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."
Me personally, I'd probably laugh. It's certainly safe to show up at a rally on a Honda and wearing suit. I wouldn't have advised it 20 years ago, but times have changed. In 2005, the guy would fit right in.
My first ever trip to Sturgis in the dark ages, I remember a group hoisting a Japanse motorcycle up with a chain, breaking the oil filter loose, and starting it. Naturally, it ran out of oil in a couple of minutes, started to chug white smoke and then siezed up totally, and the crowd went wild and cheered.
It wasn't until I was well on my way home that it even dawned on me that I'd probably just witnessed a criminal act. I have no way to be sure, but knowing the times, and knowing the people, I now doubt that this little group came by that motorcycle honestly. More like it was the ride of some unlucky SD native, or some poor sot who thought it be ok to ride his Honda to Sturgis.
"As Stendahl said, "bad taste is a crime.""
Was Stendahl dressed up nice 'n fancy when he said it?
Oh yes you can.
Naw, I'd probably just call you by your name.
ROTFLOL! For about the first 5-6 years I was married, my father in law would buy my husband and I matching outfits for Christmas. Most of the years, it was matching sweaters and the like, but one year he bought us matching blue plaid NIGHTGOWNS with matching blue plaid slippers. I don't think men have worn gowns to bed since the "I in my kerchief and ma in her cap had just settled down for a long winter's nap" days.
After we reminded him FIRMLY that the Bible says that women shouldn't wear thing which pertain to a man and vice versa, the twins act stopped.
Although, having said that, if I knew that I was going w/ my husband to an area with a very large crowd, I might be tempted to have my husband and I dress similar because I would want to be able to spot him in a crowd easily if we got disconnected, so to speak.
eek, jeans to a wedding?! was it on a farm ;)
I think you can definitely dress jeans up and wear them to lots of places but a wedding, opera, etc is a no-no.
>>Me personally, I'd probably laugh.
So would I. And that was my point. Each social situation has it's own set of criteria whether we want to admit it or not. Now in Texas or New Mexico I wouldn't think it was weird to arrive at a nice restaurant and see someone with a cowboy hat and Wranglers on. But in New York or San Francisco I'd think it was pretty weird.
But I'd also think it would be weird if a woman wearing some high fashion outfit from Milan arrives at an outdoor BBQ. Most likely I'd point at her and laugh.
Stendahl had some issues with love.
Very good. Now see if you can define "pretentious". To "have class" also does not mean to "have clothing".
But don't pretend that others should consider you anything but an uncivilized slob if you dress in that way, or present yourself in that way.
You miss the point. What random strangers think of me effects me not at all. Neither do your or their affectations of class. People with true class see past the clothing.
If you wish to dress to the nines to attend Carmen because you like to, or your date likes you to, or you enjoy the tradition of doing so, knock yourself out. But if the reason you are enduring that tux is just to project "class", then you are a phony. You are not classy, but class conscious.
Ok, but in fairness, you do realize that you've just completely priced the working man out? Being a full-grown man, at 5'1", I've had experience with tailors before in my life, and even a pair of tailored slacks is a bundle of money. I have an off-the-rack budget and I'm totally cool with that.
But then, you're 17. LOL
Call me poorly bred, because I would never willingly listen to Mozart. If you like it fine. Want to play it in the elevator or softly at the restaurant while people are eating, swell. However, I just don't get the appeal, and never will.
Unless you have respect for yourself and G-d, you aren't really worshipping Him anyway.
Sorry. The reply #213 was meant for modernman.
I bet slobs have a pecking order.
Meanwhile, back on topic, art and decorum prevents ourselves from being swallowed by nature. But when choice trumps all--such as choosing our dress code exactly "as-I-damn-well-please"--then we end up with our character overgrown with ego.
Well I'm 41, and my wardrobe is simple. On every hanger there is a black t-shit with a pair of black or blue jeans beneath it. Off to the side there are some long-sleeved t-shirts in a cubby. At the end of the closet are two pair of chaps, 2 leather jackets, 2 pair of leather pants and 1 pair of leather overpants.
I take great comfort in knowing that no matter what hanger I grab I'm going to look pretty much the same as I did the day before. Call me a creature of habit, but I like it.
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