The Evolution of Denim Over The Decades

Denims have been undeniably a fashion staple, a mainstay in our lives to be precise, but this wasn’t always the case. Today, you can’t imagine a life without denims, be it a pair of jeans or jacket or shirt or dress but to everybody’s surprise, this is one fashion item that has its own share of major ups and downs, and has evolved considerably over the decades. This classic piece of clothing might be getting trendier by the day, but this sturdy and ubiquitous cotton material definitely has a rich past to boast of too! Here’s the journey of denim – from being an inexpensive uniform reserved for the working class to the iconic wardrobe essential today!

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Birth of Cool Jeans and Being Hippy (1950s-1960s)

Well, though the first jeans came into being in the 1920s, the 50s marked the beginning of fashionable denim. It came through as a rebellious fashion choice and pop culture icons all over started embracing this ‘bad-boy’ trend. Light washes, cuffed denim styles were the ruling jeans trends among men while dark washes, stiff fabric, sailor pants, denim coveralls and dresses specialized in female fashion. When the 60s rolled in, it brought with it the Hippie era. This youthful, free-spirited movement embraced the casual blue jeans as well as personalizing jeans using embroideries, stone washing, patches and rhinestones were popular trends at that time. Double denim made its first appearance in this decade along with the emergence of bell-bottom flares and jackets with sewed on decals.

Takeover by Designer Denims (1970s-1980s)

The 1970s was remembered for the wide spread and increasing popularity of bell bottoms and silhouettes that accentuated the waist. Denim skirts both long and minis as well as denim vests also became quite popular in this period. With the arrival of the 80s, denim took birth in its true designer form. Denim was the ‘it’ fabric to be worked and experiment upon by the top designer brands and it emerged as a true status symbol. The most desired looks flaunted by men and women were stone washes, acid washes and ripped jeans. Also, new skinnier cuts, with tapered details at the ankle came into being. Denim was adding new members to its family with more men starting to show up in denim commercials.

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Baggy Gave Way to Skinny (1990s-2000s)

The 90s brought the beginning of the grunge era with its underlying emotion being that denim is a casual and effortless go-to garment, rather than a stylist must-have. The highlights of this trendy decade being carpenter jeans, mom jeans and overalls sported by stylish young women all over. The men were more into baggy jeans and jackets. The 2000s brought bold style choices with most jarring changes in denim history. Pop stars brought into the limelight ultra-low rise jeans and gave way to denim as a staple with flare and boot-cut denim being the most popular cuts till mid-decade. The latter half brought back the skinny jeans incorporating the denim stretch technology and suddenly you could see every girl in skinny, legging style jeans.  Boyfriend jeans started topping the trend charts in the same decade.

Variety Speaks (2010 onwards)

Well the recent decade is all about embracing every cut, silhouette and wash possible. Along with the increasing popularity of the boyfriend jeans, fitted denim shirt, straight leg and boot cut jeans, we are at a point where we are ready to style anything and everything as long as its denim. Be it a vintage grey wash or distressed (slight abrasion to ultra-shredded) styles, denims are our ultimate favorites. Skinny jeans are still undeniably the most popular among women along with vintage inspired high-waist styles. Denim overalls, rompers and jumpsuits are also high on the style-o-meter with patch worked denims ruling the game currently. And entering the decade in its strongest form ever is the athleisure aspect of denims, including denim joggers and oversized jackets.

Thus we see how denim has changed its styles over the decades and evolved into a fashion staple found in multiple forms in every wardrobe all over the world. So, now you know how jeans looked the year you were born and how it looks now. Let’s leave it upon you to decide which style you  pick!

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