“Sartorial Slumming”

Kate Dries observes that denim-on-denim, or the “Canadian Tuxedo,” is so hot right now. Marcotte is unconvinced:

Meanwhile, Judith Thurman – in what could well be the first New Yorker piece illustrated by Kim Kardashian in open-thigh jeans – examines the history of denim and other forms of “sartorial slumming”:

You may suppose that dressing like the indigent, in rags and tatters, to make a statement about art, politics, or identity, started with the punks. But Count Tolstoy adopted the rough homespuns of Russian serfs, along with a credo of “voluntary poverty,” inspired by Christ and Buddha, that wasn’t popular with his family members. In the nineteen-twenties, Paul Poiret accused no less than Chanel of perpetrating a look that he called la misère de luxe: costly couture outfits made from jersey tricot, a proletarian fabric formerly used only for work clothes and men’s underwear. It was suddenly chic to look as though you had something better to do, and to think about, than changing an effete toilette three times a day.

Update from a reader:

If you want a real example of double-denim the first time around, you could try this video:

C’est la vie!