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Denim jeans and the middle-aged man

Sooner or later any man has to establish his position on whether or not he wears blue denim jeans. Or so we are led to believe. I don’t think there needs to be any debate. We can do what we like, frankly, and should ignore those who say otherwise. Most men of a certain age were wearing jeans decades ago; baby-boomers virtually invented them, so why should there come a time when we should stop wearing them?

'Top Gear' TV Programme Filming in Puerto Banus, Spain - 04 Jun 2013
Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond set the benchmark for bad denim, but they don’t represent your average middle-aged man. Photograph: Marbella Photo / Rex Features

Care needs to be taken, as the above picture shows, but I would argue that any sartorial errors being made here by Jeremy Clarkson and his colleagues are nothing to do with the decision to wear jeans per se. It is more a question of how they are worn.

So, how should jeans be worn as we journey through middle age and beyond? Well, while I intend to avoid being dictatorial on this blog, I am willing to stick my neck out and say how I wear jeans – but I do so simply to throw out ideas, not tell others how to do it.

Firstly, my jeans will fit properly. They won’t be too baggy, long, short or tight.

Secondly, I don’t wear jeans with white trainers or tennis shoes – they don’t work. I used to include Converse shoes in this list, but, having seen many older men wearing them successfully with blazer and jeans, I’m prepared to backtrack on that. Brogues are, for me de rigeur with jeans.

older men, denim, jeans, brogues
Grey Fox in jeans

Thirdly, I won’t wear distressed jeans with holes and patches, unless I have worn them out myself. I hate artificially induced age in objects like clothes, furniture and pictures – it’s just fake, and that’s bad. I favour turn-ups on jeans – they look good with brogues.

My favourite pair of jeans are last year’s collaboration between Joe Casely-Hayford and John Lewis. At just under £100 they were the most expensive I’ve bought, but their shape, quality and British manufacturing made them a good buy.

If your are on a budget then try MS. They always have a wide range of shape and styles and they’re an ethically sound business.

The Welsh manufacturer Hiut Denim have a range which pulls in influences from across the world – while reviving the jeans-making tradition in Wales. Again, they come in a range of shapes and fabric and will be worth the outlay in the long run.

Finally, I’ve discovered that 1970s retailer Jean Machine has been revived by the founder’s daughter, and they are once again on the British high street making high quality no-nonsense classic denim that is, crucially, ideal for men of all ages.

Are you still a proud wearer of denim? Let us know which men’s jeans brands you recommend.

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