Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Black Jeans Blue Jeans, Old Jeans, New Jeans

I have a personal fashion peeve, blue jeans.  Why have they suddenly become the item of choice to wear everywhere? By everywhere I mean the theatre, to fancy restaurants, to church.

I do not wear jeans. I don't find them attractive on anyone. I've done research. I have participated in an exhaustive independent study whereby I've forced myself to walk behind a multitude of jeans wearers. Unless I'm building a house, changing the oil in the car, participating in a rodeo, or gold mining, you're not likely to see me in jeans. In fact, the only activity in which I've ever participated while wearing jeans was horseback riding in the Arizona desert about forty years ago. Since there's photographic evidence of this, I feel the need to confess my indiscretion.

I asked hubby recently, "What's with blue jeans anyhow? It's not a good look. They're ugly, often faded, either too droopy or too tight, and generally unflattering."

Here's a jeans-wearing man's perspective, concise and to the point. "They're comfortable." Again, with the comfortable argument. I disagree, but then that's another matter.

I responded with, "So are pajama bottoms and a lot of other things, but you shouldn't wear them in public." I zoned out briefly at this point recalling with fondness some of the  pajama clad folk in the town where I used to reside.

In my younger years, there was always talk of jeans. They seemed to be some sort of fabric gold in countries such as Russia where many things weren't available. It was suggested that travellers take jeans, any condition, new or used to leave behind in nations deprived of this fabulous fabric. I was baffled then, just as I am curious now.

Although I had some vague notion that Levi Strauss invented this garment back in the gold rush days, I researched further to discover that he and a Latvian tailor collaborated, putting rivets in the pants for strength. The patent date was May 1873. Later, these became popular pants for factory workers, cowboys, mechanics and of course, plumbers.

Why have jeans become so popular? Some say it had to do with James Dean and the teenage rebels of the fifties. I say if that's the case, it's a trend that should have been immediately halted at that time.

I read an article which states that North Americans own an average of eight pairs of jeans. Once again, I'm in the minority. Apart from the non-esthetic appearance, there are also drawbacks. For example, jeans do not keep you warm in winter. Nope, no insulation. In fact, they do just the opposite retaining the cold.  If jeans get wet, well, they not only weigh as much as a small child clinging to your legs, but they don't dry. Wet, heavy and chafing. For men, there's been some concern about potential personal damage caused by jeans which are too tight. I need not elaborate. For women who actually manage to squeeze into a pair of painted on skinny jeans, good luck trying to sit down.

Whether faded, shredded, acid washed, flared, boot cut, mom jeans, or straight cut, jeans cause a huge impact on the environment. Many people don't realize this. According to Wikipedia, (the source of all essential info), 919 gallons of water are wasted used during the lifetime of a single pair of jeans. This includes water to irrigate the cotton crop, water to manufacture the jeans and then there's the one gallon when someone finally decides to wash their pants. The acid wash and sandblasting to create that worn look, not only cause damage by using a potpourri of chemicals, but has been proven to sicken and kill thousands of workers in the textile industry.

So next time you prepare for a function and begin to dress up in your fanciest jeans, why not take some time to check your closet for alternatives. If you don't want to think about the environment, at least you can imagine me, walking behind you, staring at your ugly pants and making faces.

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