked to me after more than one tear-laced meltdown). In a closet packed to the ceiling with denim, they—my jeans, not the girlfriends—bring back more memories than any of the other pairs stacked alongside them. I’m here to confirm that nothing shouts out “I love my clothes way too much” than physically stroking them, reminiscing about all the memories you both shared. Somewhere in the fibers of those skinnies, engrained like smoke that seeps in, is the same European air I breathed on my honeymoon. There’s the sweet magnolia blossom scent from my mother’s front yard. There’s even a little bit of fairy dust left from when I interviewed that celebrity and she gave me a hug goodbye. Jeans as generic noun are fantastic, but a specific pair of jeans who’ve lived so much of life with you? Those are friends.
Want to add a few more friends to your wardrobe? Check out our new denim styles here.