Double Denim Nooooo!

Sometimes it is important to know when to say “no” to a trend. While fashion trends come and go some of them are better off gone. Every major fashion magazine, designer and influencer/trendsetter can be blamed for the “big” trend for 2010 that never should have come back: the Candian Tuxedo. Yes, we mean you TopShop (source of above photo).

For those of you unfamiliar with this phenomenon, the Canadian Tuxedo is denim on top coupled with denim on bottom, or as it is being called this season “double denim.”

We, here at Crockstar, are all for the rebirth of denim. We love a nice pair of raw selvedged Japanese indigo. We didn’t mind skinny jeans in the slightest. Heck, Levis even managed to make a couple of acceptable jean jackets last season. We would almost even rather see Jean shorts (“jorts”) come back than double denim. This is cold hard proof that there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing.”


Image Via: Stylist

The economist within me would describe denim as having negative returns to scale. According to “Crockstar’s Theorem of Denim” every item of denim added to an outfit (after the first) has a negative effect on the overall utitlity or quality of that outfit. As illustrated in our handy utility curve below, you start out with negative utility with fewer than one items of denim, this assumes you would be naked and in public (we are ignoring voyeours as outliers here). The first unit of denim results in a gain of utility (a positive return). YES! Denim!

However, as illustrated in our figure, the curve has a very sharp angle and utility plummets as you reach and pass two units of denim in any ensemble. By the time we reach three (3) units, we are reaching extreme depression and by the time we have reached four… well, let’s not even go there.

Fashionomics Negative Returns to Scale

Please endeavour to understand this. there is a big difference between diminishing returns to scale and negative returns to scale. Diminishing returns to scale are one thing (the sort of thing you might find with number of cotton items in an outfit)… you reach a certain number and things get worse rather than better. However, denim, sequins, the color white (outside of a wedding) all have a unique character. Once you reach a certain level of satiation, things not only stop improving, they get rapidly worse… until you are worse off than with none.

In summary: double-denim, the Canadian Tuxedo -whatever you want to call it- it’s disgusting. Do not do it. One piece of denim = positive. More than one piece of denim = increasingly negative.