Val's View: Why We Love Our Denim Jeans

Posted on 04 November 2020

French Dressing Jeans

Ladies, we've come a long way from petticoats and corsets. For centuries, women couldn't even enjoy pants, let alone the modern-day luxury of jeans with pockets. Instead, they used belts fastened under their skirts to store things, and I'm sure you can imagine how uncomfortable that was to wear all day long.

Perhaps you are wondering how denim came to be a major player in contemporary fashion. Well, I did some research and learned all about the history of blue jeans, which I am excited to share with you, along with some tips on how you can stylishly wear this everlasting favorite.

Denim twill is rugged cotton with warped fibers and diagonal ribbing that was originally thick and durable like burlap but has been refined with time into the soft cotton we now get to slip on. The name Denim originated from a fabric called Serge de Nimes from Nimes, France. This fabric was also called Bleu de Genes. Genes was the French name for Genoa, Italy, where the heavy, indigo-dyed fabric got its start hundreds of years ago and the name that also became the predecessor to the phrase "blue jeans" that we use today.

In 1873, a man named Levi Strauss made something called waist overalls that would eventually morph into the blue jeans we currently wear. He is credited as the person that set the ball rolling for denim to become mainstream and transform from cowboy work clothes to catwalk high fashion.

Jacob Davis, a tailor from Nevada and one of Levi's customers, suggested adding metal rivets on stress points (such as pockets) to make them stronger. Speaking of which, have you ever wondered about the tiny pocket inside the front right pocket of some jeans? I found out they were used for tickets, coins, and watches back in the 19th Century. I guess those mini pockets stuck around because they are so handy (and cute!).

Over the years, denim clothing became ubiquitous and was worn by all social classes. College students wore jeans in the '60s and '70s while protesting as a sign of solidarity with working people. The denim-clad financial elite would holiday at dude ranches in the American West to escape the boredom of their vast mansions.

That feeling of independence that denim inspires is universal, and when you slip on your favorite pair, it feels like anything is possible. Magic can happen, and you feel like a rock star, even if you're only on the couch, watching football.

The iconic blue jean is associated with freedom and ease. Denim jeans have been worn by everyone, from rebels without a cause like James Dean to conservatives like President Regan. And let's not forget the famous moment when Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake showed up at the American music awards in matching head to toe denim. Did you know that a full denim outfit is nicknamed a Canadian tuxedo? Denim has even made its way into popular songs like Elton John's "Tiny Dancer":

Blue jean baby, L.A. lady, seamstress for the band...

Versatility is the secret to denim's appeal and the reason it is a fashion staple in most wardrobes. The thing I love about jeans is that there are no rules. Dress them up or dress them down; they aren't just weekend wear anymore. Today's jeans are so lightweight that you can wear them with anything. They can even hide stains while looking truly timeless. Attention to fit is the key to looking great in your jeans.

For housewives and models alike, jeans reflect our personalities and lifestyles. Living in Miami, I love capris (some call them clamdiggers), and Via Ritina's jeans have my favorite fit. I adore indigo-colored denim, the most common variety, but my go-to is white.

And let's talk about styles: relaxed, boyfriend, skinny, cropped, beaded, painted, embroidered, and so on. The possibilities are endless! As far as embellished jeans go, I love the gorgeous lace varieties by Ethyl Clothing. This denim year's trends are marked by a hybrid of all the trends and eras throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Here's a run-down:

1940's: Off-duty soldiers wore wide-legged styles while on leave
1950's: Teenage heartthrobs like Marlon Brando made movies in them with the hems rolled into
cuffs
1960's: Hippies at Woodstock wore flowers in their hair and embroidered them on jeans
1970's: Low-rise, flared jeans went well with platform shoes or roller skates
1980's: High waisted and spandex denim fashions got ladies looking shapely along with Jane
Fonda's workouts and jazzercise
1990's: Seattle's Grunge look reigned supreme with a loose fit, ripped jeans, and combat boots
2000's: Technology got involved with tricks like high back pockets to make the butt look lifted

Anthony's has a wide range of denim styles that will have you looking and feeling positively chic, all while paying homage to the storied history of the blue jean. What is your favorite way to wear denim? Let us know in the comments below!

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