by Kevin Burton
If your workplace observes casual Friday, one thing you might be reaching for today is your favorite pair of jeans.
They are commonly called blue jeans, though some of them are not blue. I own one black pair that I rarely wear.
Approximately 450 million pairs of jeans are sold in the United States every year, according to www.historyofjeans.com. The average American has seven pairs of blue jeans.
I was surprised to find I have eight if you count the beat-up pair I wear when doing yardwork. I don’t need and shouldn’t have that many. I believe my wife Jeannette expected me to throw at least two pairs away when she gave me two new pairs for my birthday.
For me blue jeans are comfortable and functional. Beyond that I’ve never put much thought into them, other than which ones are clean, which ones are dirty. But jeans have symbolized many things to many people over the years.
After James Dean wore them in Rebel Without A Cause, jeans became a symbol of non-conformity and were banned in a lot of places. That’s funny to me because jeans are now the most ubiquitous uniform of all time.
Here are some other facts about jeans, according to the website:
- The orange thread that Levi Strauss & Co. uses for the stitching of jeans is trademarked. It is used as a distinguishable feature and to match the color of copper rivets.
- Rivets are used on jeans to make them stronger, especially on pockets. In the beginning, Levi Strauss & Co. Placed rivets on all pockets, front, and back but people complained that rivets on the back pockets scratched saddles and chairs so at first, they covered them and then removed them altogether from the back
- Making of one pair of Levi 501s requires 37 separate sewing operations.
- The oldest known pair of Levi’s jeans were found in 1997 and was 100 years old.
- The first jeans came in two styles, indigo blue, and brown cotton “duck.”
- The first name for jeans was “waist overalls.”
- The first label ever to be attached to a piece of a garment was a red flag that was sewed next to the back pocket of Levi Strauss’ jeans.
- Jeans were first colored with indigo because darker color better hides the dirt.
- In a time when the jeans were worn by factory workers, jeans for men had zippers on the front, but jeans for women had zippers on the side.
- A boutique in the New York East Village called “Limbo” was the first retailer to wash a new pair of jeans to get a used, worn effect. It became a new fashion hit.
- Twenty thousand tons of indigo are produced annually for dyeing of jeans.
- The name ‘denim’ comes from the name of a sturdy fabric called serge, initially made in Nîmes, France.
- From one bale of cotton, around 225 pairs of jeans can be made.
- The birthday of blue jeans is considered May 20, 1873, a date when Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss and Co. obtained a patent for blue jeans.
- Over 50 percent of denim is produced in Asia, specifically China, India, and Bangladesh.
- To eliminate the shrinkage, most of the denim fabric is washed in water after coloring.
- Indigo that is used for the coloring of denim for jeans is a very old color that was made from plants but now is synthetically made.
- Stretch denim is a type of denim that is used for skinny jeans. It is not made from pure cotton, but it has an elastic component such as elastane.
- Only a few grams of the indigo are required for the coloring of each pair of blue jeans.
- Blue jeans became popular for the first time outside of the United States, thanks to American Soldiers in World War II wore jeans when they were off-duty.
This final bit of wisdom is for you ladies and comes from Glamour Magazine. This is what men supposedly think of your choice of jeans:
“Slouchy oversized jeans risk looking a bit sloppy. Paint-spattered jeans make guys think you are headed to the laundromat. Not-too-tight skinny jeans make for the perfect date outfit. Intentionally distressed or frayed jeans distress him,”
“Red jeans catch and keep his attention. Cropped edgy jeans give off a playful vibe,” the magazine writes. The picture accompanying this latter is of a woman in mid-calf jeans and three-inch heels. I guess if it’s in Glamour it must be a thing.
“Cool relax-fit jeans equal a cool, laid-back girl. Hip edgy jeans make him think you’re too cool for school. Billboard on the butt styles turn him off.”
“70s jeans (i.e., bell-bottoms) send a groovy message,” the magazine opines.
May this forever be. Have a nice day.