501 BLUE JEANS - A RIVETING STORY

501 BLUE JEANS - A RIVETING STORY
501 BLUE JEANS - A RIVETING STORY 501 BLUE JEANS - A RIVETING STORY

According to Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor, the average American woman owns 7.2 pair of jeans, at an average cost of $37.41 each.

Does seven pair seem like enough? I was relieved to find that I own only about twice the average number: 13.75 (one pair is "Capri" length).

Most people think of blue jeans as an American phenomenon, but they were first worn by sixteenth century Genovese sailors as their everyday pants and were made of a coarse cotton/wool blend.

The father of the modern blue jean, Levi Strauss, was born on February 26, 1829 in Buttonheim, Germany. He moved to New York in 1847 to join his brothers in their dry goods business and then went west to San Francisco in 1853 to peddle his wares to miners, farmers and other laborers of the Gold Rush. His best-selling product was his canvas work pants made with fabric from Nîmes, France, serge de nimes, which is where the word "denim" is from.

Meanwhile, Nevada tailor and inventor Jacob Davis was manufacturing men's work pants with rivets to reinforce the pockets. Davis partnered with businessman Strauss to obtain the necessary patent for the riveting process and they began manufacturing as Levi Strauss & Co. in 1873. Strauss became quite wealthy and was a generous patron of the city of San Francisco. He died a bachelor and left the business to his four nephews.

A visit to Levis.com would boggle Strauss' mind. Ladies have a choice of styles, including but not limited to relaxed tapered, leggings, slim, boyfriend, straight, boot cut, trouser, flare, wide leg and the unforgiving "ankle skinny." You can also make your selection by the rise: lowest, low, mid, or high. There's even a way to make your choice by how curvy you are - slight, demi, bold or supreme. A section called "Heritage Fits" offers more conservative and traditional cuts, bordering on "mom" jeans. The Plus size choices are nearly as extensive, but with an emphasis on "perfectly shaping" styles.

Books:

Levi Strauss: The Blue Jeans Man by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk (1988)

The Blue Jean by Alice Harris (2002)

The Blue Jean Book: The Story Behind the Seams by Tanya Lloyd Kyi (2005)

Websites:

Denimblog's Celebrities in Levi's

How Can Jeans Cost $300? from the Wall Street Journal

Find Your Perfect Jeans from Zafu

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Comments

Love this article and especially the photo of MM!

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