I admit, there was a time in my life when I owned a denim button-up. Two, in fact. And they weren't just denim button-ups, they were special edition The Little Mermaid-embroidered denim button-ups -- one with Sebastian the crab and one with my favorite animated character of all-time, Ursula the sea witch.
There are plenty of wardrobe components I don't care for but recognize have a time and place and type of person for whom they will always be an outfit staple. Khakis are a perfect example of this. Tankinis, Tevas, wide-strapped bras, twinsets and five-inch lucite platform shoes also fit this bill.
Denim above the waist, however, does not. Ever. And this goes just as much if not more for men than it does for women. For all you male offenders out there, you have NO IDEA how much snickering - chortling, even - we girls have engaged in after you and your denim-on-denim ensembles have left a room. Apart from strappy man-sandals, bad teeth, and high-waisted pleated pants, denim-on-denim is the worst of the absolute worst. Despite what you may think, we don't think you look rugged-hot and it doesn't conjure up flashbacks of that handsome construction worker from the Diet Coke commercial in the late-'90s, in fact, all it does is make us second-guess whether we want to sleep with you that night.
Or, more likely, it makes us wonder if you'll want to sleep with us after we initiate the very necessary, "I know this is going to sound superficial, but we need to talk about something..." conversation. I've participated in two denim-on-denim interventions in my life, one of which was actually a denim-on-denim-on-denim jeans/shirt/jacket disaster. Like missed pop culture references, a higher probability for dealing with a denim-on-denim situation is one of the drawbacks I've come to accept about dating older men who've spent the majority of their lives in corporate-wear. These men know how to rock a custom Zegna suit, Thomas Pink cutaway, Brioni tie and complementing - not matching, but complementing - Ferragamo pocket square like no 30 year old could. When it comes to dressing casually, however, beware with the 40-55 year old age-group of the all-too-common denim shorts (shudder) and full-out denim explosions. The best way to deal with this non-negotiable offense is to raise the issue as soon as you see it. I act within seconds. You have to nip this shit in the bud and do so forcefully before you find yourself in a situation where there's no backup plan and you're sitting noticeably silent in the passenger seat wondering just how you're going to explain this big blue mess to your friends.
But enough about men and denim shirts. Though I'm clearly impassioned by my experiences with men and denim-on-denim(-on-denim), the inspiration for this post was a woman I saw today at lunch who coincidentally, when I saw her, was admiring a pair of tapered, high-waisted jeans in the Talbot's display on ConnAve/L. I wanted to grab the brassy blonde who couldn't have been older than 35 (though dressed 15 years beyond that), comb out her curling-ironed ringlets, apply a spare swipe of my Dior Addict Ultra-Gloss in shade "313" ($23.50 at sephora.com) to her pale lips, and beg her not to do it, not do even think about it.
I have no idea if she planned to actually buy the Mom jeans, or if she did, whether she would actually wear the two garments in a single outfit, but judging from her I-just-don't-care-about-my-appearance appearance, it wouldn't at all have been outside the realm of possibility.
Her denim shirt, unlike most I see sitting next to me on airplanes and at movie theaters in Bethesda, was fairly well-tailored to her size-six frame. It didn't hang over her bottom or make her look like a sandwich board. In fact, had it been a crisp pale blue cotton oxford, I might be sitting here writing a post lauding her fashion sense. This proves to me even more that the culprit here is the denim, not the style. Unfortunately, I have no real justification for my denim shirt/jumper/jumpsuit/jacket aversion. I suppose part of it is that I find the fabric too rough to be in such close proximity to my lovely ladies; I also find the blanched blue hue to be unflattering to my skin tone. But, really, these reasons can't be enough to place a garment on permanent blacklist for not just myself but for everybody, can they?
Actually, on this one, I'm just going to have to dig my heels into that high-horse of mine and say those reasons, coupled with the inextricable association I have between denim-on-denim and that painfully uncomfortable car ride to my friend's barbecue, are enough. The pictures are just here to act as reinforcements.