Jeans are trousers made from dungaree or denim cloth. Normally, the term “jeans” refers to a style of trousers known as blue jeans. These were invented by Levi Strauss and Jacob W. Davis on 20th of May, 1873. Before blue jeans were patented, the term had been used for years to refer to garments such as overalls, trousers and coats made from blue colored denim.
The history and evolution of jeans from a workman’s pants to the most popular apparel on earth is quite interesting. According to early sources, the wife of a local laborer asked Jacob to make a pair of pants for her working husband that would not come apart easily. Jacob responded by putting metal rivets at points where trousers were known to experience the highest level of strain such as the base of fly button and pocket corners. The riveted pants became an instant hit and Jacob decided to contact Levi Strauss from whom he had bought the cloth to suggest they form a partnership and patent the product together.
James Dean is credited with popularizing jeans in the movie Rebel Without a Cause in the 1950s. During this period, donning jeans became a symbol of youth rebellion. Due to the association of jeans with rebellion, they were sometimes banned in schools and theatres. With time, wearing of jeans became acceptable and by the 1970s, jeans had become a popular casual wear in the US.
Though jeans have become less of a workman’s garment and gained stylistic features making them more fashionable ,they still retain certain characteristics that tell of their past. Distinctive features pointing to their origins as durable work-wear garments such as rivets which were initially used on pocket corners to reinforce points of tension have been retained and enhanced with decorations. Acceptance of denim jeans has continued to the point where they have become a wardrobe staple with the average American owning several pairs. In the 2010s, jeans are donned by people of all ages and genders.