I have been watching people at the mall for a few minutes while gobbling up a bowl of ice-cream. I estimate that one out of every three people, both men and women, myself included, are wearing denim. Jeans, basically. It is Saturday afternoon and a beautiful sunny day like most in Kenya. Clear blue sky, some cloud passing by on its way to rain on someone else’s parade and about 28 degrees of sun. Usually, I would add dust, but not inside this squeaky clean mall. The only thing lacking in this capital city is a sandy beach. Perfect day and weather for jeans.
We keep hearing about the latest gadget and debates are rife about which one is the most important of the century. Is is the cell phone, the Internet, the personal computer or the car? Sure, they have all made our lives easier. But few talk about the jean. In particular, the jean trouser. Versatile, comfortable, good when hot, good when cold, long wearing, quick washing, looking better as it gets older, and fitting better with time.
Most people I know have anywhere from 2 to 12 pairs. With casual days at work, jeans are all the more necessary. That means that from Friday to Sunday, that’s all you’ll ever wear.
The greatest thing about jeans is that they have evolved so much that you can get a jean for any occasion. That means that jeans can be dressed up (with high heels, good leather shoes for men) and this works great for the evening especially when the jean is quite dark, making it all the more “evening”. Jeans can also be dressed down, (with sandals, flat shoes, or sneakers) to make a casual statement that says I’m heading to the mall to buy me a pint of milk.
There are various levels of faded jeans and many kinds of fit, from skinny to baggy to different waist rises (high-rise, low rise, sagging) for every taste and age group. And there are ways of speeding your fade instead of waiting for them to fade naturally. There is no other type of fabric that offers us so much choice.
Over the years, jeans of different colours have come and gone. Red, black, brown, green. They go and sometime they return. Even jean jackets and other jean accessories seem to come, make a noisy entry and then fade quietly into oblivion. But the basic blue pant jean is not going anywhere. It is here to stay.