It would be hard to find a person who has never worn jeans. Probably most people have a pair of jeans hanging in their wardrobe, or some other denim item. But what might be even more difficult than finding a person without any denim items, would be the ability to destroy this durable fabric. Its ruggedness makes denim suitable for playing in the park with your kids or sharing a drink with friends. No problem! That aside, it’s not the sustainability of jeans that makes them so timeless but rather, the design. But what is the actual history of jeans and denim? And how should you wear them? Given that they are such a staple in our lives, maybe they’re also easy to forget, or take for granted. We would like to explain it all, with the hope that you will find your perfect pair of jeans.
Text: Emanuel Kristing | Photography: Ion Kombokis Lancing | Published: 2021-10-06
Let’s start here, and tick this big question off the list. So what is denim, actually, and what are jeans? The answer is quite simple: denim is the name of the fabric used to create a pair of jeans. With time, people have fallen into the habit of also calling the fabric itself, jeans. But what is the history behind it all and when did people first started wearing jeans? To answer that, we need to go way back to France in the 1600s, where we see the first occurrences of this durable fabric being worn as items of clothing. Can you guess which city? Well, if you guessed Nîmes, you are right! Denim is, in fact, an abbreviated meaning of the following words in French “serge de Nîmes” which still translates as “fabric from Nîmes”.
Historically, denim has always been regarded as a cheap fabric. Because of that, it quickly became popular with, for example, construction workers, gold miners and farmers. Jeans later started becoming popular in the USA at the end of the 1800s when Levi Strauss started manufacturing the first jeans. Today, jeans have become so much more. From luxury items, to casual staples and a multi-functional wardrobe item for all.
Let’s start by ticking the most important item off the list. Don’t be afraid to use your jeans and really put them to the test. Jeans are meant to be enjoyed and the fabric is very durable. So wear them for all sorts of occasions, like when you play with your kids in the park or when you meet a friend for lunch that you haven’t seen in a while. Having said all that, be prepared for your jeans to get a bit dirty and at some point, of course, you will want to wash them. That much is obvious. If you get a small stain on your jeans, we recommend that you put a little dishwashing soap on a rag and use it to rub out the stain. Afterwards, let your jeans air out thoroughly by hanging them on a rod. But if you nevertheless feel like you want to put your jeans in the washing machine, we recommend low heat and the gentle cycle. The reason for this is that you don’t want to subject your jeans to unnecessary wear and tear.
There are many ways to wear denim, which isn’t so strange really, given that the range of styles is so broad. A jeans jacket, shirt, a pair of jeans trousers...you name it! Take any item of clothing and you can be pretty sure that it exists in denim. So, what do we think you should focus on? Well, at the top of the list is a blue denim shirt. But what kind? It should be one that fits you nicely, not to big...not too small. Go with a slightly snugger model, since denim tends to relax a bit after you wear it the first couple of times. We also recommend that you take your time, making sure to find a shirt that corresponds to your shoulder width. Choose a shirt where the shoulder seam is located exactly where your shoulder transitions to your upper arm. If it is larger and doesn’t fit like that, it will end up looking rather baggy and sloppy. Then, once you’ve found it, match with a stylish knit grenadine tie. As for the sleeve length, there is a bit more leeway there. Just make sure that the sleeves aren’t too long. When you wear a shirt with sleeves that are too long, it looks like you are wearing your old grandad’s shirt from the attic. That’s not the look you’re after, right? One great tip is to roll up the sleeves when wearing accessories, such as a wool tie or bow tie. Another go-to that needs mentioning in the context of jeans or denim is a white t-shirt. Blue jeans together with a white t-shirt is a classic combination that is never wrong. Regardless of whether you’re out grocery shopping in the evening or dropping off your car for service, this will always be a winning combination.
When it comes to jeans, the key here is always going to be the fit. Don’t be afraid to let your jeans be an extension of your personality. You might like a loose fit, tailored fit, or slim. What’s most important is that the size is right, from top to toe. When your jeans fit right, you feel good...more confident even! It helps, for example, to have perfect-fitting jeans when you meet new colleagues for the first time.
Jeans are both stylish and casual, as well as being incredibly versatile. But what do we mean by that, exactly? Versatile...how? Well, you can wear them for just about any occasion and in any situation you might find yourself in. If the circumstances call for a more casual look, you can easily just slip on a green ribbed turtleneck in pima cotton. You’ll look great. Dressed up, without being too dressy. Or, you can match your jeans with a navy blue Oxford shirt under a matching cotton bomber jacket. It doesn’t get more elegant than that!
Or, interested in something more formal? Going to a baptism, wedding or birthday celebration, for example? Well, jeans can be right for that, too! They are also a great choice for a more formal dinner with your partner. For this, a blue twill shirt and brown knit tie with a pair of well-fitting jeans is a sure bet. We suggest that you tuck the shirt into your jeans and wear a brown leather belt. You can even top it off with a brown cardigan or a knitted cashmere blazer. The search for the perfect jeans is an endless adventure. We hope this article has sparked a flame and inspired you to widen your scope when it comes to this amazing, versatile fabric. Denim is awesome. It is an amazing fabric that we love as much today as we did centuries ago. It’s like a never-ending love story!