When given the time, everything old becomes new again. Blue jeans and T-shirts are perfect examples of that old saying.
The pants and shirts we wore as children are again our favorites. Wherever we go, we wear them, whether it’s group gatherings or formal affairs.
From tycoons to just ordinary folks, we all wear blue jeans and T-shirts in this casual change in dress.
When did this cultural shift to denim casual begin? It’s been growing slowly in popularity, but within the last year or so it accelerated at a rapid pace.
The change to jeans and pullover T’s is now the rage among people of all ages and professions. People with titles have joined everyday employees in wearing jeans and T’s to their offices and factories.
We even see people in church attendance wearing these casual clothes, something that was never tolerated in the past.
The big changeover probably took hold during the lockdown days of Covid, which chased all of us back indoors for up to two years.
Indoors, we turned to our old favorites for everyday wear. Office and plant workers started wearing casual clothes – jeans and T-shirts – as they mixed work with leisure at their homes and apartments.
The trend stayed in place as workers returned to their offices or stations on a part-time basis. When the restrictions were fully lifted, they were hooked on their down-dress clothes.
One thing we didn’t count on was our work bosses or supervisors also getting hooked on wearing jeans and T’s. So now, whether it’s work or leisure, jeans and T-shirts are the established attire for all occasions.
Honestly, I fully endorse this major dress change. I can recall the old days when we were sent home from work for wearing non-official clothes, like jeans or shorts.
I almost got canned as city editor of the Columbus Ledger newspaper when one of my reporters showed up wearing jeans and a pullover T.
The editor, Carlton Johnson, who always wore pressed dress pants, starched white shirts and conservative ties, raced out of his office to tell me to send the reporter home.
“And I ought to send you home for good for letting it happen,” Mr. Johnson snapped.
Needless to say, I sent the reporter away with a stern warning: “Don’t let it happen again.”
Today, I would be laughed out of the newsroom. Every writer from the New York Times on down is wearing jeans and T-shirts. True, the pullover tee might announce Harvard, Yale or Auburn, but it would still be in style and worthy of total embrace.
The old saying that “everything old is new again” is so very true. Whoever thought that the rage of our day decades ago would return as the style of today?
I like it that T-shirts can endorse schools, colleges, sport teams, vacation locations and everything in between. And that they can as colorful as beds of flowers.
Whatever the occasion, we have become a people of comfort. Doesn’t matter if it’s a church service or a business meeting, there will be people in attendance wearing jeans and T’s.
They are the clothing choice of our time in our world of leisure wear.
Jeans today are made from softer, washed denim, unlike the stiff denim of our youth.
There is one place where I draw the line, though. Blue jeans must be blue, whether the rinse be light or dark. Black, gray or rainbow colored jeans just don’t get out of the starting block with me.
The dressing down that is happening in America and in other countries around the world is a welcoming trend I fully endorse. I hated starched shirts and pants and strangling knots of ties.
I love being a part of the Nation of Denim. Cotton is king again. Synthetic fibers that mimic cotton are bundled in stacks in warehouses, perhaps relegated forever to the useless cloth sections.
Also in our present time, we have placed the dress code in the side closet. The day of the starched white shirt and the pressed pants is done with. That bus has left the station, never to return.
I go to so many places today where I see both young, middle-aged and older folks wearing T-shirts and jeans, as if they were born yesterday. God bless them for their simplicity and longevity, and for wearing simple but comfortable clothes that bring out their character.
I believe we are at our best when we feel good in our clothes. A comfortable pair of blue jeans and a T-shirt deliver us to that realm where we all have smiles on our faces.
Ralph Morris is a retired newspaperman who lives near Auburn. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.