Wednesday, March 17, 2010

David Beckham does double denim

As noted in the Guardian, David Beckham is sporting double denim, a move that reveals the soccer playing celebrity's attempt to hold onto the spotlight as his career has just been dealt a blow.

Here are the Guardian's fashion guidelines rules for double denim:

1. No belt, please. With a belt, the look that you were hoping projected Paris catwalk insouciance becomes unreconstructed Idaho truck driver.

2. You need contrast in colour: One piece should be a darker-hued denim. You might want this on your bottom half, darker colours being more slimming, but beware: a pale denim shirt can wash out your skin tone.

3. Don't go with a very fine chambray shirt with a very heavy denim jean. That's not double denim, that's cheating, and it doesn't have the right impact.

4. Break up the heaviness of the look with something light and feminine: the strap of a fabulous Chloé or Mulberry cross-body handbag, perhaps; or a gorgeous pair of dangly earrings; or wear the shirt open one extra button to show off a tiny glimpse of a pretty camisole.

5. Roll your sleeves up and highlight bare wrists with a bracelet or a cocktail ring.

6. Finally, no cowboy boots. Keep feet semi-naked in ballet pumps or a pretty flat sandal.

In other words, don't overdo it. Keep the cowboy boots and denim away from each other, and be sure to wear contrasting denims. And stay away from belts!

Denim has always played an interesting role in American and pop culture. Cotton-picking slaves wore it in the 18th century because it was sturdy and did not give out easily. Same with the the gold miners in the 19th century, who found it a good material to wear while working, and Leob Strauss (who later changed his name to Levi) capitalized on it by starting a wholesale business.

In the 1930s, cowboys wore in the movies depicting Westerns, and in the '40s, soldiers in WWII often wore denim when they were off duty. The consumer boom after the war saw an explosion in the popularity of denim and a resulting battle between Levi and Wrangler for the lion's share of the market.

In the '60s and '70s, jeans were hard to come by in the communist Eastern bloc, and in the West, jeans took on hippie fashions including embroidery and paint.

Jeans showed the signs of the times in the '80s with a flip toward luxury and the phenomenon of designer jeans. Interestingly, jeans lost their popularity in the '90s, due to the recession and youth gravitating towards khaki and other fabrics in an attempt to separate themselves from their aging, jeans-wearing parents.

Denim reflected the decadence of the 2000s with an appearance on catwalks and the price of jeans catapulting to outrageous prices.

Denim has always been associated with rebellion, with hard work, and with the American spirit of reinvention. They are the ultimate symbol of Western culture: paradoxically they represent freedom, luxury and working class, depending on how you wear it.

10 comments:

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