Originally called Overalls and a standard issue item for hardworking Miners, Wild West Cowboys and the plain Ol’ Wild ones of society, Denim Jeans saw a stamp of ‘hip’ being stitched into its seams during the 1950s, causing a double take to those daring to wear!
Famously Eddie Cochran was the first to Rock and Roll his Denim on stage.
As Part of his Minnesotan roots, the jeans were an everyday uniform of the sharecropper and Eddie felt more than comfortable staying true to his homeland style.
Elvis also wore the cuffed denim style and certainly helped to make them ‘cool’, although mainly worn when off duty, as he felt the material wasn’t quite ‘showtime’ enough for the stage!
Fitting for the flicks….
An American hero status came ruggedly riding into film reels by the mid 50’s, Flicks featuring the epitome of lawless youth and stylish sex symbols like James Dean and Marlon Brando came on to screens everywhere, burly brandishing a pair of pegged denim….. so its no wonder that todays collectors are falling over themselves to snag a pair of selvedge.
Now rockin’ a reformed rebellious status, Denim-wear became the chosen cachet for the uber cool kids in town!
Levi strauss & co ran ads in support of teens wearing their jeans in class, this was to be frowned upon by many East Coast schools, and because of such a revolutionary rogue reputation being sewn on to the style, some schools soon felt the need to ban the style from their dress code completely…… taking the trend out with the trash!
Or so they thought….
A letter from an East Coast professor to levi’s read as follows, “While I have to admit this may be ‘right for school- in San Francisco, in the west, or in some rural areas I can assure you that it is in bad taste and not ‘right for school’ in the East.”
Well This didn’t stop any hip guy getting his gear on outside and away from the rules of those rigid and restrictive institutions.
The Forbidden fashion only made the teens denim desires stronger.
To Cuff or not to Cuff, that is the question….
ok, so on the rockabilly scene we all love to cuff our jeans, i hear of so many rules and regulations on how to, where to, how high, show selvage or no selvage…..
but quite frankly, the original reason for cuffing a jean was due to the fit!
Most families had a hand me down policy…..
If your older brother grew out of his jeans, they were often passed down to you, whether they fit perfectly in length was far from a problem….. because what did you do??…….you’d turn em up!
Tah-Dah! the cuff was invented.
Many Modern fellow fifties enthusiasts love to show off the white seams of the selvage, which is found on the inside leg of the jean.
This results in various sizes of cuffs being turned up all around town.
How to tell that you’re donning some Darn’ right good denim…
Levi strauss & co, Lee Cooper and Wrangler were the most popular ‘fashion’ brands for denim in the 1950’s, and because of the hand me down nature, most pairs were literally worn out! resulting in them being thrown out!! So true vintage examples are rare and highly priced.
Looking for an iconic pair of levi jeans from the 1950’s?? Well its worth keeping your eyes skinned for the pairs known as capital Es, due to the upper case E being visible on the pockets red tab.
Since 1971 the tab has been spelt with a lower case e
A desirable jacket to collect would be the 1953- 507 XX jacket, or more commonly know as the “number two” or the “second edition”.
If true vintage isn’t your style, or not for your shape then….
Repro is the way to go!
When you find a good pair of reproduction jeans, you just know it!
Here are some of my favourite company’s, tried and tested by myself, (in the ladies section of course).
But i have my trusty male assistants that can vouch for you Gents, that in this little selection, are the jeans that dreams are made of!
Go get denim hunting guys!