Friday, December 08, 2006

Yes, Virginia, There Is Such a Thing As Nice Jeans

Having seen a frightening preponderance of Mom Jeans* on women of late, PeaceBang feels it worthy to return to the topic of JEANS on professional and snazzy human beings... even clergy human beings.

About a year ago, PeaceBang was at a collegial gathering wearing dark denim jeans, high-heeled boots, a fun striped blouse and a designer blazer with pockets and a belt. She had hair, nails and make-up done, and was wearing hoop earrings. In short, she was dressed entirely appropriately for a day meeting of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association.

A seminarian approached her to say hello and said to her, "I LOVE it that you wear jeans."

PeaceBang was a bit flummoxed. Such admiration for the apparently rebellious Wearing Of Jeans suggested that PeaceBang had tottered in from the fields clad in dirty dungarees, and wasn't that a thumb on the nose to conventional professional standards?

PeaceBang didn't know what to say, and ended the conversation fast. Could it really be that this seminarian was totally out of touch with the fact that, all over the fashion world, nice jeans and other well-made, well-cut denim garments were considered entirely appropriate for casual meetings in the business world? Had she never been to New York City or any other more fashionable urban center than Boston and seen thousands of professional men and women clad in nice denim garments pair with elegant blazers or shirts, and even dressed up for evening with heels and silk or cashmere?

Where the heck had she BEEN?

Every well-dressed American -- including clergy -- should have a nice pair of jeans in their closet. Those nice jeans should NOT BE faded, should not show ankle or most of shoe (in fact, they should be long enough to allow for the wearing of heels for women), should not make the derriere look like two large country biscuits stuffed in a basket, and should be kept folded or hung neatly, and even pressed when necessary.

Denim is IN, my darlings. It has been IN for years. Denim, when paired with other structured garments, is a perfectly acceptable fabric for all but formal occasions. The trick is to wear your nice jeans with a look that has some detail, some structure, some shape and some elegance. You wouldn't want to wear nice jeans with an ordinary sweater and no accessories. That doesn't cut it. Jeans are cool, and they require a bit of thought and effort to fulfill their potential.

Nice jeans, btw, are not appropriate for church on Sunday mornings. No way, no how. You can change into them for your meetings later in the day, but they do not belong in the Lord's temple on the Sabbath.

* How do you know Mom Jeans when you see them?


1. They are a faded, light denim, or splotchily faded from many washings.

2. They sit high on the waist, creating a pear-shaped body.

3. They are too short. You can see two or three inches of ankle.

4. They make the derriere look like enormous marshmallows because they have no stiffness left and they don't fit.

(Sweetheart People, one of the reasons denim has such perrennial appeal is that it MOLDS AND HOLDS JIGGLY BODY PARTS. When you gad about in floppy denim that doesn't hold anything in, you're defeating the purpose!)

5. The jeans in the photo are by True Religion. They cost $240 and they are most definitely NOT Mom Jeans. They're beautiful, in fact, but the front patch pockets render them a bit too casual for your line of business.

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11 Comments:

Blogger Kerygma said...

Amen, Amen!

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhh, if only some of we more voluptuous types could find such nice-looking jeans....

3:33 PM  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

Anonymous, get thee to a Lane Bryant and put yourself in the hands of a salesclerk who can direct you to dark denim boot cut or flare jeans. Get them hemmed, and you're in business.

PeaceBang is a meatball-shaped shorty herself, and has several nice pairs. In fact, she's due for some new, as the others get so much wear.

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Amy - Gentlewhisper.com said...

OK See. Now I can do jeans. Thank you PeaceBang...

I do however wear them to church on Sunday... but never as a minister... only as a seminarian incognito sitting in the balcony.

5:34 PM  
Blogger LaReinaCobre said...

You are so right about the light blue faded, not-even-stiff jeans some women like to wear. I never saw the point of jeans that were basically just a thick cotton pant. One woman tried to tell me that the drawstring pair of pants she was wearing were jeans. Uhh, what? Maybe they were, technically some kind of denim does not equal jeans, otherwise denim bags and denim hats and denim scrunchies would all also be jeans.

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Bay Bridge Episcopal said...

There's a GREAT line called Not My Daughter's Jeans, specifically designed for women who have passed 23. They have a "tummy tuck" feature and guarantee that you'll wear a size smaller in their jeans than anyone else's, and I've found it to be true. They look great, are amazingly soft and work with the way real woman are constructed. They run about $140 at Nordstrom's -- http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/6002614/0~2376776~2374325~6002614?cm_ven=google&cm_cat=apparel&cm_pla=nydj&cm_ite=not%20my%20daughters%20jeans

2:05 PM  
Blogger D.M. said...

this is great! and so funny too

9:39 PM  
Blogger Steve Caldwell said...

Peacebang wrote:
-snip-
"Could it really be that this seminarian was totally out of touch with the fact that, all over the fashion world, nice jeans and other well-made, well-cut denim garments were considered entirely appropriate for casual meetings in the business world? Had she never been to New York City or any other more fashionable urban center than Boston and seen thousands of professional men and women clad in nice denim garments pair with elegant blazers or shirts, and even dressed up for evening with heels and silk or cashmere?"

PB,

I don't know if this is being out of touch with the fashion world or simply a person who has spent time in some corporate settings where jeans are not considered "business casual."

I spent 3 years of my post-Air Force career working for a consulting firm that provided information technology consulting services for the military. This company's dress code definition of "business casual" was the following:

** dress shirt and tie or corporate polo shirt

** slacks (e.g. dockers or other similar pants)

These business casual restrictions seem very close to the dress code that I've seen some male DREs follow.

Jeans were explicitly prohibited in writing for the firm that I worked for.

The CLF catalog has a nice chalice tie bar but I cannot find it on their web site any more.

We did make an informal exception at my location for these "business casual" requirements for the two aircraft instrumentation technicians in my organization who were employed by the same firm. B-52s are both uncomfortable and grimy places to work.

In 2006, I left contractor employment for civil service employment which apparently has a slightly more relaxed dress code (tie optional, jeans OK on occassion, etc).

So ... a seminary student coming to the ministry from some corporate setting might express surprise at a professional wearing jeans.

8:22 AM  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

Steve, depends on what business you're in. Lots of my friends in corporate America can wear dark, nice denim to casual meetings. Granted, they're mostly in more creative fields than the ones you've mentioned.

In this case, I was amazed that this seminarian apparently thought that my nice jeans and relatively dressed up outfit was less formal than, say, a pullover fleece top paired with Dockers, or a cotton t-shirt and skirt with sandals.

Oh god, please no chalice ties!! ;-)

8:27 AM  
Blogger Miss Kitty said...

Any suggestions as to sources for nice jeans? My Levis Superlow Bootcut are waaaay too low for official duty. I'm petite (5'2"), size 10 or 12.

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Ann Taylor Loft has great jeans in regular and petite sizes. I've hit them a few times while they're on sale, and their base price is less than what's been listed here so far. They look great and professional when "dressed up" with a trimly-cut corduroy blazer and crinkly silk scarf.

11:28 AM  

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