Sunday, 17 April 2011

Battle of the bulge

JeanPants Underwear

I can't hide my shame any longer. This is my confession - I once made a pair of cut-offs from an old pair of jeans. I'm not proud, and I've destroyed all photographic evidence confirming that the offending garment ever existed. Like the tie-dye Joe Bloggs sweaters I used to wear, they're simply fodder for a future therapy session.

As I hacked through the thighs with a pair of scissors usually used for cutting bacon rashers, I knew I was messing with the laws of nature. But I was nineteen, and far from worldly-wise. Besides, I thought if I left the legs long enough, they might not look too bad. The folly of youth.

When Levi Strauss first paired up with a tailor called Jacob Davis in 1873 to create a pair of durable 'waist overalls', he had no idea that he was changing the very future of fashion. Conscious that canvas tended to chafe its wearers, he looked for a softer cotton fabric that would be just as durable, and found 'serge de Nimes'. And so a riveted icon was born.

During the 1950s and 1960s, jeans became the unofficial uniform of teenage rebellion, eventually inspiring a variety of sub-trends. As tastes changed, so too did the styles - flares, drainpipes and baggies all came and went. The denim itself remained the only constant, as fashion designers found a variety of uses for the versatile blue fabric.

Jackets, shirts, skirts, dungarees, leggings - if it's wearable, chances are, someone's made it out of denim. But be warned, try to carry off too much of it at once and you'll be in danger of looking like you're serving a five-year stretch on Cell Block H.

Sadly, the denim cut-off refuses to die. It's the clothing equivalent of that lingering odour that a whole can of Febreze won't shift. Brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Levis have fought hard to make jeans shorts acceptable again, with Daisy Dukes for the girls, and mid-length versions for the guys. And I'm sorry to say, some of them look almost acceptable on the right pair of legs.

However, the same can't be said for the latest innovation to come from Japan - the junderpant. Created by popular clothes brand CUW, the JeanPants are described as "pert, durable and oozing zeitgeist appeal". Zeitgeist and oozing; two words I don't ever want to associate with underwear.

Fashion website Japan Trend Shop claims "You can say so much about yourself with your choice of underwear, plus give yourself more confidence and panache, knowing that what you are wearing underneath is also original and funky." And they've got a point. These monstrosities would certainly say a lot about anyone who dared to wear them. Although I doubt 'panache' would be front-of-mind for any unfortunate onlookers.

Surely, there's only one real standard where underwear is concerned. If a stripper would think twice about wearing them, they're probably not going to enhance your pulling skills. Then again, if you see Arrested Development's perpetually misunderstood Tobias F√ľnke as a fashion icon, these could be just what you need to overcome your 'never nude' issues.


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