The Evolution Of Jeans: Bell Bottom Is back!

“Best friends are like a favourite pair of blue jeans; they get better with time.” – Jean Lover

Pairs of folded Jeans

There are numerous tales of the history of Jeans. Let’s leave that for the historians. Jeans marked a whole new level of culture of the last 140 years way beyond what its founders, Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss, visioned in 1873.

The Evolution of Levi Jeans

Let’s start with what the first pair of Jeans looked like.

1950 – 1953:
During this period, Jeans were Western-inspired and just getting popular. They became more of a fashion trend thanks to actors like Marlon Brando and James Dean who began to wear them on a pretty regular basis. They were primarily worn by men until 1952 when Marilyn Monroe wore a pair in a film “River of No Return”. That was when they became a staple for women.

Jeans at 1950

1954 – 1956:
Boxy jeans were in style, and they were usually cuffed. For the most of the 1950s, jeans weren’t fitted or particularly baggy. They just looked stiffer and were also almost always worn rolled up.

Boxy Jeans

1957 – 1959:
Jeans and a white tee became a trend. The jeans and a white craze didn’t start today. This started back in 1957 when Brigitte Bardot became one of the first women photographed in cropped jeans with a white t-shirt.

Jeans and white tee

Early 1960s:
This period was when Jeans became more flared, embellished, and fitted. At this period, they became more casual, more hippie-inspired and became and more mainstream.

Jeans at early 60’s

1964 – 1965:
This was when Jeans became tight at the waist and flared at the bottom. Celebrities like Sonny and Cher, Twiggy, Mick Jagger, and Jimi Hendrix made it all about the flare.

Flared bottom Jeans

1966-1967:
Bootcut jeans ruled this period. This was after Brigitte Bardot was photographed wearing them in 1966.

Boot cut jeans

1968-1969:
Our sweet Jeans became lighter after Levi’s ads showed that lighter jeans were coming into style.

Jeans at 1968 became lighter

1970-1971:
Jeans became bolder, more ragged and embellished.

Embellished Jeans in the early 70’s

1972:
They made bell bottoms look like child’s play. Jeans became more fitted at the waistband and got wider as they went down the leg.

Bell bottom jeans

1973-1974:
Unfinished hems became the new kid on the block and my! They did rule the hood.

Unfinished hem jeans

1975 – 1976:
Elephant bells became the new trend. This is basically just extremely wide-leg jeans that got even more flared around the calves.

Elephant bells Jeans

1977:
Slim, straight leg jeans had an added punk-inspired vibes. During this period, Jeans started to become more slim-fitted, with straighter legs rather than flares. These were particularly popular, especially on the music scene.

Straight cut jeans

1978:
Jeans became darker and tighter.

Dark Jeans

1979:
This was when Jeans became more than just a pair of pants. The ‘Bum shorts’ was birthed. Catherine Bach wore this very short denim cut-offs in “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV series, and it became extremely trendy.

Bum shorts jeans

1980:
Welcome to the season of the baggy jeans. Almost every African-American hip-hop artiste featured in baggy jeans.

Baggy Jeans

1981-1982:
Jean became sexier slim enough to show the curves.

Fitted Jeans

1983-1985
Jeans became high-waisted and cuffed.

High waist jeans

1986-1987
Faded acid-wash jeans took over the game.

faded acid jean

1988:
Denim-on-denim ruled the red carpets and parties. It became more than just what you wear from the waist down.

Jean on Jean

Early 90’s:
Overalls took the place of regular jeans.

Jeans in the early 90’s

Mid 90’s:
Bootcut jeans had a comeback.

Boot cut Jeans

1997:
These funny-looking yet widely worn jeans were on most fashion lovers. It was all about the “JNCO” jeans.

JNCO jeans

2000:
With the turn of a new millennium came Blinged-out jeans. Shiny stuff mattered then.

Blinged out jeans

2001:
Lace-up jeans followed suit.

Lace up jeans

2004-2006
The back pockets disappeared.

No-back-pockets-jeans

2007-2009:
Jeggings showed its pretty look and people accepted it.

Jeggins

2010:
Boyfriend jeans came on the scene.

Boyfriend Jeans

2012-2015:
Jeans became bright and in a variety of colours.

Bright colourful jeans

2017 and beyond:
Jeans became all sorts of styles. From different colours on a pair to different shades and then the big one – “Distressed jeans- of varying rips.”

Distressed/Ripped jeans

…and yes! Bell Bottom Jeans from back in the days are back in 2019!

The latest trends are not the end of our everlasting jeans. One is left to wonder what jeans will look like ten years from now.

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