Explain: Why Are Jeans So Long?

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About one minute into my trip to the new Paige Denim store in the West Village yesterday, I was a little miffed. Not because some guy muttered something about "artfully destroyed jeans" to me as I walked in, but because I went there specifically for the Petites Line, which takes up about 1/16 of the store.

Which brings me to my greater question: Why exactly jeans are so incredibly long? My "petite" jeans I bought yesterday came with a tag that reads, "This collection offers perfect proportions for the petite. Rather than simply cropping the length, this garment has been rescaled and tailored to accomodate [sic] the woman who is 5'4'' and under." Which is interesting, seeing as how the average height for the female American woman is 5'4'' (and that statistic doesn't take into account all the still-growing teenage girls who probably buy more jeans than all the rest of us combined).

It's not that I'm naive about these things. I stare at and mull over fashion for a living, so I am fully aware that most designs are intended for people that don't even exist. But you'd think that such an ordinary item wouldn't be subject to the idea that everybody's 5'10 and 85 pounds (and I won't even bother to present the argument that making people-size jeans would help the cost since less fabric should equal less money - my petites are always the same price as their foot-longer counterparts).

So does anyone have the missing piece of information to this mystery? Because it would really help my weekend.

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