Monday, March 12, 2012


Originally uploaded by katzeye

The word denim comes from the phrase "de nime" because that is where they first began to create and indigo-dye denim fabric, which was then made into jeans in SF by Levi Strauss as a pant that miners' could wear comfortably, and that didn't wear out as fast as whatever else they were wearing.

I have loved denim since I was a little girl, and jeans were called "dungarees." And I also love that they were created by the people of France and San Francisco, along with sourdough baquettes! And indigo is my favorite color, and not just because it matches my eyes!

I remember coming home from Kindergarten, where I was required to wear a dress or jumper, and socks and maryjane shoes, or tights, and changing immediately into a pair of jeans.

In fact, I recall being in HS and coming home and changing from my dress or skirt into jeans. (Just imagine, my entire educational career from K-college required that i wear dresses and skirts to class albeit, on many a frigid winter morning, I wore a pair of jeans under a long skirt that I whipped up the night before on the apartment sewing machine, and a wool maxi coat over that!)

So, it is not at all surprising that jeans are still my uniform of choice. I have been wearing jeans for at least 60 years!

I find that they are comfortable, durable, and that if I wear a darker wash, I can dress them up, even! I can wear skinny ones tucked into boots, I can wear bootcut ones over boots, and I can wear wide ones over platform sandals, and I can wear any kind with ballet flats, toms, converse, or flat sandals. And they don't get stained as easily as other pants, and the older ones are like old friends.

So, it shouldn't be surprising that they are my favorite travel pants as well. I like to wear a fairly bulky, comfortable pair of boot cuts on the plane, train, bus, or in the car because i find that comfortable. But having discovered the newly reformulated knit jeans, I am in heaven! I used my ll bean bonus coupons on a pair of knit boot cuts that feel like jammies but look like jeans. I will wear those to travel in FOR SURE!!

But, a while back I began a search for jeans that don't take 48 hours to dry. I want jeans in my suitcase, but with our being on the move as much as we will be on this trip, they need to pack well and dry well if I feel a need to rinse them in a sink! I recall, when we were in Swtizerland, that I did wash a couple of pairs of jeans, but they did take 48 hours to dry. Fortunately, we were staying in one place for the most part. Unfortunately, those jeans were hanging around on the radiator for two full days!

So, I found some places that have jeans that pack up light and dry overnight. OVERNIGHT?? That would mean I would wear one pair of jammie-like knit jeans for flying, and pack a pair that I could wash once or twice. But, alas, these jeans were costly. One pair costs about 125.00. My favorite ones (because they look the most like jeans) are about 100.00 but they would be 135. with shipping because they are made and sold by a company in, wait for it, wait for it, Scotland! They have a store in Edinburgh that I would love to visit! (they have stuff for adventure travel, rugged looking, but nice, stuff that is durable and dries overnight, etc.)

Some would argue that regular jeans, if they are any good, cost that much or much, much more, so what is the big deal? Yeah, I've seen jeans that cost 800.00 and up. But I am on a budget. I don't want to pay over 100. for a pair of jeans unless they are the only jeans I will need for the rest of my life! (or pretty close to that.)

So, in my DIY spirit of experimentation, I have been hand washing various jeans that I own to see how long it takes for them to dry. 48 hours for most of them.

I went back to see what the quick dry ones were made of. They were cotton denim, but only about half or less. The rest of the content was made up of other things, usually synthetics similar to polyester. The ones in Scotland are made up of mostly a high-tech fabric of their own creation. And they have a secret zipper pocket, too!

So, that is the secret to jeans that dry overnight then. The content needs to include a large enough portion of a fast drying high-tech synthetic. I began to read the labels on the jeans that I own. The ones that I always reach for the most are all cotton. Some have a touch of spandex and other synthetics.

The ones at the other end, the ones that I haven't worn as much had a higher content of synthetics. I rinsed a couple of them in the sink yesterday and they are almost dry now, already wearable, but they have a couple of hours to go before it is 24 hours.

EUREKA!! There's the secret! Get a jean with a higher content of synthetic and they dry faster! So, of course, I will try on the ones that are nearly dry now. One pair I will not take because they are very dressy looking denim trousers with no pockets. I do not travel with any kind of pants with NO POCKETS!

I went online to look at the fabric content of various jeans, but, the percentages are not given online. I will have to read labels and try on a variety to find the perfect travel jeans that can dry in 24 hours or less!

And that makes me want to just order the ones made in Scotland and be done with it. Maybe.

Oh the irony. It is because of my Scottish blood that I am thrifty, right? That is what makes me think that I may be able to find some jeans with the right content to travel with, and at a sale price of say 20-40.00!! I am confident that if I put in the time and effort, I may succeed! But the ones that are tempting me the most are from Scotland. How dare the Scots tempt me to toss aside my thrifty heritage!

(I ignore the fact that jean fitting is nearly a science, especially if one is petite, but needing an inseam around 31-32", nearly impossible to find! Petite jeans tend to be around 29-30" and the rest tend to be 33-34"!!!)

I notice that the jeans in Scotland come in a 31" inseam as their regular size!! Do women in the UK have shorter legs than women in the USA? Their petites are around 27"!!!

So, bottom line, I will definitely get out there and look for the jeans in the right fabric content to make them dry overnight. When I find them I will be in jean nirvana!