If you’re anything like me, you’ll live in denim jeans when you’re not at school– they’re comfy, practical and come in loads of different styles, colours and designs. I’ve also got a denim jacket, which is perfect for throwing on over dresses when it’s cold outside. Even denim gilets come in and out of fashion on a pretty regular basis.
I think it’s pretty safe to say that denim has become something of a wardrobe staple over the years and in fact, I don’t really know what I’d do without it. But jeans haven’t always looked the way they do now and trends have changed a lot over the years.
The word denim actually derives from the French town of Nimes – even though it’s a material that’s usually associated with the US. The Andre family, who lived in Nimes, created a sturdy fabric called serge. Denim comes from this and was originally called Serge de Nimes, before the name was shortened.
Although it seems like a fairly modern fabric (I can’t imagine anyone living during Queen Victoria’s reign wearing a pair of jeans – can you?) denim has actually been in use in America since the late 18th century.
The first ever denim trousers were made in Genoa, Italy, and jeans get their name from the French word for the city – Genes. Denim is created using a twill weaving process, which is what gives it the kind of diagonal pattern in the fabric that makes it so recognisable.
Levi Strauss – perhaps the most famous jean manufacturer of all time – first started producing the trousers in 1873. They were originally created for cowboys because of the strength of the material. Blue jeans in particular have an association with American Old West culture.Over the years, jeans have become more and more popular. Originally they were working-men’s trousers and were very loose-fitting and practical. It wasn’t until James Dean wore them in his film Rebel Without a Cause that they because a fashionable item of clothing in the 1950s.Nowadays, jeans look much different to how they did over half a century ago and different cuts, colours and finishes have made them an amazingly popular item. I’d be nowhere without my skinny jeans these days, while I also love 70s-inspired flared cuts when I want something a bit different.Lots of jeans are pre-treated to give them certain finish when they hit the shops. Lots have elastane woven into the fabric to make the stretch denim jeans we have grown to know and love today. Only around three per cent elastane is needed to make the jeans stretch by up to 15 per cent and these make jeans much more comfortable to wear.Other jeans are treated in a factory and are deliberately ripped, faded and scuffed to give them a distressed look. Coloured denim is also becoming increasingly popular and these days it seems like there’s no shade that doesn’t work on denim.
This post was written by Christina Jones a freelance women’s fashion writer who enjoys sharing their knowledge on how to wear the latest dresses.