Harriet Walker: There are only four types of jeans-wearer

 

Share

To most people, fashion is not this season's candy colours. To most people, fashion is not even next season's shiny vinyl and leather separates. To most people, fashion is just a pair of jeans and a nice jumper.

This much I have realised as I have grown older and things have started creaking, now that I can't be bothered to cram myself into an outfit worthy of a Ziegfeld Follies girl every day. I have realised that heels before 8pm are a hassle and after 8pm are a hindrance, that tight things aren't right, and that effort is overrated.

The people you see at Fashion Week, the ones who really quicken your pulse and make your heart twang in dispirited envy because they look so good, are not the ones in the ballgown and matching hat. More often than not, they're in jeans and a jumper. And trainers! How I long to be the sort of person who looks good in a pair of trainers!

It strikes me that everyone has a mode of dressing that is singular to them – an entirely social construct, of course, according to habit. But dressing beyond your ken feels as wrong as brushing your teeth with your left hand.

I have a quadrant of friends who are incredibly posh and like to wear rugby shorts – even the girls, who wear normal clothes by day and then slob around in a London Wasps number in the evening or on Sundays. The last time I stayed the night, my friend offered me something similar to sleep in, then collapsed into giggles when I put it on. "It just looks so… wrong. On you, I mean. You look like a middle-aged man with long hair." This delivered while wiping tears of hilarity away with one hand and playing with her perfect posh person's hair with the other.

I told myself it was because I am normally so elegant that sportswear just doesn't sit with my sartorial DNA. But I think I knew at heart that it was because only posh girls look good in rugby kit.

I used to have the same problem with jeans. I realise this is odd, given that jeans are basically the only thing that anyone wears, and that all those ditsy floral-print playsuits in the shops will hang there until the apocalypse happens because we'll all be knocking round in our 501s until our dying breath.

Yet, for all that we live in our jeans, for all that denim was possibly one of the best inventions ever, they remain a right bugger, don't they? Because they're a nightmare to get right and no matter how hard you try, you always fall into one of the four elemental jeans categories…

1. The Dad Jean: a sturdy straight leg made from pristine blue denim that is neither faded nor distressed. A blue so blue you might be fooled into thinking these were chinos. But wait, what's that? A phone holder, coin purse and utility belt attached to the waistband? This is the heady pragmatism of the Dad Jean.

2. The Ageing Rocker Jean: when I worked in a pub as a student, one of the regulars used to team his slim-fitting, ripped stonewash strides with a Levellers jumper (guffaw). It took me years to realise that it doesn't matter what the band on your top, wear it with jeans and you're officially in Ageing Rocker territory.

3. The WAG Jean: a low-rise style that starts around the pudenda and falls to a kick flare, obscuring your feet so you move as if hovering, like a baddie pretending to be a ghost in Scooby Doo. This style has a distinct relative in the more obscure high-waisted flared jean that someone tries to revive every five years, before realising they make everyone look like they're in the Brotherhood of Man.

4. The Skinny Jean: the social affliction de nos jours. Regardless of how awful they look, you have to wear them because they're the only style deemed fashionable and acceptable. Sorry.

Recently, I managed to find a pair long enough to wrinkle up a bit at the ankle (I won't have anything flapping about down there at half-mast) with plenty of stretch and – this is the exciting bit – a high waistband that not only means not an inch of my posterior is on show, but also offers the happy situation whereby you can stuff all the excess flesh on your torso into the waistband, as if you're proving bread dough.

I used to think I looked odd in jeans – perhaps I still do and I just care less. But I think my recent change of heart is not related to this, so much as a breakdown in the part of my brain that regulates how long you can stay in bed versus how long you spend choosing an outfit. And so I find myself wearing my jeans nearly all the time – when I'm not in bed, that is. That's just how fashionable I am.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Analyst - Bristol

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Analyst is required to join the ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Russell Brand joins residents and supporters from the New Era housing estate in East London as they deliver a petition to 10 Downing Street  

Without Russell Brand's help, my family and countless others would have been evicted from our homes this Christmas

Lindsey Garrett
Members of the House of Lords gather for the state opening of Parliament  

Peer pressure: The nobles in the Lords should know when to go

Jane Merrick
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick