7 Stages Of Searching For The Perfect Jean Jacket

Now that fall is well underway, many of us are snuggling up in our favorite sweaters and dusting off our best pairs of Chelsea boots. But what about the jackets? There is a distinctive set of emotional stages that arises when it comes to searching for the perfect denim jacket. Mostly because it often appears to be 100 percent impossible. Just imagining shuffling through hangers of denim collars and varying volumes of puffy sleeves gives me the shudders.

I would wager that only a select few on this planet have been able to accomplish it, while the rest of us roam with '90s throwbacks zipped up to our chins, vaguely giving off Jerry Seinfeld vibes as we run to catch our trains or pop in to order coffees. It's one of the greatest sartorial nightmares and, for whatever reason, it's one I just can't seem to crack.

All of this is baffling when you consider that the denim jacket is one of our greatest fall staples. Bloggers seem to be ordering pumpkin spice lattes or stomping through red leaves in nothing but denim, yet when you go to the store and try your own on, you often look like you could be an extra in an Adam Levine music video. I mean, the frustration. Below are the seven emotional stages of looking for the perfect denim jacket. Feel free to seethe as you remember the struggle.

1. High Hopes Of Normcore Gold

You just saw a commercial where models with cropped hair and mascara-less eyelashes spent an afternoon hanging out in their black Levis and looking effortlessly cool catching taxi cabs and walking up apartment stairwells, all the while with a denim jacket slung over their shoulders. You want that. You want to be them. All nonchalant and T-shirt wearing, you've never been able to give off that uptown vibe in your own pair of rundown sneakers. And now you know why: You need that denim jacket. Feeling inspired, you have a new mission.

2. Trying Out The Mall First

With an Auntie Anne's pretzel in hand, you've pushed your way into the throng of the harried and the bag-laden to start your search. Weaving in between strollers and vibrating massage chairs, you figure this is as great a place as any to start.

But as you pop in and out of store after store, you begin to realize one alarming thing: Jean jackets are hella expensive. You would think that something Jerry Seinfeld wore in the early '90s would have gone down in price by now. Taking a hearty bite of your pretzel, you decide to lower your standards.

3. Going From Department Store To Fast Fashion

Doing your wallet a favor and setting your sights a little lower, you walk into the nearest fast fashion store with a new purpose in mind. Excited over the prospect of not spending more than what an all-you-can-eat sushi dinner costs, you begin to scour the racks for denim sleeves.

But as you find your first one, you're slightly dismayed as you take it off its hanger. This... isn't denim. This is... paper mache? Why does the sleeve feel like sand paper? Would it shrivel up like a McDonald's straw cover if it drizzled outside while you were wearing it? Losing your appetite, you put your pretzel down.

4. Finding Out That There Is No Such Thing As Sizes

You have four denim-slash-paper-mache jackets with you in the dressing room, all the same size, all from the same store. And yet, it looks like they're the denim version of a Russian nesting doll, ranging from ribcage-grazing to a jacket you're pretty sure your great uncle must have left behind. Apparently, there are no rules in this land.

5. Discovering That Sleeves Are The Bane Of Your Existence

You bravely try on each size, quickly figuring out that you have a new issue to fuss with: Sleeve shapes. What is happening with the sleeve situation? One balloons out at the shoulder á la a pirate's blouse; another is so tight that you can't bend your elbows without hearing a seem pop. The next one hangs big and baggy over your fingertips, like you just nipped your dad's construction jacket to go get the mail outside; and the other hits right below the elbow, making it useless for the mean, fall wind.

Feeling defeated, you rest your forehead against the three-way facing mirror and try not to cry bitter tears.

6. Deciding The Thrift Store Is The Way To Go

You're not about to spend a cool $50 on a so-so coat, so you decide to take your shopping expedition down another notch and head to the thirft store instead. That way if you find a so-so coat, at least it won't cost you more than a fancy cup of coffee. Feeling hopeful again, you snag the first piece of denim you see and try it on.

And then immediately fight the urge to throw your head back and scream. You now look like Kelly Kapowski. All of a sudden, you get the urge to feather your bangs and flirt with a blonde-haired boy with a grandpa sweater on. Is there one nearby? You scan over the tops of the racks just in case.

7. Sitting On The Couch Back At Home, With Your Brain Broken

You have been defeated. You've spent a whole day fighting mall-goers and finding parking spots, and you have nothing to show for it. Instead, you're wrapped up in a blanket on your couch like you just went through a trauma, trying not to turn bitter towards the world.

Then you realize: This is why you so rarely see anyone wearing a denim jacket outside. Honestly, Marlen, when was the last time you saw one? Maybe back when you actually carried change for parking meters? This failure isn't your fault. The whole process is simply impossible.

Until next time, jean jacket. I will continue the hunt next weekend.

Image: lecopoce/Unsplash