12 February 2009

Tight Pants

When I first was old enough to pick out my own clothes, the style was, at least for the "bad" kids that I aspired to run with, to wear skintight jeans, sometimes, depending how much flair you were prepared to show (this was a delicate matter, since there was no hard and fast rule against flamboyance, but if you didn't edge it just so, you'd be forever branded as a sexual and social deviant), with the cuffs turned up slightly.

The following year the blue jeans gave way to black ones, and then to my favorites, sharkskin iridescent trousers that were mainly available in the "colored" (yes, they still said that in those days) sections of Detroit, but one factor remained constant: they were always as tight as was humanly possible, the better to shock parents and teachers and offend the bourgeoisie.

Ever since then, I've always preferred my trousers to be on the tight side. It just seemed natural. I thought the late 60s fad for bell bottoms was both heinous and vile, even though I briefly succumbed to it after discovering that people from my psychedelic crowd were wary of getting too close to me - or sometimes even talking to me - as long as I persisted in wearing my old school greaser jeans.

Then in the 70s things really went awry, with wacky wide lapels, bizarrely cut jackets, all seemingly meant to disguise rather than highlight the shape of one's body. But what really did it for me, as in put me over the edge, was when Levi's started deliberately marketing their jeans for fatasses.

Well, that's not exactly how they put it; the commercial, as I recall it, was touting "Levi's for men, with just a skosh (thank God that word didn't catch on) more room where it counts." In other words, I railed to anyone who would listen, they were equating being "a man" with acquiring a middle-aged paunch. Let the fatties graduate into pleated-front polyester slacks, I fumed, but don't tamper with my beloved Levi's.

Well, as you probably know, my pleadings were in vain. Not only did Levi's spend the next couple decades making and selling ever more enormous jeans to accommodate ever more enormous rear ends, but they also farmed the manufacturing out to the Third World and started using cheap, flimsy denim that turned their once-rugged jeans into disposable crap.

And it wasn't just Levi's, anyway, it was all pants. Even if you didn't want to be a rapper, unless you were willing to spend endless hours trolling the retro shops for recycled 50s and 60s stuff, you were pretty much condemned to go around with enormous parachute-like garments flapping embarrassingly about your nether regions.

So at last, as the new century dawned, tight pants began to come back into style. The hipsters and emo freaks, bless their souls, were the first to embrace them, at the cost of being scorned as "sissies" and "wearing girls' clothes," but now the trend has spread to where even the benighted Levi's corporation has resumed manufacturing skinny, old-school jeans again (out of shitty, new-school denim that wears out after a few months, true, but you can't have everything).

So naturally I rushed right out and bought a couple pairs, but now I'm faced with a dilemma: unlike most men of my age I can still fit into the same tight jeans I wore several decades ago, but the question remains, should I? I'm sure there'd be quite a bit of sentiment to the effect that nobody my age, regardless of what kind of physical shape he's in, should be wearing skintight jeans, but does that seem fair? Especially when nobody seems to complain about the overweight 20-something who stuffs himself into the same sort of jeans and compound the crime by wearing a too-short t-shirt, thus revealing a highly unsightly muffin top spilling over his belt.

And to be fair, although I can still comfortably wear the tightest jeans being sold, I don't have exactly the same figure I did as a teenager, and I do have to do a little extra work if I want to avoid developing my own muffin top. But that's a good thing, right? At least a much better thing than what most people my age do, which is to buy everything a size or two too large and then not worry at all about what they look like underneath their clothes.

Or maybe I'm reading too much into this. I still like my tight pants, and I think I'm going to keep wearing them. If, however, you the readers feel strongly enough against this, you're free to write in and tell me so, attaching your explanations if necessary. I mean, I'll probably ignore you and keep wearing them anyway, but it's always good to know what's on the public's mind, I guess. Though I think I'm already past the age where I should have to give a damn.


kristina said...

If you've got it girl, flaunt it! Skinny jeans for-ever.
Just be mindful of the front - know whut I'm sayin'?

Some of the skinny jean teens are still a bit reluctant to give up their old ways - the trend of the past, the big ol' baggy saggy jeans.. So there is a bit of a hybrid fashion now -- super skin tight skinny stretch jeans with a baggy, saggy butt, lowered just below the rear to reveal baggy boxer shorts and/or briefs. The youngins are SO insistent on making the grown folks uncomfortable by showing us their underwear. Still, I am happy for those making the effort.

Jesse said...

I had to abandon Levi's altogether because they stopped making my size. At least you're on the short side, Lar Lar. Else you'd be stuck with Point Zero from the mall because the only thing Levi's has with your inseam size has an equal or greater waist size. And you think the Levi's denim is flimsy, hoo boy.

Chris A. said...

Levi's jeans come from a working tradition; they SHOULD be a little looser to move around in. As such, 514s > 511s. The latter look ridiculous on the majority of people.

Larry Livermore said...

::Levi's jeans come from a working tradition; they SHOULD be a little looser to move around in.::

I assume, of course, that this rule doesn't apply to people who don't have jobs.

crystal! said...

you totally judge people crammed into pants that are skin tight! people all do, even if those people are young. don't make this an age thing.

also, protect your sperm in case you decide to have babies. you're still young!

The Hound of Love said...

So what kind of Levi's did you settle on?

Larry Livermore said...

Two pairs of 511s (one black and one blue) and one pair of 514s (for more formal occasions).

Jersey Beat said...

as you probably know, Levi's started as cowboy clothes. the denim wore like iron and the pants were especially cut to accommodate the bow-legged stance of men who rode horses all day. what teens in the Fifties (the James Dean era) discovered is that when you wore those cowboy-cut Levis but you kept your legs together, lo and behold you had a "package" in the front. And thus the sex appeal of jeans was born.

In other words, Larry, as long as they fit, wear them. I've never seen you look age-inappropriate. Just be sure you buy them in the Men's Department. Girl jeans on men only look good on the Jonas Brothers.

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