In my mid-twenties I discovered designer jeans. They were my first taste of high-end fashion, bought on a shopping trip with some coworkers, an extravagant splurge—the price of a month’s worth of groceries—but I had to have them. I’d never before experienced an article of clothing that shaped my body. The jeans created a tiny space between my thighs, smoothed out the lumpy part of my hip and created a perfectly flat plain across my stomach. I had to have them. Over the next few years, I invested in a few more pairs, loving each more than the last. Then times got harder, and I stopped buying them. After a decade the ones I had disintegrated, the fabric wearing down to single white threads that still miraculously held their shape, the seams never fraying, but finally the denim itself finally dissolving. When the knees wore out, I cut them into shorts and when the pockets pulled loose, I cover the threadbare spots with vintage appliques. Even the patches are showing signs of wear now. I’ll soon have to throw some of them away. Their value now is that of patina, the beauty of age, the specific loveliness of things cherished beyond damage, kept beyond their prime.