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."
I dressed rather nicely for my father's funeral. However, I'm certain it did not matter to him what I wore.
I still wonder how those women were able to walk about in 2+ inch heels in rugged mountainous terrain but they did it somehow (probably with the help of lots of aspirin and foot rubs).
Nobody is saying you have to wear the same things people wore centuries ago. What I'm talking about is appropriateness. If an event is "formal" you wear whatever is the formal attire of that era.
hey, anticipated Mass on a Sat at 5pm or a late mass at 5 pm on a Sunday, we Papists will wear jeans in a heart beat. doesn't make it right : )
For a funeral? A dark or black suit for men and a dark dress or pantsuit for women.
You know, it used to be that liberals were the ones who dressed like slobs. Unfortunately, it seems like conservatives are getting the disease these days.
I love jeans. I have several pairs, and wouldn't want to do without them. They're very versatile.
That being said, however...I am the type that DOES dress up for airplane travel, for example. My jeans are worn around the house, running errands, or sometimes when I go out with my husband to shoot pool or something. The rest of the time, I'd much rather be wearing some nice slacks or a skirt or dress. I love getting dressed up, and I don't find it to be stuffy or elitist to dress appropriately for church services, weddings and funerals, or a cocktail party, ect.
A pantsuit for a woman? hah! When I was growing up in Mississippi, a pantsuit was not appropriate at a funeral. By the time I was 20, there were some females who might have worn a pantsuit to a funeral, but hoity-toity folks would have looked down their noses at them and said they were dressed inappropriately.
Personally, I try to dress in a way to blend in with the crowd.
I wonder how the common folk dressed when they went to see Shakespeare back in the day.
I own about 10 pairs of jeans - granted some are "around the house" jeans, and some are very nice looking. I wear jeans all the time but know when not to.
There a hundreds of different kind of jeans, classic fit, easy fit, stretch, non-stretch, low rise, ultra low rise (these are the jeans young girls wear when they should not), boot cut, flare, straight leg. It is exhausting!
My personal favorite, just below the waist, boot cut in Long!
I still wear skirt suits on interviews and in business-formal situations. Pantsuits are just one notch below correct business-formal.
What kind of insecure, desperate, follow-the-crowd-and-pied-piper, gullible, easily seduced, zero-common sense idiot pays $100 or more for JEANS?
Seriously, that's the kind of little thing that is a huge warning sign for any single guy. Stupidity in little can be an indicator of much more stupidity down the road. Get out while you can.
Around here they were probably dot.com millionares.
In contrast there were a lot of well dressed people--nice suits, Easter dresses, hats, the whole nine yards. The chumps really stuck out.
Well unless their pants were drooping as well, at the very least they would have bought you a drink.
Yeah, their adut gear is just Phat Farm. The kid stuff is called Baby Phat.
Oh, P-Diddy is so late, only losers wear Sean John now.
Since they were sitting, I couldn't tell how loose their pants were. Now I wonder.
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