What Jeans Tell You About America

April 12, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

The Economist looked at the history of denim jeans in America:

  • For Americans jeans inspire images of the rugged wilderness and cowboys in the Wild West.
  • This is mostly myth. Cowboys wore canvas and leather trousers.
  • It was farmers and factory workers that would don jeans in their daily lives.
  • Jeans seem to have become popular during the Depression of the 1930s. Farmers invited others to their lands to pretend at being adventurous cowboys – giving them regular farm clothes to act out their fantasy.
  • Tax policy might also have played a hand. Tariffs on French clothing forced stores to focus on domestically available fashions.
  • Then in the late 20th century there was a panic as denim began to be associated with bad boys and gang violence through movies such as “Rebel Without a Cause.”
  • In stepped a collective of denim manufacturers which successfully advertised denim as wholesome clothing worn by hard working young people.
  • The rest is history – today America’s Presidential candidates frequently don jeans to come across as down to earth hard working individuals.

Read more about jeans, and what they say about America’s relationship with work over here.

Source: The Economist