Does anyone recall the moment when jeans became a luxury item? Was it when Brooke Shields did those Calvin Klein ads? Or maybe when heiress Gloria Vanderbilt lent her Park Avenue style to her own line of jeans. It’s funny to think that a brand developed by Levi Strauss in the late 1800s for working people (men) to wear, is now a fashion item. The California gold miners wore dirty jeans when they went panning for their dreams. The jeans were made of denim for durability so they could be worn repeatedly. The rivets were put on the pockets, not as a fashion accent, but to stop ripping of the pockets. In 1855 a pair of the Levi Strauss overall jeans cost $1.25. The name 501 came not from a cool branding team, but from the original patent number. No marketing team would assign a number as the name of their jeans brand today. Now we have names like “True Religion” , “7 for all Mankind” and of course individual designer names branded on the bottom of your jeans. I’ll always remember my English professor in college telling me it was bad taste to wear the name of my tailor on the outside of a garment, particularly on the backside. Looking back, he had a point.
The June issue of Consumer Reports takes an interesting look at the evolution of jeans and the quality of the jeans for the price. They evaluate jeans priced at only $20.00 versus high-end designer brands priced at $240.00. Surprisingly, two of the lower priced jeans (Levi Strauss & Co Totally Slimming, and Old Navy the Flirty Curvy Dark Balboa) are rated as having better construction features like interfacing under the waistband and reinforced stitching at the waist to prevent stretching. Check out the June issue of Consumer Reports before you spend your hard earned money on high-priced jeans Get the scoop on value for price by looking at the Consumer Reports ratings on price, shrinkage and more. In this instance, knowledge is definitely power!
One more interesting fact about jeans. In a survey done in the UK last year by Which Magazine, it was discovered that “the average person spends twice as long shopping around for the right pair of jeans as they do choosing a current account [bank account or money market account] – almost 40 per cent of those surveyed spent up to three hours choosing jeans.” I wonder what Levi Strauss would think of this. We’re shopping longer and spending more for an clothing item that was developed for working, not making a fashion statement. What do you think readers? How much do you spend on jeans, and how long do you spend shopping for them. Personally, I do think they are one item of clothing where it takes longer to find the right fit.