This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
As anyone with an ounce of intelligence will tell you, one of the only true and pure sources of joy remaining in this miserable wasteland of a country is forming monumental and sweeping generalisations about other innocent human souls based on how they present themselves. This is great because, crucially: it doesn’t matter how you, personally, present yourself! It doesn’t matter if you ate spaghetti bolognese in bed, spilled sauce all over your top and simply went about your day as normal, strolling around Morrisons and pretending the gaping stain just did not exist! You still have the authority to judge others! That’s the great joy of life!
On, now, to trousers, a relatively mundane aspect of existence for most people. They are two warm tubes you put on your legs: whatever. But therein lies multitudes: the scale of "how much people care about trousers" is comprehensive and wide-ranging, from (read: the majority of the population) "Actively Does Not Care" to "Calls Trousers 'A Trouser'". In this world, something as simple as what you choose to wear can be picked apart mercilessly and put back together again for no real reason other than the faint and weak joy of passing judgment. And that's what we're going to do today.
You will be minding your own business in some smoking area one evening when a voice appears to get louder and louder every second until the cords-wearer is inches from your face: "What did you think of Tranquility Base Hotel And Casino? Any opinion? No? Well, if you ask me, Alex Turner's let the States influence him too much. Proper Sheffield stuff back in the day, but they don’t remember their roots, do they? Like, I still listen to their old stuff – AM was fucking orgasmic, wasn't it – and it’s not like I’m not gonna listen to the new stuff, but…"
And then you try, very hard, to remain focused on this guy's face while arranging your features into an acceptable "I am listening to what you are saying" expression. The rest of his outfit is strangely mismatched – suitably indie T-shirt tucked into said cords but, hang on, is he wearing a leather jacket? Has he styled his hair into a replica of Alex Turner circa 2012? This man's Tinder anthem is absolutely Do I Wanna Know, his bio almost certainly "If you like Morrissey, I'll love you forever," his nails are almost certainly wildly unclean. Good luck getting rid of the stench of all the roll-up cigarette smoke he’s blown into your hair.
Printed Baggy Mandala Print Harem Pants
The trousers themselves were either bought from Actual India At This Lovely Little Market We Found, Everyone Was Just So Friendly, or alternatively in a moment of wanderlust-fuelled desperation from an eBay listing called something like ELEPHANT MANDALA INDIA PRINT CHEAP TROUSERS PANTS PYJAMAS. The wearer of these is almost certainly very vocal in their opinion vis-a-vis whether white people should be allowed to wear dreadlocks, and will stand muscularly in their stance, daring you to argue with them (you should not) while spreading horrid vegan cheese ("It's almost good now! It’s mushroom proteins mixed with a flavoured yeast!") onto seeded bread.
Men’s Jeans: Artfully Rolled Up at the Cuff
The fine-tuned art of men rolling up the hem of their jeans is never more prevalent than in a home counties sixth form college – generally paired with Vans and Very Branded Sports Socks, and worn by the skater-esque (note: not actual skaters, but 17-year-old boys who know very little about skateboarding) to complement their new tiny grey knitted Topman hat, which is a cross between a kippah and the unworn condom-esque beanie crocheted for you last Christmas by your insane great-aunt. This trend has since spilled over to every single under-25-year-old who considers himself alternative, to the point where if you see a young man with his jean hems untouched you can safely assume that he is making some kind of anti-trend and possibly political 21st century punk statement, so either way – hemmed or not hemmed – proceed with immense caution.
Men's Jeans: Bootcut
This person is your dad. The words "dad" and "bootcut" are tangled so firmly that apart from "geography teacher", there is truly nothing else associated with men's bootcut jeans. They were almost certainly bought in Marks and Spencer by your mum while dad trailed aimlessly a few steps behind her, occasionally bumping into mannequins and possibly knocking one over entirely, with no thoughts racing through his mind but, 'When did shops get so bright?'
After a solid 45 minutes, mum picks out three almost identical pairs with varying levels of pre-washed denim, and your dad wraps them up with the same knackered old belt he’s had since Easter 2012. Wears them with electrically-brown tapered-to-a-point loafers on his twice-yearly rugby trip with the lads. Never gives your mum an orgasm again.
If you are wearing jeans, there is something like a 75 percent chance you bought them at Topshop, and I know this because I myself have been through many pairs of jeans, and for some reason most of them are from Topshop, and I am wearing Topshop jeans, now, from Topshop, right now, as I write this. Despite the fact that trying anything on in the shop is a literal journey into the depths of hell – with the cubicles too shallow to move back from the mirror, so you are instead faced with staring up close and personal at every single one of your flaws, lit in high definition by the (for some reason yellow-tinted) lights that magnify the worst aspects of your very soul – and despite the fact that the jeans are either so stretchy that they are essentially leggings, or crafted from such unforgiving denim that they rip mercilessly and irreparably while you pick up your dog’s shit from the pavement, they have some way of drawing you in – and before you know it, you’ve spent £42 on a very sub-standard pair of trousers. Disappointing, but not surprising.
Trackies as Part of a Full Matching Tracksuit
This person sits (extremely) comfortably on the highest tier of trouser-wearers – what attitude is superior to "I'm going to be fucking comfortable and I'm going to look like a baller while I’m doing it"? The pretentiousness found here is slim-to-none, because despite usually wearing one relatively expensive brand head-to-toe, they are incapable of looking down upon other people while wearing these, because they are essentially wearing a grown-up two-piece babygro. Run, my special little toddler! I love you and I’m proud of you!
Trackies That Aren’t Matching Anything and Are in Fact Just a Glorified Fleecy Pair of Pyjama Bottoms
Look, we all get it: the appeal of trackies is universal. You can wear them anywhere! You can wear them in bed and then for the whole of the next day! There is, warpedly, no judgment in the wearing of trackies, despite the entire point of writing this article being judgment. The only thing I will emphasise is the importance of washing tracksuit bottoms very regularly, because you know and I know that this is what you wear when you’re hungover and incapable of doing anything apart from lying on the sofa, eating pizza with your legs up, using your knees as a table. Please get the splodges of Domino’s BBQ sauce out of that bit between your crotch and your thigh. You look like you shit yourself.
Popper Tracksuit Bottoms
Astoundingly, over the last few years these have elevated in the ranks of trousers from What Ricky Wears In Every Single Trailer Park Boys Episode, to What Every Single Girl From The Home Counties Wears at The Bussey Building. There has been little research as to how this happened – come on, social anthropologists! Culture is out here happening and you’re missing it! – however the wearer of these has pristine Air Max 97s on her feet, and I truly would love to know how these stay so pristine, because whenever I wear trainers out they return completely wrecked, caked in mud, £80 casually thrown down the drain, and she’s spent the last two days at home in Surrey rolling cigarette after cigarette, desperately trying to learn how to tuck the paper under in time for her Big Night Out.
BELTS: A SUB-SECTION
Please God just go out and buy an actual belt, mate – they literally cost about £3 for a crap one, £20 for one made of actual leather. Just stick it on the birthday present list, because I guarantee your mum's desperate to buy you one anyway, and not surprisingly: I can’t imagine a feeling of sadness greater than bringing up a son and giving him your entire heart and soul for 18 years, only to find one year later that he’s using a shoelace from some Vans – rendering one Van pathetic and laceless – instead of a belt. The shoelace belt is incredibly low tier, and smells slightly of that guy you were seeing for a bit when you were a stupid 18-year-old who had very strong opinions about chemtrails and had watched every episode of Black Mirror 12 times.
Literally Any Other Belt
Fine, good, great, go about your business as usual.
[A Side Note / Cry For Help About Women’s Belts]
I have noticed a growing trend of making women’s belts very strangely sized, e.g. you, a normal-shaped person, buy a belt, and then upon getting home realise there are two holes in it, both slightly missing your size, meaning you have to take it upon yourself to give the belt some new holes. Providing you’re not a leatherworker, you absolutely will not have the craftsmanship or tools needed to do this, meaning you have to use a screwdriver and a kitchen knife to make this belt fit, most probably stabbing yourself in the hand/arm/leg in the process. Please! Major retailers! Put more holes in your belts!
[End Of Women’s Belts Side Note / Cry For Help]
[End of article in general]