The Nice Jeans Conundrum

jeansLast year I did a video review of a service called Trunk Club on my blog. Trunk Club sends you a big box of high-quality clothing catered to your tastes. It’s free to get the box, and you only pay for what you keep.

As noted in the video, one of the pairs of jeans I tried on was by far the most comfortable pair of jeans I’ve ever worn in my life. They had a little elastic in the waist and the crotch, which is ideal if you have man parts. I still think about those jeans.

That last line insinuates hindsight, which is accurate. Although they were the most comfortable jeans I’ve ever worn, I couldn’t bring myself to spent $180 on them. My typical spending limit on jeans is $50. And I literally own two pairs of jeans.

But here’s the thing: $180 might be a lot of money, but imagine how many times you’ll wear that pair of jeans. I would probably wear them twice a week every week for about 5 years, if not more. I’ll get 520 uses out of those jeans, or $0.35 per use. That’s an incredible value for the most comfortable jeans ever made.

Part of the problem is with me and my frugality in the face of extreme comfort. But part of the problem is the price itself–rather, the perception of the price as a barrier to entry. $180 spread out over 5 years of constant use seems negligible. But $180 today is a big deal.

So how do you convince someone like me to dish out the $180? Is it possible? Is there a better way to structure that sale so that someone like me takes a chance on something that’s more than 3x more expensive than what I’d normally pay for it?


14 Responses to “The Nice Jeans Conundrum”

  1. Katy says:

    The fact that after nearly a year you are still thinking about that pair of jeans says quite a bit. $180 is a lot to spend on a single item of clothing, but as long as you know you will wear them pretty regularly, the money isn’t really being wasted.

    Finding the “perfect” jeans is never an easy task, as I learned when my favorite pair finally had to be tossed after nearly 10 years, and then I discovered that style/color was no longer available and ended up purchasing others that seemed like suitable replacements, only to discover none really matched my standards once I’d taken them home and worn them a couple of times. Even though none of the ones I’ve purchased were more than $45 I still consider that money wasted and would have rather just spent more as an initial investment to purchase a single pair of jeans that would be versatile for daily wear, as well as suitable to wear when going out, instead of being left with a stack of pants that only really work with certain shirts or for certain occasions.

    If you remember the brand and style number, you might even be able to find a similar fit in a different brand for a more reasonable price, and can always order a couple online if you’re able to find a place that has reasonable shipping/return policies if you aren’t satisified. Or worse case, take a trip to the mall with a friend or two as reinforcements who are willing to spend time helping you find the perfect jeans, and who you trust to give an honest opinion.

  2. Ansley says:

    I totally agree with Katy. Has it been a year?!

    You’re still thinking about the jeans. Ergo, you should have kept them! Do you remember the brand name? Does the Trunk company have them on file?

    I’ll tell you this…I love a man in a well-fitting pair of jeans. Just the right length, color and fit. It’s hot. Well-fitting jeans are to me what yoga pants are to you.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Ansley and Katy–Thanks for your thoughts. It’s possible that you’re right–maybe I should have kept them. We’ll see if I ever have the nerve to spend that much on jeans. Especially now that I know they’re the equivalent of yoga pants on women.

  3. Colleen says:

    I tend to agree with Katy and Ansley. A good pair of jeans is hard to come by. If they were that comfortable and you are still thinking about them, it sounds like they would have been a good investment. (Even though $180 sounds like a lot of money upfront!) That way, you’d have that one pair of jeans that you love, and you wouldn’t have to waste money on other pairs of jeans. (And by the time you purchase a few other pairs that you may or may not wear, that total could potentially come near to $180 … the equivalent of what you would have spent on that one great pair.)

    When it comes to shoes, especially good dress shoes that I wear to work every day, I will spend good money on a nice, comfortable pair of shoes ($100 or more) – figuring that I wear them every day and that I’ll get my use out of them. The times that I’ve bought cheap shoes, they didn’t last … so I was tired of wasting my money on several pairs of cheap shoes when I could have bought one great pair. By the way, if anyone is looking for good, comfortable shoes that also come in dressy styles, check out Naturalizer. I’ve gotten several cute pairs, including high heels that are super comfy!

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Colleen–I completely agree with you regarding shoes. I have two pairs of dress shoes, and both cost about $100. I’ve had them for years, and they’ll last a while longer. Absolutely worth the expense.

  4. emmalouklues says:

    Ahhh good query! I would also have a REALLY hard time justifying that. (I just do not spend money on clothes, but I am getting better.) But you make good points. To your question about what would make someone do it, perhaps a one month trial, full satisfaction guaranteed type of thing? Would you return it after a month of loving them and rationalizing the cost and realizing your bank account survived? Just thinking out loud.

    I have started shifting my purchasing to be only items I love, and not focused so much on price (within reason). If I don’t LOVE it, I won’t wear it enough. If you LOVE this, and you have no doubt in your mind that you’ll wear them a lot, I say go for it (even though this goes against every fiber of my being in terms of the worth of a pair of pants). Also, to reiterate what others are saying, my goodness if it’s been a year and you’re still pining, that’s the litmus test right there. I bet there are relationships you’ve forgotten quicker. Buy the pants!

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Emma–I like the philosophy you mention of buying things you’ll truly love (and not buying things you don’t love). But I think your idea of testing the jeans out for a month to give me a chance to fall in love with them. Just like a relationship!

  5. Sarah says:

    I think you’ve skipped over the real question here.
    It’s easy to get carried away thinking about The One That Got Away, regardless of whether it’s a person or a pair of jeans. After all, polished up by your memory and your fondest dreams, TOTGA is always more attractive, more comfortable, and more perfect than it ever really was. You always swear that you would approach things differently if there were another chance to keep TOTGA from getting away. It’s human nature. But would you really?

    If the Trunk Club sent you those jeans again, would you fork over the $180 for them the very same day, without giving it another thought, grateful to have a second chance? Or would you get hesitant and weigh the decision all over again now, possibly repeating the choice to not buy them again, because the real jeans can never live up to the dreamy memory jeans?

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Sarah–I like your questions about TOTGA. In this case, I don’t think it is a matter of the passage of time making the jeans more appealing–as you can see in the video, I’m literally dumbfounded by how comfortable the jeans were.

      If the Trunk Club sent me those jeans again…that’s a good question. I think the $180 question would still remain.

      Maybe I should take the Jamey Approach to these jeans: start a savings account for them. $30 a month until I’ve saved up for them. Then it won’t feel like a big hit on my bank account because I’ll be extracting the funds a little at a time.

      • Sarah says:

        So in that case, the reason you still think about the jeans a year later isn’t because you would buy them in a heartbeat if you could, it’s that you STILL don’t know if you’d buy them, but you still really want them. Their price is too high to pay casually, but not high enough to make you just forget about it once and for all. Now I can see the conundrum!

        I like the idea of a savings account. I wonder if the Trunk Club itself could act as the agent for it. (i.e. you pay Trunk Club $30 a month to send you clothes to try out. That money accumulates in a fund, and when you actually buy something the money comes out of the fund to help pay for it. If you never buy anything, the money is refunded to you at the end of each year. It would be sort of like the vision & dental account on a health insurance plan, but for comfy pants instead of clean teeth.) Would that work to get you to fork over the price of those jeans?

        …Or maybe you should just run a Kickstarter campaign for the price of pants.

        • Ansley says:

          I like the idea of you getting funded by your readers. Perhaps you can offer a reward for those of us who contribute.

          For example, each reader who contributes at least $15 toward your comfy jeans gets a picture of you in your loincloth. Those who contribute $50 or more get a video of you dancing with Walter in your loincloth.

          • Jamey Stegmaier says:

            Ansley–Now you’re thinking outside the box. I think the dancing with Walter in my loincloth video needs to happen either way.

        • Jamey Stegmaier says:

          Sarah–Very intriguing idea. A subscription service where the money you’ve paid serves as a funding pool to buy the clothing. That’s brilliant. Especially with the caveat that I get the money back if I never use it.

  6. […] week I wrote about the “nice jeans conundrum,” the internal debate to purchase or not purchase the world’s most comfortable pair of jeans. […]

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