Not too old for jeans

By: Joe Weaver - Contributing columnist

There was an article online not terribly long ago that went to great lengths to explain which styles of clothing were appropriate for certain age groups. A lot of them were pretty simple and not surprising at all. Some were clear out of left field. I can’t recall the source of the article, but I remember it being something reasonably reputable and not some goofy online blog.

Those of you who read this column regularly know I am almost 50 years old. Some of you are older and some of you are younger, but that really doesn’t matter. I am going to appeal to you 40- to 60-year-olds. Don’t get in a snit, 70-year-olds and you octogenarians. You can still read the column this week, it just won’t be about you. I promise you I will get back to poking fun at senior citizens next week or shortly after, but this week, you’re off the hook. This goes especially for my in-laws. I don’t really have a reason to mention them, but I am obligated to mention them in the paper or my wife will tell them about that time I dropped one of my mother in-law’s good silver forks on the carpet and just put it back in the big wooden case without washing it. I would like to say it was Thanksgiving and everyone was sitting down for dinner and running the dishwasher for one fork would have been ridiculous, even by mother-in-law standards.

Thanksgiving, silver forks and in-laws aside, the point I was trying to make was this article I had read was so completely off base and wrong it made me a bit perturbed. I don’t want to get into some creepy “what are you wearing?” kinda thing, but take a look at yourself right now and, well, what are you wearing? I’ll bet a dollar that one or two of you are wearing jeans. I know I am. I wear them most of the time and I like wearing them.

I’m not supposed to be wearing them. Neither are you. According to the article, jeans are wholly inappropriate for anyone over the age of 40. Well, I know plenty of blue collar workers who will tell you that’s a big load of sheep dip. If this is the rule, I guess the rest of us should be dressing for dinner these days. I might have to dust off that tuxedo way back in the closet. It was noted that I should, if casual, wear khakis, or chinos or twill pants or whatever you call them. No more jeans, denims or dungarees for us mature folks. I know one person who still says “dungarees” and this is in the column for his benefit. I guess I am never going to live down the “he’s afraid of cheese” column.

I wear jeans with sneakers. I wear them with cowboy boots, hiking shoes, desert boots, wallabies and loafers. I have Levi’s and Lee and store-brands and I think I may have a pair of Calvin Kleins hidden in a drawer somewhere. They are old and don’t fit, but I spent a lot of money on them a long time ago and just can’t throw them away. My wife has about four pair and wears them when the temperature dips. My daughters have more jeans than Calvin Klein and Levi Strauss respectively, but they are well under 40.

My wife won’t wear “mom jeans.” There’s nothing wrong with mom jeans, but they really should change the name to “grandmom jeans” because that’s who wears them mostly. I don’t believe pleats belong in jeans for any gender. I think that’s what the article was trying to convey, but it failed. I would agree that slacks masquerading as jeans are about as dumb as leggings masquerading as jeans, but plain old Levi’s? John Wayne wore them and no one was about to tell the Duke he was dressing like a teenager.

I like my plain old Levi’s. I wear the 501s. Thirty years ago, there were television commercials and they were all the rage. Straight leg, button fly. The Levi’s 501 has not changed in generations. I really don’t plan on changing much either. Unless it’s into another pair of jeans.

Baltimore native Joe Weaver is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.

Joe Weaver

Contributing columnist