A Brief History Of All The Jeans You (And Your Mum) Have Ever Worn

From flared jeans to the little-missed acid wash distressed skinnies; here's all the staples you loved and loathed

A Brief History Of All The Jeans You (And Your Mum) Have Ever Worn

by Jess Commons |
Published on



Jeans this big are all well and good in Milan where this picture was taken. Year round sunshine and dry pavements work just fine with extra long flares. Bring those flares to London in the winter though and you're suffering from wet pant cuff from the moment you step outside.


Ah yes 'the vagina hugger'. Also known as the camel toe creator and the labia destroyer. Wearing these flares* sans* shoes in the 1970s was A-OK but try and repeat this look today and the only place you're going is the Diana Vickers School For Noughties Hippies (sponsored by Miss Selfridges from 2006).


The original 'mom' jeans. Rolled up at the bottom and with a classic 1980s blazer worn strategically to cover the gunt area that mom jeans love to accentuate. Obvs SJP doesn't have nor have ever had a gunt. We're referring to ourselves that one time we tried to buy mom jeans. And cried.


The word 'acid' hasn't ever been used in a good context; acid reflux, acid burn, acid rain... Apply to jeans and it's a similar principle. Acid wash jeans is one of those things that no-one likes to talk about but it's important that we do lest we find ourselves in the midst of another acid wash revival like nu rave one from 2007.


Oh hey it's every girl out on t'town in the further reaches of East London. No it's not it's Madonna before she started dressing up like a clown. Poor Madonna. Excellent use of socks, shoes and jeans though. 10/10.


A brief respite from bonkers stuff the bonkers stuff and period of relative calm in the denim world. The order of the day was a straight cut with a sensible waist height and no frills or lace to speak of. See Season 1 of Friends and the jeans Monica wears with 'those clunky Amish shoes she thinks goes with everything.'


'O' is for 'OH WOW'. Sweet pedal pusher action here from the girl that not but three years later managed to make arse-less chaps the number one item on every teenage girl's Christmas list (just me?). Mainly though, what shape are Christina's feet to fit in those shoes?


Oh good. Hey Paris. Thanks for ushering in two of the greatest fashion fallouts in history; hipster jeans and hipster belts. We're holding you personally responsible for a million purposely visible thongs, a worldwide obsession with the concept of 'muffin tops' and the necessary trend for public hair to be removed entirely lest an ershwhile hair pop up above the belt buckle.


These were the kind of jeans that you got from Bay Trading for £10. These were the kind of jeans that, if you look closely, would have a slight sheen of glitter to them. These were the jeans that would soon have a huge hole in the ankle where your stiletto heel from your pointed boot had rubbed. These were the jeans that were so synthetic they left your leg with a nasty rash at the end of each day. Thanks jeans.


Another outing for the denim pedal pushers. This was a key 'out on the town' look. If you asked someone what they were going to wear to Liquid in Gloucester on a Friday night in 2004, and they said 'Ooh just jeans and a nice top' this is the exact look they meant.


I can't.




These jeans. In one fell swoop Kate Moss saved denimkind and went full 'indie' with the grey skinny jeans she wore all damn summer. Sure, bouncing up and down to the Pigeon Detectives while everyone's wearing straw trilbies wasn't the greatest of time but it sure beat what came before it.


So what's hip hop happening now in demin? Everything. From flying the flag for your mom jeans to frayed cuffs, cropped kick flares to the return of bootcut. Today everything and anything goes. Apart from acid washed distressed denim. That's not ok. And never will be.

Like this? Then you might also be interested in:

**Have We Fallen Out Of Love With Jeans?

All The New Denim Brands You Need To Know

How To Wear All The Denim You Own At Once And Not Look Like A Knob


Follow Jess on Twitter @Jess_Commons

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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