I have to admit I’ve never bought a single pair of blue jeans (or any other trousers) in the Philippines. I brought some with me when I moved here in 2006 (most shipped ahead of me) and I brought a couple more the last time I returned from the United States.
Before two new malls opened near me in 2012, there weren’t a lot of choices available. To be honest, I don’t even know if those malls carry anything other than the cheap knockoffs of American brand name jeans. I haven’t shopped for clothing in the Philippines yet (other than dress shoes).
Once, when I was on my way back from Manila, we stopped at a rest area where American brand name blue jeans were being sold in bulk, out on the sidewalk. I have no idea if they were the real deal or counterfeit clothing. Usually the counterfeit clothing looks and feels like the real thing, but the name is usually misspelled. They were Levi’s blue jeans, with the name spelled correctly. The prices were about half the price you’d pay anywhere in the United States when they aren’t on sale.
I’ve seen plenty of people wearing counterfeit Dickies blue jeans, misspelled as “Dickees” or “Dickeys”. The logos look the same except for the spelling. Perhaps I haven’t paid attention to what people are wearing enough because I haven’t seen counterfeit Wrangler or Levi’s. Mostly what I’ve seen are non-American brand names.
I have two pairs of black jeans, but most are the Levi’s relaxed fit blue jeans. I used to wear them even in the hottest months of the Philippines. This year, I started wearing basketball-style shorts around home.
If you read about what to wear in the Philippines, when dining out or other non-formal activities, you’re always cautioned not to wear blue jeans. I don’t know where that comes from because I’ve seen hordes of people wearing jeans, even in the finest of dining establishments. They’re usually not blue though (usually black, red or green). Of course, they’re wearing jeans that aren’t faded and full of holes.
Just like in the United States, there are places in the Philippines where wearing blue jeans is unacceptable. You wouldn’t wear blue jeans to a wedding, would you? I have dress slacks and dress shirts in my closet for those rare occasions when blue jeans aren’t proper. I’ve probably worn them three times in the last 11 years.
Honestly, I don’t care what brand name jeans I wear. I don’t even care if they’re made in the Philippines (as long as they’re not made in China). Unfortunately, I usually can’t find my size in anything. It seems like most clothing being sold in the Philippines is for short, skinny people. It’s odd, of course, because there are plenty of people (even Filipinos) of my size and stature.
I have some blue jeans one size too small for me. Two pairs, I think, maybe three. If I can find any more that will fit me when I shed some belly fat, I’ll be sure to snatch them up.
I had more blue jeans than I could count when I moved here. The last company I worked for in the United States was a trucking company and they didn’t care what we wore to work. I have a lot fewer now, but not few enough to make me go out and look for more quite yet.
Originally published in March of 2014. Updated for readability and minor corrections.