# casual clothing # casualness of society

Fake Mud Jeans | Teatime with Jennifer

In today's Teatime with Jennifer, I'm sipping sweet iced tea and discussing the Fake Mud Jeans that have gone viral this week. Now that is a sentence I never thought I'd write!

What are Fake Mud Jeans?

Made by brand PRPS, Fake Mud Jeans sell for $425 and, according to the description from Nordstrom, are heavily distressed medium-blue denim jeans in a comfortable straight-leg fit embody rugged, Americana workwear that's seen some hard-working action with a crackled, caked-on muddy coating that shows you're not afraid to get down and dirty.

These jeans are representative of many things that are wrong in society right now. They are, in a sense, the Emperor's new clothes. When I posted the Washington Post Article discussing these jeans, many Facebook followers posted their thoughts. Here were some of my favorites:

Just like we have become accustomed to ripped jeans, and sheer yoga pants, are we being conditioned to accept muddy clothes as everyday fashion? How are these jeans a commentary on our virtual reality society, where we like to appear as though we do something, without actually doing it? How far will the bounds of casual dressing go? All of these topics and more are discussed in this week's Teatime with Jennifer video.


The Czech translation of the Madame Chic books are in a box set, as shown here from Mlada Fronta on Instagram..

Comment of the Week
Anna W writes:
Poise in arguments in so hard, but I agree that you can improve with practice. Some people really like drama, and if you respond heatedly the situation will continue to escalate. Staying calm takes a lot of the fun out of it for them. And for those who are genuinely upset, staying calm can help them have a conversation instead of an argument. One thing I've found that helped with my kids is taking a breath and pausing to say their name before responding. This helped me not blurt out the harsher words I was thinking, and the small pause and calm response can (sometimes) help diffuse the situation.

Hi Anna, I really like your advice of saying your child's name before responding to their bad behavior. Now, I just need to work on not sounding angry while saying their name! Ha! Thank you to you and everyone for your wonderful comments on the Q&A posts.

Today, I would love to know what you think of Nordstrom's Fake Mud Jeans. What do you think these jeans say about our society right now? Please let me know and your comment could be chosen as comment of the week on The Daily Connoisseur.

I will see you on Thursday for part 3 of reader Q&As. See you then!

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Jo said...

Hi Jennifer,
Fake mud jeans and sheer yoga pants, oh my. I am ready for the pendulum to swing the other direction now!
My husband is a mechanic and I know all about dirty work clothes. Will fake grease stained jeans be next?
I think most men are like your husband (and mine!) - they just go ahead and get the job done, not taking thought to what might happen to their clothes. If you think about it, that's the way a hero behaves - he doesn't think of the consequences, he sees what needs to be done and does it!

Sonya said...

I think this is a case of retailers inventing wacky trends to get people to buy more stuff. "You already have regular jeans....now you need fake mud jeans!" This is where keeping a Ten Item Wardrobe of timeless classics can help you save money and look great!

Amy said...

I grew up on a farm surrounded by hardworking men and women and we learned an appreciation for honest, hard work. No one I know would find this fashion trend to be acceptable in any way. Most folks who have jobs that get them this dirty want nothing more than to get home scrub up in the shower and put on fresh, clean clothes as a reward for that hard work. My father wouldn't have sat at our dinner table looking like that let alone have gone out to a restaurant or a movie. He would have considered it disrespectful to himself and to others. I'm assuming if you are spending $425 on these jeans, you would wear them anywhere. I find it disrespectful to socialize looking like this and hope folks have more sense than to buy into this fad.

Unknown said...

Hi Jennifer,

I feel these are offensive for a number of reasons, but largely because this is culturally insensitive, if you call the working class a "culture". There has been debate about street style starting with those who must be creative with a limited budget and how high fashion (the rich) emulate their style with designer copies. I think the fake mud jeans loosely fall into this category and are another type of cultural appropriation; the wealthy capitalizing on those who truly work grueling, dirty jobs in order to support themselves and their families. The high price for these horribly distressed jeans is like a slap in the face to those who work hard and could never afford to buy them. Just another tone deaf message that was not thought through.

Unknown said...

I liked your insight that these silly pants reflect a larger societal issue. Even though I roll my eyes at these, I need to remember that I am a bit of a social media addict and guilty of not always getting out there and experiencing things first hand. Maybe not as extreme, but we surely have become a society of observers rather than "doers."

Unknown said...

This reminds of when Nordstrom was selling an $80 rock around Christmas time. BUT I'm not really sure what to think of all this. Distressing items such as clothes or even furniture (I saw you sitting on a "rustic" bench in this video) can be charming and has evolved into a style and taste some people like. Some people really like the idea of decorating their homes with distressed items, so it seems natural that fashion has taken this approach as well.

Vicki Zimmerman said...

When I first heard you say "fake mud jeans" (yes, they deserve all lower case ), I thought you were joking, and you weren't!  We're reaching an all-time low with this one.  Let me add that I also do not like ripped or distressed jeans and it seems like women's jeans are blowing in the breeze in the front.  Can you imagine a man in fake mud jeans walking down the street with a women in ripped jeans?!  I'm sure it's happening as I write.  Yes, bring back dignified dressing, please, and let's all be authentic.  Great post, Jennifer, and this brought a chuckle.

Unknown said...

My question is, how many people are really buying them!? I bet the number is extremely low. Maybe Hollywood types? But who would buy these just for the price alone? They certainly would not be allowed to wear those at any workplace. And would Nordstrom employees themselves be allowed to wear those on the sales floor? I don't really think it's offensive. I try not to get offended by everything. And "doers" of any job they work hard at can smell a fake from a mile away. So, I don't think they are really fooling anyone. Especially with the pristine shoes! ;) Ha! I just think it's silly and yes it does, unfortunately, reflect our society's leanings. It just makes your champaign even more valuable! I know I'm a soldier on your side trying to make it better, even for appearances sake. Classy not trashy!!!

It would be interesting to find out the age of the designer of these jeans as well. I bet they are relatively young, and/or had little background in how the working world works. Just my thoughts.

On another note: there are still parents raising their little ones to have manners! We were coming out of a restaurant yesterday and a young gentleman was holding open the door for my parents and my kids and then me and we all said, "Thank You!" And I looked at him and he had the BIGGEST grin on his face! He was so happy! It really touched me!! It just made me realize again: We can make a difference, and it does matter, even a thing like holding open a door. That young gentleman was so happy and pleased! Him being happy and pleased mattered to me when I saw it, his parents for teaching him to do that, and to him for doing something he was proud of and was thoughtful of others... the little things add up to big things!

PLL said...

I find it ridiculous, however I do think it would be quite funny if Shout or another stain-buster ran an advertisement showing how their product could get rid of not only real mud but fake mud too.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gumbo Lily said...

My husband and I are ranchers and two of our sons and their families work on the ranch with us. We work hard and we get very dirty almost on a daily basis. Just yesterday we were working cows at the barn and had cow poop all over our clothes and boots. It goes with the job! The first thing we do when getting to the house is to strip down and throw our dirty clothes in the washer before the stains set, unlike the muddy jeans which I suppose are embedded stains or something. I remember looking for a pair of jeans for my husband one time and noticed that there was a certain "wash" in the denim that, to me, looked like manure stains. I didn't buy those jeans for him.

I like my men to be able to jump in and do the dirty job at hand without worry. I think women should be able to do the same. Thank goodness we don't have to wash our clothes on washboards anymore. Cleaning up is fairly easy work. Getting dirty to get the job done is good. Faking it is.....weird.

Anna said...

Thanks for posting my comment. You really made my day!

I find the jeans really bizarre, especially the price tag. I'm hoping it's not a trend that catches on. I see it as a form of entertainment for people- always looking for the "next thing." But it is sad how overly casual American society has become. A lot of it seems to be a lack of self esteem- believing you are worth the effort.

Polly said...

I was so surprised to see that these jeans are a real thing. Who knew?!

It reminds me of the story of when one of my uncles went off to a nearby elite university in the early 1970s. His father was struggling with cancer, and my grandmother was pinching all her pennies. He came from an intelligent, hard-working, education-oriented family, but they simply did not have much money at that time. They could not afford new jeans, so my thrifty, clever grandmother sent him off to college with his clean, but patched-up, jeans. She said she felt sorry to send him to the "rich kids' school" like that, but she had no choice.

Well, the "rich kids" were so enamored by my uncle's jeans that they offered him money for them, asked him where he got them, etc! My grandmother told that story for decades, absolutely astonished that anyone would want to pay for *patched jeans.*

We still live on my grandparents' farm. My children wear mud for FREE, but we always get cleaned up before going anywhere.....I don't think that aspect of our family culture will ever change.

Anonymous said...

I have absolutely NO respect for anyone who would purchase and wear these jeans, and think they would deserve to be soundly mocked. REAL mud is a noble thing; it comes from doing actual hard work. But when the work is done, the clothes are washed -- not worn out to dinner and a movie. Someone who would wear these is wearing a big sign on themselves that says "Poser".

I suppose it was bound to happen. People don't want to work hard; they just want to look as if they did. I know people who collect cookbooks who don't so much as boil water. They say they like to read them. And there are the people who watch "reality shows" instead of actually living a life. And, yes, social media. Friending someone does NOT make them a friend. They are a stranger who may or may not have a few things in common with you. Real friendship takes time and proximity. Everyone wants the quick fix, without having to put in any effort.

I had heard about these jeans on NPR this weekend. But, Jennifer... I also heard about something even MORE weird: Clear plastic jeans. Good heavens, what's next? Spray-on jeans in an aerosol can? Nothing would surprise me anymore.

Dana said...

Hi Jennifer,

I have a question I was hoping you may be able to address, especially with the warm weather upon us. How do you stay chic while participating in outdoor activities? I love hiking, biking and camping, and enjoy being outdoors as much as possible. Any tips for looking pulled together with minimal products and maintaining functionality for the long trail ahead? Thank you in advance.

Unknown said...

Thank you Jennifer. I really enjoy your videos. Unfortunately I'm sometimes finding some comments of a few posts quite negative - about how tbose who don't dress in a certain way are disrespectful people who deserve to be mocked. We're talking about human beings, here - people who are made of more than just what they wear. A poised person would never judge others for their exterior.

Unknown said...

Fashion history is full of such follies. They generally pass quickly. Fashion is allowed to be silly and frequently is but experimentation is also the fount of creativity.
The fake mud jeans are indeed hideous and very likely to be confined to the sartorial dust bin so probably no need to worry too much about them. Remember the acid washed denim of the 80's so beloved of Americans for far too long? Even that fashion crime eventually disappeared. Loon pants? Gravity defying platform shoes? 18th century wigs which became so big that doors had to be widened? Old Marie Antoinette and her fake peasant gear at her hameau at Versailles which so inflamed the real, starving peasants?!
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.