The Evolution Of Women’s Jeans Throughout The Years

Are skinnies poised for a comeback?

Originally Published: 
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Trace the evolution of women’s jeans, ahead. See the most important social and pop cultural moments that have shaped society’s views on denim and its role in the trend cycle.

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Levi’s introduced the first pair of women’s jeans — The Lady Levi’s — in 1934. They were initially made for women working on farms and ranches. Later on, Hollywood western films made the look feel more mainstream with actors like Jane Russell, pictured here, wearing jeans.Silver Screen Collection/Moviepix/Getty Images


Marilyn Monroe was an early adopter of jeans. In a notable denim moment in history, she wore figure-hugging skinny jeans in River of No Return (1954), which helped to popularize the style before it became a 2000s staple.Sunset Boulevard/Corbis Historical/Getty Images


Before Grace Kelly became Princess of Monaco, she starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s mystery thriller Rear Window. In the photo, she posed in cuffed, straight-leg dark wash jeans, which was a growing trend at the time. Bettmann/Bettmann/Getty Images


Audrey Hepburn is widely recognized for wearing the Givenchy LBD in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. However, she added her own contribution to the denim dialogue when she wore these weekend-chic, straight-leg jeans while singing “Moon River” in the film.Bettmann/Bettmann/Getty Images


Flares are synonymous with the ‘70s, as evidenced here by Farrah Fawcett in 1977 who wore jeans while filming Charlie’s Angels. Bell bottoms were big during this decade because they allowed for the freedom of movement, especially as one danced to disco.Bettmann/Contributor


New York socialite and fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt created the first line of It denim. Her jeans featured a small gold swan embroidered on the front while Vanderbilt’s signature was sewn on the back right pocket. Her creations went down the Fall/Winter 1979/1980 runway for Murjani.Bettmann/Bettmann/Getty Images


At 15, Brooke Shields appeared in Calvin Klein’s 1980 denim ad to debut the designer’s new line of super-tight jeans. The (now) iconic line she uttered in the campaign was: “Do you know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”Calvin Klein


Throughout the ‘80s, pop stars like Madonna, pictured here, were obsessed with distressed acid wash jeans. The bleached look became so popular that it was a signature style for protagonists in coming-of-age films. Vinnie Zuffante/Archive Photos/Getty Images


The ‘90s birthed a range of glorious denim trends, which included the iconic mom jeans. Here, Jennifer Aniston wore a pair while attending an NBC party in 1990.


Bootcut jeans were also popular during the’90s. Here, Halle Berry wore a light-wash pair with a fringe top to the 1993 MTV Movie Awards. Frank Trapper/Corbis Historical/Getty Images


Fast forward to the early aughts and you get Destiny’s Child in low-rise jeans. Everyone had a pair.KMazur/WireImage/Getty Images


Jessica Simpson brought renewed attention to “daisy dukes” in the 2005 film The Dukes of Hazzard. (The original series aired on TV from 1979 to 1985 and starred actor Catherine Bach — the original Daisy Duke character, who wore denim shorts.)Warner Bros. Pictures


Skinny jeans became the denim look in 2010s, as it took over the pants market. Here, Blake Lively rocked a pair with boots while filming Gossip Girl — a show, which at the time, dictated the fashion trends.James Devaney/WireImage


So long skinnies. The current denim trends cater towards barrel leg, straight leg, and flare styles. Here, Victoria Beckham, always one to lead the charge in fashion, gave her stamp of approval on ditching your skinnies. Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

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