Should You Hang Up Your Jeans at 53? The Jean Jeanie says “No Way!”
It’s a good thing I’m not a dedicated follower of fashion advice or I would probably be feeling really badly about wasting $40 last week.
Realizing that a new season was here and not having bought any jeans for more than two years, I decided to pick up two pairs at Target last week.
Only hours after I got home, I found out from a Facebook post that I had engaged in a new fashion faux pas.
Survey Says: Hang Up Those Jeans at 53
A survey of 2,000 British shoppers by the British parcel delivery and return firm CollectPlus had determined that women should stop wearing jeans when they reach age 53.
Now I know I’m not a woman, but jeans are pretty much universal attire. And if women of a certain age were being advised to retire their jeans, it would only be a matter of time until men would be told to follow suit. And speaking of suits, I’ve always liked my jeans much better than the suits I had to wear for business.
I had to wonder why the survey chose 53. Why not 51? Or 52? Better yet, why not find that it was OK to wear jeans as long as you wanted to wear them?
Inquiring Minds Want to Know
So, I launched my first jeans fashion investigation.
I headed to the CollectPlus website, where I clicked through to the company’s blog. There I found something most curious. Here on the site of the very company that had reported the no-jeans-after-53 findings, was a major blog post about how to wear denim.
As I read, I discovered how – if I ever find myself to be a woman – to wear skinny jeans. And how to wear flared jeans. And how to wear – is there really such a thing? – boyfriend jeans. And how to wear cropped jeans. And even how to wear distressed – I hope they don’t require anti-depressants – jeans.
What I didn’t learn was why I should give up my jeans at age 53. So, I moved on.
I clicked to the site of The Independent, a British news media organization, where the survey results had been reported.
Vogue Voices a No to Retiring Your Jeans
There I received some positive news, and by positive news, I mean news that reinforced my own beliefs.
Vogue magazine denim editor Kelly Connor disagreed with the findings. She maintained that jeans were indeed age-less, pointing out that a denim look can be achieved at any age “as long as it’s done right.”
Several other fashion experts concurred, basically maintaining that women – and I’m going to assume here men – should keep wearing jeans until they personally feel uncomfortable or unstylish in them.
I felt better, but as Bono of U2, who at age 53 is still wearing his jeans, once said, “But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”.
Therefore, I continued my search.
Let’s See – Could it Be Ageism?
I soon found more encouraging news. Catherine Wolfe, the marketing director of the CollectPlus service that originally commissioned the survey, said she found the age limitation “surprising.”
“Denim is such a universal material and with so many different styles available it’s a timeless look that people of all ages can pull off,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe explained that she believed the findings pointed to the mistaken concept that “Jeans are the reserve of the younger generation.”
Voilà! That was it. Ageism had struck again. But, by wearing jeans, I could make a social and political statement opposing discriminating against us older folk. For the record, I’m 64.
The Final Findings
Convinced even more now that I was right to reject a jeans ban, I returned to peruse the original results to see if there were any truths there. Here is a sample of what I found:
Thirty-three percent of those surveyed said they felt confortable wearing jeans to the theatre, while 25 percent said they would wear them to a dinner party.
Five percent indicated that they would wear jeans to a job interview, wedding, or funeral.
Women spend twice as long as men searching for just the right pair of jeans. For women, that time is eight and a half days. For men, four days. For the record, I spent 18 minutes in Target trying on and buying my jeans.
Most people try on at least three pair looking for the perfect fit, but one in 10 try on more than six pair before making a purchase.
Jeans shopping can be stressful. Six percent of the respondents said they had burst into tears at least once while shopping for the perfect-fit jeans.
Do you still love your jeans? Do you think that there are any items that we should leave in our closets once we reach our 60s and better? Please join the conversation.
Dave Price is a retired journalist and educator now establishing a freelance writing/speaking/consulting practice in Atlanta, Georgia. He’s specializing in four subjects – issues on aging, grandparenting, the Baby Boom generation, and classic rock music. In between writing articles, touring around with his wife of 4 decades, playing with his grandkids, dining on great regional food, and napping, he’s working on a nonfiction book about the Baby Boomers and their relationship with music today. Please visit Dave’s author page and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.