“I will now introduce you to something called a zipper.” The valet held up a pair of blue trousers with faded material.
“Has someone already worn these?” Gareth curled his lip in disgust.
“No, my Lord. It is considered fashionable to wear jeans—that is what these are called.” He continued, “to wear jeans that have been distressed.”
“So it’s fashionable here to wear the castoff closing of a common laborer?”
“Some of the most expensive styles have holes in them, by design, my Lord. As I said, comfort is frequently the key unless one is attending a special event and then all comfort is cast to the wind. These jeans—please remember to use the correct term—are of an expensive designer brand. ’Tis made of cotton, and you will appear to fit right in.”
Gareth peered more closely at the fabric, amazed at the perfectly straight stitches. He pinched the waist of the trousers between his fingers. The fabric was softer than he’d expected.
“Machines now make these, my Lord.”
“Hence the consistency.”
“Yes, my Lord.” Geoffrey’s voice pitched a little higher as his enthusiasm grew. “Now, let me show you how a zipper works. It has greatly increased the ease of dressing and has done away with much of the need for awkward buttons.” He pulled on a tab, and the trousers opened. The valet pulled up on the tab, and the opening disappeared.
“Let me try that.” Gareth took the garment and studied the teeth-like metal parts that held the two sections of the fabric together. “Clever.”
“If you will now put them on, my Lord. You may find it easier if you sit.” The valet indicated a chair. “They are close-fitting, so I would suggest you exercise caution the first time you close the zipper lest you pinch anything . . . tender.”
Gareth chuckled at the man’s delicacy. “If dressing is so much simpler now, why are there still valets?” he asked as he tried to slide one foot into the trousers.
“We are nearly obsolete, my Lord.”
Gareth had to maneuver the fabric in order to get his foot through the narrow leg opening. He shot the valet a flat look. “How does this make it easier to dress?”