What? I’m supposed to give up wearing jeans because I’m over 52?
I recently came across a preposterous study conducted by CollectPlus, a UK parcel-delivery service, which asked 2,000 Brits this question: When should people stop wearing jeans?
Answer: Age 53.
Even the marketing director at CollectPlus was baffled by the results. Catherine Wolfe told the Daily Mail, “Denim is such a universal material and, with so many different styles available, it’s a timeless look that people of all ages can pull off.”
The newspaper didn’t disclose such relevant details as the age of the participants in the survey. Who were these people? How old were they? Where in the UK did they live? To make any sense out of this study, we should know details like these.
What did the participants reveal? Almost a quarter of them admitted they haven’t yet found their perfect pair, another 29 percent have given up the quest for that perfect pair, and six percent admitted that they’ve been reduced to tears in the search for it.
Once they’ve found their ideal jeans, however, they hold on to them, and 33 percent say they’ll wear them practically anywhere, including the theater or a dinner party.
Do these devoted jeans-wearers really expect to give up their beloved jeans when they turn 53? I doubt it.
Although my own go-to pants are slim black fabric-blends, my wardrobe also includes some skinny jeans. I sported a pair last week during a visit to Yosemite National Park. My semi-washed-out jeans were clearly the best choice for Yosemite. They protected me from insect bites, spilled food and drink, and potentially hazardous falls onto jagged rocks and other obstacles confronting me during my hikes. (Luckily, I avoided any mishaps.) When I hiked alongside Yosemite Falls, one of the park’s spectacular waterfalls, its watery mist hit my clothes, but my jeans’ cotton fabric dried quickly in the mountain air. And I had pockets galore in which to stash any small items I needed en route.
In short, they were perfect. Why would I ever want to abandon them?
Here in San Francisco, we treasure the legacy of blue jeans, thanks to Levi Strauss and the jeans empire he and his partner created in 1871 (they patented their design in 1873). The Levis Strauss Company is still a big presence in the city, and Levi’s descendants are among the Bay Area’s most prominent philanthropists and civic leaders.
You may be surprised to learn that the Levi’s company maintains a vast collection of historic jeans in its San Francisco archives. And to celebrate the 144th birthday of blue jeans this year, Levi’s hosted a bunch of special events around town, including the launch of their first-ever skinny 501s for men and women.
Give up my skinny jeans? Never. And I think at least a few other over-50s agree. Last week, I watched singer-songwriter Paul Simon perform on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Simon, who’s 75, was wearing a pair of skinny jeans that looked a lot like mine.
Bravo, Paul! It’s great to see you still singing, still writing new songs to sing, and still wearing skinny jeans. “Hello darkness, my old friend?” Well, maybe. If they’re dark blue skinny jeans, that is.