Gloria Vanderbilt jeans were the fashion item to have in the early 1980s. They were so ubiquitous that even my mother had a pair. (Not that my mother was not fashionable back in those days, but more that a ludicrous amount of money for a pair of jeans was not in our family's modest budget. It's interesting that the jeans were not outrageously pricey even though they were designer. I think back to Z Cavacci and Guess?, jeans marketed to my age group when I was in junior high, and they were more than $50 for a pair. That was 20 years ago, and I think $50 now is ridiculous. Clearly, there's enough material - no pun intended - for a separate post, so back to the point.) What initially made Gloria Vanderbilt jeans so popular was the tight fit. I remember watching my slender mom put on her Gloria Vanderbilt jeans. She lay down on the bed and used a pair of pliers to grasp the zipper and pull it up. At the time, I didn't understand that washing a pair of jeans designed to be tight would make them insanely tight. It just struck me that she needed pliers to zip her jeans, which infamously appeared anonymously in The Wall Street Journal when a reporter came to my junior high to interview 4th grade girls (not 5th, as my link asserts) about dieting and I mentioned her jean-zipping tactics.

All of this came into play on Monday. It's fairly cold in New York City, but I still like to walk around, so I dress in layers. My outfit that day included of a pair of wool knee socks under a pair of fleece-lined leggings under a pair of jeans. For further wind proofing, I put on a pair of knee-high leather boots over the socks and leggings, but under the jeans. Even under less layered circumstances, I have some trouble zipped my boots over my calves, and the zipper was not budging with both the bulky leg coverings.

My solution was to grab a pair of pliers from the tool box we keep in our bedroom. (Of course! Where else would you store tools? Although just this very moment I decided that Husband can no longer make fun of my parents for storing tools in their basement bathroom.) I tensed my calf muscles to make it as small as possible to aid the process, took the end of the zipper into the pliers, and pulled. The zipper broke in half. Right. That is when it occurred to me that trying to leverage the thinnest part of the zipper was a bad idea. I reposition the pliers on the part of the zipper closer to the teeth, and it worked like a charm. The other boot was zipped without a hitch, and after I worried that I could not actually walk in the boots (not a problem, it turned out) or what would happen if for some reason I had to take them off (unlikely at work), I strolled out, warm and comfy.

Thank goodness for the versatility of pliers!

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