Thursday, January 31, 2013

Comfort Is Design Too! - Wearing my Levi's 550 Jeans

The other day, a faded but beloved old pair of denim jeans started to tear around the knee. Growing up with a mother who felt that wearing jeans was low class, I never owned a pair of jeans until I went away to college. Of course, at Oklahoma State University, everyone wore jeans except the frat's who wore chinos. However, when there was a more "formal" event such as church, school events, dinners at a friends family and often class, we dressed up! When we were protesting the Viet Nam war in 1966, we wore our Gant shirts, ties and Glen Plaid sport coats over dress slacks. It was really a unique place and SO different from the less formal Oregon.

Looking at those jeans I realized that they had frayed on the sides, the bottoms and generally looked pretty worn. I decided I was not a homeless man, they had to go. A friend told me, "Don't get rid of them, they're just getting good! Put them on eBay and start the bidding at $25. Of course you will only be able to offer them in one size," he continued. We both got a big laugh out of that!

He was right in one sense. I am shocked to see people buying new already worn out pants, usually jeans, for outrageous prices. Three hundred dollars for pants that look like they've already been rode hard and hung up wet? That is what, shabby chic? For a price? We have gotten too lazy to wait?

Digging around the closet looking for another pair of jeans to replace my favorite, I found a forgotten pair of Levi's 550 jeans. I can remember when they first came out; they were a looser fit that was just right for my then middle aged body. You know, looser in the butt, thighs and calves. When I put them on, they still fit perfectly and felt just like an old friend! It was then that I considered clothing and all that goes into the design of it.

If you have never sewn, and it still remains a mystery to me even though my mother, wife and daughter loved to sew, is how all those flimsy paper pieces go together. If ever there was a designer who should be applauded, it's the person who can take a beautiful dress or sleek coat and make a pattern of it so that you can make it too! The fact that they can actually make it fit is a wonder.

I can remember cutting fabric and then upholstering furniture but generally that is pretty much a straight shot compared to clothes. Someone has to design, then make a pattern and then cut tens of thousands of matching items that are supposed to fit you.

Good clothing, clothing that fits and makes you want to wear it has all the same attributes as art. While it isn't an artwork, books, or music, it makes us a walking, moving sculpture! Simply, by our choice of clothing and accessories, removable or not, we have designed a piece of art. If you don't believe me, consider all the comment generated at the various award ceremonies of late and how many tongues wag at who wore what dress. It seems pointless but legions of fans wait breathlessly every season!

As I've said many times, good art, like good design make our lives simpler, easier but most of all gives us the sparkle that makes us all unique. Maybe that's why tattoos are so in?

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