On This Day - Denim Jeans Was Patented in 1873: Here's A Look at The Style Evolution of Jeans

Jeans have a long history spanning over centuries.

On this very date back in 1873, Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss received patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for denim. Hence, May 20 is widely considered the birthday of jeans, because it was denim that paved way for what we now call jeans.

About four centuries ago, sailors in the port city of Genoa used a coarse twilled cotton cloth to make their pants. The material was known as "jeans from Gênes", and was popular for its sturdy nature and affordability.

Weavers from Nimes tried to replicate this fabric, and ended up creating a different sturdy twill called “Serge de Nîmes". It led to the creation of denim.

In this article, let's have a look at the style evolution of jeans over the years.

Style Evolution of Jeans

Jeans have gone through lots of changes over the last 150 years.

During the late 19th century, jeans were common among western cowboys, miners, farmers in the US. In the 20th century, it was used by the military during World War-I.

Later, actors like John Wayne, Gary Cooper, and Clint Eastwood wore jeans in several films, and thus, jeans became a symbol of cowboy look.

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In the 1950s, James Dean and Marlon Brando popularized jeans among the youth. It then became a symbol of "cool" and "rebellion", and was usually accompanied with white t-shirt. Over the years, it gained popularity among hippies, anti-war protestors, as well as feminists.

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In the 60s, blue jeans became a symbol of the free-love movement. People started wearing jeans to show their freedom from the establishment.

Moving forward, Jeans became the ultimate fashion statement during the 70s. People started wearing jeans (that were dark, tight, and intentionally ripped) to express their statement against establishment. This continued till the end of the 80s.

In the 90s, straight-legged jeans became a popular outfit of the youth. Many also preferred high-waisted jeans with a relaxed fit.

The ultra low-rise jeans became popular in the 2000s. Flare, bootcut, and retro Capri jeans were also trending at the time.

The 2010s saw a huge shift in the overall fashion scenario. The skinny jeans were on the trend, and became everyone's favorite for almost all occasions.

Nowadays, medium to high-waisted jeans are popular all over the world.