When I used to live in France, there was an unspoken dress code among the boys who walked the streets with a certain sense of pride and ownership, those who belonged to gangs (or wanted to show some sort of regional affiliations): dressed in mostly Lacoste polos and white sneakers, they would pull their white sports socks up high and stuff the bottom edge of their trousers (or track pants) into them. It would create a small bulge in the socks, but the silhouette was unmistakable even from a distance. They also had a curious walk, with a gentle side-toside sway, and when you saw these boys coming, you knew what to do: avoid them. It even had a negative effect on Lacoste, the brand, so much so that they had to do a lot to raise their appeal.
Who would have thought, then, that the style of wearing cropped and crumpled trousers would find mainstream following one day? It’s true that badass has a way of becoming popular (cowboy boots, motorcycle jackets and so on), but when that badass isn’t the hero that saves the day, it is harder to find a mass appeal. Still, a bit over a decade after the French racaille stuck their trousers in their socks, the idea of wearing a cross between track bottoms and trousers seems to have finally found conventional attention in what is these days known as Jogg jeans.
Diesel, which first created these jeans, described them as “ a cutting edge crossbreed between jeans and activewear. Jogg Jeans puts the durability of Diesel Denim jeans into motion. Crafted in a unique fabric that weaves together the style of denim with the versatility of jersey, it’s the original hybrid jean. You now have the freedom to move like never before.” Basically, this was a pair of jeans that combined the denim look and feel with the relaxed comfort of sweat pants, all styled in a way that you could actually jog in them.
I scorned them outright; they were the male version of mommy jeans. For me, a man who wears elastic waistband trousers has truly given up on life. And yet, here was a premium denim brand betting on it. As it turned out, they were right. Recently, when I got a pair of Yoga denims by designer Manish Tripathi, I could see how similar in structure they were. The denim wasn’t your classic 16oz, but it was indigo dyed and even sported a vertical patch on the inside of the calf for, I imagine, reduced wear and tear, comfort and aesthetics. Both feature an elastic waistband and drawstrings, as well as elastic on the trouser bottom. So track pants, basically, but in denim.
As I see it, the trend is not limited to jeans any more. Regular trousers (usually in cotton drill fabric) and even some chinos of this season come with elastic at both ends. Uniqlo has them, so does Levi’s. In fact, if you check out the Levi’s Joggers range, you will see that they are made to look and feel like regular pants, with a colour palette that is rather muted — more earthy and pastel than bright go-to-hell shades or patterns.
I have now finally reconciled to the idea of a grown man wearing elastic band trousers. Strangely enough, I am more at ease wearing these, with their extremely tapered and puckered bottoms, than skinny jeans, a garment that makes me feel rather chicken-like (big body, spindly legs). In other words, there is finally a way to be cool and comfy, in a manner that the oldies can do with equal ease as the millennial. I am already looking forward to a big meal, where I don’t have to fasten my belt one notch looser. Speaking of which, these tracktrousers must be hitting the luxury belt market horribly!