Dare to Ask: Are whites forever in blue jeans?
By PHILLIP MILANO, The Times-Union
Why do white people always wear blue jeans?
Danny W., black, Memphis
Wow, you are right! That is all I buy for casual. I do admire the bold colors
and accessories I see black people wearing, which are very beautiful.
Gina, 46, white, Flint, Mich.
White people like to fit in more. Jeans seem to be the uniform. I used to
have a pair of black jeans and I found out later that whenever I wore them,
people thought I was rebelling, or trying to be emo or Goth. I just thought they
Alison K., 16, white, Herndon, Va.
Because they are so common, people probably just think of them first when
deciding what to wear. It's probably similar to young black men and sagging
I don't wear blue jeans, because they're seen everywhere, from the guy
picking up your trash on the garbage truck to the young, hot Hollywood starlet.
Bella, 35, Afro-Caribbean, Washington, D.C.
I have friends of many different backgrounds and ethnic groups. We all wear
blue jeans . . . they just feel and look good.
Josh, 22, white, Bossier City, La.
Jeans . . . are forgiving and last for years. I can shop for hours trying to
find decent trousers, or I can try on a couple of jeans and be out in under 10
CLR, 25, white female, Seattle
There aren't huge bolts of data out there on denim preferences among races,
but industry group Cotton Inc. did release this morsel last September: 73
percent of white men prefer denim over casual slacks, compared to 63 percent of
Not a wide seam there - and that fits well for Paul Cavazos of Olah Inc. in
New York, which tracks trends in jeans. He doesn't see whites monopolizing
denim, or mainstream jeans stores locking in on one race.
"I'd be shocked if the Gap targets only Anglos; their ads are as diverse as
But there may be demographic preferences. There's still an urban aesthetic
for baggier jeans, though Cavazos says more urban black males are going for
It may also be that urban males in particular don't put the focus on jeans
when creating their overall look.
"Jeans can be a status symbol, but I don't think as much for urban men," he
said. "They may spend more on tennis shoes, hoodies or coats . . . so it's a
focus on other accessories."
For some women of color, on the other hand, finding the perfect pair of jeans
is just more difficult - though more stores are focusing on jeans for
differently proportioned figures.
Apple Bottoms, for example, a brand by rapper Nelly, makes jeans that
"highlight and accentuate the curves of a woman," its Web site says. Other
companies have popped up to appeal to women with wider hips but who have small
waists - a style not always stocked by mass-market stores.
Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
moderates cross-cultural dialogue at Y? The National Forum on People's
Differences. Visit www.yforum.com to submit questions and answers. Send general
column comments to phillip. email@example.com. You can also hear his
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