Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Semiotics of Torn Jeans

Torn Jeans (American Eagle)
Style is like the conventions of drama. A particular device or piece of stage business is like a collar or a cuff, like a V or polo neck. By now one of the conventions of casual fashion, particularly clothes worn by women, is that that the knee area and hem should be torn. People go around with big holes in their pants in order to make a fashion statement. Speaking of theater it’s something that Moliere might have come up with. Has the fashion industry Tartuffed the consumer or are they mutually complicit? Is it a folie a deux which at the same time is making both a cultural and subliminal statement. Those with limited means usually wear torn clothes because they’re on a tight budget. By wearing a pair of torn designer jeans an affluent woman is identifying herself with the have nots. It's one way to hide disparities of income and alleviate guilt. In the l9th century upper class women displayed ivory white skin as a sign of class. They didn’t become tanned like those who had to work outside, but by the 20thcentury tanned skin was paraded around proudly as a sign of having the means to travel to Florida and the Caribbean. Today tight fitting suits are the craze. Twenty-five years ago everything was baggy and loose fitting. Is that because the mood of American society was more expansive several decades back? Was the eleemosynary instinct more pervasive? Are today’s snug-fitting fashions a sign that young people are now holding things closer to the vest.

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