Dress Size Jean Size American Jean Size
4 24/25" 0
6 26" 2
8 27" 4
10 28" 6
12 29" 8
14 30" 10
16 31" 12
18 32" 14
20 33" 16
22 34" 18
24 35" 20
The History of Blue Jeans
As American as we think denim is, the history of blue jeans goes back to XVI Century Europe.
It’s amazing that a product developed 500 years ago fuels today’s multimillion dollar denim in-
dustry. Who would have thought back in Genoa in the 1500’s that the material worn by Gen-
ovese sailors in their everyday pants would evolve to become the textile and fashion industry
phenomenon that denim is today.
The story goes that “jean” derives from the word Genoa. It refers to the material that sailors from Genoa used in their pants. This was a coarse cotton-wool and/or linen blend. It originally came from Italy, and is evidence of the custom of naming a material for its place of origin. By the late 16th century, jean was already being produced in Lancashire, England. The composition eventually evolved to 100% cotton by the 18th century.
On the other hand, the origin of the term “denim” can be traced to late 16th century France
where a fabric known as “serge de Nîmes” (Twill from Nîmes a fabric so woven as to have a surface of diagonal parallel ridges.) was very popular.
By the late 19th century, weavers in America were making twills in the same fashion as the European denim, adapting to the more readily available and locally produced cotton fibers. The material had a reputation for being very strong and not wearing out quickly, inspite of many washes. Jean and denim remained two very different fabrics, and were used for different types of clothing. Denim was used mainly for workers clothes and jean for lighter clothes that did not have such high durability requirements.
"Jeans" is now generally understood to refer to pants made out of a specific type of fabric called "denim".
The answer lies in the story of Loeb (Levi) Strauss. This is where the modern history of blue
Just Another West Coast Innovation
Mr. Strauss came to America from Bavaria in 1847 with his mother and two sisters. They ar-
rived in New York where his half brother ran a wholesale business selling, among other things,
various types of fabrics and clothes. After working for his brother for a few years, Levi decided
to travel West to San Francisco and partake of the benefits of the Gold Rush.
His original intent was to open a branch of his brother’s wholesale business. Levi did this dili-
gently for the next 20 years, acquiring a reputation as a quality supplier to small stores throughout the West. His fate and the history of clothing would change forever when in 1872 he received an offer from Jacob Davis, a tailor from Reno Nevada. Mr. Davis, in order to improve the durability of the pants that he made for his clients, had been adding metal rivets to the highly stressed seams. a short metal pin or bolt for holding together two plates of metal, its headless end being beaten out or pressed down when in place.• a similar device for holding seams of clothing together.The idea was successful and he wished to patent it. Lacking the money to do so, he turned to Levi for financial backing, and of course, a partnership. In 1873, the new partners received a patent for “an improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings”, and thus the history of blue jeans as we know them begins.
By the 1920’s “waist overalls” were the most widely used worker’s pants in America.
50s Fashions: By 1950, Levi’s began selling nationally. Everybody now had a chance to wear a pair of original Levi’s Jeans, as they were now called. Other brands emerged, such as Lee Coopers and Wranglers, each with its own particular fit.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s they were embraced by the hippy movement, and the trend to personalize and embellish jeans began.
The history of blue jeans gets linked to the downfall of communism! Behind the iron curtain, jeans became a symbol of “western decadence” and individuality and as such were highly sought. Hiphuggers, bell bottoms, baggies, and elephant ears were the craze. Pre-washed jeans were first marketed.
In the 1980’s the history of blue jeans was transformed forever. Denim debuted as high fashion. The term “designer jeans” was coined. Sergio Valente, Jordache, Calvin Klein were amongst the first to create slimmer, tight, butt hugging jeans.
In the 1990’s, although denim was never completely out of style, it did fall “out of high fashion”. Denim was still hot, but the new generation turned to other fabrics as well as other styles (khakis, chinos, combat, carpenters and branded sportswear).
Styles of Jeans
• Low-rise jeans: Low-rise jeans sit low on the waist, providing the perfect opportunity to show off those abs. There is also ultra low-rise jeans which sit extremely low on the waist for the ultimate low-rise look.
• Bootcut jeans: Loose through the leg and slightly flared at the leg opening, bootcut jeans are universally flattering for any body type, especially for those with curves. They look great with both boots and heels and have become a wardrobe staple for fall and winter.
• Flared leg jeans: Fun and funky flared leg jeans feature a wider, more flared opening at the leg compared to bootcut jeans which helps to elongate the legs and balance out heavy thighs.
• Skinny leg jeans: Skinny leg jeans are fitted all the way down to the ankles. Also known as cigarette jeans, the slender cut adds curves to the hips and behind hence making this ideal for those with boyish figures. Wear them with stiletto heels or tucked into a pair of boots.
• Stonewashed jeans: Stonewashed jeans have a lighter, more broken-in appearance.
• Dark jeans: The deep indigo colour of dark jeans looks dressier in comparison with lighter washes therefore making them the ideal jeans for a night out on the town. The darker wash also makes the jeans more flattering as it has a slimming effect.
Distressed jeans: Holes, shredding, and crinkles create the highly worn appearance of distressed jeans.
Blog written by Angela Barbagallo, Fashion Stylist
Style Angel Corporation Pty Ltd
1 Bracken Close Engadine NSW 2233 Australia
Ph 02 9520 9940 Fax 02 9520 9018 Mob 0407 032 531
©Style Angel Corporation 2010