From Cowboys to the Catwalk

From Cowboys to the Catwalk

Sophia Skiadas and Victoria Buckley

What’s the one piece of clothing no one can live without? Jeans! Jeans have become a necessary item for people of all ages. In today’s fashion market you can find jeans in any size, style, and even color. Levi Strauss started his denim business in 1831 with Jacob Davis for the workers because of the sturdiness of the fabric. He probably never imagined the popularity and variety of his simple, durable design. Since then the original jean has evolved and is significantly different from how it was first designed.

Starting in the disco era of the 1970s, bell- bottom jeans were the new fashion. The bigger the flare of the jeans the better. Also known as dungarees, these pants became a must have for anyone who wanted to be in fashion. Tight on top and extremely loose on the bottom, these pants became known for their odd shape and were nicknamed, elephant bells. People became so obsessed with the wideness of the bottoms, they would split the seams and add more fabric to make them even wider. Some took matters into their own hands and bedazzled their jeans with studs and rhinestones to add a little flair…no pun intended.

As we boogied through the 70s and into the 80s, tight jeans became the rage. Commonly worn very tight on the bottom with slouchy socks and Reebok sneakers, these jeans were the best thing to have in the closet. Women and men both wore jeans high-waisted and acid washed.

MTV became a popular channel and people were influenced by the styles they saw. Guess jeans became extraordinarily popular, but were very expensive and could only be worn by those who fit into them. They were so tight there was even a zipper at the bottom of the leg so that one could fit one’s foot into the pants. For all the things the 80s are known for, outrageous clothing is definitely one of them and the obsession with denim.

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We move on to the 90s, notorious for a boom box on the shoulder and baggy-ripped jeans so low they almost touched the floor. People tried to look like a mess and wore jeans that looked like they were in a war.  Due to the grunge phase, this style was extremely popular and teens wanted to dress like their rock and roll idols. Once hip hop was introduced and MC Hammer had his first single, balloon pants became all the craze. They were baggy and unflattering to anyone so it’s uncertain as to why they were so popular. In the 90s anything was considered “fashionable” as long as it was slouchy and ripped, but don’t even get us started on fanny packs.

All of these styles lead up to our present time, the 2000s, when jeans are still as popular as ever. Today jeans are worn in different colors, and even patterns.  Whoever thought people would wear hounds tooth jeans and get away with it?  Bell bottoms, straight leg, tight, skinny, low and high waisted, there is no one style that prevails.  We personally thank the creator of jeggings because they are so much easier to wear than regular jeans due to their half legging composition.

Jeans began as uncomfortable, stiff pants for the workers and cowboys and evolved to jeggings for the fashionistas that one could probably do yoga in. They have come a long way and are now the perfect fit with any favorite top or tee.