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the modern man
May 5, 2013 5:23 PM   Subscribe

"I have no patience for contemporary handlebar mustaches. They anger me. They look indulgent and ridiculous. If you have a handlebar mustache, that is pretty much all you are. You are a delivery system for a handlebar mustache." Marc Maron goes shopping for denim.
posted by four panels (206 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Marc, you're a funny guy, so just go to a discount store for your jeans. And I'm with you on the handle bar stache, with the exception of Rollie Fingers of course. And, ladies, please don't wear this. It makes you look like you've got a riverboat gambler stuck between your boobs.
posted by jonmc at 5:29 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I heard a version of this rant when he did it on his podcast a while back. I think Marc is great but maybe needs better anti-anxiety meds. And I am a huge fan of handlebar mustaches, and Rollie Fingers.
posted by jessamyn at 5:33 PM on May 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


Yeah, I read this earlier. I teeter between whether I think he's funny and engaging or a cranky old douche. His interviews on WTF sort of swing that way with me, too.

In this case, I think he nailed the handlebar mustache.
posted by nevercalm at 5:33 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love strange techniques and rituals people come up with. I have different childhood memories, the jeans my parents bought me had iron on patches coverting tears within a week. At first they had a rolled up hem, then they were too short, then had obnoxious rings from letting the hem down. I believe these perfect jeans of his childhood are a myth.

I would recommend to mark that he look farther afield for the perfect pants. Maybe some Twill Khakis.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:36 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


But people who never wash their pants are kinda gross, aren't they?
posted by Justinian at 5:37 PM on May 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


I agree with Marc Maron's analysis of the handlebar mustache, but that's quite a hair monster inhabiting his own labium superius oris, assuming that's a recent and accurate photo of the author. Glass houses, is all I'm saying.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 5:38 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is something about the perfect pair of worn in jeans that is fantastic. They should however be washed more than once a year because that's gross.
posted by arcticseal at 5:40 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, man. Pants in the freezer? What, to kill the vermin? Silliest thing I ever heard.
posted by scratch at 5:42 PM on May 5, 2013


Jeans should be washed as often as they get dirty; sheesh. I come from the same era as Mr. Maron - the age in which all jeans came unwashed and stiff and full to the brim with indigo - and you definitely wanted to wash the damn things a couple times before you wore them, and at least as often as any other pants thereafter. Until the early 1980s and the "designer" jean fashion, where you did in fact want to keep them a uniform dark blue color, you actually wanted your jeans to be somewhat faded and worn. That's why pre-washed jeans were invented (and I also remember a product that was designed to go in the wash with new jeans to "instantly age" them for you).
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 5:45 PM on May 5, 2013


... he's right that it is really daunting buying jeans these days. (And I did love my old APC jeans that were so dark and shiny and perfect until I washed them that first time.)
posted by Auden at 5:46 PM on May 5, 2013


it is really daunting buying jeans these days

Other than the ridiculous prices on some department-store brands, what the hell does this mean? I actually am now (within the past four weeks or so) the proud owner of two pairs of "hipster-approved" Carhartt jeans (a brand I'd never heard of before), because Amazon showed them to me in my size and they were cheap as dirt. I love them like I used to love my cheap-as-dirt Levi's. It was ridiculously effortless to obtain these pants. At no time did I feel daunted.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 5:51 PM on May 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


Been wearing Levis brand 501 button-fly all my life. Same length, 1 inch bigger waist now than 40 years ago. 34 x 36

Last time I went to buy some, they didn't have my leg length. I had to special order them, and found that 36" length in a new pair is longer than an old pair with the same size stamped on the leather patch.
posted by Repack Rider at 5:53 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


If your jeans cover your ass, they are good jeans. The grape-smuggler tight jeans guys are wearing today look ridiculous.
posted by jonmc at 5:53 PM on May 5, 2013 [11 favorites]


I assume he'll be tying an onion to the belt of those new jeans as soon as possible.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:55 PM on May 5, 2013 [24 favorites]


Unless you are currently on the clock as a ditch digger, a framer, a roofer, a mason, or a rodeo competitor, wearing jeans is pretentious.
posted by idiopath at 6:04 PM on May 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


Unless you are currently on the clock as a ditch digger, a framer, a roofer, a mason, or a rodeo competitor, wearing jeans is pretentious.

what
posted by en forme de poire at 6:05 PM on May 5, 2013 [70 favorites]


I think every town* has room for one handlebar mustache as long as the guy who has it really owns it. Goddamn fedoras though.

*In my town it's this guy.
posted by headnsouth at 6:07 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pretentious? Jeans are the classic american legwear!
posted by Justinian at 6:09 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I have no patience for contemporary handlebar mustaches. They anger me. They look indulgent and ridiculous..."

Movember spawned a monster.
posted by markkraft at 6:09 PM on May 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


Unless you are currently on the clock as a ditch digger, a framer, a roofer, a mason, or a rodeo competitor, wearing jeans is pretentious.

What if you are panning for gold? Would it be OK then? What if you are Bruce Springsteen?
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 6:10 PM on May 5, 2013 [34 favorites]


The grape-smuggler tight jeans guys are wearing today look ridiculous.

Like g-star?

Carhartt is great, they were purely work clothes for like 50 years, I have a picture of my grandfather operating a punch press wearing a carhartt ensemble, absolutely filthy and covered with soot and metal shavings, I'm sure he never washed any of that stuff. They were kinda big in the 90s with rappers and downtown artist types due to the association with the construction boom. I still wear my Carhartt jacket and hoodie from time to time.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:11 PM on May 5, 2013


Justinian: "Pretentious? Jeans are the classic american legwear!"

Pretentious in the classic meaning: trying to display a class or status that is not your own.

In the sense that affluent Americans love pretending to be "hard working joes" I can maybe grant they are classic. But they are also pretentious.
posted by idiopath at 6:13 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have a pair of horrendously over-priced designer jeans that I got on a dangerous whim. I treated them the way mustache suggested for a while, but they never seemed to fit me the way I liked. One day a woman at a bar knocked my entire beer over onto my jeans, and I had no choice but to wash them. They finally feel and fit better. I still don't put them through the dryer, but the wash? Darned skippy.

Ad hominem, grargh, how can anyone pretend they're designing clothes for men while failing to take into account a very basic physiological fact that nearly all men share in common? Who are the people trying these on before they're given the OK for production? Are they all former steroid abusers?
posted by 1adam12 at 6:15 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


idiopath, 45 or 55 years ago, what you say was correct; the hippies and folk singers and others who co-opted jeans in the late 1950s and early 1960s surely were doing just that. But jeans have been just another pants option for so long (surely the entire lives or at least adult lives of everybody posting here), that your complaint rings a bit hollow. It's just too late to make that complaint. Nobody I know wears jeans in order to "pass" as working class; they really are just pants. Unless they are "designer" jeans, in which case they clearly and intentionally are not trying to "pass" for working class wear.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 6:17 PM on May 5, 2013 [12 favorites]


Pretentious in the classic meaning: trying to display a class or status that is not your own.

In the sense that affluent Americans love pretending to be "hard working joes" I can maybe grant they are classic. But they are also pretentious.


Or maybe they're just people who like to wear pants that are comfortable?

I mean, what else is there to wear apart from sweats and dress pants, neither of which are particularly useful for everyday wear for half of the time in temperate climates?
posted by zombieflanders at 6:17 PM on May 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


I mean, what else is there to wear apart from sweats and dress pants, neither of which are particularly useful for everyday wear for half of the time in temperate climates?

Khaki/twill pants fill that niche. Jeans actually are very uncomfortable in very hot, humid weather; khakis are comfortable in all kinds of weather. Just ask Rick Steves.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 6:20 PM on May 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


I see a lot of Gap jeans these days, including in my closet. They cost under $50, fit well, last about 2 years of reasonably heavy wear, and MOST IMPORTANTLY it is a 12 minute mission to dash through the door of the Gap at the mall, pull three pairs off the rack, try them on, and buy the one you like best. I couldn't tell you where Levis are found today but my suspicion is that it is deep in the men's wear section of a department store -- a 30 minute mission at best (walk through endless sections, search aimlessly, beg help from a gum-smacking clerk, pick three pair, more endless wandering to find the dressing room, beg another gum-smacker for admission, endless walking to a cashier, and endless walk back out to the exit of the store.
posted by MattD at 6:21 PM on May 5, 2013


Ad hominem, grargh, how can anyone pretend they're designing clothes for men while failing to take into account a very basic physiological fact that nearly all men share in common

They really look sort of painful don't they. I'm glad I'm old enought that nobody expects me to be cool, if I was 19 I would probably try to squeeze into those.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:22 PM on May 5, 2013


As an actual smuggler of grapes, I prefer loose cargo pants.
posted by horsewithnoname at 6:23 PM on May 5, 2013 [26 favorites]


"hipster-approved" Carhartt jeans
Carhartt is a hipster thing? I wish I'd known that fifteen years ago, when I did all my clothes shopping at the Farm & Fleet in Kankakee, IL.
posted by Daily Alice at 6:28 PM on May 5, 2013 [17 favorites]


Jeans actually are very uncomfortable in very hot, humid weather

Well, yes, that's why I specifically pointed out the time period and climate.

khakis are comfortable in all kinds of weather.

Maybe I'm just not buying the right kinds of khakis, but they don't seem to last anywhere near as long as jeans. In any event, as you pointed out, they're universal and haven't been indicative of any class or occupation for decades now. I'd say khakis or dress pants have more potential to be pretentious (going both ways) than jeans in the modern (Western) world.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:29 PM on May 5, 2013


Pretentious in the classic meaning: trying to display a class or status that is not your own.


But that is not true of jeans. Jeans are not class indicators. They are universal American trousers. Like a t-shirt.
posted by Justinian at 6:30 PM on May 5, 2013 [23 favorites]


I couldn't tell you where Levis are found today

I buy tons of Levis from thrift shops until I find a pair that fits and then I try to corner the market on them on Ebay. Works decently and cheaply. Around here most of the guys wear Carhartts, the guys who ride tractors and the guys who sell tractors. I just always think of them as "pants you can get at the hardware store that will last forever" I just wish they fit me better.
posted by jessamyn at 6:30 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I actually have another fashion problem, I may have to bring this to askme but here it is. I really wear glasses, so I can't wear glasses without lenses. Should I just bite the bullet and get lasic so I can wear lensless glasses?

Maybe Marc Maron knows or can ask the handlebar mustache guy.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:30 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


..the proud owner of two pairs of "hipster-approved" Carhartt jeans...

"Hipster Approved" to do what? Go to the tractor pull after a long day working in the lumber mill?
posted by sideshow at 6:33 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


When I was a kid and my mom bought me Levi’s, they were stiff and uncomfortable for weeks. Then over time and multiple washings, they’d fade the way you wanted them to and start to contour themselves to your body....Some part of me can’t understand why I ever got rid of that pair of Levi’s that I had in seventh grade. How did I lose track of those pants?

They are at Sears. You can get those Levi's at Sears.
posted by hydrophonic at 6:34 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


..the proud owner of two pairs of "hipster-approved" Carhartt jeans...

"Hipster Approved" to do what? Go to the tractor pull after a long day working in the lumber mill?


http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-04-13/business/ct-biz-0414-carhartt-20110413_1_carhartt-work-wear-brand"

(Sorry, as the one non-hipster, non-hispanic resident of Logan Square, I often forget that folks in other places aren't necessarily aware of the bizarre shit that happens in the trendy areas of Chicago.)
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 6:36 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


In the sense that affluent Americans love pretending to be "hard working joes" I can maybe grant they are classic. But they are also pretentious.

Wait, in what way are regular boring jeans (we're not talking some kind of ringspun selvidge denim here) pretentious? I am pretentious, and until I happened across my recent pair of consciously retro eighties/nineties floral ones, I have not even owned a pair of jeans since, like, 1998. That is because jeans are so pervasive and blank, if you will, as to be boring. Although I'd argue that since the mid-late seventies, jeans have been about display of wealth far more often than "pretending to be an average joe" - consider disco-wear jeans, really expensive designer jeans that are not supposed to look "blank" at all, etc. Workwear generally, yes, the part where you're a marketing consultant with artisan duds originally designed for coal miners and a pair of $500 hiking boots, that is pretentious.

What I really wanted to say is this: freezing things often does kill a lot of bad smells. I bought a great pair of second-hand benchmade shoes that had obviously been somewhere with something not unlike mildew; I despaired; I froze them for a week and wiped them down inside and out with alcohol; and they're perfect!

I also wanted to say that especially in this economy, making fun of retail staff is pretty low, especially if one is older, successful and established. And while I would never believe that using a self-consciously rough-hewn Older Rugged Intellectual Dude photo in my column in the NYT means that one should not throw stones at some kid with a mustache...okay, yes, actually I think that Craggily Rough Hewn Older Male Intellectuals shouldn't make fun of how the kids look today.

Also, this is why the kids hate the Olds, because we act like assholes about harmless things like mustaches. And I don't even like mustaches, but that's not the same as making fun of a specific fellow who thought it might be fun to grow one.
posted by Frowner at 6:39 PM on May 5, 2013 [15 favorites]


Pretentious certainly describes a large share of the denim pant market, and has for a few decades now. Jeans aren't class indicators, except when they are.

I mean, really, I've heard folks dropping a couple hundred on a pair. Or endorsing the "don't wash them for a year" thing, and I can't help but think that they don't actually do anything in them. Because after about a week, my jeans actually start to look kind of grungy, and if I'm not careful, smelly, too. And I don't have to be digging ditches, either.

One nice thing about jeans, though, is that they can look and feel good as they wear out. Which is a very different thing from being unwashed. It's a good kind of patina. This sets them apart form other types of casual wear, which tend to just look dumpier as they wear.
posted by 2N2222 at 6:40 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think you're grossly overestimating the size of the couple-hundred-bucks a pair never wash market. I'd guess that it is less than 2% of the jeans market. Perhaps less than 1%.
posted by Justinian at 6:45 PM on May 5, 2013


I have to agree that I don't think Carhartt is hipster approved anymore. Obviously Chicago is different than New York but here brands like Carhartt and Dickies were always embraced more by scenesters and rockabilly types anyway. I think you are more likely to see hipsters wear more 80s inspired and faux skater brands like Supreme and Neff. I'm almost 40 so I'm an old, so I may be slightly off. Too bad hipsters don't exist or we could ask them.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:46 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think you're grossly overestimating the size of the couple-hundred-bucks a pair never wash market. I'd guess that it is less than 2% of the jeans market. Perhaps less than 1%.

My God, Justinian, I hope you are right.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 6:47 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


People will drop a couple hundred on anything. It might be stupid, but they do it. I don't think those people are doing to pretend to be lower class simply because everyone, with the exception of a few absurdly snooty men's wear snobs have been wearing jeans for decades.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:47 PM on May 5, 2013


I mean, you might as well say that people who wear khakis are crypto-colonialists, or are co-opting the aesthetics of war. It's just kind of anachronistic.
posted by en forme de poire at 6:47 PM on May 5, 2013 [19 favorites]


I think you're grossly overestimating the size of the couple-hundred-bucks a pair never wash market. I'd guess that it is less than 2% of the jeans market. Perhaps less than 1%.

I don't think so. Mind you, I think most folks are perfectly satisfied to get their jeans at Walmart or Sears, or some such place. I know I do. But there have been plenty of AskMe posts where folks openly admit to the two hundred dollar jeans. Frankly, I think anything over fifty bucks gets you into that territory.
posted by 2N2222 at 6:48 PM on May 5, 2013


But that's just sampling error. People who buy $20 jeans at Walmart don't post to AskMe about it.
posted by Justinian at 6:49 PM on May 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


I have no patience for contemporary handlebar mustaches.

Haters gonna hate...
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 6:52 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have to agree that I don't think Carhartt is hipster approved anymore. Obviously Chicago is different than New York but here brands like Carhartt and Dickies were always embraced more by scenesters and rockabilly types anyway. I think you are more likely to see hipsters wear more 80s inspired and faux skater brands like Supreme and Neff. I'm almost 40 so I'm an old, so I may be slightly off. Too bad hipsters don't exist or we could ask them.

Just to make it absolutely clear, I place scare quotes around "hipster approved" because (1) I didn't really know whether Carhartt was actually approved by hipsters, (2) I did not care one bit whether it was, (3) I don't have a good definition of "hipster," nor could I reliably distinguish between that and a "scenester," but I associate it with trendy fasions, and here in Chicago, Carhartt has opened a store in Wicker Park (the hipsteriest of all Midwest hipster neighborhoods) to appeal to the hipster (or fashion-conscious, non-working class demographic that lives in Wicker Park) and (4) I was making a joke at my own expense, and therefore expected to receive some fucking slack. Just to be clear. Sorry
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 6:53 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm with him on the moustsache... though in my opinion, Marc is one of the enemy because he often has a goatee.

I once met this guy who was on a rant about foreskins (stick with me, here), and how, as a Jew, he thought foreskins were ridiculous. I of course informed him that he was an idiot, but before expressing that, I asked him why he thought so. "I don't have time to clean it. Who has time to clean it? Seriously, I'm too busy for that."

He was not joking.

So, I said, "Dude, you've got sculpted facial hair. You have time for your "I'm a douche" facial billboard... but you don't have time to clean the body parts you were born with?"

He shut up quick.

Foreskins, yay! Sculpted facial hair, nay!
posted by dobbs at 6:54 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Jeans for real life, Chinos for the office.
posted by battleshipkropotkin at 6:54 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was making a joke at my own expense, and therefore expected to receive some fucking slack. Just to be clear. Sorry

I had your back on that one. They were certainly "hipster approved" at some point. It is kinda a dumb argument when we could be arguing about mustaches.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:57 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


It is kinda a dumb argument when we could be arguing about mustaches.

Hell, yeah. Sorry for getting so worked up there. I am prepared to argue about mustaches all day and night. Sorry for the sidetrack. How does this relate to the fallacy of the beard?
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 7:02 PM on May 5, 2013


So, does this mean that the Great Recession is over?
posted by Celsius1414 at 7:04 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm like the fly Malcolm X, buy any jeans necessary.
posted by scose at 7:09 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I mean, what else is there to wear apart from sweats and dress pants

BEDAZZLED JEGGINGS

leather chaps

KILTS
posted by elizardbits at 7:09 PM on May 5, 2013 [24 favorites]


is this relevant to my interests does he talk about hipsters in NYT?
posted by klangklangston at 7:11 PM on May 5, 2013


I think Marc is great but maybe needs better anti-anxiety meds.

I'm pretty sure that if Marc Maron ever stopped feeling anxiety he would no longer know who he was or how to orient himself in the world. I see him wandering around aimlessly and having rambling conversations with strangers at bus stops.
posted by dephlogisticated at 7:11 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I knew a man who dry-cleaned his jeans to keep them perfect. He was a waiter and in grad school and broke, but this was something he found room in his budget for.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:11 PM on May 5, 2013


'Round here, Carhartts are what the smelly kind of slightly older green anarchist is wearing out, since they were trendy up through a few years ago and they never really die - inasumuch as anything is trendy when worn by green anarchists. I mean, they're great pants, but I associate them with maybe the late nineties, early 2000s, wiry-skinny bearded guys who don't bathe and spend a lot of time on their bikes and in the woods, wintery-feeling punk houses where nothing is that clean but they have every kind of tool known to man....Filth, I associate Carhartts with ingrained filth. The collective cafe here used to have a joke sign that went something like "No Carhartts, no hoodie, no service" because that was the uniform for a while. (Current fashion is much more on the cheap, cheerful and queer-inflected, but again, it's a generational thing. I was a bit too old for Carhartts, really, and I'm much too old for cheap and cheerful, and I've never been fortunate enough to be cheap or cheerful, so I've settled for Talented Mr. Ripley, ambiguously-gendered version.)
posted by Frowner at 7:13 PM on May 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


They are at Sears. You can get those Levi's at Sears.

You're suggesting I buy pants at a store that sells lawn mowers and washing machines?
posted by kiltedtaco at 7:13 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hey 'sup.


We used to go to Brewers games as kids, so we got to bask in the glory live and in person. We declared that the mustache of Rollie Fingers be THE STANDARD BY WHICH ALL MUSTACHES SHALL BE JUDGED HENCEFORTH for yea, it was the best of them all.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:14 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]



But that's just sampling error. People who buy $20 jeans at Walmart don't post to AskMe about it.



I don't think so. I already said that most folks aren't into the $200 jeans. But it's silly to deny the segment that absolutely drives the not insignificant part of the business, dictating the styles that eventually trickle down to Walmart.

I have an uncle who's has a very successful and long career in the boutique jean business, doing tailoring, alterations, rips, holes, wear of all type. People are willing to drop serious coin on jeans, especially jeans that don't look like the board stiff Levis you might have found in the store fifty years ago, but have just the right amount of feel and wear. The pretentious market has been a serious driver for denim for quite a while now.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:15 PM on May 5, 2013



I mean, what else is there to wear apart from sweats and dress pants

BEDAZZLED JEGGINGS

leather chaps

KILTS



Or just Porky Piggin'
posted by louche mustachio at 7:18 PM on May 5, 2013 [12 favorites]


'Round here, Carhartts are what the smelly kind of slightly older green anarchist is wearing out

Oh, Frowner, I am so not the right person to be wearing these jeans, then. I'm an environmental lawyer (part-time), not a green anarchist at all. I LIKE the law; I make my LIVING off of the law. i used to work at the world's largest law firm (www.dlapiper.com). But dammit, these Carhartt jeans are made the way they USED to make Levi's, 30+ years ago, and I like them. Plus, they are cheap (see "part-time" reference, above).
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 7:20 PM on May 5, 2013


In the sense that affluent Americans love pretending to be "hard working joes" I can maybe grant they are classic. But they are also pretentious.

In the sense where I have been wearing jeans since I was a ten year old on the far side of the earth who had never heard of 'working class', Bruce Springsteen, or Levi Strauss: no, they're not, and the hell if I'm about to change my wardrobe to suit your neuroses.
posted by jacalata at 7:23 PM on May 5, 2013 [11 favorites]


I could probably be talked into $200 jeans, because I'm a lemming, but like MattD said above, I just cannot deal with department stores. They're too big, there's too much to look at, I get tired wandering around. Then you find the $200 jeans and they're in European sizes and I still have no idea what size I am in those crazy numbers. Give me a rack of 2-4-6-8s, please, especially if there's nobody working there who knows the merchandise well enough to fit me.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:30 PM on May 5, 2013


Hmmm. Expensive jeans and handlebar mustaches... if we can figure out a way to work craft brew and local music into this discussion I (and everyone else in Athens, GA) can have our heads explode from sheer pent up useless knowledge.

(That said: APC Rescue jeans, Hndelbars wax, Westbrook Brewing and Futurebirds is all you need to know.)
posted by 1f2frfbf at 7:32 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]



Oh, Frowner, I am so not the right person to be wearing these jeans, then.


Well, I mean, anyone can wear them! Although if you grind enough dirt into them and yourself, you could perhaps pass as a green anarchist...Honestly, Carhartts are classic because they are cultural/subcultural in so many ways. Lots of people wear Carhartts to do actual physical work in, for instance.

Although everything I can think of that is good and [relatively sorta-kinda] cheap is always immediately bought out by an international conglomerate and the quality goes way down and the price goes up, so perhaps we'd better all stock up now.
posted by Frowner at 7:38 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


MattD: " last about 2 years of reasonably heavy wear"

Do you sit perfectly still at all times? Two years - really?

Every pair of pants I own, from outlet-mall Bass jeans to REI-magic hiking pants, wears out at the asshole. Or, more accurately, directly aft of the four-panel taint seam. The rest of the garment can still look new, but the butt's out of the pants. Anyone know how to make that, uh, not happen?

Jeans, jeans, the everyman's pants. Add cheap rococo, go to the dance!
posted by notsnot at 7:38 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Every pair of pants I own, from outlet-mall Bass jeans to REI-magic hiking pants, wears out at the asshole.


Er... what are you eating?
posted by louche mustachio at 7:41 PM on May 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


APC Rescue jeans damn 185$. Thanks but no thanks, I'm not a member of the 1%. I found a couple unused lawn bags in the garbage area and fashioned makeshift bedazzled leggings with googlie eyes and stick on stars I scraped off grade school tests I had saved and some duct tape. Those will do me just fine.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:41 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Even Carhartt's are like $60, which doesn't seem super-cheap to me. I can't say as to how they wear, because they don't make any that fit me. Although maybe I'll see if they've got girls flannel lined next season.
posted by leahwrenn at 7:44 PM on May 5, 2013


Oh good grief.

Jim, just buy the Carhartts.

They might be getting some kind of "hipster" boost in certain parts of the U.S., but just a few hours from you (here in Cleveland), they're still just work clothes. After the fad goes away, which will probably happen any second now, they'll go back to being work clothes. Hell, in most of the rest of Chicago, they're still probably just work clothes. Go watch a bunch of construction workers - I bet an awful lot of them are wearing something Carhartt (especially their jackets, which are awesome.)

Also, anyone who thinks you're being pretentious because you're a lawyer who wears jeans when you don't need to wear slacks or a suit needs to get a hobby or something.

Or there's always the Utilikilt.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:44 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think notsnot is LBJ's post-mortem sock puppet.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:49 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think every town* has room for one handlebar mustache as long as the guy who has it really owns it. Goddamn fedoras though.

*In my town it's this guy.
posted by headnsouth at 1:07 PM on May 6
[1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


I don't know who that is but the only person who should wear a handlebar mustache is Franz Nicolay.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:04 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


They cost under $50, fit well, last about 2 years of reasonably heavy wear, and MOST IMPORTANTLY it is a 12 minute mission to dash through the door of the Gap at the mall, pull three pairs off the rack, try them on, and buy the one you like best.

I live 10 minutes from a Gap outlet store, and I can say without a doubt in my mind they are probably some of the most cheaply produced shit jeans around. If you like cheap stuff then sure head over to a Gap store, but if you want something that's actually made to fit the measurements labeled on the jeans then somewhere else - anywhere else - would be a smart move.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:05 PM on May 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


I couldn't tell you where Levis are found today

Here's a tip: Levis.com. No, don't thank me! I'm delighted to save you a trip to the mall.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:07 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I buy uniqlo jeans for 50$ but they wear out within a year. I'd be happy to pay 150$ for pure cotton selvedge jeans if i knew they would last longer and be of better quality.

Also, When are they going to bring back the Jeans Beetle?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:07 PM on May 5, 2013


If I had the money I'd buy designer jeans, but instead I hunt thrift stores for the perfect pair of black Levis, buying new ones when they wear out too much.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:07 PM on May 5, 2013


I just wear black cargo pants. They match basically everything I own and I hate, hate, hate not having enough pockets.

khakis are comfortable in all kinds of weather. Just ask Rick Steves.

Or Hitler!
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:08 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


It makes you look like you've got a riverboat gambler stuck between your boobs.

You say that like it's a bad thing.

I personally enjoy the affectations of faddish youth, now that I am too old to be expected to participate. It's like street theater. As a person who once bought neon-colored socks to coordinate with her neon-colored sweater, and had a faux-Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink-ensemble (beret, vest, fake pearls, shirt with cravat, brooch, possibly white shoes), I have no high ground upon which to stand. And I am sure that everyone sniffing at Kids Today had some sort of faddy episode in their youth, at least one unfortunate haircut or ridiculous pair of shoes.

It's like being mad at kids for having pimples, or raging hormones. Let 'em grow a stupid moustache and drink overpriced beers, and cram their testicles into too-tight pants. What the hell do I care? They'll be old soon enough and the next kids will shave off all their body hair and wear nothing but carefully applied body paint accented with beeping electronics.
posted by emjaybee at 8:08 PM on May 5, 2013 [27 favorites]


I personally enjoy the affectations of faddish youth, now that I am too old to be expected to participate. It's like street theater.

One of the things I look for when evaluating whether or not a person fundamentally "gets it", not that I could concretely define "it", is whether or not they understand the principle that literally everything but nudity is drag.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:09 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Unless you are currently on the clock as a ditch digger, a framer, a roofer, a mason, or a rodeo competitor, wearing jeans is pretentious.

You forgot ass-kicker.
posted by homunculus at 8:10 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I underexplained my point about pretense. Probably because I have been pathetically misanthropic lately so didn't mind the thought of making others angry. My apologies.

All clothing is drag. Wear what you like (I know I will continue to wear what I like). My point came not from a snobbish aversion to jeans (I wear much worse on a frequent basis, I am known to walk to the corner store in my pajamas and flipflops). When I was younger I was known to wear an old lady's white knit dress that I rescued out of a dumpster, along with engineer's boots (no, I am not gay). So, really, I have no place to be snooty about fashion.

Really my gripe with jeans is that they are the garb of fashion conformity, and now that I don't actually dig ditches for a living (yes, I have in the past), I don't find them functional or comfortable.

And maybe it has something to do with the fact that I still remember the school days when people would get on my case for dressing weird, and asking why I couldn't just wear a t-shirt and jeans like a normal respectable person.

So I enjoy pointing out the constructed origins of this "normal", that jeans and t-shirt come out of a place of pretense and fashion as much as anything else you could wear. Except this particular brand of pretense also wants to deny its own playfulness. It is dead serious, has nothing to do with creativity or fun any longer, beyond the silly games of pretending to be practical and no-nonsense.

mustaches? yeah, do what you want, it's the hair on your skin, have fun with it!
posted by idiopath at 8:11 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Jeans are a constant, it's jeans or shorts here and mostly jeans for me, summer or winter; I just like them. And I like Levis just fine, I never had them when I was a kid until I started working and buying my own clothing, cheapo jeans from KMart prior. Levis were definitely in fashion when I was in high school -- suburban Chicago 1969-1974 -- you wore Levis and you were dressed fine for school, for messing around, for most things. You had to have some dressier clothes, for sure, if you were going to a nice restaurant or whatever, a funeral or a wedding etc.

I moved to Texas and never wore those dressier clothes. Never. No kidding. They hung in the closet till I threw them away. Jeans and boots, jeans and sandals, shorts, athletic shoes. Only people in Dallas wear glad rags, and about thirty-four people in Houston, and now, what with all the new high-rise condos here in Austin, there are probably more than seven people here who are the fashion plate types. Maybe eight. It's pretty frightening. They always look like they have gas; they look wound pretty tight. I see them; I want them to go away. "Begone! Begone! To Dallas with you!" Etc.

People might -- might -- wear suits and all to work but it's casual after. Many offices are casual, period, anymore, unless you've got contact with people outside the company.

I'm not saying that there aren't dopes here spending two hundred bucks for custom-torn jeans -- they are here, no doubt. But they are jeans, that's the constant.

Hard to find Levis always, in my size; I'm tall. Fifteen years ago I found that Eddie Bauer makes everything they sell in long sizes and I've not had trouble finding jeans again, except that I like black Levis, and white Levis, so I do keep a lookout for them. Probably I have no street cred wearing Eddie Bauer jeans and I don't give a rats ass. They fit.

Jackets. I don't know from hipster and Carhartt but I love the material they make their stuff out of, it's got a great feel to it and I like the color, I like the look of it fine. But I'm a tall, skinny gork type guy and they don't fit me, at all, to get them long enough in the sleeve and body I could fit about sixteen of me inside the coat. Levi jackets, too, same thing; I've never had a denim jacket that fit me -- it's tragic. I wear them and it looks like I'm draped in a duvet cover. It's as if they decided to intentionally make clothing that does not fit me, probably it's some sort of conspiracy, against me, personally. It seems so to me. Very annoying; I like casual, I like those jackets but they just don't fit me.
posted by dancestoblue at 8:13 PM on May 5, 2013


Even Carhartt's are like $60, which doesn't seem super-cheap to me.

I paid $30 for mine on Amazon. That is why I called them cheap. Reconsider if you are asked $60 for these $30 pants.

Jim, just buy the Carhartts.

soundguy99, I DID just buy the Carhartts; TWICE. Although if I had not, by now based on yours and others arguments here, I most certainly would have! I bought them when I did not know what they were. They cost $30 a pair. They are built like a shit brickhouse, much as Levi's used to be back in the antediluvian days of "olds" like myself when we were young (FYI, I am 46, which in my mind is actually still young; my mom turned 40 8 days before giving birth to me in 1966; but that's a side point). I am glad to have the Carhartt jeans that I recently bought. I was just remarking that - well after I bought the damn things - I saw that Carhartt was consciously trying to develop a "hip" brand by building retail stores in neighborhoods like Wicker Park. I learned that because I Googled "Carhartt" after buying the damn pants, just because I'd never heard of that brand, and I was curious.

With respect to the impact of the new pants on my professional career, my legal advice to my clients has, if anything, only improved by my wearing these great blue jeans! At least, it seems better received. I have never heard anybody say they thought I was being pretentious by wearing jeans when I give them that advice; in fact, they all seem to like the fact that I now give them that same advice for way less than half of what they paid for it when I was a suit-wearing big-firm lawyer. Just enough to pay for some cheap, durable jeans while I work out of my dining room. Which is the thing that Carhartt seems to offer to us environmental attorneys. I'd do a testimonial if they gave me a few free pairs.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 8:13 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


wearing jeans is pretentious

Whatever, Portland.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:15 PM on May 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


I don't own any Carharrt pants, but my black Carharrt coat is great. It's terrific weather-wear and if I may say so, it looks pretty good.
posted by jonmc at 8:15 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


... black Carharrt coat ...

Damn I wish they made a black Carharrtt coat that fit me; it'd be great if they'd start making in tall sizes.
posted by dancestoblue at 8:21 PM on May 5, 2013


Just how tall are you? I'm 6' 1" and have no complaints.
posted by jonmc at 8:24 PM on May 5, 2013


Damn I wish they made a black Carharrtt coat that fit me; it'd be great if they'd start making in tall sizes.

Voila!

http://www.carhartt.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CarharttSearchCmd?storeId=10051&catalogId=10101&recordPerPage=24&N=0&Nu=RollupKey&Ntk=All&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Ntt=mens+tall+sizes&Nao=0&Ns=IsOutletSKU%7C0&Nty=1&x=0&y=0">
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 8:24 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had the perfect jeans a few years ago. They were best when they were all soft and thin but still intact. (Unholey?)

When they finally were too worn out to keep wearing, I was sad to discover that specific model had been discontinued. I found them in my size and almost the right color on eBay. They didn't fit the same at all. :/
posted by Foosnark at 8:24 PM on May 5, 2013


I have a Black one and the classic potato sack brown one. Carhartt makes like 6 different linings, most common are blanket,quilted and thermal for the hoodies. I prefer the quilted but that is just me.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:25 PM on May 5, 2013


You want to see jeans... 1949, my first set of jeans (I'm the one in the middle)... no, I do not remember that dog, yes, I believe my sister still carries a gun.
posted by HuronBob at 8:28 PM on May 5, 2013 [16 favorites]


"wears out at the asshole. Or, more accurately, directly aft of the four-panel taint seam. The rest of the garment can still look new, but the butt's out of the pants. Anyone know how to make that, uh, not happen?"

IT'S NOT JUST ME!

Every goddamn pair of pants, boom, seam blows at the asshole.

The last decent pair of jeans I had, I got at Target and they were stiff as stovepipes for about six months, and then went rapidly downhill but became comfy as hell. I'd still be wearing them, even though the knees are gone, except for that goddamn asshole seam.
posted by klangklangston at 8:30 PM on May 5, 2013


"Every goddamn pair of pants, boom, seam blows at the asshole. "

probably has something to do with the "booming".... perhaps a change in diet?
posted by HuronBob at 8:31 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know what you mean about the crotch seams but mine mostly go first at the ankle cuffs.
posted by Justinian at 8:31 PM on May 5, 2013


...I don't find them functional or comfortable...

So to summarize: All clothes are "drag". People are wearing jeans wrong because they deny their playfulness. Also, they're insufficiently functional. Furthermore, all pants are humourless censorship of underpants and as oppressive as an unscheduled rainbow.
posted by ~ at 8:32 PM on May 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


"... as oppressive as an unscheduled rainbow."

WTF does that mean?
posted by HuronBob at 8:34 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, you can wear your underpants on the outside so that they aren't oppressed.
posted by Justinian at 8:34 PM on May 5, 2013


WTF does that mean?

I appreciate that you stayed with me through the marxist bit about underpants.
posted by ~ at 8:35 PM on May 5, 2013 [27 favorites]


I have the same "seam blows at the asshole" thing, and I've actually lost weight over the last couple of years. I think it's just a function of body shape- my mom told me once that my dad's pants used to do exactly the same thing.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:37 PM on May 5, 2013


"Goddamn fedoras though."

Oh please, let's not do that again.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 8:38 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I appreciate that you stayed with me through the marxist bit about underpants."

yeah...well, actually, none of it made sense to me, but it may be the wine...
posted by HuronBob at 8:38 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


One day in the early 80s, when I was a teenager, I saw my thirty-something uncle ironing his jeans. Putting a sharp crease in them. I told him he was insane. Being something of a jerk, he bet me, a kid, one thousand dollars that by the time I was thirty I'd be ironing a crease in my jeans, too ("to impress the ladies"). We shook on it. He's on his third wife now, and he has yet to pay me.
posted by azaner at 8:40 PM on May 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


JimInLoganSquare, you so rock!
posted by dancestoblue at 8:41 PM on May 5, 2013


Here's an interesting blog post regarding the economics of jeans pricing that I'd been meaning to somehow incorporate into a FPP for a while: The $300 Denim Jeans. Guy has an interesting perspective.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:01 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I reply thusly - Grimly Fiendish.

We forget our pop-culture past almost as quickly as we revive it. Victoriana kitsch will ever prevail... if it could conquer the band that gave us New Rose it can conquer your little corner of tragically hip, believe it.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:04 PM on May 5, 2013


Every pair of pants I own, from outlet-mall Bass jeans to REI-magic hiking pants, wears out at the asshole.

yo homeslice maybe quit lightin your farts
posted by elizardbits at 9:09 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


My husband has been Carhartt-wearing tradesman for almost 30 years. He's had pairs that stayed together for five years of hard wear. That's "had", because thise days are sadly gone. When he first started wearing them, they were US made, then Mexico, but at least the fabric was still tough. His last pair hardly lasted a year, and the replacements we bought are crap. The fabric is lighter weight, woven less densely, and there are far fewer stitches per inch on the seams.
Anyone who knows where to find truly durable work pants, please speak up,
posted by dbmcd at 9:14 PM on May 5, 2013


Anyone who knows where to find truly durable work pants, please speak up

Duluth Trading.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:20 PM on May 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


I think Carhartt created the Work in Progress sub-brand to cater to a younger, cooler, potentially skater crowd. It's WIP that sells the "hipster approved" clothing. WIP is also Carhartt's attempt to break into the European markets, where the original Carhartt brand isn't as well known. In my brief travels it does seem like Europeans put more effort and money into their clothing than Americans, so it makes sense for Carhartt to split off their clothing lines to target different consumers.

There was a recent-ish trend in street fashion towards "authentic workwear"* that Carhartt is attempting to cash in on. I think that's been slowly overturned with a move back to sportswear and high tech/performance looks/fabrics; hence, the resurgence of running shoes as everyday footwear for cool young people.

* The roots of this trend probably begin in Japan. Americana clothing is hugely popular over there and has been for some time.
posted by quosimosaur at 9:21 PM on May 5, 2013


life was so much simpler when it was a given. mustaches were just dumb. except for cops and gays. until a friend who didn't have a mustache and I didn't know was gay said, "What the fuck are you talking about?"

The secret, of course, is to have been Duane Allman.
posted by philip-random at 9:34 PM on May 5, 2013


If you want indestructible actual canvas work pants that require about 3 months to really break in, as used by all the local tradesmen I know, you want these. And I think mail order for an American you might get change out of USD200. The owners are serious about the lifetime warranty, they pay first-world wages, and their premises are approximately 500 metres from me right now..
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:51 PM on May 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


louche mustachio: "Every pair of pants I own, from outlet-mall Bass jeans to REI-magic hiking pants, wears out at the asshole.


Er... what are you eating?
"

I swear to dog, it's not due to alimentary canal issues. My drawers have no such problems.
posted by notsnot at 9:57 PM on May 5, 2013


Every pair of pants I own, from outlet-mall Bass jeans to REI-magic hiking pants, wears out at the asshole

If you're talking about the fabric wearing out near the edging of the four seams where they meet at the bottom of the crotch, you can easily patch it with some leftover denim from another pair of jeans (so long as you don't mind a bit of DIY and making your jeans look a little ratty).

Cut a patch large enough to cover the hole and place it against the hole inside the jeans. Loosely stitch in place by hand; go over the stitching with a machine zigzag stitch with matching thread. Go over stitching over and over again until patch is secure and worn-out fabric of original denim is completely covered. Remove the hand-stitching and trim the patch's edges inside the jeans to suit your comfort.

I've done this before with those extremely comfortable, broken-in jeans that you never want to give up and still have good fabric left in the legs and hips. Helps extend the wear for at least another year.

Jeans tear there because that area where the four seams meet is a high-stress spot: any movement left or right pulls, and depending on how the fabric is cut and the quality (less fabric = tight crotch area = asshole blowout, high spandex fabric content/cheap cloth = weak fabric = asshole blowout) sitting down/getting up stresses that area out too. If the seams are well done but the fabric is weak and already pulled tight, they're the first thing that goes. If the seams are badly done, it'll go first. Buying jeans with a looser fit in the crotch or buying heavier denim could help stop that, as well as watching for early signs of localised fabric wear and patching those places early. You could also try buying a larger size and tailoring the waistband in.

I think it's just a function of body shape

It's not a body thing, it's a sign of crappy manufacturing and poor pattern cutting. Most mass-market jeans are going to cut the most average pattern per size they can and not take into account measurements that don't meet the norm, which means unless you happen to fit their pattern you're out of luck. Making their patterns a little wider and more generous (the curve for the crotch, extra fabric where the four seams meet) potentially raises their fabric wastage considerably. So everyone cuts corners. Hiss.
posted by zennish at 9:58 PM on May 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


The last pair of jeans I owned were a $100 pair of Diesels that I begged my dad to buy for me when I was 18 and skinny, using a combination of 16 year old divorce guilt and sibling warfare. I've since reached the conclusion that jeans are the purview of the skinny and not-so-sweaty. And in my defense, I did wear those jeans into the ground.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:58 PM on May 5, 2013


My Carhartt barn coat and winter overalls. is the ONLY thing that will keep out the cold and wind on a howling below zero winter day. My coat is a mens, two sizes too large, and I layer like crazy if I'm going to be out all day. Works a treat.

I don't do Carhartt pants, because they're just too stiff for me, but Mr. BlueHorse wears 'em to work and they last twice as long as his Levis 501s. Around here, everybody calls 'em 'tin pants.' Or if you wear a set of Carhartt coveralls, you've got your 'tin man suit' on. Last time I was in the farm store, I was in a hurry and picked up a set of Carhartt pants for Mr. BlueHorse that I thought were on sale--turned out to be some damn pair of lightweight canvas things that he immediately slung back into the bag in disgust. Apparently they're making a lighter weight crap version of the old standbys.

Mr. B. also swears by Carhartt shorts. Great for camping.
posted by BlueHorse at 9:59 PM on May 5, 2013


JimInLoganSquare: " I actually am now (within the past four weeks or so) the proud owner of two pairs of "hipster-approved" Carhartt jeans (a brand I'd never heard of before)"

Those are known around here as work clothes. I get that the brand was sort of associated with hip hop for a while, but it's difficult to be trendy with clothing like that when the vast majority of people around you are wearing it for practical reasons. It's a great brand, though, very durable clothing, because it's made for people who work in rough environments.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:10 PM on May 5, 2013


Many years ago a friend and neighbor of mine went with his family on a trip to Milwaukee. He was very excited to tell me about his trip to County Stadium to see the Brewers play.

"The best part" he told me, "was that we were sitting near the bullpen so we got to see all the pitchers warming up. The only thing I didn't like was how rude Wally Fingers was."

"Did you just say 'Wally' ?", I asked him.

"Yeah. I kept saying ... 'WALLY! WALLY!' but he just ignored me. What a jerk."

"His name is Rollie. Rollie Fingers. Not Wally."

My friend turned 3 shades of red that day.
posted by Bonzai at 10:12 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Never heard of Carhartt. For my money, these Outlier Climbers are easily, easily the best pants on the planet. I was wearing a pair of these two years back when I got hit by a car while riding my bike.

I broke my wrist, my knee, two ribs, and scraped the skin off most of my right leg. Very very nasty. Fell so hard that my housekey, which was in my front right pocket, twisted around like a corkscrew. The Climbers I was wearing, though, literally looked brand new. Still wear them today. Yeah, they're expensive, but well worth it.
posted by dobbs at 10:19 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Never heard of Carhartt. "

Living in a cave, right?
posted by HuronBob at 10:29 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


They are universal American trousers. Like a t-shirt.

I tried this and disagree vehemently. T-shirts make terrible trousers.
posted by zippy at 10:47 PM on May 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


There exists any number of arguments for or against this piece, but Maron is a comedian -- in fact, a comedian's comedian -- and so it's safe to assume that the whole piece, whatever its merits, was worth it for this:
I saw a guy in Brooklyn once with a handlebar mustache, pierced ears, a fedora hat and jodhpurs. He was a collage of sartorial attempts at evading himself. It looked as if he were interrupted during a shave in the mid-1850s and had to grab some clothes and dress quickly while being chased through a time tunnel.
Let's be clear. He was a collage of sartorial attempts at evading himself is a Hall of Fame line. The rest is pants.
posted by gompa at 10:53 PM on May 5, 2013 [16 favorites]


"His name is Rollie. Rollie Fingers. Not Wally."

My friend turned 3 shades of red that day.



Shoulda listened to Bob Uecker.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:01 PM on May 5, 2013


This will further underline how deeply unfashionable I am, but I wear $12/pair Costco jeans. I'd guess they're unflattering, but basically I'm the definition of "unflatterable". And I get a LOT of wear out of these. I bought six pairs four years ago, wear them every day, both for sitting here and doing physical work, and they're still going.
posted by maxwelton at 11:24 PM on May 5, 2013


To be clear, I wear one pair at a time.
posted by maxwelton at 11:24 PM on May 5, 2013 [11 favorites]


Living in a cave, right?

What's wrong with that?
posted by homunculus at 11:31 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I knew I was old when I exclaimed (to myself, I hope) "fuck Levis, I'm buying Wranglers". They look fine, they last just as long, and they are half the price. I fear the next step is the grandpa jeans that are light blue and cut like Dockers.
posted by gjc at 11:34 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


For a long time, Wranglers had a better (straight leg) cut than Levis. If you wanted skinny hipster jeans in the early '00s, Wranglers would do you better (and were easier to find at thriftstores) than Levis.
posted by klangklangston at 12:03 AM on May 6, 2013


Except this particular brand of pretense also wants to deny its own playfulness. It is dead serious, has nothing to do with creativity or fun any longer, beyond the silly games of pretending to be practical and no-nonsense.

I assume you are also upset by the way kids play Ring-around-a-roses without thinking of the plague, and by the use of a floppy disk for a save icon.
posted by jacalata at 12:13 AM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Carhartts are/were known a kind of underground skater brand in the UK (and cost accordingly). I've actually had admiring comments when I've got back (Hey $35 in Fred Myer's). They are also the only jeans I've ever owned that don't fall off my skinny white ass.

Also I have a handlebar moustache. A large part of the appeal of it is a) the thought of enraging people who have decided to hate on handle bar moustache wearing hipsters while b) simultaneously being a middle aged dad and thus able to hold a plausible claim to non-ironic moustache wearing.
posted by tallus at 12:14 AM on May 6, 2013


See, I don't get the whole jeans at all. I mean, I'm a chick so this is easier for me to do, but a long black skirt/dress is the most comfortable thing at all. Long = no leg shaving necessary and skirt = plenty of room for booty.

Although wearing jeans would save me the half-hour a day of lint-lifting cat hair off my clothes. HMMMM.
posted by angrycat at 12:50 AM on May 6, 2013


As a middle-aged guy with a regular mustache I would just say to those who wear handle bar mustaches that unless you are actually an RAF Group Captain flying sorties in your Spitfire during the Battle of Britain, a vaudeville magician, a Caribbean pirate or Cardinal Richelieu you have no business wearing one.
posted by islander at 1:20 AM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


BlueHorse: "Last time I was in the farm store, I was in a hurry and picked up a set of Carhartt pants for Mr. BlueHorse that I thought were on sale--turned out to be some damn pair of lightweight canvas things that he immediately slung back into the bag in disgust. Apparently they're making a lighter weight crap version of the old standbys."

I did not know that. I thought when people were talking about Carhartt jeans that meant the pants that are stiff and designed for work. It seems they now make fashion clothing, which is too bad. As long as their regular work clothes haven't changed I guess it's OK, but I'd also hate to buy flimsy clothing with their label. Seems pointless.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:31 AM on May 6, 2013


I like to imagine naysayers of the handlebar stache griping about them to Bill the Butcher (Gangs of New York), that would be hilarious! I for one admire individuals who rock their style despite what the masses, social police, and fashion gods deem appropiate. Like who gives a shit about what some stranger thinks about your looks! Its about what you like and how you want to express yourself to feel comfortable. Not, Omidog, what would Jesus (fashion/acceptance god) think. The critics need to lighten up, these days its just one big fat fashion stew anyways.I like the diversity of it that im seeing in the world. Yeah, and when I was a baby, I wished they had 501's in my size! I like my dirty ol greasy Levis that I wear for my profession, and I got clean not for work Levis too. Love Carrharts but they make butt look like im wearin a loaded diaper :( . Oh, and I LOVE that Levis got sexy commercials for Gay people!
posted by SteelDancin at 1:59 AM on May 6, 2013


BlueHorse, Tin Cloth is actually registered to Filson. Nice stuff, but always a little pricey.

Carhartt rules. Full stop. It's funny that they're now considered hipster wear but then again, back when they were de rigueur for rappers, I was amused by that as well.

I'm still bummed that Carhartt discontinued their original, unlined barn coat. It was just the thing to add five pockets and a layer of skin-abrasion resistance without having a heavy, hot and bulky jacket. Although I am encouraged to find out just now, when I went on my favorite site for ordering my crack, erm Carhartt, that they now sell a BLACK version of it with the lightest insulation, the horse blanket stuff. Do I order now and look at it wistfully all summer or wait til autumn and put it into immediate rotation?

These Carhartt pants, in black to hide stains, are indestructible. I've only had one do the crotch blowout routine on me, and that was when my boot tread got stuck climbing out of a cab-over semi and I simultaneously lost my grip on the hand rail, causing me to inadvertently do my best Rockettes' high kick impersonation. For several minutes. Because I could not get my boot out of that damn foot indent. I don't think my nether regions have ever seen that much daylight.

Finally, because no one else has brought it up, I find Carhartts to be supremely sexy on some women. Much better than those $200 ~ $500 high-fashion jeans. Dead serious. They're not really booty jeans, per se, but for the right woman, "firm in the fundament", to quote my grandmother, they are a glorious thing. Please don't hurt me because I admire this.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 2:56 AM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Although I am encouraged to find out just now, when I went on my favorite site for ordering my crack, erm Carhartt, that they now sell a BLACK version of it with the lightest insulation, the horse blanket stuff.

From the description at that site:
Made of rugged 12-ounce, 100% cotton duck, it features a corduroy collar with under-collar snaps to accommodate an optional hood.
Corduroy collar? Optional hood? Yeahh! That's like the clothing version of sweet Carolina bbq!
posted by jeremias at 4:11 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Purposeful Grimace: "Finally, because no one else has brought it up, I find Carhartts to be supremely sexy on some women."

God yes, this. I've been trying to get my wife to even *look* at the Sierra Trading post website and get some Carhartt pants and she just asks me, "Uhm, what am I to you, then?"
posted by notsnot at 4:54 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's not the handlebar mustache itself that's the problem. Upon a face that is it's true natural habitat, it is a proud and noble beast.

Unfortunately, it's fallen in with the wrong crowd. It's become a facial fedora (a perfectly fine piece of headgear until it was adopted by .. them...) This had forced the once majestic creature from the faces it graced most stylishly. I have two friends (one of whom inspired the namesake in which I rejoice) who felt forced to shave the lovely and facially appropriate mustaches which they rocked with pride for years because they were getting the wrong kind of attention.

No, blame not the mustachio. Blame the RUINERS. THE RUINERS OF ALL THAT IS GOOD. GET OFF MY LAWN
posted by louche mustachio at 5:02 AM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Unless you are currently on the clock as a ditch digger, a framer, a roofer, a mason, or a rodeo competitor, wearing jeans is pretentious.
posted by idiopath at 6:04 PM on May 5 [5 favorites +] [!]


Overthinking a plate of jeans.
posted by kcds at 5:19 AM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


There exists any number of arguments for or against this piece, but Maron is a comedian -- in fact, a comedian's comedian -- and so it's safe to assume that the whole piece, whatever its merits, was worth it for this:

I saw a guy in Brooklyn once with a handlebar mustache, pierced ears, a fedora hat and jodhpurs. He was a collage of sartorial attempts at evading himself. It looked as if he were interrupted during a shave in the mid-1850s and had to grab some clothes and dress quickly while being chased through a time tunnel.

Let's be clear. He was a collage of sartorial attempts at evading himself is a Hall of Fame line. The rest is pants.


That line made the whole thing worthwhile for me. I don't really care about jeans; I wear them, but I buy them at Target and I'm someone who will pay more than is reasonable for certain types of clothing, like ties,* but I don't get doing it for jeans.

Still, that image was so great, that it made me happy a read an article about buying jeans.

*I love ties. I've only recently started confessing this out loud, but man, I love ties.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:35 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is a pair of women's jeans with NO SPANDEX too much to ask for?

Apparently so. Grr.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:44 AM on May 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yes, because clearly you WANT your jeans to grow on you and fall off your ass by the end of the day. Even my prodigious ass, SPANDEX.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:30 AM on May 6, 2013


On the jeans-as-standard-wear issue...

I remember a webcomic (which I can no longer locate) with two panels showing a bloke (in the same pose) wearing two different outfits. The title on the first panel was, "$20 jeans, $20 T-shirt: average slob." And on the second panel: "$20 khakis, $20 button-down: hey, check out this classy guy!" (or words to that effect).

Granted, these are Wal-Mart prices (and I just checked on-line and yes, Wal-Mart has chinos for $15) so we're talking pretty crappy clothes. But as a 40-something man, I definitely see this differential between jeans and khakis in my daily interactions with people. Whether I'm waiting in line at the bank, or picking up my kids at the pool, or doing any other casual activity, there's a distinct difference in how I behave and how I'm treated based on what I'm wearing. And in a world where almost everyone is wearing jeans, then the simple act of putting on khakis or cords can really make one stand out.

Yes, we shouldn't judge each other based on what we look like. I totally agree. But when we have just a few seconds to make a snap judgement about someone, it's understandable that we do so based on the clothes that they wear, the words that we use, or the moustache that we grow. So while 20 years ago I wore jeans to mark myself as a dangerous teen-age rebel (ha!), I now wear khakis to indicate that I'm a trustworthy suburban dad.

(And on a different note, I buy cheap, crappy clothes because after a year or two they always end up with ink stains, oil spots, and random splotches of berry juice on them and so I have to toss them out. Better to do that with $20 pants that are about to wear out anyways, rather than $100 pants that could still have a couple years left in them.)
posted by math at 6:31 AM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would recommend to mark that he look farther afield for the perfect pants. Maybe some Twill Khakis.

I think they misplaced the decimal point in the prices.
posted by tommasz at 6:36 AM on May 6, 2013


Hi, I'm snickerdoodle and I wear $200 jeans. Almost exclusively, as a matter of fact, because the cheap ones don't fit me at all or fall apart too quickly, and as I spend all day chasing after a toddler, I need clothes that hide dirt, are easy to wear, and make my scrawny ass look amazing. Because quite frankly, I'm "mom" the vast majority of my time, and sometimes I need the reminder that I'm more than that. Also, cheap clothes weird me out, because it's my relatives working in those sweatshops, and so I have very mixed feelings about them.

Every one of us has something we "waste" money on. Getting all judgey because it's fashion instead of food, tech, travel, or some other indulgence is the height of pretentiousness.
posted by snickerdoodle at 6:37 AM on May 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


"It's the dungarees versus the suits!"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:37 AM on May 6, 2013


jacalata: " assume you are also upset by the way kids play Ring-around-a-roses without thinking of the plague, and by the use of a floppy disk for a save icon."

If the origin of "ring around the rosie" or the save icon were effective as a fuck you to the hypocrite menswear fashion police, I would surely bring them up when the topic was menswear
posted by idiopath at 6:37 AM on May 6, 2013


I'm a woman.

Seeing that men also get tied in knots over buying jeans makes me feel much, much better about myself.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:38 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hate, hate, hate not having enough pockets.

Damn PG, I didn't know you were a Liefeld-drawn character.
posted by kmz at 6:55 AM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hi, I'm snickerdoodle and I wear $200 jeans. Almost exclusively, as a matter of fact, because the cheap ones don't fit me at all or fall apart too quickly, and as I spend all day chasing after a toddler, I need clothes that hide dirt, are easy to wear, and make my scrawny ass look amazing. Because quite frankly, I'm "mom" the vast majority of my time, and sometimes I need the reminder that I'm more than that. Also, cheap clothes weird me out, because it's my relatives working in those sweatshops, and so I have very mixed feelings about them.

Every one of us has something we "waste" money on. Getting all judgey because it's fashion instead of food, tech, travel, or some other indulgence is the height of pretentiousness.


I think some of this can be put down to sexism; spending a lot of money on clothes is thought of as something women do. Women and upper class men, who might as well be women for certain segments of the population.

The typically masculine money holes like boats and gadgets get more of a pass. My parents own four or five cars, two RVs, and three kayaks; they might still own a motor boat, but it hasn't run for years. That's a ton of money sunk into vehicles, including vehicles that aren't utilitarian, but I still get shit from Dad if I mention that I bought my clothes at somewhere other than Walmart; shit that's more or less identical to what my mom gets when she wants new clothes. If I told him that I spent $300 on a pair of shoes, he'd lose his mind. If I told him that I spent $5,000 on a sailboat, he'd probably just schedule a trip to come see it, even though $300 will get me a comparative better pair of shoes and I can't sail every other day.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:56 AM on May 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


wears out at the asshole. Or, more accurately, directly aft of the four-panel taint seam.

Probably apocryphally, Thomas Wolfe is said to have had all of his pants reinforced at the crotch because he so liked to keep one hand in his pants while he wrote with the other that he wore out the seams even more quickly than usual.

Unless you are currently on the clock as a ditch digger, a framer, a roofer, a mason, or a rodeo competitor, wearing jeans is pretentious.

La di da. La di da.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:04 AM on May 6, 2013


Seeing that men also get tied in knots over buying jeans makes me feel much, much better about myself.

I remember being able to buy jeans without having to think about the fit too much, brand be damned.

Then came the day of "low rise" jeans in men. I didn't know this was a thing, until I tried them on... and they just sort of stopped on me at a point best described as "comically low." I mean, beyond the crack factor, it was showing off upper crotch hair! There was no way to raise the pants above this line without neutering myself. It was nearly impossible to button, and wasn't remotely flattering. I wear a 29/30 under normal conditions, and wear it well, so this was - alarming. The amount of movement I didn't have in these was equally alarming.

At the time, I had grabbed a bunch of clothes that were on sale to try on, that I hadn't looked at too closely... One of which was a sweater. Didn't think too much about it until I tried the low rise pants, but then I started eying it with suspicion.

I tried it on... It was a low-cut sweater. For men. It cut down to below my nipple line. This was a small.

So here I am, staring at myself in a mirror, with my ass and crotch catching a nice breeze from the low cut of the pants, unable to walk, and wearing a sweater that I could step through the neck of, that looked like a horrible manufacturing mistake... and I just started laughing hysterically.

I didn't get a thing there... and was still laughing as I handed the rejected clothes to the clerk.

After this, I decided maybe I should try the low-market pants, and I accidentally found the ones with elastic in the waistband... They aged me about 20 years just by putting them on, and about 20 more when I sat down and the bottom of the leg promptly pulled up to mid-shin. This made me want to both laugh and cry at the same time.

This was maybe 7 years ago? It hasn't changed much for me since then.

I've started to narrow down some brands of pants and jeans to try, but the cuts keep changing every year - and when I think I've found something I like, the cut will change from "slim-fit", which would have been both comfortable and flattering, to something like "tailored slim-fit", which means that it will be ball-crushingly tight, tent in an extreme fashion,. and only look ok as long as I NEVER SIT DOWN. EVER.

So yes, men DO get tied in knots over buying jeans. Especially if you are in that awkward spot where you aren't exactly young, but you haven't given up... I dread the experience, and it is something that if it goes wrong, will make me feel like I am the most repulsive, awkwardly shaped person on the face of the planet.

Please tell me I'm not the only guy who has gone through this.

wears out at the asshole. Or, more accurately, directly aft of the four-panel taint seam.

I have this same problem, and I have been told that I have a "nice ass" - which is an odd thing to hear as a guy. I'm thinking maybe this problem and the inability to wear low-rise jeans may be related for me.
posted by MysticMCJ at 7:06 AM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


(And on a different note, I buy cheap, crappy clothes because after a year or two they always end up with ink stains, oil spots, and random splotches of berry juice on them and so I have to toss them out.

I don't subscribe to selvedge fetishism, but the great thing about the no wash selvedge cult is evidence of wear is actually a good thing. So, that means you get cred for wearing jeans that look worn in; that have faded with natural wear, denim that has accumulated stains and other marks over the years. According to these enthusiasts, a brand new pair of jeans is actually less desirable because it lacks the character of wear and tear.
posted by quosimosaur at 7:11 AM on May 6, 2013


Because genetics gave me a body on which nothing off the rack ever fits, ever, I am grateful that genetics and upbringing also gave me the magical knack with a sewing machine, because shopping for any kind of pants that fit properly in a retail environment is a living hell that makes me long for a nuclear weapon of my very own. I have a long, long torso, so shirts never fit, and every retailer in the universe decided to abandon the T-suffixed sizes about ten years ago (including, obnoxiously, the big & fat stores). I have a beer gut and legs like you'd find on a giant dwarf (seriously, I'm six feet tall and have a 29 inseam—you should see me running, sometime). The shoes, well—let's just say that before Zappos, I spent a lot of time dreaming about murdering shoe store clerks. "Well, sir, we don't have this in half sizes or 4E, but what if you went up a size or two?"

My toes, miles back from the tips of those floppity clown shoes, had many lonely years.

These days, Duluth Trading Company, an annoying upscale marketer of clothing for plumbers (I'm not linking it unless they give me a fucking coupon code), mostly fills the bill, but they're expensive as hell for almost everything. The ball room in their ballroom line, though, is nice, and makes me less inclined to do Turkey Joe impressions while I'm putting my pants on. When I can afford to, I say in the Duluth ecosystem, but they've been jacking up prices like crack salesmen who believe they've got a lifetime customer and I'm balking, baby.

For pants, by and large, it's seventeen dollar Wranglers ('cause guys go nuts for Wrangler butts) in 40-something x 30, which I take home, wash, dry on the line, wear around the house a while, and then alter. Hem the bottoms so I'm not in crumpletown, try 'em on, pin 'em up, turn 'em inside-out and tailor the outside seam (the blind seam, not the wad of overstitched mess in the crotch) until they meet my contours my way. I end up with cheap jeans that fit and last at least until the crotch inevitably explodes into tatters (which I artfully patch up for a little more lifetime for the jeans, though it does give me a bit of the old denim vulva effect).

As for mustaches, I've spent the last couple years cultivating the look of a fatter, more blue collar Michel Moers with just a beard, but for years I wore a semi-signature horseshoe 'stache with white tips that I'd let grow below my chin and would groom with just enough wax to make a nice little inward curl. The white is all-natural, but the cut accentuated their pointy hornishness. It's an affectation, of course, like all hairstyles, all facial hair, all clothing, all manners-of-speech, all social airs and atmospheres, but people seem inclined to leap on a fancy mustache with the best withering overused cliché they can possibly muster.

"Oh, you should never have facial hair that's more interesting than you are."

Oh, snap.

—Except, well, I've rarely heard this from anyone actually interesting. In fact, I generally heard it from insecure people who couldn't be dragged to a karaoke microphone to save their lives, who fussed and worried about their weight, about their age, about their worthiness, or whether they're standing out in the crowd. Maron is just right to make this criticism, given the levels of histrionic self-doubt that I hear in the boring intro parts of his podcast, where he rambles on about his anxieties about being fat and his damn cat farm before he gets to the good stuff (and note, when it gets good, he's very, very good). Comedians have a problem with getting fixated on points of common hatred (mimes, French people, hipsters, airline food, Nickelback, and an endless litany of the things that are just hilariously uncool among the audiences of the day).

The weird corollary to complaints about cultivated facial hair always seems to me to be, "We believe you should look as generic as we are so that we'll all compete on the same level of personality," except it's always delivered in the spirit of being hypersensitive about how other people look and act. There's this sort of pseudo-democratic, why-can't-we-all-just-be-judged-by-our-personalities utopian thing that comes into play when it comes to pretension, but we are all pretentious. It's our stock in trade as a species. Animals don't groom for looks, they groom for untangliness and to remove parasites, but our look has a social function, and there is no such thing as an uncultivated look, except on someone who's not all there.

My dad said it best when he told me that a bit of affectation is a perfectly acceptable way to make people remember who you are, as long as you fill in the rest with yourself, but for me, if all you can do is look the part, well, that's probably good enough. Better a room full of hipsters than a boaty bunch of upperwhite MBAs slouching around in khakis, polos, and Docksiders without socks forever and ever.
posted by sonascope at 7:19 AM on May 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


Seeing that men also get tied in knots over buying jeans makes me feel much, much better about myself.

You may enjoy this 350 page thread of men talking about how to buy jeans!

I'm a dude who has bought fancy jeans in the past (and you can tell I'm hip because I call them that) but I never quite figured out the arcane art of sizing down to account for stretching. And the stretching—well, if your butt is anything other than flat it's ... not a flattering look. I swear those things were a different size at the end of the day than when I pulled them on. Even when I was skinny enough to pull them off, I couldn't pull them off.
posted by Lorin at 7:23 AM on May 6, 2013


hypocrite menswear fashion police

Perhaps you're taking, I don't know, everything, a little too seriously?
posted by spaltavian at 7:26 AM on May 6, 2013


Perhaps you're taking, I don't know, everything, a little too seriously?

Is this the "it was just a joke, can't you take a joke, you loser?" defense?
posted by quosimosaur at 7:32 AM on May 6, 2013


My dad said it best when he told me that a bit of affectation is a perfectly acceptable way to make people remember who you are, as long as you fill in the rest with yourself, but for me, if all you can do is look the part, well, that's probably good enough. Better a room full of hipsters than a boaty bunch of upperwhite MBAs slouching around in khakis, polos, and Docksiders without socks forever and ever.

In my experience, the real upper class whites are far from immune to the allure of affectations that make them stand out; it's middle class and people who've come up from the middle class who really adopt a generic uniform and try to blend in. The whole genre of "go to hell pants" that are popular with the upper classes exists to make people notice and remember you as "that jackass in the orange pants with tiny embroidered whales."

My wife's cousin, who is a scion of old money New England, once put on some absurd article of clothing to go to a fairly staid event (it was either a funeral or the family meal the night before the funeral); when someone asked if he really wanted to wear that replied "why not, I'm rich, I'm WASPy, and it's baller as fuck." He's got money, he's got privilege, there's pretty much nothing bad that can happen to him if he dresses absurdly. It's the middle class folks that have to care about that sort of thing.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:35 AM on May 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Better a room full of hipsters than a boaty bunch of upperwhite MBAs slouching around in khakis, polos, and Docksiders without socks forever and ever.

Ugh, getting flashbacks to college, which was basically a Docksider without socks stomping on a human face forever.
posted by en forme de poire at 7:41 AM on May 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Oh, you should never have facial hair that's more interesting than you are."

—Except, well, I've rarely heard this from anyone actually interesting.


Or in the words of the wise Texan who sold me my first straw cowboy hat (which I wore into the ground until I lost it on a particularly raucous and drunken river tubing trip): "Wear your hat like you're supposed to be wearing it, and no one will ever question it. If you aren't sure, even for a second, everyone will know and you'll look a fool."

Also: my facial hair is no one's business but mine and my significant other's and if you make fun of it, I'll retaliate by buying you a beer (or three) and swapping stories until you will have no choice but to decide I've lived a fun life, and that I don't really give a shit what you think.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 7:48 AM on May 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's the middle class folks that have to care about that sort of thing.

And then everyone comes down on us/them for it - "you're too conformist!" "no, wait, you think you're special, stop wearing that hairstyle, it's pretentious!" "no, actually you are conforming by pretending to be individualistic, stop that too!" Et patati et patata.

As a broad generality, people's clothes aren't strong individual style statements; they're virtually entirely modulated by environment. That's because people are not impressive, radically individual cathedrelate beings; we're profoundly shaped/limited by our communities, our previous experiences, our experiences of embodiment, the whole nine yards.

I suppose it's all the narcissism of small differences - we all wear clothes, so fussing and putting other people down over what they choose seems natural.

The only point that makes sense in this whole thing is that it's obnoxious that class and social status modulate what people can wear, whether that's the fact that it's depressing when you can only afford really shitty shoes (and I know people for whom that is the case, no matter how much "save up and buy the best you can afford" is spouted at them) or whether it's the fact that you have to wear dreadful poly-rayon crepe suits to work because secretaries have to wear suits [or other demoralizing frumpy matching officewear] and aren't paid enough to afford nice ones, or whether it's the constant "conform, but not too much!" rhetoric we're all subject to.

I add that as a butch queer person, the perennial "butch women/genderqueer people who skew butch are discipline cases waiting to happen, because only trouble-makers don't dress to look feminine" that you get from hiring managers (and that even cropped up here in a couple of work/fashion questions) is pretty depressing.
posted by Frowner at 7:48 AM on May 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


The whole genre of "go to hell pants" that are popular with the upper classes exists to make people notice and remember you as "that jackass in the orange pants with tiny embroidered whales."

The interesting thing is that lately I've been seeing that exact kind of thing at Old Navy, for women. It'll be really interesting to see what, if anything, this does to the menswear world.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:49 AM on May 6, 2013


Yeah, that style has definitely trickled down; Target is full of Nantucket Red knock-offs right now. This development is fine by me, I'm happy to have it pointed out to rich people that really anyone is capable of wearing brightly colored pants. I feel a bit for my wife who seems to have some middle school related anger that, to this day, can be triggered by a Vineyard Vines catalog.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:58 AM on May 6, 2013


I was a big fan of those Kevlar reinforced motorcycle jeans, and even bought a pair or two after I sold the bike. But at almost $300 a pair when the US/AU exchange rate was bad, I had to quit.

My current pants won't help at all if I fall off a vehicle moving at 40 mph. That bothers me more than it probably should.
posted by BeeDo at 8:03 AM on May 6, 2013


As zennish says, you can fix your blown-at-the-crotch jeans. (Self link from my bike gang website) step by step instructions with pictures here.
posted by misskaz at 8:15 AM on May 6, 2013


So, is this what getting old is? Does everyone just get so stuck in their own head about how Everything Should Be in youth, that it's not until you spend 20 years on autopilot, congratulating yourself for being smarter than everyone, when you're jostled awake to do something simple like buy a pair of jeans, and decide that all these things that never mattered that suddenly make you tired or cranky is you "maturing"?

Is it panic from meeting an actual young person following actual contemporary trends, panic that you're not a 21-year-old (or whatever age you were last 'hip') with 20 years experience, that the earlier bedtimes and mystery shows and all that fussy bullshit you clowned on your mom for isn't you "owning" these things and making them "punk rock" or "ironic" or whatever, but just who you are now?

That slowly but surely, bit by bit, you've been compromising yourself and allowing yourself fussy indulgence after fussy indulgence, and now you've caught a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, squinting at the packaging on heating pads at Walgreens, and the only defense you can think of is to be bitter and shitty at the world that refused to stand still for you?

I mean, I remember liking Marc Maron, and the line about the time-tunnel was a good one, but holy jeez.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:23 AM on May 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


"Wear your hat like you're supposed to be wearing it, and no one will ever question it. If you aren't sure, even for a second, everyone will know and you'll look a fool."


Yep, that's the key to wearing anything that might make you stand out and attract the "You're not allowed to wear [X] because hipster!" or "You're not allowed to wear [X] unless [tired old stereotype]" comments.

I've known a few guys, younger and older, who rock a handlebar moustache daily. The one common trait among them is that they give exactly zero shits about your indignation over their facial hair.
posted by usonian at 8:50 AM on May 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


A similar article could be written on anything interesting and new that requires some attention: Cooking, making things, working, relationships, ...

I'm not sure dismissing the weird, strange things that people do to make cool stuff happen is a good intellectual stance.
posted by Riton at 8:56 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had a moment a few months ago when I realized that literally everything I was wearing came from Costco except for my bra, and that only because Costco doesn't sell bras sized appropriately for my Brobdingnagian rack. Pseudo-uggs, socks, underpants, jeans, shirt, overcoat. Everything. (A fashion plate I ain't. My "fancy" shoes are Danskos.)

I really wish there was such a thing as a CSA for clothes, where you would give the company your measurements, your color preferences, and what sorts of situations you needed clothes for, and then once a season they'd just drop off a pallet of suitable clothes. Until that exists, Costco is my next best bet. The clothes aren't the same quality as their label-mates that cost three times the price, but they fit and are better quality than similar items at Target that cost the same or more. Sure, they're suburban mom clothes, but I am a suburban mom.
posted by KathrynT at 9:14 AM on May 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Then came the day of "low rise" jeans in men. I didn't know this was a thing, until I tried them on... and they just sort of stopped on me at a point best described as "comically low." I mean, beyond the crack factor, it was showing off upper crotch hair! There was no way to raise the pants above this line without neutering myself. It was nearly impossible to button, and wasn't remotely flattering. I wear a 29/30 under normal conditions, and wear it well, so this was - alarming. The amount of movement I didn't have in these was equally alarming."

The worst thing about the low rise jeans from my perspective is the old cheap hotel problem: No ballroom. They don't have to be like that — it's just as easy to keep the crotch low when you drop the waist, but they all seem to scrunch up there for no good reason. It's no fun at all.
posted by klangklangston at 9:20 AM on May 6, 2013


APC Rescue jeans damn 185$. Thanks but no thanks, I'm not a member of the 1%.

*squints* Not sure if you're serious, but I'm most certainly not a member of anything other than the bottom 15%. However, I do have several jobs that requires me to be active, so I buy one pair of jeans a year, and they generally last me 5+ years, so the math works out. With all my climbing around, getting on the ground, walking, lifting and other work activity I blow out cheap (and a few pairs of not-so-cheap) jeans in 6 months or so. I do have a couple of pairs of Carhartt duck, carpenter pants in black, but those are my "dress pants" used when I am serving or bartending.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 9:31 AM on May 6, 2013


Is this the "it was just a joke, can't you take a joke, you loser?" defense?

Huh, ctrl-F. Nope, spaltavian has not yet commented. I'm not sure who you think might want to be backing down from whatever they said?
posted by jacalata at 9:39 AM on May 6, 2013


I had to sleep on it, wake up, have a coffee and a shower an reload this thread to finally get it. It is not that they are designed for dancing that those pants are called ballroom jeans.
posted by Doroteo Arango II at 9:49 AM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don’t know Marc Maron, but I had marked his podcast to listen to. I think I’ll go ahead and delete those now.

And I am sure that everyone sniffing at Kids Today had some sort of faddy episode in their youth, at least one unfortunate haircut or ridiculous pair of shoes.

Kids today don’t even come close to the level of ridiculous I achieved in my youth, it’s like they're not even trying.

I am known to walk to the corner store in my pajamas and flipflops

Stopped listening to you right then.
posted by bongo_x at 9:57 AM on May 6, 2013


I really wish there was such a thing as a CSA for clothes, where you would give the company your measurements, your color preferences, and what sorts of situations you needed clothes for, and then once a season they'd just drop off a pallet of suitable clothes

This is called "having a bespoke tailor on retainer" actually.
posted by elizardbits at 10:25 AM on May 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


They don't have to be like that — it's just as easy to keep the crotch low when you drop the waist, but they all seem to scrunch up there for no good reason. It's no fun at all.

DROPPED CROTCH GOTHNINJA PANTS 4EVS or at least circa 2009
posted by en forme de poire at 10:31 AM on May 6, 2013


"I don’t know Marc Maron, but I had marked his podcast to listen to. I think I’ll go ahead and delete those now."

The podcasts are about 1000 times as funny as this column.
posted by klangklangston at 10:34 AM on May 6, 2013


I advise that you skip through the first 10 minutes and go straight to the interview. I listen to his podcasts where I'm already interested in the guest, and they've never disappointed me. He asks unusual (but not annoyingly so) questions, and the longer discussion can get to some interesting places.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:42 AM on May 6, 2013


Bongo_x, this essay is a lot more caustic than the episodes of WTF that I've listened to. His interviews are engaging, often funny, and they do wind up in interesting places. I really liked the episode with John Hodgman.
posted by usonian at 10:52 AM on May 6, 2013


I don’t know Marc Maron, but I had marked his podcast to listen to. I think I’ll go ahead and delete those now.

Yeah if you are interested in the people he interviews, it's worth sitting through his opening 15 minutes of angst. It's weird, he's a talented guy and a good interviewer (I have mixed feelings about his stand-up) but part of his shtick is that he's the underdog, couldn't catch a break, knew everyone and everything but never quite got famous himself. So he can tell stories about knowing Louie CK way back when or coming up with this or that person, some of whom have made it and some who haven't and they're interesting and his take on it is a slightly lateral view from the industrial entertainment complex. He can swear on his podcast, and so do his guests, and you can get more of an idea of people because they're being informal, just chitchatting in someone's garage, and a lot of people let their guards down and the interviews are great as a direct result.

However this sort of thing doesn't scale as well when you're a guy writing in the New York Times with a show on Comedy Central and the most popular comedy podcast out there. Marc being "all about Marc" totally works if he's just some guy that everyone feels like they discovered. Acting like you're not aware of your shifting statused position and adapting your material and approach somewhat just winds up sounding weird, to my ear. Like I think in his mind he's still an underdog because he's never been on SNL and is not a headlining "name" playing a zillion big arenas (his interview with Dane Cook is fascinating for this reason) but more and more other people don't see him that way, he seems more like he's made it. And so in this sort of way the "get off my lawn" thing just sounds like "get off my lawn" and not some wry social commentary from someone on the outside looking in. He's on the inside and should maybe start being aware of that, to my mind. But, the podcast is still great.
posted by jessamyn at 11:05 AM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Speaking of Hodgman and podcasts, I highly recommend the Judge John Hodgman podcast. I just discovered it and am making my way back through the past episodes while waiting for the new one each week. There is even a recent episode about the hipster label.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:06 AM on May 6, 2013


I took jeans for granted for many years until one day looking around the room I realized WE ARE ALL WEARING BLUE PANTS WHY ARE WE ALL WEARING BLUE PANTS. I don't wear jeans much anymore.
posted by Makwa at 11:13 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


when you're a guy writing in the New York Times with a show on Comedy Central

Actually it's IFC. I'm not sure if that makes it better or worse in some people's minds

But I will say his interviews are about the only "talking to famous (and semi-famous) people" format show I've enjoyed since Letterman left NBC.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 11:21 AM on May 6, 2013


I really just want to know how the hell to buy the same Levi's 501 button downs I used to wear in the early 80's. I go to the Levi’s website and see all the damn choices and just quit. Mimicking the proletariat really shouldn't be this difficult.
posted by srboisvert at 12:23 PM on May 6, 2013


This article about the history of jeans may shed some light on what idiopath meant by saying that jeans are pretentious.

Jeans have a long history of being co-opted from clothes essential to manual labor into high fashion. You might just be wearing them because they're in every store and they're comfortable, but there's a cultural history to why they're in every store and how they became the de facto casual pant of almost everyone.
posted by nakedmolerats at 12:36 PM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


a CSA for clothes, where you would give the company your measurements, your color preferences, and what sorts of situations you needed clothes for, and then once a season they'd just drop off a pallet of suitable clothes

Yes, please.

My last job had a strict dress code, even for people w/out customer contact, which included NO JEANS EVER. Except, oddly enough, for snow days or for "supporting the local [60+ miles away] sports teams." I don't even really care about jeans (would rather wear funky skirts, easier to deal with big hips), but it was so lovely to come in to my first day on my current job and see my boss! in! jeans!
posted by epersonae at 12:41 PM on May 6, 2013


I will take the recommendations on the podcast, everyone can come off in a way they didn’t intend in writing, especially if you’re not a writer.

I took jeans for granted for many years until one day looking around the room I realized WE ARE ALL WEARING BLUE PANTS WHY ARE WE ALL WEARING BLUE PANTS. I don't wear jeans much anymore.

Yes. Except I still haven’t escaped for some reason. I hate blue, and I still wear blue pants quite often even though I will rarely wear, and hardly own, a blue shirt. At least at this moment it’s suddenly much easier to find non-blue jeans. Laziness is a bitch.
posted by bongo_x at 1:58 PM on May 6, 2013


I live 10 minutes from a Gap outlet store, and I can say without a doubt in my mind they are probably some of the most cheaply produced shit jeans around.

The stuff sold in Gap outlet stores is usually specifically made for the outlets. It's usually of a much lower quality than what's sold in the regular stores. So I'm not surprised by your experience.
posted by zsazsa at 2:15 PM on May 6, 2013


Seeing that men also get tied in knots over buying jeans makes me feel much, much better about myself.

I think it's fascinating to see how differently men talk about jeans. 185 comments in, and as far as I can tell there are six or seven references to fit (used as a verb) and at least two of those were by women. I get why that is, I've just never thought about the general experience of men buying jeans before.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:21 PM on May 6, 2013


I will take the recommendations on the podcast

My recommendation is to skip the first ~10 minutes of every instalment and get straight to the interview. Not to diss Marc Maron or anything -- I like his standup just fine, and, hey, we all have our outlets -- but I don't really need a podcast to hear someone blathering on about random shit I don't care about; I get enough of that in real life.

P.S. This was a pretty productive thread re: whining about shopping for men's jeans.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:27 PM on May 6, 2013


btw, idiopath, thanks for explaining that further. I'm still not convinced it makes much sense to apply the word "pretentious" to something so generic and ubiquitous, at least outside of some very specific denim "scenes," but I definitely agree that the window of cultural expectations about menswear is pretty narrow. I am also all for dumpster granny dresses with boots. Pics or it didn't happen tho.

And as a side note I am kind of into this trend towards technical, activewear-inspired gear with modern, non-potato-sack tailoring that quosimosaur mentioned upthread (e.g.). Definitely, it has its own set of fetishes and pretensions - like I'm pretty sure most of the people buying this stuff aren't actually going to be going all Parkour in it or whatever. But as a once-and-future bike commuter I like clothes where you have some freedom to actually move around, and I also think that mixture of athletic, fashion-y, and nerdy is super hot. So I'll be pretty stoked for that kinda thing to trickle down to mass market where I can actually afford to buy some.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:26 PM on May 6, 2013


What I want is a jacket like the Gabriel Hounds described in Zero History. I'm pretty sure I couldn't pull it off, but damn if anything made me WANT denim I thought it was that description. Plus I love the smell of indigo. Being a costco jean shopper are there pants that are under say 100 bucks that would smell of indigo?
posted by Carillon at 3:55 PM on May 6, 2013


usonian: "Yep, that's the key to wearing anything that might make you stand out and attract the "You're not allowed to wear [X] because hipster!" or "You're not allowed to wear [X] unless [tired old stereotype]" comments. "

I sometimes wear cowboy boots. My wife thinks it's ridiculous, since I'm scared of horses. WHen I first bought 'em 19 (!) years ago, I couldn't make it out of the house with them on my feet for two or three weeks in fear someone'd call me out as a faker. Finally my roommate said, "Just wear the fucking things, or take 'em back!" and I've worn them ever since.
posted by notsnot at 7:24 PM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I sometimes wear hiking boots in non-hiking contexts because I like being a full inch and a half taller.
posted by The Whelk at 8:57 PM on May 6, 2013


The Whelk, I wear Dansko sandals for the same reason, except I think they're almost three inches high.
posted by KathrynT at 11:50 PM on May 6, 2013


I've been known to wear tennis shoes while off the court.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:07 AM on May 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


QUELLE HORRURE
posted by The Whelk at 9:13 AM on May 7, 2013


I wear baseball hats when not playing baseball.
posted by jonmc at 10:11 AM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Slate article about Marc Maron
posted by bq at 10:18 AM on May 7, 2013


jonmc, but do you take them off indoors?!?
posted by en forme de poire at 5:09 PM on May 7, 2013


He does not, because he's a rebel and he'll never ever be any good.
posted by The Whelk at 5:10 PM on May 7, 2013


And you should stay away from him, he’ll just take you down with him.
posted by bongo_x at 5:16 PM on May 7, 2013


quosimosaur Is this the "it was just a joke, can't you take a joke, you loser?" defense?

What the hell are you talking about? What am I defending? That was the first time I posted in the thread.

Someone who thinks they are suffering from the oppression of the "hypocrite menswear fashion police" needs to rethink why they feel such pressure. Because outside of irrelevant, tedious magazine writers and designers, these people don't exist.

The poster thinks jeans are pretentious unless you are a ditch digger, and thinks some fashion cabal is policing what men wear. I don't know how this could not be taking things too seriously.

What joke are you talking about?
posted by spaltavian at 5:44 AM on May 8, 2013


So, is this what getting old is? Does everyone just get so stuck in their own head about how Everything Should Be in youth, that it's not until you spend 20 years on autopilot, congratulating yourself for being smarter than everyone, when you're jostled awake to do something simple like buy a pair of jeans, and decide that all these things that never mattered that suddenly make you tired or cranky is you "maturing"?.... posted by Uther Bentrazor at 11:23 AM on May 6

Well, as an old guy, let me say that in my case it's annoyance that DAMMIT this was a SOLVED PROBLEM for the last SEVERAL DECADES.

And now the brands have decided to move production to Neptune or someplace - - and the garment you've been buying on autopilot since the Eisenhower administration suddenly NO LONGER FITS. And now you have to go out and find a new solution to a long-solved problem; you now have to re-solve a question that you haven't had to think about since college or maybe junior high school.

This thread has been all about the nightmare that is something as simple as blue jeans. Here's another, even more basic: Early this century the major underwear manufacturers ALL decided to switch from something like nine? standard sizes (from 28"waist-by-2"-intervals-up-to-44", something like that) to a new inventory of FOUR standard sizes (S/M/L/XL). I had been buying the same damn underwear for nearly 40 years - and one day - without changing my physique - I had to shop for underwear that actually fit me. Really, now: WTF?

There's a 'last straw' effect: Levi's are no longer made in San Francisco (...but are still priced as if they were...); shirts no longer come in "Tall"; underwear is sized by 4" increments instead of 2"; shoes, well...I assume it's still the case that Nike still makes 200 styles, but NOTHING in a wide size. The manufacturers are cutting corners everywhere.

It's not just about being "cranky" - it's resentment that the makers are now cutting corners at the expense of actually satisfying their customers.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 7:52 PM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


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