Friday, 5 June 2015

Denim and Velvet







I’m not a jeans girl. I’m a miniskirt and thick tights girl. I’m a shorts-and-bare-legs-even-though-it’s-grey-and-cloudy girl. I’m a maxi-dress girl. I’m a black velvet trousers rolled up at the ankle girl. I’m not a denim aficionado. I couldn't wax lyrical about the best places to find skinnies or tell you what type of Levi’s I love. I am instead the kind of girl (or should that be woman now?) who wears jeans so infrequently that people tend to comment on it whenever I do.

But maybe, just maybe, that’s less about taste and more about height. Being an inch or so off six foot, finding jeans that both fit and flatter can be something of a (hyperbolic and frivolous) nightmare. The pairs I do own are all second-hand, usually plucked up because they’re noticeably longer in the leg.

If you’re anything above about 5’8”, and even bother to look at the trousers rail, your eyes will be firmly stuck on the hems, searching for any that protrude below the others. Usually this is followed by disappointment in the fitting room when either you can’t pull them past your thighs, or the waistline is so voluminous that they immediately slip back down to your knees. Occasionally, very, very occasionally, you might get lucky. This has happened to me perhaps three times in the last two years. Admittedly that’s also because I’m more likely to be found shimmying my way into cotton sun-frocks than skinny jeans. Regardless, there was a genuine thrill in these acquisitions. Perhaps it’s all about scarcity – the harder it is to find something, the more they’re appreciated when located.

I feel like I need to clarify that opening statement further. I’m not a jeans girl, but I do enjoy wearing them. It’s just a sporadic pleasure rather than integral part of my wardrobe. There’s a kind of easy power to be found in jeans, whether we’re talking tight, high-waisted ones worn with a vintage yellow button-up halter-top (my best friend and I have decided we want to revive and occasionally embody the phrase “fifties sexpot”), green jeans with a fancy evening coat, or these seventies-esque flared beauties pictured above which work so well with prints, waistcoats and curly hair. I feel like I can stride in jeans. I can do practical things. I can jump about and cycle and climb trees  - all activities that, in my usual skirts/dresses, mean I inadvertently end up flashing unsuspecting strangers.

Maybe it’s more about conformity then? As someone who, more than she’d like to admit, kind of hates looking like other people, perhaps I find jeans just a bit too ubiquitous. I’m not big on ‘staples’ or ‘must-haves’ or ‘basics’ (unless that ‘basic’ is a sixties shift). The last time jeans were a proper staple for me was aged thirteen or fourteen, when I wore my grey pair until they were more holes than denim – see evidence of them in better days here and here. In the former I claimed, somewhat hyperbolically, that “I couldn’t live without skinny jeans.” Well, six years on I’m still surviving… 

Like any item though, I guess it’s what you do with it. Jeans can and do look brilliant in all sorts of circumstances – whether accompanied by a tailored silk shirt or the comfiest of comfy jumpers. They can be as pragmatic or as dressed up as required. To me they now just require some sort of special ‘something’ to give oomph to the outfit – crushed blue velvet perhaps, or an interesting neckline, or a sharply cut blazer.

So, I began this post by saying I’m not a jeans girl - though mostly due to a desire to wear other things, rather than any kind of denim vendetta. Yet still… sitting down to write this has kind of reinvigorated my interest. I suddenly remembered these Tommy Hilfiger jeans I nicked from my mum, and these ridiculous Jean-Paul Gaultier patterned ones that I still swing between viewing as marvelous and vaguely monstrous. Thus I’ll add to that opening sentence one last time – I’m not a jeans girl, but I may yet become one...

These second-hand jeans are here worn with a mix of vintage things from various charity shops - this shirt is a particular favourite of mine, while the velvet waistcoat was one of those 'whim' buys that proved incredibly satisfying. My trusty old Russell & Bromley men's boots proved great for stomping around the woods while my dad took photos. 

7 comments:

Closet Fashionista said...

LOVE this! The top and waistcoat combo you're wearing is amazing! And it's a nice change to see you in jeans! But I know what you mean, sometimes there's just that one item you don't wear. For me it's white jeans...but I don't feel comfortable in them when I wear them, haha. So it's a lose lose for me there.
http://www.closet-fashionista.com/

The Lady Nerd said...

I feel you on the jeans...though on a different side of the spectrum. I may be 5'8", but I have proportionally short legs (seriously, whatever size I get, I can't get the regular, I have to find the short version of it). Mix that with a tiny waist and low bum and oh man...finding pants is not fun. But they have their place when I can find them. I find they're good for some things, like casually running around the house to get chores done or a quick run to the grocery store. I used to wear jeans ALL the time because it's the local casual wear. Everyone wears jeans. But I feel like jeans aren't all that fashionable (outside of model-off-duty wear exceptions), so I've been disciplining myself to choose other forms of bottoms.

Though you do look delightfully 70s in that outfit (the good kind of 70s). :)

Vix said...

Back in the days when I had an enforced dress code for work I wore them on nights out, a refreshing change from being forced to wear corporate attire. Now I don't own any. They're too easy, too ubiquitous. I like to see other women in them but I looked at myself and thought, why clad your legs in denim when you could be wearing psychedelia?
You look amazing in jeans. xxx

Anupriya DG said...

Ok...I wish I had your parents, just for their photographic skills (am sure they have loads of other charming qualities too....but this one just tops the list!)!!

As for jeans, the Indian summer has somewhat made denims unbearable and hence I pull on a pair much more rarely now than I used to do even 5 years back...

Ivana Split said...

I think you and a lot of other people myself included just get bored seeing them everywhere,so we don't wear jeans as much. I had a phase where I didn't wear jeans at all but I do wear them now, up to a few times a month sometimes...now all the jeans but one cropped pair I wear are vintage, given to my sister in law by somr remote cuisin from germany.

I do like this outfit especially the seventies vibe to it.

FASHION TALES said...

It's interesting how our tastes change over time, even if you don't wear denim too much. I happen to like denim (vintage even better), as it has it's place, especially since I didn't really wear much of it growing up. But, it's tough to find a great pair that fits well at times, I'm tall but short-waisted, although I would love a pair of high-waisted jeans. :) Your velvet waistcoat makes for a smart and stylish vintage outfit pairing.

The Heba Blog said...

You look amazing! I love the outfit! xx

Heba xx || http://www.californiaroadtrippin.blogspot.com