Teens for jeans?
PUBLISHED: 21:11 14 May 2018 | UPDATED: 21:11 14 May 2018
Is it acceptable to wear jeans when you’re 63?
On my 15th birthday I got my first ever pair of jeans: Levis.
I immediately ran a bath, put on my new jeans and got in. It was the thing to do. I wasn’t going to be the only teenager in East Anglia not to have dyed my legs temporarily denim blue.
It was a rite of passage akin to the first time I shaved under my arms... except I used a hair-removing cream that smelled of rotten eggs. Worried the smell might have seeped into my skin, I avoided human contact for a day or two, by which time I had under-arm stubble.
It’s not easy, puberty. Brought up in an era when school sex education tended to confine itself to the observation of frogspawn, I spent a lot of time wondering if the things that were happening to my body were normal or whether I was turning into a frog. I didn’t like to ask, and the communal showers were too traumatic to look at anyone else for reassurance.
At my first party without grown-ups, I tried my first and sadly not my last cigarette. It was horrible but I persevered. We sipped Mateus Rosé from tea cups and looked forward to being able to put a candle into the top of the empty bottle so that the wax would drip down the glass and look like the ones in dimly-lit steak restaurants. So on trend.
Now, 50 years on from that upheaval of advancing womanhood, I no longer have to shave my legs – having, I assume, worn away the hair.
It would have been brilliant if things were the other way about and I had hairy legs now and hairless legs when I was a teenager. Then I wouldn’t have worried that a boyfriend might skin his palms on my regrowth when running his hand affectionately from my ankle to my knee. When your hormones are running amok I’m afraid you tend to care too much what potential boyfriends and/or girlfriends think. One emerging red spot on the nose was enough to make me decide to spend the rest of my life in silent contemplation, within the confines of a nunnery. After all, who could possibly fancy a girl with a spot on her nose. It was just silly, I know, but it took me a while to realise it.
I started to relax a bit when I hit 50. And now? Well, now you must take me as you find me, although I still dye my hair (Really, Lynne? I thought you were a natural redhead. ED) and put a bit of make-up on... it stops people screaming. And I still wear jeans, although I read somewhere that it’s best not to wear them after you’re 53.
Not because it makes you look sad but because, apparently, it’s much more difficult to find a good fit. The research, from 2016, reveals that a small percentage of people end up in tears when trying and failing to find the right jeans. Seems to me they ought to get out more... though maybe they can’t because they’ve nothing to wear.
Why worry? I have seen some saggy backsides (the jeans, not the wearer) but this doesn’t seem to deter people. It won’t put me off and it doesn’t put Jeremy Clarkson off either, I think.
In 2001, the Daily Telegraph reported that: “Jeans are back in fashion after a four-year slump caused by what the industry dubbed ‘the Jeremy Clarkson effect’.”
Sales dipped in 1997, allegedly “because middle-aged wearers such as the television presenter Clarkson (who was 37 in that year) made them seem unhip.”
Well, sales recovered and, as far as I know, Mr Clarkson is still wearing jeans.
I’m not sure jeans fitted me any better when I was young; they just looked better and I had a higher pain threshold. I wore loons, for example, which were cotton, flared, casual trousers that sat on the hips, cut off the blood supply to the legs when you sat down, and left a bit of a gap at the back, showing a bit of what I think is called “builder’s bum”. I wore skirts with 22-inch waists: two inches smaller than mine.
For me, today, the sexiest phrases in the world of women’s clothing are “comfort fit”, “high rise”, “with stretch”, “loose fit” and “half price” – speaking of which, I get a bit ratty when I go into a store with a half price sale and then notice, in tiny writing, “up to” over the words “half price”.
n George’s sunflowers have made an appearance in his small container – about 10 of them. His grandpa says they’ll need thinning out. Meanwhile, not a sign of Wil’s strawberries, so what are grandparents to do? Naturally, we went to Homebase and bought some strawberry plants. And just in case we are to be judged on this small but well-meant deception, we confessed all to an off-duty vicar who happened to be passing the Elsantas.