The irony of this commercial is the typical skinny jeans wearer would opt for a full-bodied craft beer that you’ve never even heard of and respectfully decline this spring water being bottled and labeled as Miller Lite.
It wasn’t that long ago that Levi’s had their grand debut of the ‘Ex-Girlfriend’ jean. A play off of the ‘boyfriend’ jeans meant for women, the ‘Ex-Girlfriend’ jean is for men who have an edgy style and wanted the all-snug fit of their old girlfriends jean (plus some breathing room on the rise). As a fan and wearer of skinny jeans for over 8 years now, I had a quick look and moved on. These skinny jeans were really nothing revolutionary…
But I was wrong. I searched for the jeans again today on Google to have another look and what I found was surprising. These jeans were revolutionary – in terms of marketing. All it took was a clever name and it seems like the whole Western world had finally became aware of the existence of skinny jeans. These jeans have been featured (mockingly) on hundreds of blogs and the Ellen show, while beer commercials ridicule those who wear them. Reading vulgar and hateful comments and listening to pointless rants about how no true man wears skinny jeans have made me realize that the mainstream consumer is extremely hypocritical when it comes to fashion and they don’t even know it.
Fashion exists as a status indicator and as sexual ornamentation. Like it or not, you’re contributing to fashion when you’re wearing anything above and beyond covering up and keeping warm. Even the manliest of men are wearing jeans that were designed and cut in a special style, dyed, treated, and marketed. But for some people wearing a certain style of clothes was never about fashion, it was about blending in.
In the animal kingdom, the males are the most ornamented and visually noticeable. The peacock is adorned with bright colours and large feathers (the brighter and larger they are is an indicator of health) for the sole purpose of mating. Not blending in makes them a target to predators and is very dangerous but it comes with the territory when attracting the peahen. When men wear unbuttoned shirts, rings, necklaces, and skinny jeans – it communicates to women that they’re able to hold their own despite standing out. While guys routinely mock the men in the club with longer hair, tighter jeans and accessories – they always act surprised when that man genuinely holds the interest of the only perfect 10 (although perhaps not that bartender in the commercial). Be sure that for every insult the man that stands out hears based on what he’s wearing from the bro’s, he’ll also be getting a number — and maybe that’s where all the insults stem from. What kind of alpha bro would you be if you didn’t try and knock the edgy guy that might steal your girl?
Fashion is constantly changing so that those with status can stay elitist and ahead of the curve. Elitists want the masses to notice their ‘weird’ fashion and the people in the know to appreciate details like their selvedge, hand-stitching, and perfectly tailored break. Looking back, high heels were invented by men and for men. And the idea that pink should only be worn by girls and blue only by boys? That was only established in the 1940s. When a boy was born in an earlier time period, you can be damned sure he was wearing pink as a baby because “…pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl…” Some theorize the colours switched as a marketing scheme by a department store to shake things up. Before all the blue/pink mix mash, boys and girls used to both wear white dresses and skirts because white clothes could be bleached.
Have a look at this child. Would you have guessed that this boy became the 32nd president of the United States? Would you have guessed that this was even a boy?
So, why should everybody wear skinny jeans? What I’m more curious about is why the same people that pretend fashion doesn’t matter are so deeply offended by it. In the grand scheme of things, fashion is constantly fleeting and only a product of our socio-economic culture – so why all the negativity? Why all the pressure? Fashion can be about individuality and self expression, or about conformity. It can say something. It rarely says nothing. It can be art. The moment that we truly realize that it fashion will never stop evolving is the moment that everyone stops taking it so seriously and lightens up. Sure, 20 years from now we may say we looked silly back then, but at least we were having fun.