"The Oldie is an incredible magazine - perhaps the best magazine in the world right now" Graydon Carter, founder of Air Mail and former Editor of Vanity Fair

Subscribe to the Oldie and get a free cartoon book


OAPs in jeans - Liz Hodgkinson

Blog | By Liz Hodgkinson | Oct 17, 2022

Blue jeans were once considered rebellious clothes for the young. Now you see people in their seventies and even eighties wearing them, not with an air of rebellion but an attitude of defeat. By Liz Hodgkinson

As most older people look absolutely frightful in jeans, should there be an age cut-off point after which they are no longer acceptable? They are the least dignified garment ever invented – and if there’s something oldies should be aiming at when they’re out and about, it’s dignity.

You even see elderly politicians and others in the public eye in jeans, to show they are still ‘with it’. Even Tim Davie, director-general of the BBC, arrived for his first day at work wearing blue jeans.

Davie, at 54, is not at all ancient, but he is still too old to be wearing jeans in such an important job. Save them for gardening. The Duchess of Cornwall, 73, has also passed the age limit for appearing in blue jeans but she’s been photographed in them.

Oldies should not wear jeans because, mostly, they no longer have the right shape for them. Jeans don’t have a forgiving enough construction for older figures. Denim is stiff and unwieldy, even with a little stretch in the fabric, and does not adapt to the body in the same way as, say, corduroy or fine tweed.

No man with even the merest hint of a paunch should ever wear jeans. Women who have developed the dreaded ‘roll’ that tends to gather round the waist with age should also steer clear. For both sexes, jeans draw uncomfortable attention to a collapsed bum.

And then it’s hard to get the length right. They are either too long or too short. So do us a favour and leave blue jeans to the youngsters for whom they were intended in the first place.