Who wears the pants?
Musings on the fabric covering our legs.
Aside from sneakers, the garment I spend the most time thinking about is pants. While details matter in all items of clothing, the importance of those details—and their ability to influence both appreciation and wearability—is magnified when it comes to pants.
Tiny things matter. A lot.
That’s why I never buy pants online. I don’t care how many angles you show me in the ecomm pictures. I don’t care if they’re worn by a model whose body has been 3D scanned and mirrors my own figure. If I can’t touch and try on a pair of pants IRL, I’m not buying them. Too many things can go wrong.
But the reason I’ve been thinking about pants more recently is because of the pendulum swing in recent years from slim to baggy and my own willingness to go along for the ride.
As an observer of style, I’ve long believed that if you want to look at where the styling of pants is going next, look at what skaters are wearing now. Skaters pioneered the uber-baggy raver jeans in the 90s. Then they ushered in the skinny jeans era in the aughts, with hesh skaters on teams like Emerica and Baker leading the way. Once the mainstream caught up to that, skaters went back to hanging loose, as evidenced by the current popularity of Polar’s Big Boy Jeans.
What strikes me most is that as each wave comes, I feel certain that it’s “the one.” Only to have my perception upended a few years later.
In fashion in general, but in menswear in particular, there is always talk of “timeless style.” Photos of Steve McQueen and Paul Newman usually accompany these discussions. But as I watch my own viewpoints on pants evolve, I’ve started to question whether or not a conceit like “timeless style” can truly exist.
When pants slimmed down (for clarity, I’m referring to slim, not skinny. I’ve always thought painted on pants looked corny AF) and pleats went the way of the dodo bird, I was all for it. This was how pants should fit for time everlasting. Anyone rocking baggy, pleated pants was an out-of-touch kook. But now I’m honest enough about my snobbery to recognize that I see things from the opposite point of view. (For the most part, however, I still haven’t come around on pleats.)
And that’s fine. Because for all the talk of timeless style, the reality is our personalities aren’t timeless. They are constantly evolving, and perhaps our pants should, too.
I think I’ve spoken about it before, but I find good writing about music to be fascinating. I think it has a lot to do with how much I suck at it. In any event, I’ve always enjoyed reading New Yorker writers’ takes on popular music. Kelefa Sanneh’s recent piece on Fivio Foreign is a great example. (James Woods’s story on Led Zeppelin is another.) Sanneh humanizes and contextualizes Fivio in a way that a die-hard hip-hop head can appreciate while still feeling approachable to someone who doesn’t regularly listen to Hot 97.
This has been on my list since it came out, but I continued to put it off each time I saw the 500-page physical copy. I opted for the 19-hour audiobook instead, narrated by Sanneh, and can't recommend that format enough. In general, I find audiobooks narrated by the author to be much preferred. I even recommend this book for single-genre fans to learn more about the history of their specific genre of interest.
Note: There was absolutely no coordination between Justin and me on our Kelefa Sanneh content consumption this week.
This is pretty silly of me to follow two recommendations of writing from an acclaimed music writer with a “review” of my own, but if not silly, then what the hell am I? LUZ is one half of Axel Boman’s recent two-album release (the other being Quest for Fire) and one of my favorite albums of the year so far. I struggle with broadly recommending electronic music (or “dance music” as Sanneh categorizes it in Major Labels), because I find many people are so willfully resistant to the genre. Though, like Topical Dancer, which I recommended earlier in the month, something about this album feels approachable enough for someone who may typically favor more popular genres, while still being avant-garde enough to want to hear in the club. Enjoy it on loud speakers and report back.
A few weeks ago, Rachel and I were about to start watching Severance, but perhaps inspired this very show, our roommate Lauren took our night host*ge. “Do you want slow?” she asked. Of course not. “Do you want fast?” she asked. Fast!!! She proceeded to offer us $10 if we did not like this show. Well, Lauren gets to keep her money, because we were hooked immediately.