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Chaps, if we want grandchildren, we need to stop the skinny jeans fad

Why will no one sell trousers that fit me?

5 October 2013

9:00 AM

5 October 2013

9:00 AM

Are you a man? Do you have legs wider than the average pipe cleaner? Then this article is for you. You’ll need something to read as you sit at home, unable to go out because you’ve got no trousers. British clothes shops, you see, no longer sell ones that fit you.

At first I thought the problem was me. Every pair of jeans I tried on in Gap hugged me like clingfilm. Had I put on that much weight? I tried the only other place I ever buy jeans: Fat Face. Same story. As indeed it was with their trousers, even the combats. God help the soldier sent into action wearing those things: he wouldn’t be able to bend at the knee. Lost in a sea of labels reading ‘Skinny’ and ‘Slim’, I realised that (to misquote Gloria Swanson) I hadn’t got big — the trousers had got small.

Friends confirmed the problem. On Just a Minute Marcus Brigstocke was given the subject ‘skinny jeans’, and went into a rant about how there should be a shop that sells trousers for ‘normal’ men. Don’t get us wrong: we’re not aiming for Shaun Ryder circa 1990. We just want legwear that allows us to speak in a note below top C. And yes we know that skinny is the latest fashion. That’s the problem: fashion is for the likes of James Anderson, who I saw at a corporate do recently in a suit with trousers that might as well have been tights. He looked fantastic. Of course he did: he’s an England fast bowler with a body to match. He’d look good in anything. The rest of us: not so fortunate. We look like Tony Blair in that photocall at Camp David, wearing jeans so tight he could only get his fingertips into the pockets.

US President George W. Bush (L) and British Prime


Things looked hopeful a couple of weeks ago, when my friend Chris excitedly announced that he’d found the solution. There was a shop, he said, that was still selling proper jeans, and what’s more they didn’t charge the earth. Even as he prepared to reveal the secret, I had forebodings. Sure enough, Chris uttered those three little words: Marks and Spencer. No! I cannot buy my jeans from M&S. I’m planning on living more than another 18 months.

So the search continues, and it’s a dangerous business. Last week I found myself in Reiss, a shop I’ve always viewed as a touch dandyish, but needs must. Within minutes I’d put my back out. This is not a joke for journalistic effect: I had put my back out. You can tell a pair of jeans are going to be too tight as soon as you put your leg in, can’t you? But just to see how ludicrous things had got I persisted, and tried to get the jeans on completely. This I managed, just about.

Then came the challenge of getting them off again. The waistband couldn’t be pushed any further than mid-thigh, so I sat down (or rather fell against the cubicle wall and slid into the seat), ready to start pulling at an ankle. Needless to say the first effort yielded naught, so I tried again — and felt a horrible twinge in my latissimus dorsi. There were only female assistants on duty, so I had to sit and wait for the pain to subside. The alternative wasn’t an option. Me: ‘My back’s gone, please could you come and help me get these jeans off?’ Them: ‘Not that old chestnut.’

Skinny JeansRussell Brand, reality TV star Joey Essex and comedian Jack Whitehall 

But never mind my minor injuries. The real danger concerns nothing less than the survival of the species. This horrifying thought occurred to me in a branch of Jack Wills. (Don’t be silly, of course I wasn’t trying to buy clothes there. Have you seen their jeans? You might as well spraypaint your legs blue. This was just research.) A whole generation of young males are forcing their Intimate Areas into garments that, were they to be issued at Guantánamo Bay, would be classed as infringements of human rights. Perhaps a few of these unfortunates will learn to retract their testicles like samurai warriors, but for the rest there’s only one possible consequence: they are going to be the final branch on their family tree. The British leisurewear industry has become death, the destroyer of worlds.

If we ever want to see our grandchildren, we need to act now. I would suggest a million-man march on the headquarters of Gap. But the men in question would be wearing Gap jeans, so wouldn’t be able to take steps of more than three inches.

We have to do something, though. Come on, chaps. This is a call to arms, for the sake of our legs.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

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Show comments
  • Bonkim

    No we don’t want grandchildren – we want world population to go back to 16th century levels.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

      Be careful what you wish for.

      • Bonkim

        Not many to do the fighting.

  • davidshort10

    Did this get emailed to the Spectator by mistake from some budding intern who meant it to go God knows where – I can’t think of any publication that would publish this lightweight nonsense, never mind the Spectator.

  • AndyB

    Yup. M&S. Job done. Taxi for Mark Mason! (Since he can’t walk)…

  • roger

    I read the headline and thought the story would be about jeans not having enough room for the genitalia to stay loose,cool and potent.Look at the old style Balkan peasants ‘pants’ and the size of their families, my wife had 45 first cousins!
    I confess I used to wear satin ‘loon pants’ around 1970 but then learned how to use a belt.

  • Littlegrayman

    Also chaps try not to ingest so much water sourced from rivers as all the female hormones from the pill do not get removed by the water companies.For all the city high fliers..

    http://news.nationalgeographic.co.uk/news/2009/11/091112-drinking-water-cocaine/

  • Ripple

    Mark Mason: the Bryony Gordon of the Spectator.

    Your first problem is that you want to wear jeans, itself the greatest mystery of our time (jeans, that is, not the fact that you slavishly want to wear them). Jeans look terrible and are inherently uncomfortable to wear. I haven’t worn any since my mid-teens, when I got smart and switched to softer cottons and velours. Besides, I mainly wear skirts and dresses anyway (I’m a girl).

    As for the picture: never mind Blair, the dude on the left looks rather dashing in that jacket.

    By the way, if lefties are reading this article, they won’t agree with you, since a great many of ’em think there should be fewer babies anyway. In fact, in the history of the world, many women’s lives would have been made immeasurably better if only their menfolk’s pants were a good deal tighter. Jane Austen, in her decorous way, was appalled at the fact that husbands’ intimates were quite freely swinging and shooting freely, to the great detriment of their wives, many of whom died early deaths after years of torturous childbirth. How many men asked themselves whether it might be immoral to keep impregnating women? Probably none. And to this day, we are told that a significant fraction of births (a third? a fourth? I don’t know how it could really be known) were not planned. Guess who suffers the most when that happens?

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Britisher pals, if 100% Caucasian children are not a requirement written in stone, than combine emigration with new spouse acquisition. So obvious when you think it through.

  • Jeremy Price

    skinny jeans v neck purple shirts on men wtf? come out of closet already real men dont wear there sisters clothes the crossdressing fad in America is out of control parents need to teach there kids theres a difference between men and women for a reason. if you wear womens clothes you are a crossdresser fellas no matter how much you say its cool . Men are not real men anymore plain and simple and in fact most like men nowdays so you don’t have to worry about grandchildren or population control the young men(ladies ) of this country are doing it for everyone, you can buy a wedding dress in the mens section or skinny jeans a store will sell you anything you want to buy and put it in mens section but that does not mean its still not womens clothes man up men stop wearing womens clothes

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