Politically incorrect fashion 9



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Are you 53 or older? Do you wear jeans? If you answered ‘yes’ to both then you should be ashamed of yourself according to yet another inane and downright silly so-called survey done in the United Kingdom.

Some outfit with obviously very little to do surveyed 2,000 people — neither the age range or gender breakdown was revealed — and this anointed group decided that 53 was the absolute cut-off age for jeans. Why 53? I haven’t got a clue — why is 52 still okay (just) but 54 is beyond the pale?

If you are about to celebrate your 53rd birthday do let family and friends know that on absolutely no account whatsoever should they purchase you a pair of jeans or even a gift voucher that can be redeemed in some shop flogging jeans. Of course, if you are any older than 53 clean out your closet and dump any jeans you already have — especially if you are contemplating a trip to the UK. You don’t want to risk arrest by the fashion police, do you? Or be laughed at in the street.

I’m a few months older than 53 — about 170 months actually — and I still wear jeans. Isn’t that pathetic? Am I desperately trying to cling on to some sadly awry self-image as a real cool hipster when I should be in corduroys, flannelette shirts, cardigans and slippers?

I’ve been wearing jeans all of my life — just simple, ordinary jeans that fit comfortably. I cannot for the life of me understand why anybody would buy a pair of jeans with bits cut out and left tattered and looking as if they are ready for the charity clothes bin or, better still, the tip. I understand that these ‘designer’ jeans can cost in excess of $200.

I saw a teenage girl recently wearing a pair of these ludicrous pants and I imagined that she was a homeless, destitute waif. How wrong could I have been? I’ve revised my opinion and now realise that she is both trendy and wealthy. At least, it seems, flares have staged a comeback in some quarters of the jeans world, which induces in me a warm self-indulgent nostalgia for 1972.

In fact, I had to get a couple of new pairs recently as my existing apparel had shrunk in the wash. Well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Sadly, the jeans had got to the stage where the belt was high above my bum but low beneath my stomach so that the buckle faced downwards at a 45-degree angle. It seems that there is a jeans style called ‘skinny jeans’ and mine had become just that style, particularly around the waist.

Mind you, some people seem to think that wearing ‘skinny jeans’ makes them look skinny. You need skinny genes to wear ‘skinny jeans’.

That absurd UK survey informed a no doubt breathless-with-excitement world that people try to squeeze into at least three pairs while searching for the right fit (I tried on one pair on my shopping expedition and not having any delusions about my size helped), almost one quarter of them admitted to never ever finding the right pair (“Well Sir that may have been your size in 1988 but it isn’t now, I’m afraid.”) and 6 per cent were so upset and frustrated that they burst into tears.

I haven’t ever seen anybody bursting into tears in a jeans shop but, then again, I hardly haunt these places. Would you believe that the typical Briton wears his/her jeans at least five times before washing them? Well, having been there, I certainly would. This is a country where men think that handkerchiefs are actually to be knotted at the four corners and used as beach headwear.

Five per cent think that jeans are appropriate for a job interview and possibly they are if you are being interviewed by some ultra-trendy, cutting edge advertising agency. These same people think that it is appropriate garb for a funeral — and I would agree but only if one of them was the corpse.

Somebody who is allegedly a ‘celebrity stylist’ Alex Longmore really nailed this problem when she commented, “It’s disheartening to see how hugely overwhelming and seriously stressful finding a pair of jeans to fit can be.”

No doubt for some at least this awful dilemma is infinitely more conscience troubling than the refugee crisis, the war on terror, the economy and everything else. It’s all about priorities, after all.

Who could forget that last year an Adelaide woman who wore ‘skinny jeans’ had to crawl through a city park to seek help when her designer pants cut off the blood supply to her calf muscles and she collapsed. She had to have them literally cut off her at Royal Adelaide Hospital and spent four days there recovering aided by an intravenous drip.

Talk about a fashion victim.

Have you made any fashion faux pas over the years? What fashion trends did you enjoy growing up? What do you think about today’s fashion trends?

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Russell Grenning

Russell Grenning is a Brisbane-based former journalist and retired political adviser who began his career with the ABC in 1968 in Brisbane and subsequently worked on the Brisbane afternoon daily, "The Telegraph" and later as a columnist for "The Courier Mail" and "The Australian". He worked for a string of senior Ministers in the Federal, Victorian and Queensland Governments as well as in senior executive public relations positions, including Assistant Federal Director, Public Relations, for Australia Post, Public Relations Manager for the Queensland Department of Main Roads and Principal Adviser, Corporate Relations, for the Queensland Law Society.

    Love your articles Grenning.

    1 REPLY
    • Hi Guy

      Many thanks! Don’t blame baked beans – jeans shrink in the wash – mine have been shrinking for years…and years!


  2. I am 62 and still wear jeans. Have worn them all my life and I do not see why I should change to “comfy trackies” or a “lovely leisure suit”. EEEEEWWWWWW! Seriously? I wear jeans out, dressed up, I wear them to the supermarket, I wear them to work, and I scruff around home in them. No ridiculous survey done overseas (or here for that matter) will get me to change what I love to wear………..great article by the way

    1 REPLY
  3. At 70 I’ve just bought another couple of pairs. Wear ’em without qualms.

  4. I’m 67 and have many pairs of jeans (different colours and different thicknesses for summer/winter)- I didn’t wear jeans until I was 55 so I’m catching up

  5. I am a thin 78 year ‘old lady’ who still wears jeans. From Daggy gardening Jeans to white designer ones. What is wrong with that?

    1 REPLY
    • Hi Noreen

      Never ever let anybody tell you that because you are aged 78 that you are an “old lady”. After all, today is the youngest you will ever be. Nothing wrong – absolutely, totally, completely nothing wrong with wearing jeans at your age or any other age. I salute you! Go girl, GO!

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