Every decade has its own set of fashion statements, from bell-bottoms to bullet bras. The majority of these trends die after a few years and are only remembered when looking at old photos and reminiscing on how different times were. While many of these fads take longer to die than others, there’s one that’s been around for over a century: jeans.
Jeans first became popular around the same time that the Gold Rush began. Gold miners were becoming frustrated that their clothing couldn’t withstand all the mining without tearing. The pockets were especially bad, often breaking off after just a couple weeks. An inventor by the name of Leob Strauss, who later changed his name to Levi, took note of these problems and designed the first set of denim jeans. The creation quickly became popular among gold miners and continued to spread from there.
In the 1930s, cowboy movies were becoming popular and the actors were almost always seen sporting the jean pants. By the 1950s, the movie “Rebel Without A Cause” caused jeans to skyrocket even further into fame as they became a sign of rebellion. Just as short skirts and tank tops are banned from many schools today, wearing jeans was forbidden in many public places because they were seen as being too dangerous. This only made the pants even more popular with teenagers.
By the 60s and 70s, jeans had evolved from the basic blue style into embroidered and painted designs to match the psychedelic feel of the decade. The massive demand for the pants spawned several sweatshops which made jeans more affordable than ever. By the 80s, jeans were no longer considered a means of rebellion, but rather a way to look stylish for an affordable price.
The demand for jeans began to drop in the 90s since the pants were still popular with aging adults. Just as the majority of teens today wouldn’t be caught dead in their mom’s old prom dress, many were reluctant to wear jeans and viewed the pants as uncool. To remedy this, jeans began coming out in a wide variety of colors and shapes. Since this was new and different, the denim began to appeal to a whole new generation.
In order to stay fresh and exciting, the design of jeans continued to expand. Since loose fitting jeans were popular in the 60s and 70s, designers began to create an opposite design, known as skinny jeans. These jeans were advertised as being sexy and sophisticated since they hugged every curve of the body. Many celebrities began to wear the sexy skinny jeans, and since this was around the same time that paparazzi posted everything to the Internet, the trend quickly caught on amongst teens and adults.
While jeans are now considered a staple to anyone’s wardrobe, history shows that the pants must continue to evolve in order to stay fresh. While skinny jeans are all the rage now, only time will tell what the next big fashion trend is.
About the Author : Rachel Slanin is a fashion guru from the Midwest. She grew up never owning a single pair of high heels. Now she is rarely seen at her true height of 5”3. Her favorite outfit is a pair of high heels boots, sexy skinny jeans, and a one shoulder top. She is a history major and avid reader.