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Jean jackets are having a moment right now. Selvedge, organic, stretch, acid washed, cotton – there are a million different types of denim jackets, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who takes clothing even a little bit seriously without one in their closet.
I wear a denim jacket with Levi 501 jeans because sometimes I like to feel like Bruce Springsteen or that prick from Stranger Things with the sick blond mustache/mullet combo. Last weekend, I wore a Canadian tuxedo out on the town both Friday and Saturday night.
Friday night was a bit of a bust, and hardly anyone got to see my outfit so I didn’t think it was a big deal to recycle it for Saturday night. I visited many bars throughout the course of Friday and Saturday evening, and one thought above all other thoughts kept creeping into my head as wave after wave of men and women alike came up to pay their respects to me and my all-denim ensemble: what is the threshold for jean jackets in a bar before that bar becomes a seedy, hipster dive?
It’s a tough question to answer but I feel like I can answer it because I know fashion. I know what looks good and what doesn’t. So I came up with a number and this is probably going to anger some folks, but for all intents and purposes, the number of denim jackets has to be over three for a bar to be considered a dive. And for all of those people asking? Yes, there are, as with everything, exceptions to this rule.
For instance, I was at a slightly holier-than-thou establishment drinking martinis early in the evening on Saturday. My all denim outfit was turning heads at this bar, but not in a good way. People side-eyed me, and there was a clear implication from waitresses and patrons that this wasn’t the kind of bar where this outfit or my loud, somewhat braggadocious personality were welcome.
There were, however, several other men and women wearing jean jackets. But these weren’t gently used jackets like the one that I had on my torso. They hadn’t been broken in, and they were clearly higher end, designer brand jackets.
This bar where I sat housing martinis should not, and will not, be allowed to be given the honor of the label “dive.”
Even though I think the number of jean jackets before a bar becomes a dive is three, what we qualify as a jean jacket has to be defined as well. You can’t be wearing a denim jacket that was made by a designer fashion label like Vetements or fucking Gucci.
The denim jacket in question must be from a second-hand shop, a hand me down from a parent, or one that has been in your closet for years and has been through the ringer a little bit. The quality we’re looking for in a jean jacket that is most important? Character. The jacket has to have seen some shit, if you know what I mean.
Cheap beer (either High Life in a can or PBR tall boys), music from Arcade Fire or Tame Impala, maybe a few mustaches walking around, and a general aloofness from the wait staff and the patrons they are serving – all of these things are what make a dive bar truly great. But I think from now on, we have to have, at the very least, three jean jackets in the crowd for a bar to be referred to as a dive. Because nothing save for the peanut butter and jelly sandwich goes as well together as a dive bar and a jean jacket..
Image via Unsplash