I May Be Drenched In Sweat, But I’ll Die If I Can’t Wear a Jean Jacket In September

By Stu Denham - Chicago Style Columnist

Dear Genius Herald editors and readers,


Before you say anything, I KNOW. I look like a rat got drowned in Lake Michigan. But hear me out: it’s September, and I don’t think I can make it a single additional day without wearing a jean jacket.

In my extensive 8-year career as a Chicago fashion expert, there’s one absolute constant that can get us through anything: denim outerwear. It unites us, it goes with anything, and for god’s sake it has pockets (albeit really really really tight ones). So why deny ourselves this small autumn joy just because it’s still 90 degrees out and I definitely have heat stroke??aaasdassdddl;l;.,;as.ad.s,        

Fine, I drank some water. But who among us hasn’t wistfully, even flirtily straightened the lapels of our precious fall staple as it hangs lifelessly at the far-right end of our coat closet? It  cries out for our love and attention, and something inside us cries out too. For crisp afternoons and back patches, for apple cider and a well-placed button…


Once you’ve had that thought, right around Labor Day, there’s no going back. Every day in September I’m not armored up with my trusty blue, I feel a little part of me wither away. No, no, it’s NOT that I’ve lost a quarter of my body weight in water, it’s a spiritual connection. I hope you can understand.

Indeed, I worry about young Chicagoans, who seem to have missed the point on denim entirely. Gone are skinny jeans, gone are short sleeve chambray button-ups done all the way up to a tastefully tattooed neck, and gone is the classic September jean jacket! Instead, Generation Z’s dress sense veers toward the dowdy, even -- dare I say -- the comfortable! Unless we elder younger Chicagoans pledge to smoke like so many pepper-and-garlic salmon dinners until October, I venture to say that the excesses of these Gen-Z fashion trends spells the end of Chicago’s blue collar reputation.* 

That being said, it warms my heart to see plenty of fellow sufferers still walking my path in this city. Regardless of global warming, or even our *normal* unpredictable weather, Chicago raises an indigo-dyed middle finger. We bake our torsos in private cotton kilns with pride, knowing in our pounding hearts and heaving lungs that we’re layering intelligently for the season. And I’ll keep doing it year over year, despite actually having ruined this jacket.


*The Chicago Genius Herald is no longer accepting inquiries about columnist’s work histories. -- Ed.

Sign up for the best of The Chicago Genius sent straight to your inbox.