It's hard to think of any piece of clothing with the staying power of jeans. Though denim (in one form or another) has been around for hundreds of years, the first riveted blue jeans debuted in the 1870s. These were simple and rugged pants for workers, and certainly styled for men, but you know she was borrowing from the boys every opportunity she could. Let's take a look back at the denim fashion movement that's still going strong.
Levi's released their first pair of jeans for women in 1934. They had a western vibe and were typically worn by gals who worked on ranches and farms. The high waistline rose up to the navel, they were often cuffed and the loose, roomy fit made them ideal for a day of hard work. This boxy look continued into the 1950s and was immortalized by Marilyn Monroe in Clash by Night. As the years went by, jeans became more fitted and feminine, though.
In the 1960s, jeans began changing dramatically. Earthy hippie girls started wearing low-waist styles and self-decorating their clothes with patches, rhinestones and other eye-catching details. The boyish cut that long defined jeans began disappearing and fitted bell bottoms were suddenly everywhere. Jean jackets became popular with counter culture trendsetters, too. The wide, flared look continued into the 1970s, when jeans typically stopped around the belly button and were tightly fitted throughout the derriere.
When the 1980s arrived, people said goodbye to bohemian style and embraced designer denim. Acid and stone wash women's jeans were all the rage, as were tapered cuts. Some pairs fit so tightly in the waist that women had to lie down to zip them up. Other styles had pleats around the front, giving them a puffy, voluminous look. Brands like Calvin Klein and Gloria Vanderbilt were must-haves and ripped jeans were popular with punks, heavy metal fans and anyone craving an edgy look. Lands' End jeans were introduced in 1986. This relaxed fitting style for men and women was made from 100% cotton ringspun denim and became a hit with the cotton sweater and rugby shirt wearing crowd.
In the 90s, the mom jean arrived. With a high waist, long zipper and roomy fit, they're either loved or loathed. The high waist style brought with it cropped boxy sweatshirts and fun pastels. Later, jeans with extra-wide legs became popular with skaters and followers of rave culture and low-rise jeans returned, too. Women coveted light wash denim and overalls (with only one strap fastened) also had their moment in the sun. Straight leg jeans were an everyday staple and beat-up, holey pants were required for anyone committed to the grunge look.
The 2000s have been an interesting time for jeans. Women now look for soft, stretchy pairs that are a world away from the stiff fabric used in the 1950s. Flared jeans are paired with wedges, boots and sneakers. Cropped jeans are a summer staple and vintage looks are embraced, too. But skinny jeans might be the biggest trend of all. Since debuting around 2005, they've remained incredibly popular, even though many thought they'd disappear from store shelves within a few years. Nowadays, they're available in almost every color and cut, so you can find a black pair with a waist that reaches past your midsection or some in hot pink that barely cover your hips.
Advancements in fabrics and design bring wonderful things for women, like pull-on skinny jeans (no zippers required). Or colorful jeans in every shade, including blue. A more comfortable life starts with a great pair of jeans. Find your fit today.