I remember finishing the count… And being astonished that there were fourteen of them.

Suits… two and three piece suits. For younger readers, the three-piece ones were so called because they had matching waistcoats…whose bottom button was never fastened.

Fourteen is quite a number. They were all expensive, mainly double-breasted, and made of the lovely variety of silky textiles that so proliferated in the business world of the late 80s and early 90s. I was not alone. In the office of the Californian computer company for whom we were the most northern base in England, there were another six people for whom quality of dress was essential to success.

We were selling expensive, fault-tolerant computer systems to many of the most senior board members in the north of England.

Life was good…but I’m not here to brag about those illustrious days. They served their purpose and the world moved on… though many of those mainframes are still in place at the hub of major banking systems.

The reason the former platoon of suits is relevant to a post about blue denim is that I bought what must be my seventh pair of jeans the other day, and the number reminded me that I had double that number of suits. I was amused that my new and trimmed-down wardrobe depends almost entirely on these blue denim garments: simple, warm and un-sophisticated. And they last forever.

We buy my jeans – and just about every other domestic item – from a general purpose warehouse fifty miles away called CostCo – a far cry from the neon lights of Manchester’s Piccadilly district where many of the suits originated.

CostCo specialise in high-quality merchandise that they buy in bulk, receive in the store then scatter over frankly unimpressive pallets in the middle of acres of space containing everything from the best consumer electronics to salted nuts. Although the quality of everything is top-notch, the experience is functional, to say the least, and requires some getting used to.

But the merchandise is top quality, and offered at reasonable prices, providing you have the energy to leaf through piles to find your size.

Jeans-wise, they delight folks like me because they do winter versions as well as the more usual summer ‘fashions’. The last three pairs of blue jeans have been made from a thicker denim with a winter lining… They are sheer heaven to put on, and you know that your dog walking in the wet and freezing Lakeland countryside will at least be accompanied by toasty legs.

They aren’t waterproof, but I never found a pair of waterproofs that were remotely comfortable.

These days, I only have two suits. The first is black and only deployed for the not infrequent funerals that pervade this time of one’s life. The other is a Rohan travel suit that does everything else that involves a matched jacket and trousers.

The rest of my outfits are constructed from my jeans upwards; which just shows how well blue denim has stood the test of time… It’s more than can be said for my fourteen suits; now long departed.

I held onto a few of my smart blazers. To my – now simpler – eyes, they look great with a newly-washed pair of jeans and my small assortment of tan loafers.

And I’ve never felt more comfortable.

Neil Diamond sang about being ‘forever in blue jeans’. Here’s a snippet. I smile every time I hear it…even though it’s ancient. Something about his voice said he understood – even if it was going to take you a few years to get there.

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

25 Comments on “Forever in blue jeans

  1. My dad was a rancher from Alberta, Canada. All he wore was jeans all his life. He had regular jeans and Sunday best jeans. I think he only owned 2 suits in his life, the one he got married in and wore for weddings and funerals. Later he had a western style suit for similar occasions. Now we are retired and living in Spain, other than shorts, jeans are pretty well all we wear too. Costco was our go to store in Canada too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahhhhh what a lovely post…I can relate to the suits, then the jeans and now flips flops and cotton dresses or skirts… how we change…Oh and the requisite black dress for funerals…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was just telling my daughters that I wondered when (besides the sad task of funerals) I would ever wear the “nice” clothes in my closet again. Nothing beats denim. (K)

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  4. I could have written this post, Steve. I can so relate to the transition from silk business suits to blue jeans, which is about all I’ve worn for a decade and will wear until the light goes out. Can’t possibly go wrong with denim. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Loved this, Steve. I’ve kept the one dark grey suit too, handy for most formal occasions, including, as you say, the funerals that dog our time of life. One thing that came to mind when reading was that I bet I’d struggle to remember how to tie a tie now. And I did – got there eventually though.

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    • Thanks Micheal. Ties could be difficult at the best of times! I had to learn to tie a full bow-tie for the wedding of my eldest son. Bernie and I were both convinced that, come the hour, I’d make a total mess of it… But to her astonishment, and mine, it worked first time. We stood there in silence for several minutes!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My sister warned me, years ago, to avoid the middle aisle at Costco…sometimes I am more successful at that than others, particularly when it comes to clothing…my fashion designers are Costco or Joe Fresh (at the national grocery chain)…casual and comfortable if not flashy and stylish. What a huge change from my earlier years! But it works for now. Denim is so comfortable! Thanks, Steve.

    Liked by 1 person

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