The (Horrific?) Evolution of Jeans

May 20th 1873

The Birth Of Jeans In the late 1800s, denim trousers were typically worn by male workers and referred to as “waist overalls". Tailor, Jacob Davis approached businessman Levi Strauss about seeking financial support to patent his idea. The idea? To add metal rivets to the pockets and button fly of denim trousers. And so, on May 20, 1873, jeans as we now know them were born and we've defiently come a looong way.



Jeans were a typical outfit for miners, cowboys, and any other hard working job. They needed something that could withstand the wear and tear.  In 1936, Levi Strauss added his signature red flag to the back pocket of jeans, making it the first item of clothing to have an outside label. It was also in the 1930s that Vogue featured its first model in denim on the cover, hinting that jeans could perhaps be a fashion statement, and not just reserved as practical clothing for working men.



Jeans became the symbol for rebellion when hearthrob bad boys such as James Dean and Marlon Brando wore them in movies. Soon, they were banned from school. Light washes, cuffed jeans and black denim were the trends among men, and popular brands included Levi’s, Lee Cooper and Wrangler jeans.



Custom designs to jeans were all the rage. Adding rhinestone, patches, and buttons gave everyone a personal look. Bell bottoms, hip huggers, and denim skirts also became popular in the ‘70s.



Designer denim was truly born. A 15-year-old Brooke Shields starred in a Calvin Klein commercial cooing, “Nothing comes between me and my Calvin’s,” bringing denim to the forefront of every fashion designer’s mind. Designer jeans became a true status symbol and brands like Calvin Klein, Jordache and Gloria Vanderbilt were among the most popular. Stonewash, acid wash and ripped jeans were some of the most popular looks, along with skinny leg cuts that were tapered at the ankle. (~aboutStyle)



Carpenter jeans and head-to-toe denim some of the most trendy looks, as well as overalls and shortalls, which were popular among women. For men, the rise of hip hop brought along a rise in popularity of baggy jeans and saggy denim.


Present Day

Skinny Jeans and High Waisted pants are the current trend for boys and girls. Ripped boyfriend jeans are starting to make a hot hot come back as well.

Jeans will forever be a comfortable and easy choice and will continue to evolve.


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1 thought on “The (Horrific?) Evolution of Jeans

  1. Wow, I certainly learned a lot about the history of jeans. Who knew that jeans have made such a remarkable statement in society, I think I’ll go buy a pair today!

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