The only things you don’t have to feel guilty about having more than one pair of. The only things which are better unwashed. The only things which will go with just about all your shoes. The only things you can rip or get bored of and then turn into shorts. The only things you can match with your boyfriend/Mum/toddler without appearing to be as bananas as a Kardashian. The only thing you’ll happily and justifiably spend over £100 on and still reduce the cost per wear to minus figures in the first year.
I could go on. It’s funny though how jeans and indeed denim have become the most indispensable items in our wardrobes despite such humble beginnings. In the 1500s they were worn by Genoese sailors – their name taken from the French expression ‘bleu de Genes’. Then a few hundred years later along came a Mr. Levi Strauss who decided to add rivets to this workers’ garment to make it even more hard wearing and produced them in twilled cotton (denim) instead of hemp for comfort. For a long time jeans were seen as something for the working classes, certainly not for women, a really rather rebellious statement even for a man. As recently as the 1980s I can recall my granny, a very stylish and elegant lady who never wore trousers, laughing at how my mum always wore jeans because they were so “manly”. She found the fact that they had a pocket slapped on each buttock hilarious. And actually when you think of it like that, it is rather. You can imagine her horror when I started to wear oversized, ripped, secondhand jeans. She laughed – she had a good sense of humour, my granny – but looking back I think it was probably because to her I might as well be dressed as a plumber.
So here we are in spring 2015 (go with it, after all it’s a few degrees warmer this weekend) and the denim offering has never been more huge. If you thought you had it pegged with your beloved dark blue skinnies, then you may want to think again. Because while dark blue skinnies are still perfectly acceptable and a very good choice for almost every body type, there are now so many other styles, fits and rinses out there, it’s little surprise that the terrifying double dip look has resurfaced once again.
There was a time when if you were in anything other than red tab Levi 501s, there was every likelihood you’d be arrested. The mid ’80s were a dodgy time style-wise but you couldn’t go wrong with a pair of faded Levi 501s. God forbid you be seen in a pair of Wranglers. And of course supermarkets didn’t have clothes ranges in those days so there was no temptation to pop a pair of £14 jeans into the trolley along with the tampons and potatoes.
Denim stormed the catwalks and is now all over the high street for Spring/Summer 2015. There is a definite backlash against ‘low rise’ / muffin top look with the high waisted ’70s style dominating. The 1970s is proving the strongest influence with the return of not just the flared leg but the bleached out look too. At my nephew’s first birthday this week my thirty something sister and brother and my seven year old nephew were in a pale jean – shocker – seven year old Curtis is a preppy dresser historically so this was a big statement from him. Last month both my sixty something mum and I bought dark blue high waisted flares from Miss Selfridge. Meanwhile I am sitting writing this in a pair of Ralph Lauren stonewash boot cuts. The whole family is in denim disarray, it’s madness I tell you – MADNESS!
It’s not fun buying jeans, I know that, so you are absolutely right to stick with what you know and the style and fit that flatters and makes you feel most comfortable. All I’m saying is take a moment to consider something new because denim technology and jean design improve constantly and what didn’t work on your juicy teenage bottom may very well hoist it and boost it where needed in 2015. Remember, not so long ago skinnies seemed appropriate only for Kate Moss and now they’re more commonplace than Ant & Dec. Keep an open mind and you may just be pleasantly surprised, as I was with my ’70s slasher flick flares. Even my boyfriend (who the moment I said ‘flared’ simply said, “NO” without turning his head away from the computer) changed his mind. Time heals all wounds. It was after all only last year that I roared with a mixture of confusion and horror at a Daily Mail piece that announced “Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly take a stroll in New York in double denim!” The accompanying pictures showed this very attractive couple, (Paul is one of my son’s godfathers so I admit I’m a little biased) sporting what was, in total, quadruple denim. I’m now thinking they were ahead of the game.
So the moral of the story dear readers, is don’t judge a man ’til you’ve walked in his trews.