At least for me. I don’t understand the appeal of trying to pour myself into jeans that are going to be uncomfortable and, frankly, make me look like I’m wearing some girl’s pants.
Jeans’ inherent appeal is bound up in their utilitarian roots. Fashionable because of their very functionality, well-fitting jeans have made guys look cool and sexy – in a Marlon Brando/James Dean kind of way – for decades.
And yet, here we are again with the tight, skinny jeans thing. Just as overly baggy jeans tend to make the wearer look like a punk who needs a belt, wearing skinny, tight fitting jeans only highlights a blatant look of femininity. Now, if that’s your goal than you’re good to go. However, most men are probably trying to just look good, not like tween teen idol Zac Efron.
He can pull off that slightly effeminate look and get away with it. You, mister 30-something, mid-career professional, jeans and polo shirt on Friday, cannot. The Wall Street Journal even jumped into the skinny jeans debate today, CLICK HERE for the article.
I understand the vagaries of fashion and the various driving forces that seek to make consumers perpetually unsatisfied and look for the next “it” thing. I do not though, understand adopting what is to me a totally counter intuitive trend that isn’t even comfortable. And as far as I’m concerned it is a trend in most classic way: fashionable but impractical, hip but uncomfortable and of course, emulating of celebrity.
This last point is always telling. Emulating George Clooney and his genuinely elegant/casual sense of monochromatic taste is one thing. It is actually usable in the real world and transferable to most guy’s wardrobes.
Trying to look like the latest cool kid on the block when you are even five years his senior is another thing all together. It doesn’t really work. In addition to the age/fashion ratio (the younger you are the easier it is to pull off overly stylized looks), as we get older our bodies change and the ability to carry of age specific fashion tends to wane. Though I was never a skinny teen per se, I could probably have pulled off the skinny jean thing in high school had I even wanted to. Now, I’d look like a joke; even my one-year old would laugh at me.
Of course, skinny jeans were never my thing. My high school years were dominated by the ever fashionable parachute pant craze, so it was kind of the opposite issue. Baggy and cluttered was in, MC Hammer wasn’t a reality TV dad, he was Hammer Time!
My dream pants in high school, still available on the web
Ultimately, it’s a gut thing (pun not originally intended). Skinny jeans are awkward on men; they restrict movement and conform to the body in a way that is, for many observers of fashion, unappealing and off putting. Even former British prime minister Tony Blair was a fish out of water when he pulled on a pair overly tight pants on his first visit with then president George W. Bush. He could not even put his hands in his pockets: awkward.
The international tight-jeans incident
The upshot here is that I am not trying to act like Mr. Blackwell and pick on those who are simply trying to show a sense of personal style. I just want to point out that we all need to take a look in the mirror every now and then and see what’s really there, not what we want ourselves to see.
Before anything else, jeans should be comfortable. Maybe that should be our collective starting point.