Once upon a time we all knew where the tops of our trousers lived, they lived in the waistband, and these waistbands belonged in their proper place pretty much round our middles, where our waists were, or are still, if you are lucky.
These days the tops of trousers have bands, but they are not for the waist. They float around from anywhere vaguely proximate to your elegantly jutting pelvis bone up to your washboard stomach, or, if you are my age – or just me, they settle in a middling but indeterminate anatomical place that does not a) cause too much muffin-top overspill or b) general stomach overhang. Have I missed anything?
It is therefore necessary to attempt to purchase trousers that are a little more generous than you need, to avoid an unsightliness of unruly and uncontained flesh (previously the waistband would have had all that covered). In these trousers you will then need to employ the services of a belt, but what you will find, is that these days many ladies’ trousers manufacturers have dispensed with the belt loop at the back of the trousers. You are then faced with a choice. Let your trousers fall down all day long, or endure the belt riding high above the trouser band up towards your shoulder blades. I suppose some crafty types might be able to add a further choice and add a belt loop, but this is as likely as flying to the moon for me. I am not proud of this needlework deficit in my life, it just is an undeniable fact.
Imagine my joy today, then, when for the first time in weeks, in a work wear pair of trews, I was able to enjoy not pulling my trousers up, all day long. There is even a belt loop at the back on them. If I think about it too hard, I am aware I may be being slightly garotted around the top of my pelvis, but, as Meat Loaf says, two out of three ain’t bad.
This post was inspired by my father’s ever expanding eBay wardrobe. I’ll need to say not much more lest he take exception and sue me…
The novel inclusion of this cropped clobber pushed me into asking the question, especially for men. As more and more of you stray into this sartorial summer territory I think some definitive guidelines are in order. I’ve seen certain transgressors down the sea-front in kecks that are at least two inches above a hirsute ankle and at least three inches over the knee. I’ve also seen them in the Dressing Room at the Theatre (Actors may be able to apply for a special exemption from the Rules). My view is that civilians may be able to get away with them, just, if they are correctly and remedially shod.
The eldest’s class teacher says flip-flops on gentlemen are wrong, plain wrong. I am not entirely sure about this edict. I’d take a more charitable view and say that some men should probably keep their feet encased a bit more than an average flip-flop allows for. There is one absolute though: long shorts or short trousers (let’s call them cropped, capri is for girls) cannot, repeat cannot, be worn with a regular shoe. They can barely be worn with a trainer either. This leaves a real dilemma Sir. Would it be easier to put a line through the whole long short/short trouser option? I’ll leave that with you.
This is before I forget and someone blinks and the fashion is gone.
It has been noted (by the *Trouser Police with whom I live) that there is a new way of wearing your trews if you are blokeishly inclined. I think you have to be young to carry it off(ish) and certainly proponents have only been spotted in London and Essex.
The wearer appears to twist whilst turning up the trouser leg to end up with a kind of origamied bicycle-clip effect at the bottom of trousers that started their day as a pair of straight cut jeans. I had the chance to study the effect at close quarters on the bus today from Mile End, but as you see it actually defies description and I couldn’t deconstruct the method.
It is, of course, wrong if you are prescriptive about these things and I think my companion found it bordering on distressing, but one supposes it will pass off soon enough. For myself I find a kind of liberation in wearing wrong things. Old-fashioned Wainwright walking boots being such a one. They look like they are missing the calipers only but I don’t care. Marvellous. Carry on twisting and turning chaps and don’t worry if middle-aged men nearby faint.
*There are people who have an invisible tape measure with which to pass or fail hem lengths – the offence or pleasure can be a matter of a mere millimetre. After 10 years it is fair to say I have a good bit of paranoia about passing these inspections. I thought I was fairly attuned to such matters in my twenties, but my eye lacks the laser precision of a true Trouser Policeman. For a further insight into such important sartorial matters I would refer you to Stephen Foster’s Strides
Note to self: read the trouserish bits of said novel to the in-house Trouser Police for confirmation and denial…