Posted by Lynn Carter on 30th Apr 2014
Will denim EVER go out of fashion? Jeans, skirts, dresses, waistcoats, jackets, shorts, shirts, shoes!
It's jeans though, that must be the one and only item that remains in everyone's wardrobe for their entire lifetime. Maybe not the same pair of course, although I do confess to clinging on (ever hopeful) to a pair of 1980's size 8 faded Lee Coopers - when size 8 meant a 22" waist. Aaah those heady days. Can barely get them past my knees now but give it a try every now and then!
Of course, denim wasn't always favoured by parents. My husband has just told me the story of when he added a panel of corduroy to a pair of jeans to turn them into bell bottoms. His Mum, however, highly disapproved of jeans at the time, to the extent that when he went on a camping trip with his mates, he set off from home in a respectable pair of chinos, only to change into said funky adapted loons as soon as he was out of sight of the house and continued to wear them for the whole trip. Shame I don't have a photo!
We've had oodles of different styles of jeans over the years, from the skinny, spray-on, lie-on-the-bed-to-do-up-the-zip jeans, to those awful baggy monstrosities with the crotch around the knees, popular with the grungy skateboard fraternity. I remember way-back-when wearing 21" wide bell bottoms thinking I was SO cool and the next day I was in a pair of Wrangler straight-legs with huge turn ups, such was the change in fashion even back then.
Design houses cleverly change the colour of jeans every season too of course, as well as the style, just to keep us on our fashion-conscious toes and ensure we all buy the latest must-have hue. No longer are we stuck with varying shades of blue, but have a spectrum of colours to ponder over. I think stone-wash was my favourite from my youth - it had a ring of rock-chick, beachy, summer days to it when all us hip young things actually rang each up and spoke real words instead of texting strange acronyms and social media-ing. (Am I sounding ever so slightly ancient?!) Here I am on the right in my beloved stone-wash denim attire, more years ago than I care to remember. (What the hell was going on with those shades though?!)
The denim jacket is making a huge comeback at the moment. Or did it ever really go off trend? In 1873, a man by the name of Levi Strauss (you may have heard of him) said to himself (allegedly!), "You know what? These jeans make my ass look great! I wonder what'll happen if I put them on my torso?" The rest is history.
Wait! 1873?! And here we are 141 years later and designers are still tripping over themselves to tempt us into buying their latest denim creation. For the first 60 odd years though denim was reserved for American miners and cowboys. However, whilst denim has been in our conscience since John Wayne and Roy Rogers sported their jeans, stetson and rawhide boots in 1930's cowboy films and women wore practical, utilitarian denim in factories during WW2, it's probably only since the 50's that denim has found its way into our wardrobes as a fashion piece.
I blame "Rebel" James Dean with his uber cool Lee jeans.
Oh and the very gorgeous Paul Newman slouching in his Lee Storm Rider jacket.
Or the beautiful Elvis? And who can forget King Of Cool, Steve McQueen? Let's face it, whenever you
think of this guy, two things come to mind - riding that motorbike in the Great Escape and him drenched
But, surprisingly, probably one of the earliest pieces of denim fashion was Bing Crosby's tuxedo, made
especially for him by Levi Strauss back in 1951. It seems Mr Crosby was on a hunting trip in Canada with
some mates, got to their hotel in Vancouver to check-in but the receptionist wasn't familiar with Bing’s big
celebrity status and, as he and his mates were clad in denim, said receptionist deemed it unacceptable
attire for the hotel back in the day. Word got back to Levi's and prompted their designers to make a
custom tuxedo from 501 denim for Bing, complete with an appropriate label inside to avoid any future
The Bing Crosby tux has recently been resurrected by Levis as part of their "Vintage" range - for a whopping £1234!! Vintage denim garments are now on trend and command huge prices.
Whilst most fashion houses have produced jeans at one time or another, the names that stick when it comes to jeans are Lee Cooper, Lee and Wrangler but it has to be said Levis is probably the most ubiquitous when it comes to denim. And quite right too - after trading for 141 years, they deserve to be top of the tree.
Denim seems to be an acceptable staple of all genres, genders, ages and sects and has passed through the history books with ease - from the cowboys of the 30's to cool dudes of the 50's,
from sexy Elvis and Munroe to the hippies and radicals of the 60's to Charlie's Angels tailored pieces of the 70's.
We've had trashy Madonna's cut-off jacket and Dexy's ridiculous dungarees of the 80's, but the 90's saw very little attempt at making denim fashionable again. It's only really from the beginning of the noughties that the luxury design houses latched on to denim in a big way and of course this decade has seen a huge revival of this infamous drill cotton.
The last couple of years we've seen Little Mix in their shredded denim on X-Factor, Beckham in his Wrangler shirt, Britney in a long denim evening number ......
Rihanna miraculously making dungarees look sexy ......
... and Miley Cyrus in ... well, whatever it was she was wearing at her unplugged concert!
Some things, regardless of the decade, never change. Hell's Angels still sport their cut-off denim
jackets over their leathers, Bruce Springsteen's jean-clad bum will be forever immortalised on the
cover of Born In The USA and jeans will surely forever be the must-have garment in every student's
wardrobe all over the world.
But can you still wear denim as you get older? Hell yeah. Clint Eastwood made it onto the cover of
GQ magazine a few years ago wearing a denim shirt and jeans - he was 79 at the time and he still
looked pretty cool.
I was actually as old as 13 or 14 before I ever had a whiff of denim. My first pair of jeans were Loons actually (sorry, no photo!) - and not a designer label in sight! Of course now, you can adorn your youngest of babies in the very latest designer denim and many celebrities do just that. Jamie Oliver's tribe seem to love their jeans, so too does Posh and Harper (just wish she'd smile more!).
Australian model, Miranda Kerr and her gorgeous baby Flynn look just fabby in their denim.
Singer, Toni Braxton, loves the drill cotton fabric so much, she named one of her children Denim!
Actually, we've got a few gorgeous denim pieces for sale on our site so if you love denim on your sons and daughters, take a look at what we have to offer - http://www.chicylittlemonkeys.com/search.php?sear...
No longer are we restricted to a boring range of jeans and the odd denim skirt. We now have so much designer denim clothing to choose from, it's almost obscene. And now, anything goes when it comes to denim, you can dress it up with diamonds or grunge it down to paint the spare room. Trim it up with lace and gems, tear it, dye it, bleach it, add a scarf or braces, wear killer heels, trainers, wellies, pumps or denim wedges with it. One thing's for sure, like it or loath it, denim is here to stay.
So, just out of curiosity, how many pieces of denim do you have in your wardrobe? Your child's wardrobe? And which is your favourite garment? Let us know in the comments box below (you can even upload a photo!!). Look forward to hearing from you.
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