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Love Thy Denim

Mary Claire O'Donnell | Saturday, April 21, 2012

“You can’t live your life in the same pair of jeans that feel like you’re wearing pajamas.”

Challenge accepted, Mom.

My mom chastised me with this comment while shopping for interview suits over Easter Break. She was tired of me complaining about how one blazer made my shoulders look big, how another pair of pants fit weirdly around my hips, and on and on when she, my grandmother, my sister and even the fitting room attendant disagreed.

I was not impressed though, not even with the capri chinos in a fantastic orange color. I didn’t want to grow up, to be forced out of my favorite jeans into a suit.

It’s okay though. I loved the color of those chino pants, so I found my favorite pair of jeans in almost that exact same color. And while I haven’t yet broken them into the pajama-like feel of my other pair, I’m sure they’ll get there.

But this column is not about my struggle to join the real world, fashion-wise. This is a call for everyone to celebrate the denim in their lives.

Celebrate the versatility of jeans. Throw on a sweatshirt and flip flops for a super casual look, or don a nice blazer, top and boots to class the closet-staple up.

The story of American jeans begins a little less than 150 years ago. In 1873, Levi Strauss received a patent to make the first pair of riveted men’s work pants out of denim. And thus, the first pair of jeans was born. Only cowboys and other hard laborers wore jeans until about the 1950s, when the style became popular among teenagers. From then on, jeans were a staple of almost every American closet.

Fashions have changed a lot since jeans became mainstream, and accordingly, jeans have come in many forms. Bell-bottoms. Bootcut. Tapered. Acid wash. High-waisted. Skinny leg. Overalls. Shorts. Boyfriend. Dark wash. Light wash. White. Black. Green. Purple. You name a style, color or fit, and jeans have probably come in that form at some time or another.

I’m not fashion-savvy enough or fashion history-savvy enough, however, to begin to discuss these changing trends in denim clothing. I have noticed, however, that while all types of jeans have passed in and out of fashion through the years, even in our short 18 to 22 years of life, the idea of that favorite pair is eternal.

I’m talking about that special pair of jeans that make you feel better every time you put it on. Those jeans can make you feel invincible, sexy, anything. Whatever you need to make it through the day.

Rock those jeans. Find them in multiple colors or washes. Because everyone deserves to feel that way. You feel the cool denim on your legs as you slide them on, and you’re empowered. Look good, feel good. Maybe everyone at the dorm party, bar or club is in a dress or skirt. Don’t worry, they’ll never look as good in your jeans as you do.

Now, there’s no problem if you prefer skirts or dresses, corduroys or chinos to jeans. I just want to take a second to celebrate jeans because too often people, male and female, are criticized because “all he or she wears is jeans.”

Embrace that. There’s nothing wrong with jeans, and there’s nothing wrong with you. And do as I did – enter a profession in which it is more that acceptable to wear jeans at least every Friday.

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The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.

-

archive

Love Thy Denim

Mary Claire O'Donnell | Tuesday, April 17, 2012

“You can’t live your life in the same pair of jeans that feel like you’re wearing pajamas.”

Challenge accepted, Mom.

My mom chastised me with this comment while shopping for interview suits over Easter Break. She was tired of me complaining about how one blazer made my shoulders look big, how another pair of pants fit weirdly around my hips, and on and on when she, my grandmother, my sister and even the fitting room attendant disagreed.

I was not impressed though, not even with the capri chinos in a fantastic orange color. I didn’t want to grow up, to be forced out of my favorite jeans into a suit.

It’s okay though. I loved the color of those chino pants, so I found my favorite pair of jeans in almost that exact same color. And while I haven’t yet broken them into the pajama-like feel of my other pair, I’m sure they’ll get there.

But this column is not about my struggle to join the real world, fashion-wise. This is a call for everyone to celebrate the denim in their lives.

Celebrate the versatility of jeans. Throw on a sweatshirt and flip flops for a super casual look, or don a nice blazer, top and boots to class the closet-staple up.

The story of American jeans begins a little less than 150 years ago. In 1873, Levi Strauss received a patent to make the first pair of riveted men’s work pants out of denim. And thus, the first pair of jeans was born. Only cowboys and other hard laborers wore jeans until about the 1950s, when the style became popular among teenagers. From then on, jeans were a staple of almost every American closet.

Fashions have changed a lot since jeans became mainstream, and accordingly, jeans have come in many forms. Bell-bottoms. Bootcut. Tapered. Acid wash. High-waisted. Skinny leg. Overalls. Shorts. Boyfriend. Dark wash. Light wash. White. Black. Green. Purple. You name a style, color or fit, and jeans have probably come in that form at some time or another.

I’m not fashion-savvy enough or fashion history-savvy enough, however, to begin to discuss these changing trends in denim clothing. I have noticed, however, that while all types of jeans have passed in and out of fashion through the years, even in our short 18 to 22 years of life, the idea of that favorite pair is eternal. I’m talking about that special pair of jeans that make you feel better every time you put it on. Those jeans can make you feel invincible, sexy, anything. Whatever you need to make it through the day.

Rock those jeans. Find them in multiple colors or washes. Because everyone deserves to feel that way. You feel the cool denim on your legs as you slide them on, and you’re empowered. Look good, feel good. Maybe everyone at the dorm party, bar or club is in a dress or skirt. Don’t worry, they’ll never look as good in your jeans as you do.

Now, there’s no problem if you prefer skirts or dresses, corduroys or chinos to jeans. I just want to take a second to celebrate jeans because too often people, male and female, are criticized because “all he or she wears is jeans.”

Embrace that. There’s nothing wrong with jeans, and there’s nothing wrong with you. And do as I did – enter a profession in which it is more that acceptable to wear jeans at least every Friday.

Contact Mary Claire O’Donnell at

modonne5@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.