Wednesday, June 10, 2009


And now for Part Deux of my internationally-acclaimed blog series “Clothes That Changed My Life.”

Part One featured my Wal-Mart Miracle Shoes. (Moment of reverent silence, please.) Now let’s move on to… my Guess jeans.

Guess jeans were all the rage in the mid- to late-’80s. They weren’t just the “in” thing to wear; they were a requirement. Especially at a yuppie school like mine. I don’t think I can stress enough that you JUST HAD TO HAVE THEM. For social survival. Ask anyone who was in high school during that time. It’s true.

Like everything else that was all the rage in the ’80s (like the Porsche, Michael Jackson concert tickets and cocaine), Guess jeans were expensive. They ran about 50 to 60 bucks, which was a lot of money for a pair of jeans back then. It was even more money to my minister dad and teacher mom. They didn’t just hand me incredibly overpriced jeans. I had to work for them. I had to make good grades. Which I did. To get Guess jeans. Because I HAD TO HAVE THEM.

So I made the grades and my mom and I went shopping. Now you didn’t just go buy any old pair of Guess jeans. They had to be the tapered leg with the zippers at the ankles. And they had to be the tiniest size you could possibly fit into. They had to be painful to wear. Because this was the ’80s and your jeans were supposed to look like you had been poured into them. I actually knew girls who carried pliers in their purses so they could pull their jeans back up after going to the bathroom. I did not personally do this. Well, I did pull them back up after going to the bathroom. But I did not use pliers. This paragraph just took a rather awkward turn. Let’s move on.

I had a close friend who could fit into the very smallest size of jeans that Guess made. And I hated her for it. Because that’s what girls do. They hate their friends. Ask any female. It’s true. I had to settle for the second-smallest size Guess made. I pouted briefly and then got over it. Because now I had them. Guess jeans. I would now be complete.

On some other blog somewhere, maybe a blog belonging to someone who seeks deeper meaning in things, this story would now take a turn like this: I would say that after I got those jeans and wore them for a while, I learned that I was still not truly happy and that true joy does not come from material things. Then I would quote a few Bible verses, watch Pat Robertson and turn in for the night.

But not at Deanaland. I’m here to tell you that those Guess jeans made me very happy. And it wasn’t a silly, shallow teenage girl kind of happiness. This was a happiness that came from the very core of my being. There was nothing like pulling those things out of the dryer while the ankle zippers were still hot. Just putting them on meant my day was going to be a little better. Especially if I put them on with my pink Hard Rock Café shirt (New York City), pink scrunchy socks and white canvas Keds. Those jeans got me dates. They got me glares from the popular girls who knew I looked better in my Guess jeans than they looked in theirs. Those jeans were not just something to wear. They gave me purpose.

I wore those things through the last half of high school and then they went with me to college in 1989. During the fall of my sophomore year, I was hanging out with some friends when I went to sit down on the ground. And with that, my beloved jeans gave up. I almost heard them say “We cannot do this for one more second” as they ripped along the bottom of the back right pocket. (The pocket with the upside-down triangle logo.) Thankfully, I was wearing a long (Guess!) shirt.

My Guess jeans may have been done with me, but I wasn’t done with them. When I got home, I took a pair of scissors to them, ripped them up and wore them a few more years. Finally, around the time I got married, they had to go. They had served their purpose. They died a valiant death.

I’ve had lots of jeans since those Guess jeans. I’ve loved a lot of them, including my current favorites, my Lucky jeans. But my high-waisted, tapered-leg Guess jeans will always hold a special place in my heart.


  • At Thu Jun 11, 03:33:00 AM, Blogger GraceSaves said…

    I would feel better if I could see pictures of you in them...

  • At Thu Jun 11, 05:53:00 AM, Blogger elizabeth said…

    I have memories of burning the lower back side of my leg with jeans straight from the drier! Did your jeans have a neat little bow sitting on top of the zipper?

    My favorite Guess! product was my blue and white (sear sucker?) overall mini skirt. I got it Christmas of my 7th grade year. I am wearing them in a year book picture and wasn't crossing my legs! We aren't talking Basic Instinct here, but I do wish I could have torn that page out of every yearbook at Franklin Middle School!

  • At Thu Jun 11, 08:29:00 AM, Blogger Kate said…

    Did you have a t shirt clip on the long Guess t-shirt that covered the tear? T Shirt clips were a staple in my wardrobe in the late 80's...along with curly cue shoe laces for my Keds.

  • At Mon Jun 15, 09:13:00 AM, Blogger Keith Brenton said…

    For some reason, the Saturday Night Live parody-ad for "Jewess Jeans" comes to mind. If they had existed, I think they would have been my favorite jeans for the 80s. To see, not to wear. This paragraph just took an awkward turn.

    Let's move on.

  • At Wed Jun 17, 06:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The amazing thing to me about this piece is not that the Guess jeans changed your life (for me, it was my Calvins. I am a few years older than you). The most amazing thing is that YOU STILL WORE THE SAME SIZE well into your sophomore year of college. How is this possible?! You are truly awesome.


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