Not really quite sure why not, but guess it could stem from my childhood, from a time when jeans were considered to be working persons’ clothing and worn by those not quite as well off financially as our family. This sounds snobbish I know, but looking back I realise we weren’t all that well off, but we considered ourselves as being more fortunate than many others.

No kids wore jeans in our end of town. I recall a boy from another part of town whose grandmother lived in the next street, a loutish lad of my age who forced his company upon us whenever he visited his Gran, strolled up to us one day in jeans and demanded to know what we thought of his denims, as he called them. Actually, we had thought nothing about them, they were just jeans and none of us at eleven years of age would have been desirous of owning a pair let alone be seen wearing them. We were always grateful when this thuggish brute went away again, he was not a pleasant boy and his wearing of jeans just instilled in my mind an idea they weren’t clothes that should worn by decent kids like ourselves, no, our grey shorts were the norm, we were content with them.

My father and grandmother belonged to the Society of Friends (Quakers) and on Sunday morning we would go with them to their meeting; there was a junior section which the younger ones attended and I became quite friendly with two brothers who were close to my age, one a bit older, the other a bit younger, they must have been born less than a year apart, both these lads went to a private school and on Sundays were always dressed, like me, in their best short trousers. During the autumn half term holiday my parents arranged for me to go and spend an afternoon with the boys at their home in the countryside, “wear your wellingtons” their mother had commanded. So on the appointed day I was dropped off at their home and was told the boys were down the field and to go and find them; well, I was really quite shocked, they were both wearing jeans which they’d tucked into their muddy wellingtons, even their little brother was wearing them, and there was me in my grey school shorts, as usual. I think this was the first time I had actually seen any of my friends wearing jeans.

Boy in jeans climbing a tree over a pond at Bridgend in South Wales

A year later, when I was 12, I had my first camera. On the very first film I took a number of pictures of a picnic which my younger brother and some of his friends had arranged; well, I say a picnic, it was a packet of Smith’s crisps (remember the blue salt bag?), a few biscuits and a bottle of Lucozade all laid out properly on a plastic sheet and my brother and sister and their friends enjoyed this little feast whilst I recorded the event for posterity. One of my brother’s friends was unusually wearing jeans and he is seen here along with my brother at the cattle pond in a field behind where “Pets at Home” in Bridgend is now situated, the pond now long gone. Having witnessed seeing his school friend in jeans, thereafter my brother hankered after a pair.

Within a few years more and more boys were wearing jeans as a fashion trend and nearly all my peers had a pair for messing about in, they still mostly wore trousers for general use though. I never actually felt the need to own a pair, I didn’t really like the look of them, so I’m probably the only teenager of that era, or possibly ever, who never owned a pair of jeans, indeed, I think I was in my mid twenties before I succumbed. During the 1980s I must confess to wearing jeans but by the mid 1990s I had discarded them in favour of more comfortable casual wear, usually multi-pocketed cargo trousers or similar styled shorts, as well you know!

Advertisements