The Denim Diaper: State Fair Edition

I have an inexplicable love of the State Fair. Although I rarely ride the Midway rides anymore, I hold fond memories of the Tilt-O-Whirl and less fond memories of the Scrambler (which made me feel exactly the way the name warns, every single time I rode it as a kid). I love the sounds. I love to watch the people. I love sampling the outrageous food experiments (Deep Fried Girl Scout Cookies were a new achievement this year!) as well as the tried and true treats that have so much association with fairs, it’s almost their defining category: footlong hot dogs, nachos and my long-time favorite; funnel cakes.


As I visited the Kentucky State Fair on it’s final day over the weekend (I’d have been there much sooner, but was out-of-town for most of the 10-day extravaganza this year, so I feel lucky not to have missed it altogether), my theory that the “denim diaper” will never die was once again supported in full.

Let me offer my credentials before I present this year’s evidence. I know a thing or two about the denim diaper. A life-long and unwavering fan of the true cut-off denim shorts, I have more denim shorts than anyone could ever need. Some are in great shape with years of life left in them; others are holding on by, literally, a thread or two. I once accepted a cash offer for the cut-offs I was wearing (conveniently while at work, where I could  just put on something else). I’ve mended the same pair of cut-offs so many times, they look like a puzzle.

The State Fair is truly where the denim diaper reigns supreme! And as any iconic garment should, it seems to suit everyone. Mothers and daughters find common ground in their love of cut-offs, even during the difficult teen years. Girls strive to best each others’ shorts in the color, embellishment and length categories. Every shape, size, style, and color is represented; a real melting pot of denim diapers. The most popular shape this year was generally just…small. I prefer my own denim diaper a little baggier, busted-up, and boy-fit while the majority of these gals like ‘em short and snug! 



Every August, as all walks of life descend upon the same noisy, flashing, littered ground to say their goodbyes to summer, I am reminded that there are a few garments that will simply never go away. And by now, I’m never surprised that many of them are denim: overalls, blue jeans, the jean jacket, the denim diaper…not a single one in fear of extinction.  Not so long as State Fairs exist anyway.

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