Winters Past

20th Century Fashion from Deco to Disco

Forever in Blue Jeans

Jeans. They’re made of denim, they have a zipper, and every decade they get reinterpreted. If dissertations have not yet been written about the evolution of denim, those grad students are missing out on some rich historical references.

Here’s a little denim timeline of the 20th Century.

1930’s: Levi’s introduces ladies jeans for the first time. They are mostly worn with Western gear and are not considered particularly fashionable off the ranch.

thirties ladies blue jeans

These thirties cowgirls look bold and confident in their blue jeans and boots.

1940’s: Jeans were worn by women as workwear. The waist was high, the rise was long and the fit was loose. These were utilitarian garments, but they afforded women the level of freedom they needed to take on physical jobs.

forties ladies blue jeans

Forties ladies with lunch pails and  blue jeans

1950’s: Jeans were worn as leisure clothing for the first time. They had  a light wash, cuffs, and were worn by women and girls as casual pants, not just as workwear.

fifties teens blue jeans

Fifties teens, hanging out in  jeans with loose button down shirts and loafers or saddle shoes.

Marilyn-Monroe in jeans-1954

As always, Marilyn adds some womanly sexiness to whatever she wears (here, looking very modern in jeans, 1954)

1960’s: We can look at this decade as two distinct eras. In the first half, jeans sat at the natural waist and were straight. By the second half, they morphed into hip hugger bell bottoms.

early sixties blue jeans

Early sixties bright Wranglers

sixties bell bottoms

Super flared sixties hip hugger  bell bottoms

late sixties denim

Late sixties-early seventies high waisted wide bells

1970’s: Neat trouser waist jeans, worn belted with the top tucked in


Here. the seventies neat theme continues:

 Farrah Fawcett in jeans

Farrah Fawcett in jeans and some great sneakers

1980’s: “Designer jeans”, from Gloria Vanderbilt to Sasson in a dark wash. They fit tight in the butt and the bells went away.

eighties designer jeans

Eighties  jeans with heels

Brooke in Calvins

Nothing came between Brooke and her tight, dark, straight Calvins

1990’s: We had acid washed baggy denim as well has the classic light wash Mom Jeans

Salt 'n Peppa in denim

Salt ‘n Peppa in denim

Ninties Mom Jeans

Ninties Mom Jeans

2000’s: Loooww waisted bell bottoms were the style.

low rise flare jeans

low rise flare jeans

Since then, we’ve had boyfriend jeans and skinny stretch jeans, but the current trend is (believe it or not) a return to the light wash Mom jeans of 20 years ago.

Author: Winters Past

I am a vintage clothing shop owner living and working in rural north Florida. I believe in adding a little vinegar and molasses to my greens, having my coffee outside whenever possible, and mixing something vintage into every room and every outfit.

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