Everywhere you have looked this spring, you see DENIM! I’m not just talking jeans either. Dresses, rompers, skirts, the list goes on and on.
Yves Saint-Laurent once stated that he wished he had invented blue jeans as jeans “are expressive and discreet, they have sex appeal and simplicity,-everything I could want for the clothes I design” (The Fashion Book, Levi Strauss Designer, 1998).
Levi Strauss, a door to door salesman who had immigrated to North America from Bavaria, lured to California by the Gold Rush to sell his fineries. The miners asked him for sturdy and durable work pants. With the help of a tailor, Strauss put together work pants that were most likely made out of the canvas he had brought with him to make tents. In the 1860s, he began to make pants made from heavyweight denim, and because the pants were dyed with indigo they were named “blue jeans”.
Did you know that the original design of Levi Strauss blue jeans, Design 501, was influenced by the style of the loose trousers worn by Genoese sailors?
To make Levi jeans more durable, copper rivets were added to reinforce. This innovation helped to stop the weight of the gold nuggets from tearing the pockets.
I know what you are thinking, “where’s my gold nuggets?!”.
Soon thereafter the back pockets of the jeans were reinforced by adding that iconic stitching in the shape of a double arc design using that trademark orange thread.
Jeans had originally been designed as men’s work pants, but in the 1870s, Western women who worked along with men on ranches and farms began to wear men’s jeans.
In 1930, Vogue magazine ran an advertisement depicting two society women in tight fitting jeans, a look that they called “Western chic” (still happening).
By the mid-1930s, department stores were stocking Levis jeans and western boots in the women’s section. After World War II, jean manufacturers would offer a version for women, similar to those of men, but with a side opening instead of a fly-front opening. It was not until 1958 that adjustments were made in the design of women’s jeans to flatter the female shape.
- Always mix dark and light washes…..no Canadian tuxedos.
- If this scares you, try black or grey jeans with a light blue wash jacket.
- It does pay to invest in nice denim. Fast fashion just does not last, especially if there is spandex involved. A few washes and they will be drooping.
- Wash your denim inside out to preserve the color.
- Hang to dry.
- Don’t be scurred! Have fun!