What Jeans Mean to Us

Sep 3, 2020

If you told a child born in the 21st century that ladies didn’t always wear jeans, she would probably just stare at you, hardly able to imagine such a dire time. Jeans weren’t always the comfortable, “go-to” article of clothing that we wear from cradle to grave, male and female alike. 

A pair of jeans is a universal garment suitable in every occasion for both women and men, young and not-so young. They have made a big mark on our culture over the last 140 years and in their own right, represent equality amongst all human beings.

A Little History

The first pair of jeans, the predecessor of the jeans we know today, was constructed in the 1850s at the request of a gentleman looking for a sturdy pair of work pants.  A local tailor who made tents, wagon covers, and horse blankets sewed pants for him out of denim fabric. He added copper rivets in the places that tend to rip more readily. That’s basically how jeans were born.

Early jeans were worn by men who did rugged work, like gold miners, cattlemen, and farmers. Women got a taste of the “jeans for ladies” idea in the 1930s when the first pair of jeans designed for a female hit the market. Vogue Magazine featured a woman wearing denim pants on its cover declaring jeans could be a fashion statement for women. That campaign wasn’t totally successful.

By the 1950s, jeans-wearing teenagers embraced them as cool, but it was in the 1960s that jeans as Americana took hold. After that, jeans only became more popular. The simple denim blue jean went from utilitarian, at best, to high-fashion icon that models wear on runways and consumers can’t seem to get enough of. The jeans industry has exploded and it touches every person on the planet.   

Denim Fabric

The denim material that jeans are made of was first produced in Nîmes, France, by weavers who were trying to reproduce a cotton corduroy loomed in Genoa, Italy. Some threads were dyed in indigo while others were left white to give a surface that is “denim blue ” on one side and white on the other.

Denim is very durable and has always been a favorite because it tends to last.  A single pair of jeans can experience every facet of life from evening wear to holes all over the place and remain a necessary wardrobe staple for years.

Universal Style

Style-wise, jeans are universal. More than any other garment, a pair of jeans is versatile and in-style in any situation. The person on the elevator wearing heels and pearl earrings is as comfortable and well-put-together in jeans as are the group in flannel shirts and heavy boots standing nearby.

Jeans have taken us through every trend imaginable. From straight legs to bell-bottoms, boot cut to skinny jeans, we’ve worn them all and have loved every minute in them. A toddler dressed in jeans visiting a grandparent who is also donning a pair of jeans is certainly not unheard of.

It is a cultural thing; that culture is the human race.

The Perfect Look

Jeans tend to give the body a silhouette that is flattering to all genders, tall or short, wide or thin. They don’t see color; jeans don’t care about politics, gender, or race. In the land of jeans, we are all created equal. They fit everyone and everyone can wear them. It’s that simple. Jeans speak to us all. And they always look perfect. Jeans truly represent equality.

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