It’s in the jeans


I’ve never owned a pair of blue, denim jeans.

I’m probably in that 0.01% of the world’s population where a pair has never been in my wardrobe, but I was never realistically given the option.

Rather than spend money on a pair of Levi’s or Wrangler’s, the only option to me was the Tesco Home ‘n’ Wear on Balham High Road.

As a teenager in the early 70s, I earned no money, so was reliant on my mother as my clothing benefactor. This benevolence sadly only stretched the 500-yards from our flats on Balham High Road to the non-food Tesco shop further down the road – not for me anything from Reno, Nevada or Greensboro, North Carolina!  Tesco Home ‘n’ Wear, Balham was the only choice.  A consequence of this non-option was that I never owned a pair of blue denims from a famous brand.  The only thing shrinking in my bath as a teenager might have been blue, but certainly wasn’t made out of denim.

The same fate struck me with shirts. I so wanted a Ben Sherman shirt; the option I was given was one from Trutex (might as well have been Artex – arguably more fashionable and at least I could have covered my ceiling with it).

Trutex was to Ben Sherman what Hot Hits and Top of the Pops records were to the songs’ original artists.  Similar, but the collar, designed like the hat on The Flying Nun, gave it away that it was not the real thing!

I’ve never been that fashion conscious – probably scarred by the disastrous Haute Couture forced on me as an adolescent.  To me, as a teenager, a Kaftan was a dog known for its long, shiny hair; flares were things you activated if marooned at sea and (until Eurotrash was aired on Channel 4) I thought Jean-Paul Gaultier was the best full back Paris Saint Germain ever had.

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