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Jeans, an ally of the modern woman

Jeans, an ally of the modern woman

Do you speak denim?

What's more obvious than wearing jeans? In just a few seconds, these ultra-solid pants have us dressed. In baggy, slim, skinny, mom, cargo, wide-leg, straight or bell-bottom, oversize or 7/8 ... Jeans adapt to all styles and flatter all body shapes.

But where does it come from? How does this iconic fashion piece cross the decades without ever becoming out of date or outdated?

Together, let's retrace the history of denim jeans and try to unlock the beauty secret of the greatest basic – with the unmistakable white t-shirt! – from the fashion world.

Lee Wrangler ad campaign on the left and image of Jane Birkin wearing jeans and a white t-shirt on the right

The history of jeans, from Genoa to the catwalks

Wild Wide West. The history of denim jeans is closely linked to the conquests of wild lands and the history of industrialization.

The history of jeans begins at the port of Genoa, in northern Italy, in the 16th century. There, Italian weavers make a strong fabric mixing wool or linen and cotton. This fabric is used to make sails for ships in the Genoese fleet. The English navy noticed its great resistance to the elements and purchased it for its ships. When the sail is damaged, the sailors transform it into ultra-resistant clothing. Little by little, through semantic shift, the “Genoa” canvas becomes “denim” canvas. A myth is born...

The conquest of the oceans opens the way to the New World. Many adventurers, gold miners and merchants then set out to conquer the West. This wild Eldorado is known for its natives, its hostile fauna and its rivers filled with gold, like small shiny grains of sand.

To cross this new continent, adventurers first equip themselves with recycled tent canvases. Then, the south of France innovated and reinvented denim with a new 100% cotton twill fabric. This “Nîmes” fabric - soon to be denim - combines an indigo warp thread with a neutral weft, in undyed cotton. This is the denim fabric we know today, with its characteristic diagonal pattern. Its commercial success was such that England, in turn, entered the denim race by marketing a canvas made of brown and indigo threads in the 19th century which was widely adopted by American cowboys and miners.

Since the USA produces its own cotton, it quickly understands the benefit of limiting imports. They started spinning, then created their own blue jean workwear. American cowboys and miners are fans of this ultra-resistant blue canvas. However, they notice that their pockets and knees are wearing out prematurely. In 1852, in California, tailor Jacob Devis and merchant Levi Strauss had a genius idea: combining blue denim with copper rivets to reinforce the pockets. Workers can place all their tools there and bend over without worry.

A stroke of genius!

The inventors of jeans even provided a very small pocket behind the large one, at the front, to slip in the pocket watch and then the Zippo lighter. The ticket pocket still persists on many modern models, as a little nod to the history of jeans.

Becoming popular in France in 1939, after the broadcast of the western La Chevauchée Fantastique , cowboy jeans became rock with Marlon Brando, then a symbol of female emancipation with Marilyn Monroe.

Little by little, the iconic work outfit is adopted by everyone. Jeans become rebellious, cool or sexy by turns. It can be worn loose, slim, raw, ripped, embroidered, faded... A real playground for stylists, this basic goes through the ages without ever going out of style.

Farrah Fawcett and Marilyn Monroe in jeans

Marlon Brando and Princess Diana in jeans

What is the fashion secret of our jeans?

Jeans are a bit like our fashion comfort blanket. It's perfect for all occasions!

Easy to put on in seconds, almost tear-proof, jeans can be as casual as they are sophisticated. By pairing it with a white t-shirt, we can have fun turning our work jacket inside out to switch to a blazer and adopt a chic after-work style, or roll up the sleeves of your safari jacket to give it a vacation look .

With a sailor top, blue jeans take on a Parisian look. Unless we decide to pair it with ankle boots to go to the beach or the garden...?

In short, the fashion secret of our jeans is their obvious simplicity. It goes with everything. From young teenagers to working moms , jeans have that little je ne sais quoi that enhances us without overdoing it.

Jane Birkin and Kate Moss

Mom jeans, a must-have in our women's wardrobes

Mum or mom jeans (depending on the brand) are high-waisted jeans with a super comfortable vintage 70's cut. Its cut is wide at the hips, then tapered along the legs.

A pretty mom jean slims the waist, lengthens the legs and highlights the contours of the hips. It is generally worn in a 7/8 size , even if it means rolling or hemming the bottom of the leg slightly to emphasize the finesse of the ankle.

This cut of denim jeans is ideal for women with generous buttocks or hips, since it highlights the lower body by hiding the small belly. It can also balance the figure of a broad-shouldered person for this same reason, while giving you a little Jane Birkin look.

Jennifer Aniston and Katie Holmes in their mom jeans

The great return of slim jeans

Slim jeans are preparing their big return to our wardrobes!

These jeans that stick to our skin are often made from a blend of cotton and elastane, to better emphasize the curve of our calves. This summer, we choose it in a raw slim jean version and combine it with a tunic or an oversized blouse.

In a slim black jean version, it will keep us company all winter long with a big cuddly sweater, to slim the legs by optical effect, while staying warm. The most savvy among us will exacerbate this contrast between the raw denim and the soft sweater by opting for mohair or a very fluffy pilou-pilou knit.

Kate Moss and Charlotte Gainsbourg in slim jeans

What if we reinvented denim?

Another big trend for 2023-2024: the return of the denim jumpsuit.

This perfect mid-season piece is reminiscent of both 90s fashion and pioneer outfits. Easy to wear, the all-over denim jumpsuit is available with or without sleeves, alone or with a shirt with XXL sleeves, bustier or high collar... but always in raw blue denim.

During the day, we like it with good chunky white sneakers. In the evening, it's time for discreet pumps, sandals and tennis shoes with pretty hoop earrings and sophisticated eyeliner.

Charlize Theron and Bella Hadid in denim jumpsuit

Want to play with denim?

Twist a denim jacket, a high skirt in faded cotton or a good old baggy from your wardrobe with a little top and a colorful scarf. Have fun recreating the most beautiful looks from decades past and playing with color.

Fashion passes, style remains. It's up to you to learn to master it! And for that, spruce up your style in front of a large full-length mirror.

Different jeans Les Cocottes Pimp Ton Style

Different jeans Les Cocottes Pimp Ton Style


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