When the jeans rip beside the seam.

Published on 2024-01-31

It's quite rare that I buy new clothing these days. I'm not super into clothes in general so I usually keep my wardrobe pretty lean, and when I do get new stuff, I'll get it from a second hand shop.

This is where I get pretty much all my jeans.

I don't mind my jeans getting ripped. I'm not super big on the look of ripped jeans--if I get a substantial rip I'll patch it, which is an aesthetic I do in fact like. But most of the rips I get end up being rather small, and they don't feel like they merit a patch on their own. So, I'll just take some thread and a needle and I'll repair them.

But more often than not, when I do, a few days later I'll check back and see that they've torn again. Only this time, the tear will be right beside the spot that I sewed together.

This idea that I ought to always repair the damage incurred to the things in my life--to extend their lives, to keep them around as long as possible, and to form a relationship with the thing itself, rather than its idea, is pretty solidly in line with the philosophy of a piece I wrote almost exactly a month ago:

Holistically broken

My idea was that it's quite rare that things are "holistically" broken, despite how we may act. Things can be repaired, or at least repurposed, such that their value extends way beyond the exact form in which they exist in this moment.

But sometimes, your jeans will rip beside the seam. The overall quality will fade, and even if you exert effort to keep things the way they are, the whole will reveal itself to be holistically broken. You repair, and it breaks, until over time all that's left is a piecemeal without any of the structural integrity of the original form.

I think this is the unfortunate nature of living in a world where things aren't built to last. Most of the jeans I'll find at second hand shops won't be of particularly good quality, just by virtue of the fact that there exists a lot more low-quality jeans in the world than ones built to last. I can say I'll keep them to patch future pairs of jeans, but these days I'm accruing far more jeans for patches than I am wearing holes into jeans that need to be patched.

True quality lasts. It's just that true quality is hard to find. We are inundated by low quality goods that deserve respect nonetheless.

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