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Nice jeans. But should you really wear them to the opera?
The Christian Science Monitor ^ | 3/9/05 | Kim Campell

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, 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."

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News
KEYWORDS: actyourage; bluejeans; casualfridays; dresscode; fashion; genx; manners; proper; slobs; slobsarerude
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To: Chena
Or are women allowed to wear nice slacks & jackets?

What we got at the time is what we got. However, I believe there are women's pant suits, etc. there.

321 posted on 03/09/2005 4:00:50 PM PST by Tamar1973 (The path to conservative brilliance starts at Free Republic!)
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To: Melas

Ah yes, I know how you must have felt. In my opinion, people like this are not doing the work of God if they are pushing people away because of their prejudices. I had similar issues with our family's church years ago. So much hypocrisy, and judgmental people. What they were saying and doing in their daily lives, and even during Sunday service, went against everything I was hearing in the sermons. I never gave up on God though, and He hasn't given up on me. I actually prefer worshiping God in the forest, on a mountain, along a know, God's church. :)

322 posted on 03/09/2005 4:02:54 PM PST by Chena
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To: Chena

Well, as long as you wear a dress . . .

323 posted on 03/09/2005 4:04:07 PM PST by petitfour
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To: Tamar1973

The funny thing is, I got flack about it from people ;~D

People know how to dress when it's a traditional wedding in a church. If you take that away, some are completely helpless to make decisions. I said... wear what'd you'd wear to a beach party in summer.... is that so hard? :~D

And I also said... do not dress your child in something they can't get wet and build sand castles in. You will NOT be allowed to keep your child from playing because of what you dressed him/her up in!

324 posted on 03/09/2005 4:04:21 PM PST by HairOfTheDog (It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life!)
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To: Tamar1973

"No, of course not. But the thing is that we have clothes, washing machine, food, etc. right at the church to help the "poorest of the poor" who need them. We don't send people away to the Salvation Army or the Welfare office to take care of their basic needs."

That is very charitable of you and your church. Helping people is always a good thing as long as it is done in a pure way, and not because you judged someone on their appearance.

325 posted on 03/09/2005 4:05:16 PM PST by Chena
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To: Chef Dajuan
You are incorrect in the extreme. People didn't go to the opera and the theatre in what is essentially work clothes. No matter how expensive they are,jeans are just work clothes.
326 posted on 03/09/2005 4:05:25 PM PST by nopardons
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To: petitfour

"Well, as long as you wear a dress . . ."

LOL Yea, and God would say to me, "woman, are you crazy? My mosquitos are going to eat you alive dressed like that".

327 posted on 03/09/2005 4:08:14 PM PST by Chena
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To: nopardons
It would be a much more interesting world if people did go to the theater in work clothes, especially fireman, cops, ballerinas, and race car drivers...
328 posted on 03/09/2005 4:08:19 PM PST by durasell (Friends are so alarming, My lover's never charming...)
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To: Jaysun
a can of biscuits that blew up

That is SO apt! I about died laughing. It's exactly what they look like. Even people who aren't fat can't get away with wearing low jeans that are too tight. Jeans shouldn't create back-fat.

329 posted on 03/09/2005 4:09:02 PM PST by ReagansShinyHair
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To: Chena

I guess you could be required to wear a burkha and cover yourself from head to toe. You would be the height of fashion and proper attire. In some countries.

330 posted on 03/09/2005 4:12:04 PM PST by petitfour
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To: Tamar1973

okee dokee then.....guess your definition of a "slob" and my definition of a "slob" are miles apart. I think God is kind and loving, and I believe he cares more about our hearts, minds and souls, than he does about what outfit we're wearing.

331 posted on 03/09/2005 4:12:52 PM PST by Chena
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To: petitfour

If that means I wouldn't have to shave my legs, or fix my hair, or put on makeup.....well then, I guess every side has a good side. lol

332 posted on 03/09/2005 4:14:59 PM PST by Chena
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To: durasell

Oh come,you're just being silly.

333 posted on 03/09/2005 4:22:12 PM PST by nopardons
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To: nopardons

It would make des Nibelungen tolerable and take the edge of spending $300. for a diet soda in a plastic cup.

334 posted on 03/09/2005 4:25:02 PM PST by durasell (Friends are so alarming, My lover's never charming...)
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To: Melas
You may like it,but that doesn't make your wardrobe correct for any and all occasions. You're a great candidate for " WHAT NOT TO WEAR" . :-)

Even if your lifestyle precludes your attendance at weddings,funerals,baptisms,the theatre,the opera,and church, it shows that you don't have a lot of regard for yourself.

335 posted on 03/09/2005 4:27:13 PM PST by nopardons
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To: cubreporter
Sorry...ANN TAYLOR isn't an expensive label at all,but may be too expensive for some. It's really in the middling price range.
336 posted on 03/09/2005 4:31:07 PM PST by nopardons
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To: nopardons

About six people in the world wear expensive labels.

337 posted on 03/09/2005 4:35:40 PM PST by durasell (Friends are so alarming, My lover's never charming...)
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To: durasell

I love The Ring Cycle,but wearing pajamas would help out;the same is true for the "NICHOLAS NICKLBY" run on Broadway,a few decades back. LOL

338 posted on 03/09/2005 4:37:04 PM PST by nopardons
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To: durasell
Barbra Streisand! I can name at least 100. LOL
339 posted on 03/09/2005 4:37:59 PM PST by nopardons
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To: Diddle E. Squat
We may just meet sometime...we are seriously considering a promotion that was offered to my hubby by his employer to become the head honcho over all of Texas, but we would have to move to Houston. My corporate office is in Houston and they've been begging me for years to come there, and I have basically hit the glass ceiling here, would have to be a PhD to go any higher. The only thing that is holding us back so far is that we don't want to leave our log home in the country (we would have to find something equivalent in that area) and we are concerned about traumatizing our animals as this home is all they've ever known, but that six figure salary he would be getting sure looks nice. I sure hope us rednecks won't feel too out of place should we decide to move there. Well...I'm headed off to another thread...have a great evening!

P.S. I do wear pearls with my jeans (and diamonds on almost every finger)...I'm not totally lacking in class : )

340 posted on 03/09/2005 4:38:07 PM PST by ravingnutter
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