Skip to comments.Nice jeans. But should you really wear them to the opera?
Posted on 03/09/2005 9:47:25 AM PST by qam1
NEW YORK They've been part of the American "uniform" for years, worn to casual restaurants, house parties, and some workplaces.
But as jeans become more expensive, they are also becoming more ubiquitous, showing up everywhere from Midwestern churches to Broadway shows. Nothing is off limits, it seems. Or is it? Among those who buy high-priced, designer denim or who simply don jeans frequently - there's debate about where it's appropriate to wear them.
The tug of war over jeans etiquette is particularly prevalent in New York City. Here, people tend to be more creative about their appearance, and are often more demanding about how fashion-conscious people should look, says Dannielle Romano, editor at large for DailyCandy.com, a fashion and trends website.
Many 20- and 30-somethings here have theater backgrounds, for example, and often say it's inappropriate to wear jeans to theater and other cultural performances out of respect for the performers and the surroundings (even though the venues themselves have no official dress codes).
"I am all in favor of the current denim revolution that we are having, but I do feel that there are times when jeans should be left at home," says Lisa Kerson, a jewelry designer in her early 30s, whose parents insisted that she look nice when going to a play or traveling on a plane. "I still get bothered when I see people wearing jeans to the theater, ballet, opera, etc.," she says in an e-mail.
Melissa Popiel also prefers not to see denim at the theater, or at an engagement party. To her, jeans are OK for a house party or a casual dinner, but not for traditionally dressy places. "I don't like going to cocktail parties and seeing people in jeans," says the advertising executive, who's in her late 20s.
Ms. Popiel estimates she owns about 15 to 20 pairs, including premium brands, and has paid as much as $200 for a pair.
Many others are also paying big bucks for their jeans - from $150 to $1,000 or more per pair. Celebrities, in particular, are making jeans their garb of choice for appearances on talk shows and at some red-carpet events.
That, say fashion experts, sets the tone for the masses, who are encouraged by features like one in the Jan. 24 edition of Us magazine, "Hollywood's 10 Hottest Jeans," complete with suggestions for buying "premium" denim ($140 or more).
The concept of designer jeans is not new, however. They were also hot in the 1970s and 80s.
Are these jeans made for parties?
Etiquette experts offer few hard and fast rules about jeans, but among them are the obvious: Leave them in the closet when you're attending a wedding, or if your workplace bans them.
"A lot of it has to do with the appropriateness of the kind of jean you're wearing," says Peter Post, grandson of manners maven Emily Post and author of the book "Essential Manners for Men."
It comes down to determining if the jeans are for fashion or work. A pair that you do yard work in, for example, are "probably not appropriate to be wearing to a restaurant that night," he explains.
Mr. Post has seen men show up in quality restaurants wearing denim, which doesn't bother him as much as how sloppy their appearance sometimes is.He recalls seeing a man dressed in a T-shirt and old rumpled jeans. "He hadn't taken any care to step it up just a notch, to say to the woman he was with, 'You know, you're really important to me. I want to look good. I want you to look at me and be proud of me,' " he says.
Dark denim is making it easier for men to comfortably wear jeans in the evenings, especially since black jeans are no longer "in." But no matter how hip a certain style may be, some places are still off-limits.
"I probably won't wear them to a funeral," says Robert Smith, a 30- something businessman in Rockton, Ill. But in the past few years he's started wearing them everywhere else - to church and to most work-related functions.
Not the fabric but how it's used
The good news for jeans devotees is that standards for judging people on their appearance are loosening a bit - at least among women under 40. A recent study by Cotton Incorporated indicates that Generation X-age women (26 to 39) are less concerned about first impressions when it comes to dressing than they were 10 years ago, and more often are taking the approach that "you can't judge a book by its cover." The reverse was true for women boomer-age and older.
Alice Harris, author of the book "The Blue Jean," attributes the rise of jeans to casual Fridays in workplaces, which shifted the way people viewed dressing.
"We've actually gone back to a much simpler way of looking at it," suggests Post of the changing attitudes. It's not that certain materials, like denim, are bad. "It's what you've done with that material."
You know what I look like in a suit? I look like a biker who's trapped in a monkey suit. It's obvious to everyone who's not legally blind that I'm pretending to be something I'm not, and that I'm as uncomfortable as hell doing it. What's the point of that?
I don't even own a pair of jeans any more. I have slacks for work, and hiking pants and Gore-Tex pants for the outdoors, both of which are far more practical than jeans.
200 posts and still no jean pictures???
There is no royalty recognized in these United States. There are citizens who are all equal and foreigners who, while they should be treated with respect as all mankind should, are somewhat less than citizens
Some of these rules go back centuries
"Because we've always done it that way" is not a good reason for doing anything. The rules for treating royalty differently come from the day when royalty had the power to do you harm or good. Since royalty had that power it was important to suck up to them. Those days are long past (unless you are on their turf)
"Tell your son that if he doesn't want to get judged by his tattoos, he should cover them up when he's not among friends. Duh, is that really so hard? "
First of all, he DOES cover them when he is in situations where he is concerned about what others will think. Duh! Did I forget to say he was also INTELLIGENT?
As a matter of fact, last year he had an experience that cracked us up. He was meeting with a new potential landlord to discuss his renting the place. It was hot out but he dug out a long, sleeved shirt so he could cover his tatoos because he was concerned this guy would judge him by his tats. Anyhow, the landlord shows up, a man pushing 60 years old, in a short-sleeved shirt. And lo & behold that older fella has tattos all over his arms! Our son complimented his "art" and then rolled his sleeves up to show this guy his own "art". Yep, he rented the place to him, no problem.
No, he did not get his tattoos to make a "satement". He is an extremely talented artist, a musician as well, and decided that his body could also be his palette. He isn't covered head to toe, and the ones he has are, IMO, very cool. He and I have talked before about the possibility that he could make a very good living at being a tattoo artist.
As for this thread....I couldn't care less about operas, or what someone's wearing to some fancy theater. I only became involved when people started acting as if wearing jeans to church was so horrible. My point was, and is, that God doesn't care so why should we.
Some situations require a little bit of suffering. A wedding, a funeral, a formal restaurant. I'm not saying we should revert to my grandfather's day, when many men considered it innappropriate to leave the house without jacket and tie, but some occasions should not be casualized too much, IMHO.
The thing about suits is, they're egalitarian. Everyone looks more or less the same in a suit, whether a biker or a billionaire.
I don't know I'm a baby boomer who LOVES to wear Jeans they are comfortable they look good on in my opinion on both men and women and you can dress them up or down..
To me the most unattractive pants are "Dockers"
That's the very situation from which I derived my example, in fact. My wife and I were in Paris on our honeymoon, and we were having a brunch-style breakfast at a really nice hotel. In come the obvious Americans decked out exactly as you described---they could've been Chevy Chase & Beverly D'Angelo straight out of European Vacation---decked out in garish "Wally World"-like gear, shorts, ass-packs the size of ALICE packs, etc. And it goes without saying that their method for making themselves understood by the waitress, who didn't speak English, was to YELL THEIR DEMANDS AT HER IN A VOLUME THAT GOT LOUDER AS THEY FELT MORE AND MORE MIS-UNDERSTOOD, as if "volume" were the key, not "words."
See my previous posts on jeans and church. You couldn't be further from the truth.
"When attending church, dress your heart in repentance, faith and expectation of being in God's presence. As long as your dress doesn't overly distract others (that is, dress modestly) God doesn't care what you wear. He looks on the heart of man, not the flesh"
YES! You put that beautifully! I also agree that I would not want to insult someone's special event (wedding or formal function) by showing up in my grubs. That would be rude. People, humans, really do care about such things. But when I go to church, I will dress for God and no one else.
Baloney, unless the family decides to make it such.
Church may be a bad example, I admit.
No, we are talking about judging people's social status based upon their attire. Laura Bush has elegance of style, taste, and manners whatever she wears; Michael Moore is a slob even in a tuxedo.
Rules as to proper attire are in no way arbitrary. They are quite well known and established.
Of course dress codes are absolutely arbitrary and to argue otherwise is ludicrous. They are hardly laws of nature or dictates of circumstance. Being tradition bound doesn't make wearing a symbolic noose around one's throat any less arbitrary than decreeing all senators must wear a toga.
Well, Modernman said that that a person wearing a t-shirt in a nice restaurant would not be worth knowing. I think making those kind of judgements about people regarding their outward appearance is an un-Christian like attitude. If he thinks they are slobby or uncultured, fine, but to judge another person's worth by what they are wearing is a totally different thing. Can you see the difference?
"A rich person can be a classless slob just as easily as a poor person."
So true. Also, in church, in God's eyes, a man worshiping Him while wearing a suit is no better, nor worse, than a man worshiping Him while wearing jeans.
Big, fat AMEN to that one. I never understood how someone would choose to put them on to be comfortable. I wear them only when I have no other choice.
We agree here. Plus, my wife is almost a foot taller than I am, and I'm bald. If we dressed alike, we wouldn't make it 20ft in public before someone said "Look, it's Mini-Me!"
I did say "dressy" for church. If you have a casual church where you're using that casualness to make a theological point, that's different. It would be disrespectful and unchristian to criticize in that kind of situation.
When you have a denomination, though, with a theological tradition of dressing formally to honor God the King, it's disrespectful or ignorant to come into a worship service dressed in playclothes.
They would've probably sued you. So many parents today are far more interested in being LIKED by their kids, than being RESPECTED and giving the discipline and guidance that is their job. That's if they care at all. I remember my son telling me at around age 15 that he wanted an earring. I explained that he could surely get one when he was grown and gone, but that if he showed up with one before then, it was gonna hurt a hell of a lot more coming out than it did going in. :-)
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