My Pair of Jeans

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

"TESS, it fits you well... you look good in it...," my friend Ditas commented, as she gazed at my jeans.

"Thanks, Ditz."

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"Original na no? (That's original, right?" she further asked.

I just smiled, rather shy at the thought that somebody noticed, and at the same time wondering how she knew it's original. Well, knowing Ditas, she has that flair for fashion, and she has class.

My thoughts flashed back... two years ago. I and my kids were at Limketkai Mall, having our bonding time. It was Mother's Day. After eating at one of the fast foods, my kids said they wanted to watch movie. I told them they can go ahead, as I wanted to buy something for myself.

I headed straight to where I had planned I would be... looked for my size, tried it on... and viola! I love the fit! I bought it...unmindful of the high cost. It was worth it, I mused. And I felt good at my decision.

At agreed time, my kids and I met again in another fast food outlet. They were already seated, and when I arrived, Hannah's eyes were on the brown bag I was holding and she exclaimed, "Wow! Levi's!

RB, my second son, took the brown bag from me and peeped at it... a glow in his eyes. He knew, because I told him.

It was RB's mother's day gift to me, a cash gift. You see, it's my practice that when I received a cash gift, I would buy something to fondly remind me of the giver. (I am happy and proud that my two sons are now professionals and have a good job... and they are so thoughtful and magnanimous).

I remember the first Levis jeans I had... no, actually, there were two pairs of Levi's 501. It was from out of my Christmas bonus....and I wanted to treat myself. I was not married then and can afford to splurge. And that was more than 30 years ago! Those two jeans are rather tight for me now. However, they occupy a space in my clothes cabinet. They are part of my vintage collection, and yes, they have sentimental value to me.

Going back to Ditas... she has her candid way of 'forcing' me to tell her the price, so I told her timidly. Then she continued, "You know Tess, there are Levi's jeans that cost much lower... and of course, they are imitations. That statement got me interested. Imagine, with the price of the original jeans, I could get five pairs already.

There, I eventually become "wiser," and went home with five pairs of fake Levis jeans the next time I went shopping.

That Monday, I wore the one pair, and Loloy, my officemate said, "Wow, Levis!" I could seem to read his thoughts, and I just smiled.

I also remember another experience, about five years ago. From my radio program, I strolled the Night Café area. It was only past 5pm. I was "killing my time', observing people who were busy unfolding their goods. Then my attention was caught by sacks of jeans being opened. People swarmed the area and one by one, looked for what interest them from out of the big piles of used jeans. Curious, I also joined them.

One lady was holding a pair of jeans....scrutinized it... and exclaimed, "Wow, Levis!!!" Then she put it up on air to scrutinize it further, and frustrated, said, "Ay, gamay man ang hawak...." (Oh, the waist is too small.)" Then she threw the jeans back to the mounting pile. I grabbed the jeans, looked at it, satisfied of what I have seen. I bought it.

When I reached home, I examined it again. I wanted to be sure I did the right thing. True enough, I was convinced it was an original one. Not bad for 150 pesos!

How did I know if it was authentic or fake? Well, through the years, I seem to have developed that liking for the brand and even forego my Christmas bonus for the branded items. But I am not the type who would just give away my money for something not worth the price. I have to be sure I got the right goods and quality, too. Thus, through the years, I have gathered some tips on how to detect a fake from the authentic. For example, the zipper should have the brand name engraved in its handle. The tab, too, is made out of good quality leather and the print not easily removed. I also noticed that in the latest authentic Levis jeans that I have. The brand name is nicely-embroidered in the back inside of the waist.

Maybe by now you must be thinking why I chose this topic for my column, why I am such a big fan of Levis. Honestly, I don't have a single straight answer for that, as I also wear other brands. I think it's just that there is something about this brand that gives me some kind of psychological fulfillment. In other words, I am a satisfied Levi's user. And no, Levi's company did not pay me for writing this. I do this for myself...

My internet search says that Levi's is a popular brand of jeans created by Levi Strauss and his partner, Jacob Davis, in the early 1870s. Originally worn by miners, the blue jeans quickly became a popular fashion item throughout the 20th century. Today, blue jeans are worn by people of all ages, and from all walks of life. Levi's items that were manufactured prior to the 1980s demand high price, as they are considered vintage due to their age and historical significance.

Want to know how to identify authentic Levis? Maggie Hira of eHow gives us these tips:

1) Check the buttons. Levi's manufactured in the mid-1970's and prior will have a single digit stamped onto them. Newer versions (as well as fake ones) have three digits stamped on the buttons. The most popular numbers on vintage versions are 2, 5, 6 and the letter W. New Levi's have "501" or "555" stamped on them;

2) Look at the rivets. Older styles from the mid-1970's to the 1980's feature flat silver rivets with L.S. &CO-S.F. indented on them. Newer styles feature aluminum rivets with circular patterns and L.S.&CO-S.F. indented on them. The circular patterns on the rivets are a sure sign the Levi's are relatively new.

3) Check the red tab. This is a small red fabric tag that has "Levi's" written in white in all caps. Prior to 1971, the "e" in Levi's was capitalized and referred to as the "big E." After 1971, the "e" was written in lower case while the other letters were left capitalized.

4) Read the care tags. They first appeared on Levi's in the 1970's. The tags from 1970 to 1985 were plain white with dark blue writing and contained an instruction that read "Shrinks about 10%." Newer jeans (after 1985) have care tags that are white with red writing and the Levi's logo placed prominently at the top. The older versions do not have a Levi's logo on the care tags.

5) Inspect the inseam and back pockets. The style of inseam on almost all Levi's before the mid-1980's featured a single felled inseam, which is a single stitch running down the inner thigh. The back pockets on vintage Levi's have a very pronounced arcuate design. An arcuate is denoted by two wide arcs joined together in the middle, similar to the top part of a traditional heart shape. On newer Levi's the arcs are much more shallow.

6) Check the bar tacks at the corners of the pockets. Bar tacks are method of sewing that involves using extra thread to reinforce a thicker fabric such as denim. Levi's that contain bar tacks on the corner pockets at least 20 years old and may even be older.

If you love wearing jeans like me, chances are there is at least a pair of Levi's jeans in your closet, too. And whether you prefer the vintage cuts or go for a more modern pairs that come in different style and color, here are some tips on how to wear your jeans with flair, courtesy of eHow writer Lis Ellis. The tips specifically applies to Levi's jeans, but can also be used for any other brand of jeans.

1) Wear skinny leg jeans with a mini-dress or long straight sweater.

2) Select boot-cut jeans and pair them with long-layered tanks or T-shirts.

3) Dress up your jeans with platform pumps and a velvet or wool blazer.

4) Wear wide-leg jeans with a top that's belted at the waist to add some definition to your figure.

5) Play with proportion by mixing long skinny tees with short-cropped sweaters or jackets and straight leg jeans.

6) Make your jeans look demure by wearing them with a white button down top and shrunken sweater vest and flats.

Whether what you are wearing is an authentic or fake jeans, what matters most is how you feel about yourself. Some say that a person is judged by what he wears, or how he carries himself, but for me, the most important thing is that I am happy and comfortable with what I wear. For one, I am not wearing something to please others, but to please myself.

And every time I wear my authentic Levi's jeans and hear friends say that I look good in it, I just smile... the same way that I smile when the same comment is said when I wear my fake Levi's jeans. Much more, I don't go out of my way telling people that what I wear is from "UK." I don't think they really care, anyway. What I know is that, those jeans are all good buy! (

My pair jeans

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