Is Spending $160 On A Pair Of Jeans “Wrong”?

The other day, I read online about a clothing boutique near where I live that carries all the crazy expensive jeans that the celebrities wear: Paper Denim & Cloth, True Religion, People’s Liberation. You know the deal. A few days later, I was in the neighborhood, so I thought I’d stop in and take a look. Mostly, as I’ve written here previously, I buy inexpensive jeans. We’re talking Gap prices. The jeans at this place were crazy expensive: $152, $170, and up. Still, I decided to try on a few pairs.I wear jeans all the time (I grew up in California — what can I say?), so it’s not like this would be some random purchase. I would wear them a lot. Plus, I’d lost, oh, I don’t know, maybe around 15 pounds or so in the last couple months. Didn’t I deserve a reward? By now, the nice, pretty, blonde salesladies had swarmed around me, and, armed with some suggestions of what I was looking for, were tossing all kinds of potentially awesome-fitting jeans at me. I was having fun!

Finally, I found a pair that fit. Honestly, they fit like no other jeans I’ve ever tried on in my life. The brand was Paper Denim & Cloth. They didn’t even feel like jeans. They felt like … buttah. They felt like you were wearing jeans and not wearing jeans at the same time. They were long as hell on my six-foot-one inch body, and, except for the waist, which needed to be taken in a little, they were like my dream jeans. Except they were real.

Oh, and did I mention they cost somewhere around $152, as I recall? The shopping angel on my shoulder told me it was an investment. The shopping devil on my other shoulder was too busy screaming, “$150 for a pair of JEANS!?!” to hear what the angel was saying. I decided I was going to get them. Why not? I deserved it. Although, with some tailoring thrown in, and tax, and whatever else I encountered on the way to the cash register, I’d be spending $200 on some … jeans.

Suddenly, I ripped the jeans off, yanked open the curtain, and fairly ran out the door, telling the saleswomen I’d be back someday. It was like a brush with death. Except, you know, shopping. On the one hand, I think I did the right thing by not throwing away two bills on some pants. On the other hand, I keep thinking about the jeans that got away.

I suspect I’m no different from a lot of women. I’m an emotional shopper. Now more than ever, there are a lot of reasons to not be buying (what I think of as) crazy expensive clothing items: the economy, the job market, the rampant consumerism. Do you engage in these type of mental battles when you shop? Who wins? Why?

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