Monday, August 16, 2004


Everybody In Jeans

I went jeans shopping yesterday with a friend and colleague, Heidi. We are both a similar, and not particularly Peruvian, size - so we decided to brave the experience together. I have been yearning for a new pair for quite some time, and have been feeling a bit left out, as everyone in Peru wears jeans at all times bar none. When I first came to Chiclayo I couldn't really understand why women here adopt jeans as strictly as if they were a uniform. However, after six months of squeezing in and out of the over-packed vans that serve as the public transportation system, tramping along dusty, unpaved roads, standing on gusty street corners imbibing freezing cold beverages on a Friday night... not to mention being openly and pevertedly leered at by every male over eight years of age as I go about these daily activities... it has all become very clear to me. Life in this area is absolutely not conducive to skirts of any type nor length, nor indeed any other clothing less durable than the sacred jeans. Accordingly, all of the city centre clothes shops display less-than-stimulating stocks of jeans, jeans and more jeans. In fact, I seem to recall reading that Peru is one of the top denim-producing countries in the world. Thus, I suppose myself and Heidi could be forgiven that we would both be able to find a satisfactory pair with a minimum of pain and effort. Not so. After extensive research I have come to the conclusion that there are only three main types of jeans for women sold in the shops of Chiclayo:

1. Skin-tight, very, very low-rise ones for girls with 0% body fat and braces

2. Acid-wash/dirty tea coloured ones for people with mullets or earth-toned wardrobes, respectively

3. Tapered, thigh n' hip enhancing versions for women with the fashion sense of a sea cucumber

I now know how so many woman manage to look so bloody unsightly. It isn't their fault - one could more likely allot the blame to the gormless salespeople who breathe down your neck and constantly thrust totally unsuitable models under your nose. Neither of us found anything even remotely suitable, although I will admit to a moment of madness regarding a pair of back-pocketless crack-exposers. But I mentally focused on the image of Trinny and Susannah and the moment soon passed. We did what any red-blooded shopping women in our position would do. Not to be entirely thwarted, we bought tops and necklaces instead.

Nice to see jeans shopping is hell the world over ;)
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