Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

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
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-20 ... 61-8081-100101-120 ... 701-706 next last
To: Eepsy

LOL! I remember when I was 12 or so in the mid-70s and I came out of the house for church one Sunday wearing jeans--rolled up to the calf--english riding boots and a a paisley, 3/4-sleeve peasant blouse. My dad had a cow. Mom was out of town so I thought I'd wear what I wanted. Luckily, we were running late and I didn't have time to change.

81 posted on 03/09/2005 11:41:39 AM PST by rabidralph (Gosh!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: antoninartaud

You sound like my husband - is that you honey?

Honestly - my husband feels the same way - he dresses very well because his mother taught him to take pride in his appearance. Even though he wears jeans, they are clean and neat. He insists we all dress up for church (no jeans!) and we make the kids wash their faces and change if we are going out to eat or visit realtives, etc. Our kids are like most - messy - but we try to make the presentable!

That was a well-stated post.

82 posted on 03/09/2005 11:42:38 AM PST by Cathy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 49 | View Replies]

To: One Proud Dad
If it doesn't say Wrangler on it I don't wear it

I'm with you. I just don't starch mine anymore. And I wouldn't wear them to anything dressier than 'Texas Casual'.

83 posted on 03/09/2005 11:44:20 AM PST by centexan (Welcome back 1st Cav - great job!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: Modernman

Opera as "formal" is a social construct, don't you LOVE that Marxist phrase....

Originally they WERE popular entertainment back in the day. Much like rock concerts today. Every lil' burg and village had their opera house, which was like the old barns they convert to community theaters today. No one cared who wore what.

Back when they were written, your average Hans or Giovanni went to La Scala or Der Sofiensaal, they wore whatever.

84 posted on 03/09/2005 11:46:27 AM PST by Chef Dajuan (this ain't rocket science, you know. so use your knob! -emeril lagasse)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 64 | View Replies]

To: Xenalyte
I'm somewhat querulous about what Xena's Guy's younger family members will wear to our wedding. I wonder how to tell them that jeans are not appropriate. (I also wonder why I have to.)

It's sad that you have to. People used to know what to wear to a wedding. Have you sent out the invitations yet? Maybe put "formal attire" on the invites?

Of course, few people know what "formal" means anymore. A clean baseball cap, maybe?

85 posted on 03/09/2005 11:47:40 AM PST by Modernman ("Normally, I don't listen to women, or doctors." - Captain Hero)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 71 | View Replies]

To: ravingnutter
Figures in in TX, jeans are acceptable anywhere, including funerals. We wore jeans (new ones) and matching western shirts to Hubby's mother's funeral recently. He doesn't even own any dress pants and I haven't worn a dress in years.

Uh no, let's nip this myth in the bud. Jeans at a wedding or funeral is NOT generally accepted here in Texas.

To each his own, and if your relative's were comfortable with that at their functions, good for them. But most Texans(like anywhere else) consider it tacky and bad taste to show up in jeans at formal functions. We're friendly enough to still be nice, and prefer that people attend even if they don't own suites, but we aren't hillbillies, either. Except for the occassional goof that takes a perverse pride in showing how 'down to earth and 'real' Texan' they are, walking around in extra big hats and odd boots. And we all laugh at them as eccentric showboaters.

86 posted on 03/09/2005 11:47:40 AM PST by Diddle E. Squat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Xenalyte

"It is NEVER appropriate to wear jeans to a church service."

IMO, God doesn't care what you're wearing. The purpose of going to church is to worship God, so why would someone care what everyone else is "wearing". Judge not.

87 posted on 03/09/2005 11:48:26 AM PST by Chena
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 63 | View Replies]

To: Xenalyte
And much smellier too, saith this Houstonian who often has the misfortune to pass that way.

Hey baby, they don't call us Stinkadena fer nuthin'!! ;-)

88 posted on 03/09/2005 11:49:41 AM PST by houeto ("Mr. President , close our borders now!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 69 | View Replies]

To: Modernman
See, that's the issue right there. We're getting married at the Festival, and for some reason most of Texas thinks that means "informal."

He and I and our attendants will be costumed to the nines, as will (I hope) our parents.

It should go without saying that men should wear slacks and a nice (long-sleeve) shirt with tie, at least, and the women should be in dresses or nice pantsuits.

I mean, it's a wedding! A wedding is a wedding is a wedding, and one dresses appropriately, unless the invitation specifies otherwise.
89 posted on 03/09/2005 11:50:40 AM PST by Xenalyte (Anything is possible when you don't understand how anything happens.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 85 | View Replies]

To: Diddle E. Squat

In Alaska, many funerals are attended by folks wearing jeans....and sweaters....and even bunny boots. When we attended the funeral of a dear friend a couple of years ago, just about everyone came wearing the same clothes they would have worn to sit and chat with our friend. We have no doubt Mike would have approved. :)

90 posted on 03/09/2005 11:50:58 AM PST by Chena
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 86 | View Replies]

To: Chena
I'm perfectly willing to be judged.

What makes judging so wrong? In many cases, it's called by another name: discernment.
91 posted on 03/09/2005 11:51:27 AM PST by Xenalyte (Anything is possible when you don't understand how anything happens.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 87 | View Replies]

To: Xenalyte

If they weren't sitting on the waistband, I'm guessing they were not the droopy type.

92 posted on 03/09/2005 11:51:51 AM PST by Bacon Man (Did you mean for those all words to come out together or did they just fall out randomly?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 80 | View Replies]

To: Bacon Man

Since they were those back-to-back bench seats, no rear view was available, for which on balance I think I am thankful.

93 posted on 03/09/2005 11:52:32 AM PST by Xenalyte (Anything is possible when you don't understand how anything happens.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 92 | View Replies]

To: qam1

I took my girlfriend to the Boston philharmonic last month and we dressed to the 9's.

And anyone here who knows anything about me, knows that I'm a 25 year old, tattooed, punk rock guy!

But there is a time and a place for everything, some people have no class and show no respect for themselves. These are the people who wear jeans to the theatre!

94 posted on 03/09/2005 11:53:26 AM PST by t_skoz ("let me be who I am - let me kick out the jams!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Chena
IMO, God doesn't care what you're wearing. The purpose of going to church is to worship God, so why would someone care what everyone else is "wearing". Judge not.

It shows a lack of respect for the situation. If you can't afford anything other than jeans, that's one thing. However, if you own slacks and a collared shirt, why not put them on?

95 posted on 03/09/2005 11:55:33 AM PST by Modernman ("Normally, I don't listen to women, or doctors." - Captain Hero)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 87 | View Replies]

To: Eepsy

I agree with your assessment.

You clearly have good Jeans.


PS: Men who wear jeans with an oxford shirt, tie, shoes (NOT sneakers) and a sportcoat look nice for going out to a movie and late dinner at a pub or something. But never EVER for a dinner date at a fancy restaurant.

96 posted on 03/09/2005 11:55:53 AM PST by VermiciousKnid
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: antoninartaud

"Jeans have their place. But, when I see a chump at a nice restaurant with his baggy jeans, ball cap, and flip flops I cannot really take him seriously, at any level. Same goes for the Opera or equally formal event. You don't have to be wealthy to put on a collared shirt and a pair of trousers. And the whole "I just want to be comfortable" mantra doesn't resonate with me; clothes that fit are comfortable clothes. Actually, denim doesn't breath well, and can hardly be called luxurious, as fabrics go. Wearing dungarees to formal events is just another expression of unisize, ahistorical, narcissistic, lazy, slob culture and should be mocked whenever possible."


97 posted on 03/09/2005 11:56:13 AM PST by t_skoz ("let me be who I am - let me kick out the jams!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Xenalyte
It is NEVER appropriate to wear jeans to a church service. A fellowship meeting, yes. A Wednesday-night potluck dinner, sure.When you are worshiping, or allegedly doing so, NO FREAKIN' WAY. Ladies, what say y'all?

When I was a teenageer, I was a Southern Baptist (in the midwest). It was common for people to go to church wearing nice sweaters, tops etc. with jeans. When I became convicted that I needed to dress better, I was asked by many people, "Why are you so dressed up?" I was stunned.

Now, I attend a congregation that appreciates the fact they should conduct themselves before G-d at least as well as they would before the Pres. of the USA or HRH Queen Elizabeth.

98 posted on 03/09/2005 11:56:45 AM PST by Tamar1973 (The path to conservative brilliance starts at Free Republic!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 63 | View Replies]

To: Jaysun

"...their ensembles make them look more like a can of biscuits that blew up than little girls."

LOL! What a mental image!! Poppin' Fresh!

99 posted on 03/09/2005 11:56:52 AM PST by Polyxene (For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel - Martin Luther)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: qam1

I typically wear a nice pair of Jeans and a shirt to Sunday Mass... And usually out to eat with my girl. The way I look at it is I have to dress up to go to work and when I am not working I just want to be comfortable.

100 posted on 03/09/2005 11:58:08 AM PST by todd1
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-20 ... 61-8081-100101-120 ... 701-706 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson