Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Button-Flies Are Pants

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Button-Flies Are Pants

Article excerpt

Byline: gary BAINBRIDGE

IHAVE long believed that the fashion industry gets together every so often to discuss ways of humiliating the general public.

The rag trade bigwigs, clad in black polo necks and trousers, fly in helicopters to one of their number's secret lairs, built on a tropical island inside an inactive volcano. They sit around a spotlit white table, and come up with ideas like "leggings".

"I know", one of them will say, in a generic Eastern European accent, while stroking his white cat, "we will make it acceptable for actual adults to wear babygros.

"We will create entire nations of indoor Teletubbies."

And they will cackle diabolically. "But it won't work", another of them will say, while stroking his own white cat. "An adult won't wear an item of clothing called a 'babygro'. It is to laugh."

"Do not fear. We will rebrand these hellish garments as 'onesies'."

"Yes", the naysayer will reply, confusingly, "but surely such garb will be impractical when the wearer needs to go to the toilet. He or she will have to remove it, leaving him or her cold and undignified..."

Then they will all laugh again.

"By the way, does anybody know how to get white cat hair off a black polo neck?" one of them will ask.

You might be sceptical, but this is really the only plausible explanation for Crocs, hipster beards, and the entire 1980s.

And button-fly trousers.

I understand the existence of button-fly trousers in a world without the zip-fastener. In such a world, I would welcome them.

In fact, if somebody came up to me and said, "Look, I have invented the button-fly trouser," I would be delighted and buy him a drink. "Have a drink," I would say, "and while you're here, what is this thing you people do where you refer to trousers in the singular?" But we live in the Space Age. We have microwave ovens and fax machines and Netflix. There is no reason why trousers should not have zip fasteners these days. The button-fly was a stop-gap. Literally, as it happens.

And that is why I was disappointed when I tried on a pair of trousers from a high-street clothing chain and discovered there were four buttons where a zip should be. …

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