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Nice jeans. But should you really wear them to the opera?
The Christian Science Monitor ^ | 3/9/05 | Kim Campell

Posted on 03/09/2005 9:47:25 AM PST by qam1

NEW YORK – They've been part of the American "uniform" for years, worn to casual restaurants, house parties, and some workplaces.

But as jeans become more expensive, they are also becoming more ubiquitous, showing up everywhere from Midwestern churches to Broadway shows. Nothing is off limits, it seems. Or is it? Among those who buy high-priced, designer denim or who simply don jeans frequently - there's debate about where it's appropriate to wear them.

The tug of war over jeans etiquette is particularly prevalent in New York City. Here, people tend to be more creative about their appearance, and are often more demanding about how fashion-conscious people should look, says Dannielle Romano, editor at large for, a fashion and trends website.

Many 20- and 30-somethings here have theater backgrounds, for example, and often say it's inappropriate to wear jeans to theater and other cultural performances out of respect for the performers and the surroundings (even though the venues themselves have no official dress codes).

"I am all in favor of the current denim revolution that we are having, but I do feel that there are times when jeans should be left at home," says Lisa Kerson, a jewelry designer in her early 30s, whose parents insisted that she look nice when going to a play or traveling on a plane. "I still get bothered when I see people wearing jeans to the theater, ballet, opera, etc.," she says in an e-mail.

Melissa Popiel also prefers not to see denim at the theater, or at an engagement party. To her, jeans are OK for a house party or a casual dinner, but not for traditionally dressy places. "I don't like going to cocktail parties and seeing people in jeans," says the advertising executive, who's in her late 20s.

Ms. Popiel estimates she owns about 15 to 20 pairs, including premium brands, and has paid as much as $200 for a pair.

Many others are also paying big bucks for their jeans - from $150 to $1,000 or more per pair. Celebrities, in particular, are making jeans their garb of choice for appearances on talk shows and at some red-carpet events.

That, say fashion experts, sets the tone for the masses, who are encouraged by features like one in the Jan. 24 edition of Us magazine, "Hollywood's 10 Hottest Jeans," complete with suggestions for buying "premium" denim ($140 or more).

The concept of designer jeans is not new, however. They were also hot in the 1970s and 80s.

Are these jeans made for parties?

Etiquette experts offer few hard and fast rules about jeans, but among them are the obvious: Leave them in the closet when you're attending a wedding, or if your workplace bans them.

"A lot of it has to do with the appropriateness of the kind of jean you're wearing," says Peter Post, grandson of manners maven Emily Post and author of the book "Essential Manners for Men."

It comes down to determining if the jeans are for fashion or work. A pair that you do yard work in, for example, are "probably not appropriate to be wearing to a restaurant that night," he explains.

Mr. Post has seen men show up in quality restaurants wearing denim, which doesn't bother him as much as how sloppy their appearance sometimes is.He recalls seeing a man dressed in a T-shirt and old rumpled jeans. "He hadn't taken any care to step it up just a notch, to say to the woman he was with, 'You know, you're really important to me. I want to look good. I want you to look at me and be proud of me,' " he says.

Dark denim is making it easier for men to comfortably wear jeans in the evenings, especially since black jeans are no longer "in." But no matter how hip a certain style may be, some places are still off-limits.

"I probably won't wear them to a funeral," says Robert Smith, a 30- something businessman in Rockton, Ill. But in the past few years he's started wearing them everywhere else - to church and to most work-related functions.

Not the fabric but how it's used

The good news for jeans devotees is that standards for judging people on their appearance are loosening a bit - at least among women under 40. A recent study by Cotton Incorporated indicates that Generation X-age women (26 to 39) are less concerned about first impressions when it comes to dressing than they were 10 years ago, and more often are taking the approach that "you can't judge a book by its cover." The reverse was true for women boomer-age and older.

Alice Harris, author of the book "The Blue Jean," attributes the rise of jeans to casual Fridays in workplaces, which shifted the way people viewed dressing.

"We've actually gone back to a much simpler way of looking at it," suggests Post of the changing attitudes. It's not that certain materials, like denim, are bad. "It's what you've done with that material."

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News
KEYWORDS: actyourage; bluejeans; casualfridays; dresscode; fashion; genx; manners; proper; slobs; slobsarerude
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To: Chena

He wasn't and if there isn't enough to talk about, re jeans at the opera,then the thread should just die. High-pjackoing it didn't make it better.

521 posted on 03/10/2005 12:34:17 AM PST by nopardons
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To: fatima
If you're interested in opera,I talk to you about opera in Philly,in private. I have some info that you might be interested in. :-)

Love ya with you later;I'm off to beddy bye now.

522 posted on 03/10/2005 12:36:40 AM PST by nopardons
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To: Don Carlos
There is nothing prettier than a nice "caboose" packed into a pair of Levi's. IMHO.

Amen to that. My wife is sizzling in 501s.

A TRUE male chauvinist makes his woman walk ten paces AHEAD of him... LOL!

523 posted on 03/10/2005 12:36:43 AM PST by Rytwyng (we're here, we're Huguenots, get used to us)
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To: nopardons

Good night and God bless you and yours. :)

524 posted on 03/10/2005 12:40:26 AM PST by Chena
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To: Chena

But the thread wasn't simply about people not dressing appropriately for the opera. It was about the coarsening of our society, the devolution of its standards of conduct, and the increasing lack of gentility. You might want to check out Letitia Baldridge's NYT commentary reminiscing about her shopping experiences.

525 posted on 03/10/2005 12:40:44 AM PST by Steve_Stifler
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To: Jaysun
The world is crawling with teens wearing "jeans" that expose their Archie Bunker bellies to the world. Indeed, when paired with the "crop tops" now popular, their ensembles make them look more like a can of biscuits that blew up than little girls.

Every time I see a teen girl who looks like she got started on her college beer binges about five years early, I wish I had the courage to walk up and say politely, "So. Who lied to you and told you that look is sexy?"

526 posted on 03/10/2005 12:41:50 AM PST by L.N. Smithee (Thanks for nothing, you dumb pucks. The NHL is now the NHWC [No Hockey? Who Cares?])
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To: L.N. Smithee
Every time I see a teen girl who looks like she got started on her college beer binges about five years early, I wish I had the courage to walk up and say politely, "So. Who lied to you and told you that look is sexy?"

I used to feel the same way. That is until I attempted to buy my wife some clothes for Christmas and discovered that those are, for the most part, the only kind of clothes sold at many stores. By the way, she ended up getting a battery charger and a Dremmel tool (both still in the box). ;o)
527 posted on 03/10/2005 12:46:25 AM PST by Jaysun (I'd ask them to kiss my ass, but I can't trust them not to bite.)
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To: Steve_Stifler

You're right. It sort of rolled along to engulf many different situations and issues. I find myself in an extremely unusual situation. My family knows how worried I am about what is becoming of our world. The lack of moral standards, lack of "gentility" (good word), and gosh, it's just awful these days. I worry about what sort of world my new grandchild will be facing. sigh

Anyhow, and here I am, on this thread, with some people thinking I'm one of the weirdos. My kids will get a real kick out of this. What's even stranger, is that my views about "judging people by their clothes" goes way back to what I was taught as a child. Taught by my folks, my grandparents, and our church. I think some folks are so riled up by the extreme fashion trends (some extremely tasteless) our young people are wearing that for anyone to even suggest that granny should be able to wear slacks to church is something they'll attack in their anger over other things.

Oh well, I'll check out that commentary you mentioned. Thanks for the tip. Good night now. :)

528 posted on 03/10/2005 12:49:29 AM PST by Chena
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To: John O

Yes, I'm a girl! :-) I keep forgetting that my screen name causes some confusion.

529 posted on 03/10/2005 3:45:53 AM PST by rabidralph (Gosh!)
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To: nopardons

"As the twig is bent,so grows the tree."

I would hate to meet your parents then.

530 posted on 03/10/2005 3:58:03 AM PST by gingerky
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To: Chena

Thanks for the compliment.

My brother always tells me to "pick your battles carefully" - my nephew is 13 and has really curly long hair - he looks like Roger Daltry (sp?) of The Who in the 70's. I know a lot of people assume he is a punk kid, but he is a good student, a nice person and can kick butt on the guitar!

531 posted on 03/10/2005 5:10:50 AM PST by Cathy
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To: L.N. Smithee
Every time I see a teen girl who looks like she got started on her college beer binges about five years early, I wish I had the courage to walk up and say politely, "So. Who lied to you and told you that look is sexy?"

Quite correct, but the problem in this case is due to obesity, not wardrobe! If the young girls these days weren't so out of shape, these fashions might actually look attractive on them.

532 posted on 03/10/2005 6:20:24 AM PST by Rytwyng (we're here, we're Huguenots, get used to us)
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To: streetpreacher; Chena

"You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean."

street preacher-Are you saying that because I attempt to look nice and show respect to the Lord by being clean that I am somehow unworthy? I'm not saying that someone not dressed appropriatly should be kicked out, either. And by appropriately, I do not mean spend all your money on high fashion and flaunt it. Not every aspect of life is found in the Bible. Traditions are also an important part of my life. We do special things as a family at Christmas and other holidays. Not because they are in the Bible but because our family enjoys those moments and we want to pass on the lessons learned to our kids. It's the same for how I dress myself and my kids when we go to a nice restaurant, to church, to a wedding/funeral, etc. Some occasions call for not wearing your play clothes or relaxed everyday duds. I don't dress nicely because I think someone is looking at me. I dress that way because I respect the solemnity of the Mass or occasion for which I attend.

Chena-I also live simply. I shop as little as possible. I don't work or shop, etc. on Sundays. I'm not into material things for my house, etc. For me, less is more. I donate gently used clothes and often buy clothes on sale with shelters, etc. in mind. I also tend my own garden and am teaching my children how to use and celebrate God's natural gifts to us. Despite our disagreements on what we wear to church, I think you and I would have a lot in common. Let's just agree to disagree.

533 posted on 03/10/2005 6:25:04 AM PST by samiam1972 (Live simply so that others may simply live!)
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To: Eepsy


534 posted on 03/10/2005 6:51:39 AM PST by GOP_1900AD (Stomping on "PC," destroying the Left, and smoking out faux "conservatives" - Take Back The GOP!)
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To: LexBaird
Very good. Now see if you can define "pretentious". To "have class" also does not mean to "have clothing".

That's right---lash out because you made a mistake. Get out all that vitriol.

You miss the point. What random strangers think of me effects me not at all. Neither do your or their affectations of class. People with true class see past the clothing.

I think you miss the point. You're swimming against the tide, here: like it or not, how you present yourself in public matters. Scream at a wall if you want, but you'll never change this.

If you wish to dress to the nines to attend Carmen because you like to, or your date likes you to, or you enjoy the tradition of doing so, knock yourself out. But if the reason you are enduring that tux is just to project "class", then you are a phony. You are not classy, but class conscious.

Untrue. I dress for occasions that require it because I have respect for other people and the occasion. It's what people who wish to live in a polite, respectful society do.

To put things in perspective, I am not a stuck-up stiff. In high school I was a mohawked hard-core punk. I have tattoos, and I had piercings---five in one ear alone. I ride a Harley. I'm a complete epicurean. I participate in FR WoD threads on the pro-pot side.

But I'm also a former naval officer who learned a thing or two about the importance of proper appearance and public image.

535 posted on 03/10/2005 6:58:37 AM PST by 54-46 Was My Number (Right now, somebody else got that number)
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To: qam1
I lay the blame on Jimmy Carter.
Before he made them popular with “our betters”, they were in the exclusive domain of Joe Six-Pack. I could actually afford a new pair of Levi’s then and they were Made in the USA.
Now they are made in third world countries. The prices are outrageous. There are designer jeans. People are wearing jeans to the OPERA!
536 posted on 03/10/2005 6:59:40 AM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: Rytwyng
As it happens, by perverse fate, in our culture most of the "formal" clothes just so happen to be the most uncomfortable

I used to hate wearing a suit and tie – until I rebelled against the Kerryites and their usual made of dress. Until a few months before the election I usually wore jeans and T-shirt or Dockers and polo shirt for formal. My hair was past my shoulders and my beard was mid-chest.
I was accused of being a Hanoi John supporter!
I bought a few shirts that actually fit my neck, ties, slacks and sports jackets. I cut my hair and trimmed my beard. My neck is 18 ½” but most cheap shirts that fit my shoulders have about a 16” neck. I wonder why they hurt? I discovered that with a proper fitting collar the necktie doesn’t strangle me.
537 posted on 03/10/2005 7:15:49 AM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: LexBaird
Or are you the sort who wears a morning frock, then afternoon wear, then dinner clothes, followed by a tuxedo for evening, and finally a smoking jacket for cocktails? Are you seen in public without a hat? If so, you show no class.

Standards of formality change over time. That doesn't mean, however, that people should reject current standards.

538 posted on 03/10/2005 7:23:53 AM PST by Modernman ("Normally, I don't listen to women, or doctors." - Captain Hero)
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To: Rytwyng

The Bible isn't an etiquette manual. That's why God gave us ladies surnamed Post, Baldridge, and Vanderbilt. (Not to mention the incomparable Judith Martin.)

539 posted on 03/10/2005 7:25:01 AM PST by Xenalyte (Anything is possible when you don't understand how anything happens.)
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To: Tamar1973
Now people seem to revel and compete between themselves to dress as slovenly as possible in as many places as possible.

This is due to the liberal desire to reduce society to the lowest common denominator. That's why you see middle-class kids dressing like low-class street thugs.

Clothing says a lot about a person. Some posters here are in denial about that fact, it seems.

And it has nothing to do with money. Most people can't afford Prada or Armani, but how many Americans really can't afford to own some nice slacks, a couple of good dresses or a decent suit?

540 posted on 03/10/2005 7:33:49 AM PST by Modernman ("Normally, I don't listen to women, or doctors." - Captain Hero)
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