Janet Christie's Mum's the Word - Cowboys, cargos and condoms

They’re all part of the language of fashion
Janet Christie's Mum's the Word. Pic: Adobe.Janet Christie's Mum's the Word. Pic: Adobe.
Janet Christie's Mum's the Word. Pic: Adobe.

Wait long enough and a favourite comes back into fashion, rejigged as ‘retro’. Take Youngest Child’s new cargo pants, and I will - as soon as she leaves them lying on her bedroom floor unguarded.

“Look,” she says, doing a twirl. “Like my new trousers?”

“I do! Combats, yay. Are they back in?”

To steal Claudia Winkleman’s best line from this year’s Traitors, albeit she was referring to the perceived sexism of the all-male Traitors’ choice of yet another man on their team: “It’s like the olden days.”

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“Cargos,” corrects Youngest Child, using the latest nomenclature for those trousers so beloved of 90s girl bands from All Saints to TLC and comfort dressers everywhere.

I have so many questions for her. The first, as ever, involves cost.

“How much?”

“Guess,” she says.

“£2.” (I like to burst her bargain bubble.)

“Just no.”

"OK, £12.”

“£12.99,” she says, but down from £59.” That’s my girl.

“This was the ONLY pair,” she says, killing my second question: “Did they have any more?”. My third: “Can I borrow them?” meets with a flat “No”, mollified by “But you could get your own from somewhere else - older people can wear them too.”

It’s OK, the pretties will come to me eventually, when skinny jeans come back in again and she does one of her wardrobe clear outs.

“How many pockets?” I ask, pockets in women’s clothes being a big issue for me and related to my occasional desultory attempts to smash the patriarchy by stealth, buying ‘men’s’ clothes with their multiple pockets, superior fabrics and smaller price tags.

She does a count. “Six.”

“Nice.” You can never have too many pockets and I’m already planning what I’ll be stashing in them; phone, wallet, keys, vape. And is that, whisper it, an elasticated waist?

“But there’s no condom pocket,” she says.

“Condom pocket?”

“The little one at the top, inside one of the bigger front waist pockets. My friend’s mum told me they used to call it that.”

“Ah clever, but I’m sure when Levi Strauss invented jeans he was not thinking condoms,” I say.

“Might have been,” she says, “how do you know?”.

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“Because it was for a pocket watch. Otherwise the cowboys would lose their chain watches off their waistcoats when they were jigging about on their horses riding the range.”

“Ok mum,” she says. “You just do you.”