Yesterday I realised I don’t wear jeans. I thought I wore jeans. I have jeans. But now I can’t remember the last time I actually put any on.
I have never seen my father in a pair of jeans. In my formative years I learned something of the history of denim and bought into their totemic importance to counter-culture. I wore jeans and went to acid house parties. My father did not.
Spin forward to yesterday. I’m looking at the jeans pictured and the denim penny drops. When did I become a ‘chino man’? I wear some variation of cotton trousers, pretty much always. A realisation I’m not sure I’m entirely comfortable with.
Admittedly we’re a long time from DJ Pierre’s 303 noodlings. And further still from Marlon Brando’s Wild One. The mainstreamification of denim jeans is complete. Gone are the associations with miners, railroad mechanics, greasers, bikers, beatniks and suedeheads. Jeans are now tights, throttling the calves of young men in accounts. They swarm outside pubs: jeans comically tight, ripped across the knee just so. Cheap suede loafers. Bargain bin ‘bantz’. Like a nest of spiders, all twiggy legs and dead-eyed stares.
Still, there is hope. Jeans like this offer salvation for those with a romantic eye for the past. A collaboration between Beams Fennica and orSlow, these have a great 1940’s feel. It looks like they’ve a similar shape to orSlow’s painter pant, with a wide straight leg and low rise. There’s a light ten ounce denim in the mix and the pocket detail is off the charts. I’m loving those dropped rectangular patch pockets on the front and the teardrop shape of the rear pocket feels like it’s been nicked from a pair of 70’s bellbottoms.
If like me you’re looking for a way back into jeans, you’ve just found it. Cachet, quality and the right fit, as far from the chain-pub vape clouds as it’s possible to be.