Ellie, a muse of yours, emailed the above question because she thought you were making fun of her ‘Mom jeans’ in your post, “No Country for Old Hens.’ This led you to recall all the different types of denim that you and Ellie had clad yourselves with over the years.
The short history of jeans as you know it:
1. Hogwashers. Back in the 1960’s and 70’s, young girls wore real-live farmer’s bib overalls. Problem was, my mother announced one night at dinner that your sister had started this whole fad that was sweeping the nation. You thought your sister simply wore them because they were, well, sweepin’ the south, anyway. (But then, Mama also claimed that your brother invented the word ‘googolplex’… and you are still waiting patiently for her to announce what exactly you have invented.)
2. DRESS CODE: JUNIOR HIGH, 1969-1971. Charlotte, North Carolina.
You, Ellie and your other cronies had to wear dresses and skirts to Junior High School. YOU WERE NOT ALLOWED TO WEAR PANTS–MUCH LESS DENIM. And, there was no such thing, as jeans. No one had even HEARD of jeans, except farmers. Far be it from them to want to lead some fad. They were far too busy tilling the soil in their hogwashers and growing ‘denim crops’ and such–bless their lil hearts.
3. The times, how they so quickly change. 1972. Suddenly everyone is swathed in denim. We’re talkin’ bell-bottoms. worn. on. the hip. There was no, “Do you want mid-rise, low-rise, slim, boot, wide, fitted or flared?” And shuffling through piles of Citizen of Humanity, Joe’s, Hudsons and Sevens. These bell-bottom jeans were the denim of choice worn on the smokin’ porch of Myers Park High School in 1972. Not smokin’ in terms of hot, but a true, serious, smoking porch. North Carolina, land of tobacco. Both Winstons and Salems, were smoked. Not an excuse, merely an explanation. OK, moving on.
4. Start-jump to the 80’s. Actually contrary to popular belief–the 80’s started off kind of cool, it’s usually the end of each decade that gets surreal. There were some Levis and Lees along the way; the acid-washed thing was kinda cool and different, but the high-waisted, peg-leg–such a fashion taboo. But who knew–it worked at the time.
5. Since then, you’ve enjoyed a combo of Cambio, Gianni Fabrizio, Theory and Joe’s. Ellie found a great pair of Not Your Daughter’s jeans. Margaret introduced you to the comfy Christopher Blues, and you found some nice black Lauren ones at Macy’s the other day. But your favorite pair are the Stella McCartney ones from a consignment shop, tags. still. on.
But still missin’ that smokin’ porch scene…Ellie–these bell-bottoms blues are just for you.