Dear Boomers, Please Accept Current Fashion Trends

An action shot of my fashionable, ripped slacks being ridiculed by my Grandma. 
Photo by Rebecca Berman

An action shot of my fashionable, ripped slacks being ridiculed by my Grandma. Photo by Rebecca Berman

Jessica Berman, Section Editor

Never will I ever walk on piping hot coals. Never will I ever embark on Great White Shark Cage Diving. Never will I ever wear ripped jeans to a family gathering again. 

I just can’t take it anymore! I’m sick of my elders ridiculing me regarding my fashion choices.

I vividly recall a time sitting on my grandma’s couch minding my own business, scrolling through TikTok just as any Generation Z kid does on a sunny afternoon. My outfit that day looked fly. I wore a cute shirt paired with my beloved black, ripped jeans, topped off with my quilted Steve Madden shoes.

My grandmother sauntered in to greet me, but she stopped in her tracks. She gazed at me without missing a beat and exclaimed, “Oh you poor thing, do you need some spare change?” I stared at her perplexed as she ranted regarding the “rags” enveloping my lower extremities. The taunting continued: “Those are some nice air conditioning pants you got there. Wear those to synagogue, those pants sure are holy!” I thought to myself: very funny Grandma, holy instead of holey. I’m sorry grandma, but it’s called FASHION!

A multitude of sarcastic ripped jean cracks occur EVERY TIME I wear my treasured bottoms. In fact, ripped jean zingers come at me so fast that they go in one pant hole and out the other.

Please note that these remarks extend beyond the realm of tattered denim. I receive comments concerning a multitude of fashion choices ranging from my shirt “plunging too low” to my skirt length falling “too short.” 

My query here is: who gets to decide fashion? Clearly older folks struggle with accepting the present fashion trends, this causes tension between generations. The Boomers’ scrutinization of my wardrobe manifests in my feeling self-conscious—even to the extent that I sacrifice some snazzy looking outfits. 

I understand that older generations harbor some reservations regarding the clothing we wear today. Certainly, clothing trends drastically evolved in the span of their lives. If I perceive fashion in the lens of my grandma’s generation, their vendettas against ripped jeans are somewhat justifiable. Back in the day, ripped jeans correlated to the less fortunate, working class. The tears and holes in the denim reflected intense labor from throughout the day. The patches of shredded fabric also represented the cheapness and low durability of the jeans; if you had the money, you would just go to the store and buy a new, intact pair or seek out your trusty seamstress to bind the damage. 

Older generations fail to scrap the images from long ago and accept that even the most elite individuals wear ragged clothes. In fact, the paparazzi captured Jeff Bezos sporting a pair of ripped jeans. Let’s be real, the richest man alive can afford the most coveted slacks; yet, he still opts for distressed pants. Evidently, not only does style change over time, but style also transcends socioeconomic classes.  

I comprehend that grandparents and those that comprise the generations of Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers do not intend to oppress teenagers. Yet, their comments come across as judgemental and condemning. Undoubtedly, my grandma makes these rips out of love and care. She does not want me, her granddaughter, looking sloppy or being careless regarding my appearance. I get it; she wishes for me to appear polished and presentable. However, in modern times, ripped jeans qualify as an acceptable clothing choice. In her eyes, my grandma views the rehashing of passé and “questionable” fashion trends (in this case ripped jeans) as a step in the wrong direction and not a refreshing memory of the past. 

Similarly, school settings often obliterate the fashion choices of teenagers. School dress codes mirror the doctrine of elders by degrading students. They hinder student expression and blockade a plethora of clothing choices. In middle school, exposed shoulders garner reprimands as well as shorts and skirts deemed too short. 

A particularly demeaning metric is the“fingertip test.” This test determines the length of appropriateness of shorts and skirts. A school administrator or staff member demands that a student: 1) stand in place with arms stretched down by their sides, 2) extend their fingertips as far down their legs as humanly possible, and 3) remain motionless to visually measure if the fabric drapes above or below their quivering fingertips. If above their fingertips, the garment fails the “fingertip test.” 

This spectacle exists for what reason? Oh yeah, “scandalous clothing distracts others in their learning environment.” Who creates and enforces these absurd rules? Oh yeah, school staff and administration **cough** older generations **cough.**

These deplorable dress codes implemented by older generations, both in and out of school, hold the power to decimate self-confidence. These deplorable dress codes belittle people and cause shame.

What do older individuals gain from reprimanding kids about their clothes? Are they jealous? Is it really out of care? 

Terminate this subjection. Accept that fashion will continue to transform and occasionally repeat itself. Older generations, please comprehend the underlying messages and ramifications of your claims. 

I retract my prior statement vowing to never wear ripped jeans to a family gathering again. I will do so unabashedly. So sorry Grandma, but as of today your ripped jean digs are just as irrelevant as the denim pieces missing from my pants.