MEEKER I I recently wore a pair of my favorite jeans and was worried that they didn’t look quite the same after a long hiatus in my closet. Sweatpants had replaced them at the beginning of the pandemic. It was not just the straining of the seams from a steady carbo load, they seemed to lose something in their good looks. It was more that they had donned a worn and weary appearance somehow.
Distressed is the word the fashion industry has been using to describe brand new jeans that have rips and tears all over the fabric. The past few years have revealed that all ages of consumers continue to clamor for this look, and pay a ridiculously high price for these as well.
Most of these appear to be the type of clothes that your mother would tell you to take off before you left the house. The only thing that mattered to most mothers was your appearance. It represented your mother’s care and concern, not yours. It was even more important for the children of a single working mother, as your poor choices single handedly reflected badly on her ability to care for you.
There seemed to be a million rules that had to be checked off before you left for school each morning. Practicing good hygiene and careful grooming were at the top of the list. This included an older sibling checking before you slipped out the door unnoticed.
Your personal grooming could be impeccable, yet someone would notice a small duty that you had overlooked. Mother made sure that everyone understood the importance of changing one’s undergarments each day. She didn’t need to rush to an emergency room only to find that one of us had shucked our clothes and was sitting on the examination table in a disreputable pair of underpants. No matter that they were the one comfortable clean pair in the drawer, as the stretched out elastic made them droop unflatteringly. It was a dead giveaway to my mother’s inability to make sure all of us were cared for carefully.
You could never say any of us wore a pair of jeans that were “distressed.” Instead, we had a mother who all of us could remember as being definitely distressed.
Appearances matter, although there seem to be far fewer rules.
By DOLLY VISCARDI – Special to the Herald Times