Iconic Denim Looks
Denim is a fashion trend that will never truly die despite already having a long and memorable history. Here’s some of the most memorable and iconic denim looks from the beginning of their rise to popularity.
While jeans had already been available since the late 1800s, they quickly became popularized by cowboys to create one of the most iconic looks of all time. The Western cowboy has now become synonymous with denim, in a style that is recognized across the globe.
The name 501 was officially registered in 1890 by Levi’s but the classic shape jeans from Levi’s as we know them, didn’t arrive on scene until 1947. Two years later Jackson Pollock made denim his go-to uniform for studio-painting.
It was during the 50s that denim jeans became the counter culture outfit of choice, particularly chosen by teens across America and the UK. Icons such as Marlon Brando and James Dean helped cultivate the bad boy image of denim in their silver screen appearances (as well as setting the standards for menswear for years to come), which even lead to some schools banning the classic trouser. While denim was still largely unworn by women, female icons such as Marilyn Monroe could be see wearing ‘boyfriend jeans’ in films such as The Misfits.
With Flower Power in the air, the 70s was all about flares and bell bottoms; and the bigger the better. For inspiration look to Charlie’s Angels and Farrah Fawcett. The 70s was also the age of personalization, with rhinestones, patches, embroidery and stonewash becoming micro-trends.
After a controversial ad featuring 15-year old Brooke Shields clad in Calvin Klein jeans, the world of designer denim was born. What was once a working man’s uniform now had high-class status and became a symbol of American culture. Key trends included acid-wash, ripped knees, and the beginnings of skinny jeans.
The 90s was a mixed bag when it comes to the history of jeans. After gaining high-class status in the 80s, denim became a staple look for rappers and hip-hop groups, with baggy jeans and oversized jackets. It also saw the rise of double denim, with the memorable outfits of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake (not just double denim, all denim). While popular within the pop and hip-hop music industry, it was this popularity that made denim lose it’s high class and elusive status.
The naughties saw an increasing popularity of the low rise jeans as worn by Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. These were mostly in the form of bootcut or straight leg jeans. In the latter half of the decade, skinny jeans surged in popularity particularly thanks to the ‘emo’ rock trends. The skinnier the better, and this was not just a trend for the ladies either.
Jeans still remain a timeless garment in both men and women’s wardrobes. With a huge variety of styles and trends in store today, its a sure thing that denim isn’t going anywhere either.
Written by Sarah Hewitson, who works with Buy Jeans.