“Clothes allow you to see yourself in a different light. They can transform you instantly and have a very real, visceral impact. Clothes become symbolic of who we are.” – Stacy London
Jeans. Most everyone loves them and they are probably one of the most commonly owned pieces of clothing by Americans.
Here are two interesting facts about jeans:
1. In 1873, Levi Strauss and Company received a patent for blue jeans. A durable pant was needed for gold and silver miners and so they were created. The material was called “dungarees” (which is what my grandfather used to call them!) Later on, mostly Cowboys wore jeans working the cattle ranches since they lasted much longer than cotton pants. Since then, jeans have evolved into many different cuts including boot cut, low waist, skinny, boyfriend, straight leg, etc. Everyone in America owns a pair of jeans.
2. Elvis Presley could only afford dungarees when he was a child because his family was so poor. As an adult, he rarely ever wore them because of that.
While jeans are great to wear for comfort or working (as originally intended), I think we have gone a bit overboard on when it is appropriate to wear jeans and there are times when more formal attire is appropriate.
This is totally my opinion, but I really don’t feel that jeans should be worn if:
1. You are attending viewing or funeral. Yes, I have seen it. To me, it is terribly disrespectful that the time could not be taken to dress up to honor a person’s life.
2. You are attending a wedding. I don’t care if you have a button down shirt and tie on as well. Unless the invitation states that it is very casual, a wedding is not the place to sport your Levi’s.
3. You are a teacher – Now, wait. Don’t get angry! By all means, participate in dress down Fridays and Jeans Days (I always did!), but please do this only on Fridays. I cannot tell you how many teachers I see wearing jeans during the week. And the ones I have seen wearing jeans pair them with sweatshirts, dingy sweaters or t-shirts and old sneakers. After being in education for almost 20 years, I can say with certainty that dressing too casually affects how students treat you and perceive you as a teacher. It can affect the whole mood of the class. If you are going to wear jeans, remember two things – you are not going to be working outside (wear nice jeans and shoes) and you are not going clubbing (lose the hoochie-mama tops and skin tight skinnies). You are still a teacher and a professional who deserves respect. You are a role model for your students and reflection of your school. Dress like it!
4. If you are the first person a customer/client/patient sees – You are making a first impression of the office, store, doctor, etc. I remember taking my mother to her orthopedic therapist one time and the receptionist was dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt. And it was a Wednesday. I immediately questioned my mother about what type of office this was and the credibility of the physician. It did not seem very professional to me and I immediately thought negatively about the doctor, whom I had not yet met. As it turns out, I did not care for the doctor, but my mom liked her and she got better, so I might have judged her wrong. But I did judge her and I have not forgotten that. Most people do not easily forget first impressions…
5. If you are going to church – I know some churches say that it does not matter what you wear, as long as you are there, but I just don’t think it’s right to wear old jeans and sweatshirts to church. Black or colored jeans or corduroys with a nice sweater and boots – yes, but not old, faded, ripped ones. And don’t even get me started on those wearing SWEATPANTS to church! AHHH!! I think that God deserves more!
People form opinions about us based on our appearances. We can’t help it. It’s human nature. And clothes are usually the first thing people notice, even before your face. Doubt me? Go to the mall and people watch. The clothes that we wear are more powerful than we might think.