PATRICK STEPHENSON

Earthbound concerns of an ascendant adult

“Jeans Must Go”

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by Patrick Stephenson,
persnickety fashion critic

TEMPERAMENTAL RIFT // As a 22-year-old metrosexual fashionistus whose fingers rest upon every relevant pulse, I despise Middle America’s blue jean look. There is no blander style than that which jeans grant. Fashion should reflect personality, and blue jeans are as evocative as a pair of white socks. If you wear a pair, whether to school, work or informal gatherings, you’ve admitted you’re a milquetoast, unworthy of my friendship or even attention. In addition to your jeans-wearing, do you listen to Maroon 5 and Creed? Are you a fan of James Patterson and Dean Koontz? Is Fox News your favorite channel, The Pacifier your favorite flick? My criticism may seem harsh to some, and I may seem like a Denimsuperior-feeling snob, but the truth is often bitter, and its messenger is often hated or beaten. Don’t hate me. Listen.

For this aesthete, winter is an especially painful time. Even those who, during warmer months, have embraced quirky, colorful fashion surrender their appearances to the cold of our weather, thereby choosing to dress in tired jean blues and lumpy sweatshirts and refusing to rebel against nature’s annual onslaught of wet and freezing whiteness. Jeans replace skirts and fancy pants, and trendy, heeled boots are exchanged for ugly Uggs. This is an unbearable tragedy. Earth’s population is increasing. With every new birth, our efforts to stand out should increase and strengthen. Instead, most are content to blur together within a denim-colored morass, like pig-led sheep in an English field. I say, no more.

Just as I’ve barred myself from jean-wearing, so too have I restricted my friends. Any jean-clad attendees to my frequent formal parties are refused entry until they’ve found a replacement. I so hate the material and the look that I’d rather my friends enter pantsless than with jeans on. If any refuse to change, they’re ultimately denied access to my exclusive circle, which is composed of many of Rochester’s money-rich higher-ups. This exclusivity is for my friends’ benefit. I’m encouraging a kind of mild revolution, and a breakage from oppressive appearance norms. Those content with mediocre couture deserve mediocre lives.

Why have we clung to jeans for so long? According to Design Boom’s Birgit Lohmann, who in 2000 traced denim’s centuries-old influence on American culture, jeans were first widely used during the 18th century, by slaves on cotton plantations, because “the material… did not wear out easily.” Obviously, in addition to furthering our nationwide decline into informality, jeans hold the dubious distinction of facilitating slave-centered economies. Despite that, we wear them, and why? Because they’re durable. Forget that they’re ugly and were instrumental to the enemy during an ugly time in our history. Even though fashion as an industry is defined by rapid change, jeans persist.

My personal interest in rejecting blue jeans stems from what author Thomas De Zengotita (“Mediated: The Hidden Effects of Media on People, Places, and Things”) calls “mediation.” Which, says De Zengotita, is “the essence of the postmodern condition [in which] a person exists in a world of representations that constantly make them more and more self-concious, forcing them to be aware of themselves in relation to a field of [consumer] options.” Heady stuff. Effectively, we define ourselves by buying certain products and rejecting certain others. By avoiding jeans, and lambasting those who wear them, I’ve elected to prevent an ugly, historically disgusting piece of clothing from having any place in my life. I’m telling you I’m not a milquetoast.

A movement I’ve titled Contradenimmes is similarly rising against that persistance. Currently, our numbers are small, but passionate. Our aim is to reduce mediocrity’s presence within American culture, and our first target is the blue jean. One of our most prominent members, who recently starred in a Winonan production of “The Vagina Monologues,” and whose assumed name is Lecee Lemons, says, “Jeans are the most disgusting pants-style ever created. They make me want to vomit.” Although Lemons isn’t eloquent, she expresses a sentiment the Contradenimmes all share, and one we think you should consider. Americans have accepted mediocrity for far too long. Jeans must go.

Written by patiomensch

February 28, 2007 at 4:57 am

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