‘I have nothing to declare except my jeans.’
Said Morrissey as he rushed through Osaka customs during the heyday of The Smiths. This was back in the late 1980’s, an era where music and style gently rubbed shoulders with each other. The Smiths were not trend-setters, nor followers of fashion, but ridden with cultural angst. Their lyrics mobilised the youth into protest and politics.
Morrissey, swaying to the introspective rhythm of Johnny Marrs guitar; daffodils hanging out of the back pocket of his jeans cut the image of counter culture. That image and that era was the start of what we all know as the indie movement. And with any movement of counter culture, there was a need to adhere to uniform; a pair of baggy, unwashed jeans.
Throughout history denim has always been associated with counter culture. Be it cool or be it rebellious; the icons wore jeans. James Dean, the rebel without a cause, rebelling in his stonewash drainpipes. Jonny Rotten and Sid Vicious wearing ripped up, worn out jeans, belting out the National Anthem to the punks, inciting anarchy and bedlam.
Nick Kamen and that advert that defined the decade changed all that. Levi’s 501 became the image cool and there was nothing cooler. In an instant, jeans became cool and sexy. All the boys wanted to be Nick Kamen, and all the girls were checking out the boys…trying to look like Nick Kamen.
Jeans were no longer counter culture.
Are you going to get to the point?
Sorry I was intellectualising a bit there. The point I’m making is that denim is mainstream. Yet they still carry that cache of rebellion. Even to this day if you wear jeans to a client meeting, you will be frowned upon by your boss and some of your stiff-assed colleagues. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Denim has come along way since the 80’s with premium brands, premium cloth and multitude of fits, style and colours that fit any occasion.
Yeah, I get that. I see that every time I go to Selfridges. So what’s your point?
You see the problem is that because of the cultural acceptance of denim, there is choice. And where there is choice there is bad choice. There is a lot of bad choice going on right now.
What do you mean, they are just a pair of jeans.
Well that’s precisely my point. They are not just a pair of jeans. They are a pair of versatile trousers that can take a good 72 hours session and still look fresh. And as with anything this versatile, they should be matched to the occasion. You want to pull off that ‘I haven’t really made an effort, whilst making an effort’ look. Cool. But not manufactured.
Hmm I sort of see your point. So what do I need to do?
Glad you asked that, since my reason for putting pen to paper, figuratively speaking, was to give some direction on what style is appropriate for which occasion. I want to guide you through the choice at Selfridges and give you some criteria so you go to the right shelf and get the correct style.
Go on then?
Jeans are so mainstream that they are acceptable in all areas of life; work rest and play.
Work, the rule is slick and smart. The style is straight cut; slim through the thigh and straight through the leg. The hem should sit on your shoe, not drag on the ground. Colour should be mid blue or darker. The jeans should fit perfectly around your waist (the belt is just for show). A mid-rise cut is good; the jeans to sit somewhere in between your hip and your waist.
The work style is simple, understated and classic. Stay away from brash colours, rhinestones, patches or rips. A little fray here or there is acceptable. May I suggest a pair of Voi Denim Jeans from Jacamo
Play, the rule is fun and frivolity. Add a little cheekiness to the fit. Go slim all round. Keep it low rise and raise a few eyebrows when you lean across the bar. Go on show off some of your finer features, the girls will love it. But please no muffin top.
Rest, the rule is Chillax. Kick back, be cool, chill, don’t sweat it! Go for a decent boot cut that’s slightly longer length. A fit that is not to aggressively slim through the thigh, but more of a slender fit (or engineered fit as I have seen on a few brands). Keep it mid rise and colours nice and light, just like your mood.
Above all, stay away from the brash two tone, rhinestone riddled efforts with slogans emblazoned across one leg. They are naff par excellence.
I get it! I get it! Thanks, you’re my hero.