straight men’s jeans

From Steven Levine on Facebook yesterday, some astonishment at getting a targeted ad for

Levi’s® Premium 501® ’93 STRAIGHT MEN’S JEANS

Well, yes, it’s just a familiar sort of structural ambiguity: X Y Z as

 [X + Y] + Z ( [straight men’s] [jeans] ‘jeans for straight men’) (A)

or X + [Y + Z] ( [straight] [men’s jeans] ‘men’s jeans that are straight’ (B)

(where the Adj  straight in (B) is a truncation of straight-fitstraight-leg ‘straight-legged’, while the Adj straight in (A) is a rough synonym of heterosexual)

The Levis people had (B) in mind, But Steven and I, as gay men, immediately perceived (A), straight being especialy salient for us, so we found the ad hilarious, wondering just what sort of purity test would be applied before guys were allowed ro buy the jeans.

The company’s illustration, along with some of the characteristics it trumpets for them:


The original blue jean since 1873.
The original straight fit jean.
90’s inspired look and feel.
All-American style.

The commercial terms Levis uses for the jeans it offers:

skinny, slim, straight, taper, bootcut, relaxed, loose

Other sources use a somewhat different set of labels. From the Fashion Infographics site, “Types of jeans – a visual glossary” on 11/21/15:


American style vs. European style. I was puzzled by the (All-)American style on the Levis site. The contrast is with European style, but I still find the distinction elusive.The best I’ve been able to find is this discussion of men’s European jeans on the International Jock site

When you’re in the market for sophisticated casual wear, it doesn’t get much more on point than a pair of men’s European jeans. European men have an intrinsic sense of style. At once sleek and comfortable, it’s fashion that speaks volumes without ever being overdone. Ready to embrace your inner Euro male? Then take a peek at our quick tips for creating the kind of look that fashionable guys across the globe envy.

The first step to dressing like you’re from across the pond is to eschew the baggy look for a fitted pair of men’s European jeans. European fashion tends to bypass extremely loose fitting pants for more slender stylings. Of course, there’s no need to go for super skinnies – a simple straight leg will do nicely. Just leave the wider legs and droopy waistbands on the rack.

Do it European Style

Another important element to nailing the sophisticated look you’re after is to be selective about the pieces you add to your wardrobe. When it comes to men’s European jeans, it’s definitely about quality over quantity. Save up for a few higher end jeans, and pair them with pieces you already own to maximize both your look and your bottom line. And don’t forget to accessorize. A loosely knotted scarf, classic belt, or quality pair of dress shoes can take your outfit from ordinary to exceptional.

From this, it would apprear that, except for the avoidance of bagginess, the European style is mostly not a matter of enduring quantifiable characterstics, but rather a matter of sensibility and attitude, evidenced in small details of design, tied to local contexts (variable over times and places and social groups), details that themselves are probably noticed only by experienced observers.

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