Men, it's time to break out of your denim prison

There are other materials in the cupboard you can wear

I got rid of my Levi's jacket a while ago after catching myself about to commit double denim. But, just for my peace of mind, would it have been wrong to wear a blue denim jacket with black jeans?

Chris, by email

By a good distance and a half, last week's discussion of double denim garnered more correspondence than this column has ever attracted. Moreover, whereas most letters to Ask Hadley tend to come from the female of the species and are written in a kind, or at least polite, tone, the DD deluge came entirely from men who most certainly were not polite. In fact, they were outraged – yes, outraged. How dare I suggest that wearing a denim jacket with jeans makes them look anything other than fantastic hunks of masculinity?

On the one hand, this was something of a surprise, as the original column was about fashion designers attempting to push the DD look on women. On the other, it wasn't a surprise at all as the briefest of glances down any high street in Britain would prove that the true fans of DD in this country aren't fashion-conscious women who read Vogue, but men who read books by Tony Parsons.

Time, space and patience prevent me from reiterating again why DD is just the most hideous look of all time ever for ever and ever and will be so until the universe explodes amen. But your letter, Chris, caught both my eye and my sympathy. It's your self-discipline I admire, young man. Throwing away your denim jacket when you caught yourself pairing it with jeans! Bravo, good chap, bravo. But, oh my poor, poor boy, trying so hard but just getting it the wrong way round. Because you see, Chris, it's not your harmless denim jacket that you should have thrown away – it's your horrible, unforgivable, atrocious black jeans.

Black jeans reek of Q magazine, Genesis (the band, not the Bible) and self-deluding naffness. Throw them out forthwith, men, I order you now. The denim does not make the black colour cool, and the black does not make the denim smart. It makes them both horrible and, in an ideal world, illegal.

You see, this is the thing, men, and, yes, I am addressing all of you. Denim is not the easy, safe option that you seem to think it is. It is incredibly high maintenance. I know that you all like the fact that it is socially acceptable not to wash your jeans (although not round my house, it isn't). But jeans involve – nay, demand – an enormous amount of forethought. To whit, they are allowed only to be dark blue, but not so dark they are, shudder, black. They can't be too high-waisted (80s dad) or low-waisted (wannabe rapper). They can't be too baggy or too tight. And they can't be worn with any other denim item.

So the moral here is, men, break out of your denim prison! There are other materials in the cupboard. I know: someone once told you that denim was cool, it works on both the gays and the straights, and your friends wear it. Hence, the nervy self-defensiveness about my criticism of DD. It's as if I've questioned your entire value system, isn't it, men? But, really, you've turned a material that was supposed to give you fashion freedom into a form of restriction. Moreover, you abuse its potential by getting carried away with it. You're like people on the Atkins diet who wilfully interpret the order to eat more protein into an advocation to binge on bacon. You're only kidding yourselves and you know it. Step away from the denim, boys. Step away.

What has happened to Marc Jacobs?! His new perfume advert in which he poses naked is just embarrassing.

Marie, by email

Oh Marie, don't rub it in. To those of us who have offloaded a great deal of our life savings over the years into Marc's bank account, the advert to which you refer, in which he poses like SATC's Smith in his Absolut Hunk advert, is a painful state of affairs. One of the original appeals of the Marc Jacobs brand, besides the very nice clothes, was that it wasn't predicated on selling a vision of sex apparently culled from porn films, as most other fashion brands are.

But then Jacobs started going to the gym and now he can't stop taking off all his clothes and showing his body. Like I said, sad. On the plus note, it does confirm my lifelong belief that going to the gym is bad for one's health. On the downside, I've had to break up with Marc.

• Post your questions to Hadley Freeman, Ask Hadley, The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Email


Hadley Freeman

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