Tube-based ointments and toothpaste, I believe, should be flattened, rolled and squeezed until there is not a speck of goo left that could possibly come out. I also believe that I am not a tube-based ointment (nor am I toothpaste). It’s curious then, isn’t it, that jeans try to treat me like a toiletry? I’ve tried on and buttoned pairs so tight they gave my chest the effect of a pushup bra — my midsection stomach flesh had nowhere to go except straight up toward my armpits, as though someone were trying to make me last just one day longer before they had a chance to run to the store. As such, I’ve become vigilant about testing denim before any offending pair has an opportunity to make it home with me.
When Man Repeller partnered with Madewell for a denim-happy collaboration, we proposed a video of team MR putting Madewell jeans to the test. Madewell was like, “By all means — our jeans have been studying!” Then seven members of the team had at it.
In the privacy of a dressing room, my own test looks something like a mating ritual between exotic birds, a Lamaze class, the P.E. routine from fifth grade that I still sometimes use to warm up before working out, and a dance. Tightness — Can I stand? Can I breathe? Can I be a human, not ointment? — is not the only thing I check for, either. I need to know what the back-gap situation is given that my waist-to-butt radio tends to cause an unwelcome waistband pocket, one that threatens to expose the area where the good lord split me and tempt twerp-y friends to shove snow down my pants. I need to know the jeans will be nap-friendly in case I feel a quick sleep coming on out of nowhere. I need to know they can keep a tucked shirt in place and that there’s plenty of room for extracurricular meals. If they’re white as opposed to blue denim, I need the jeans to not reveal my party underwear. And should I be in a situation where a group photo is being taken and I’m in the front row blocking a friend of equal height behind me, I have to know that a squat down low will not only be possible but an all-around enjoyable experience.
After vigorous rounds of testing, the Madewell jeans passed in flying colors (classic blue, faded blue, white). See for yourself. Then, in the comments below, let us know your own personal version of a denim test.