Man with jeans round his ankles“Do you think he’s walking like that to keep his trousers up?” asked my husband. The chap walking rather strangely down the street in front of us was wearing the low-slung, dropped-crotch jeans that have been very popular with younger men over the past couple of years. He was also wheeling two bicycles, one either side of him, so he had no hands free to do the necessary pulling up.

We were trying to stifle our giggles as the guy wriggled and gyrated like a small child whose nappy needs changing. The silly walk didn’t help at all, and by the time we had to turn off the path, his green and grey striped boxers were entirely visible and I was crying with laughter.

I guess he could be described as a fashion victim. The trendy trousers are clearly meant to fall down, and it is crucial to their impact as fashionwear that they are regularly hoisted up by the wearer – a point he clearly forgot when the need to move two bikes arose.

Funny though this obviously was to watch, it was a salutary reminder that it’s always worth questioning yourself about your motives when you choose to conform.

It may be a case of wanting to keep up with your peers by buying a bigger house, a better car, trendier clothes or the ultimate in TV technology.

It may be a question of keeping up with your business competitors by selling products cheaper, stacking them higher or offering them with bells and whistles.

It may just be as simple as wanting what everyone else seems to have.

But if you’re totally tied up with keeping a roof over your head and food on the table, how are you going to keep up payments on the cost of something that doesn’t fit your circumstances?

The trouble with conforming to anything – whether it’s a fashion fad, a text book approach or just doing things the way they’ve always been done – is that you could find yourself, actually or metaphorically, with your trousers round your ankles.

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