by Allison Riney
Every woman in America is guaranteed to do one thing any time she flips through her old photographs: gawk at the denim of the day. In recent fashion history, we can all remember the lovely JNCO trend, the rebirth of flared denim, and the rise of the skinny jean. Jeans in America have defined fashion and pop culture for generations.
As with many nostalgic pieces of Americana, we have European ancestors to thank for shipping our beloved blue jeans across the Atlantic. However, take comfort knowing our skinnies’ were born nearby Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Giovanni Bellini’s San Zaccaria. Yes, we can trace the origins of our dungarees to Sixteenth Century Italy.
In the 1500s, the Italian city of Genoa was well-known for producing corduroy-like cotton. Sailors from this Italian city donned their comfortable trousers from one European port to the next, catching the eye of the French. The French initially failed to replicate the fabric they called “bleu de Genes.” After many years and failed attempts, weavers in Nimes, France, developed their own twill- a blend of silk and wool. The fabric was aptly named “Serge de Nimes,” or “denim” for short.
Jeans did not surface in America until the end of the eighteenth century. By the mid-1800s, Levi Strauss moved to America, eventually landing in California and opening a dry goods business. In the 1870’s, Strauss partnered with a Jacob Davis, a tailor who wanted to add copper rivets to the pants for support. Jeans’ popularity soon exploded thanks to the mining and manufacturing industries, becoming all the rage among the common man in America.
Fast forward to Spring 2013; denim is as exciting as ever with bright colors, bold prints and pretty pastels. Fashionistas have watched these trends evolve over the past few seasons, but this year our favorite designers upped the ante. The colors are more vibrant, pastels more enchanting, and prints more perfect.
There are so many ways to wear these exciting jeans, so don’t be afraid to try something new or daring. Or keep it simple and let your new jeans to be your statement piece. You can’t go wrong with a bright red or pastel purple pair matched with a basic, clean, white tee. Or go for a monochromatic look and have fun mixing different hues. And don’t forget to accessorize! Play with your look by adding a metallic bootie or fun flat.
If you love the idea of wearing a fun jean, but aren’t comfortable with blindingly bright hues, printed denim may be your perfect solution. Not all printed jeans are popping with color; many use neutral color palettes or monochromatic prints. If you are still hesitant to experiment but want to be fashion-forward, try stepping into a pastel blue pair. Although not far outside your comfort zone, they could be your gateway denim.
Whether you’re a neophyte or veteran, there are a few things to keep in mind. No matter which fit or style you choose, be sure to take them to your favorite tailor. You want them to be the perfect length and fit smoothly. This next suggestion is a personal choice (and one I advocate): please don’t match pastel jeans with any kind of flowery, frilly, girly blouse. Steer away from anything cliché.
Let’s not forget Serge de Nimes is not exclusive to pants and neither are this season’s trends. The denim skirt is making a comeback – and in shapes other than the mini! The denim skirt revival is featuring longer, girly shapes available in the brilliant hues, outrageous prints, and ultra-modern acid washes. We are also seeing the resurgence of the jean jackets. Don’t worry; the days of Saved by the Bell appear to be long gone. At New York City’s Mercedes-Benz Spring 2013 Fashion Week, Marc by Marc Jacobs showed a denim version of a trench coat. Other designers featured jean jackets with leather sleeves.
Looking to freshen up your denim selection this spring? Check out the below Cape Cod boutiques and shops:
- Havana Jeans, 365 Central Ave, Scarsdale & 16 Purchase St, Rye
- Churchills of Mount Kisco, 41 S Moger Ave, Mount Kisco
- Z Life Denim Lounge, 138B S Ridge St, Rye Brook