What Are Your Thoughts on Jeans?

Post 829

You see, I told you last time that this question would be pants. Come on, it wasn’t that bad a joke, right? Oh, it was? Darn it. Here’s a question for you. Try to work out what I’m talking about, okay? It resides in San Francisco. It is 137-years-old. It is kept in a fireproof safe, which only two people on Earth know the lock combination. It’s worth $150,000. Still not got it? Come on. Okay, then. They were banned in North Korea. Hmm? What’s that? No, I’m not… I’m not talking about The Village People, no. It’s jeans! Trousers often made of denim. The world’s oldest pair reside in The City by the Bay and the marketing slogan for them, when they were new, was, ‘For Men Who Toil.’ Phwoar, that’s manly. You can smell the testosterone, can’t you? I bet that was a sweaty and smoky boardroom that came up with that gem, right? In 2009, jeans were banned in North Korea, along with haircuts over an inch long, with their glorious leader wanting others to copy his ‘ambitious style.’ Aye, if they caught you with hippy hair you’d be pinned down and forcibly shaved. Beautiful country…

The average person doesn’t know much about jeans and, to be frank, why would you? They’re jeans. Just jeans, right? Ah, you couldn’t be more wrong, readers. They’re fascinating, they are. So strap in, this is gonna be a rollercoaster of excitement… no, wait, a rollercoaster of… erm, tepid enthusiasm. Yeah, that. So let’s start with the origin. Where did the fabric of jeans originate? It was Genoa, in Italy, possibly explaining the name ‘jeans,’ as the French name the city, Gênes. Bit too convenient for me, though.

But why did those 16th century fellas go for blue? Many believe it’s because the indigo would be best to hide the wine and cheese stains the French and Italians inevitably had all over themselves at the end of every single day. In 1795, the word ‘jeans’ first appears, after Swiss baker Jean-Gabriel Eynard and his brother Jacques visited Genoa and set up their own jeans factory. We could get ‘jeans’ from here as well, but you gotta feel sorry for Jacques. “What should we name them, most lovely brother of mine?” “Jeans. After myself.” “You bastard! Why not my name? Or our surname?” “You want to name them Eynards? Eye-nards? Do you even know what ‘nards’ means? We’ll be the laughing stock of the world!” “Sniff. You never loved me…”

56 years later, that’s it, a young popper by the name of Levi Strauss showed up, travelling from his homeland in what is now Germany, to New York, to join his brothers in running a goods store. These particular siblings didn’t get on much better, it must be said. Strauss decided to stab them in the back and set up his own goods store, but at least it was on the other side of the country, where he formed a partnership with tailor Jacob Davis. In 1872, they came up with patent number 139,121, an ‘improvement in fastening pocket openings,’ right between 139,120, an improvement on milk safes, and 139,122, an improvement on harvesters. It was a good year for improvements, huh? No, I have no idea what a milk safe is…

This was the beginning of the denim revolution. This was the first riveting process for denim jeans, improving their strength and making them a valuable durable resource for miners and mechanics and other manly man stuff. These were riveting times. Ahem. Many think they got their denim from the French city of Nimes, leading some to think the word denim comes from ‘de Nimes,’ or ‘from Nimes.’ But is it true? Nope, it’s complete bollocks. Strauss and Davis got their denim from good old America.

So far, this is a very manly history. Not many women involved. But here’s something for you gals: originally, women’s jeans had the zipper on the side, whilst only the men had the zipper down the front. Modesty, perhaps, in case you left your zipper down. Which would be far more embarrassing for ladies because men love showing off their dingles. What Strauss and Davis failed to realise is that there is a fundamental difference between the genders. You see, women… aren’t stupid. I can’t imagine a woman would forget to zip up…

Strauss and Davis’ jeans are most famed for their orange stitching, which is, you’ll be surprised to discover, trademarked. It was chosen to match the colour of the copper rivets. Originally, rivets were placed on the back pockets, but people were furious as their asses kept scratching various leather surfaces. Levi’s tried to fix the problem by covering up their rivets and then removing them altogether. Strauss also kindly asked patrons to stop moving around in their seats so damn much…

Levi’s were popular amongst cowboys, factory workers, farmers, labourers, lumberjacks and miners. More manliness. You can smell the grilled steaks and cigars. Talking of tobacco, did you know that, in 1870, Levi’s most popular jeans were, on average, three inches longer than the length of the average buyer? It was common practice to buy jeans longer than you needed because the fabric shrunk an inch in the wash, so why the two extra inches? Men folded the ends up and used the makeshift pockets to store cigarette packets. That is actually true. Men are… unbelievable

So, women, huh? In 1930, Vogue magazine ran an advert depicting two women wearing tight fitting jeans. Well, it’s a start on the road to equality, I suppose. Vogue named it, ‘Western Chic.’ Fancy, eh? It was a start, though. Jeans were being stocked in the women’s section of stores come the late 1930s, and after the Second World War, jeans were being marketed more and more toward women. It wasn’t until 1960 that the first jeans came along for women that had a zipper at the front. Apparently, this ‘new’ innovation was seen as ‘benefiting the female form.’ I mean, for God’s sake…

Children began wearing jeans to school in the late 1940s but teachers put a stop to it when the children’s asses kept making dents in the wooden seats due to those bloody rivets. This really was the end of ass rivets. It was the young men and the young women who cornered the jeans market come the 1950s and early 1960s. It was common for the girls to roll up their jeans to distinguish themselves from the guys and it was common for them to wear a leather patch on the backside. You see! Clever! That’s how you combat ass rivets!

Jeans became a symbol of rebellion and wanting freedom from the sexual stereotypes. No more were they gonna listen to their old folks and the social values forced upon them. Jeans were part of the youth revolution. James Dean and Marlon Brando saw to that, sporting natty pairs of jeans in the 1953 hit, ‘The Wild Ones,’ and the 1955 hit, ‘Rebel Without a Cause.’ Jeans were part of the youth uniform, showing unity, connection and solidarity amongst the working class. Often covered in slogans of rebellion.

Come the ‘60s, they had become a part of the hippy subculture, then a part of the punk rock and heavy metal subcultures of the 1970s and 1980s. Jeans have played a huge part in our history yet we just don’t seem to care, do we? They deserve far more respect than that, I think you’ll find. It was a bit of a shame that, during these decades, tight fitting jeans became common. Eurgh. Why, why… why? Why… do I want to see… that? Eurgh. It’s an awful look. It causes health problems, you know. In men, tight jeans cause heartburn and distension. In women, tight jeans cause endometriosis, one of the top three causes of female infertility. And both genders are far more vulnerable to heart problems just by wearing those tightest of jeans. So now you know. Don’t be a prat, where baggy jeans instead… and maybe a hat.

The trend was turned on its head in the 1990s when baggy jeans became the norm. Wearing them deliberately low so as to expose the buttocks was a peculiar trend. It carried on until the 2000s, refusing to go away, like The Village People. Soon, jeans brands around the world were rushing to produce their own line of ‘low cut’ moron attracters. Pop stars were even wearing them. It was a great worry amongst some that a buttock or three would pop out whilst the likes of Beyoncé was gyrating around on stage, and nobody wants to see that. Ahem…

Now, in the 2010s, jeans are as popular ever. You can still buy the ridiculous skinny variety, but there’s also tapered, slim, straight, cigarette bottom, narrow bottom, bell-bottom, low waist, anti-fit, flare and the God-awful distressed look, favoured by young Californian teenage boys who spend all day hanging around the beach looking miserable and depressed in a desperate and quite frankly tragic attempt to attract girls. “I’m so down… I… I don’t even have feelings anymore…” Bah. Pathetic. Also, bell-bottoms? Who’s still wearing them! Kirk after his marriage broke down? “It’s always the 1970s in Casa del Kirk’s Boogie-Drome!”

I favour the boot cuts, in case you’re wondering. They’re hard to find nowadays, though. I like them with proper pockets, too. You enter from the side, not the top. You can’t even get your bloody hands in them. They’re a bloody disgrace. And on top of all that, I’m an awkward size. 33 leg, 28 waist. Sigh. And I don’t like buying new pairs. I hate taking my clothes off in public. The Americans don’t, though. They account for 39% of the global jeans purchased, with Europe second at 20%. The Yanks spend $14 billion on jeans each year, with the average American owning seven pairs. And they produce 450 million pairs a year. A year!

In 2007, the BBC declared jeans dead. It was a slow news day. ‘Customer fatigue, overexposure… and, frankly, a lack of any new denim sales left.’ They can fuck off! Sorry, that was an overreaction. I thought a terribly obvious ‘slow news day’ story warranted an equally as ridiculous response. In 1984, Yves Saint Laurent said, “I wish I had invented blue jeans… they have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity – all I hope for in my clothes.” Okay, not many of us ‘hope for’ things in our clothes, but the old man was right. Jeans are awesome and they don’t get the credit they deserve.

What are my thoughts on jeans? Golly gosh, they are marvellous

But what are your thoughts on jeans, readers?

Ciao :)(:

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. You can leave a comment and/or like this post below, or by clicking the title on the top of this post if you are on the ‘Archives’ page. Likes and follows greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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The Indelible Life of Me
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