The Origin of Blue Jeans. The Backstories of Your Favorite Jean Styles

Everyone has a favorite pair of jeans. You know, the ones you throw on for a cool downtown party or just for work on a Casual Friday, and they make you feel so good anyway. But have you ever thought about your jeans beyond wearing them until they break apart? For example, why does Teeanime refer to them as “jeans” in the first place? Here’s where the term actually comes from:

Jeans, The Originals 

According to HelloGiggles, jeans originated in the 1800s in Nimes, France (french speakers will get this). The serge cloth was called serge de Nimes, which sounds like “denim.” Soldiers from Genoa, Italy, whom the French termed “jeans,” wore the pants, and the nickname was established. Over a billion pairs are sold per year.

Yes. You’re curious. You’ll discover more denim facts below:

“Skinny” Jeans

Marilyn Monroe and Elvis wore drainpipe jeans in the 1950s and 1960s, which are similar to slim jeans but flare out from the ankle – a design that lasted until the late ’60s (see below). Glam rock and heavy metal bands wore acid wash skinny jeans to the ankles in the ’80s and ’00s. Men and women loved this tight fit in the 2010s.


Bell-bottoms are perhaps the most contentious of all pants, if not all fashion fads. They may be the face of hippy counter-culture, but their history predates the 1960s. Wearing wide-leg pants was the standard uniform for US Navy soldiers in the early nineteenth century (formal ones did not yet exist). While we envision these to be flared outward, they were actually wide in nature – the true bell-bottoms arrived later, during the 1960s, when the hippie movement was in full swing. Musicians, actors, and other celebrities quickly followed.

“Bootcut” Jeans 

While bell-bottoms and skinny jeans are two of the most well-known denim styles, bootcut jeans have also ruled the market for several decades, particularly in the 1990s and early 2000s. These slightly thinner flares were often advertised as providing a “balanced look” for women with wider hips, making them immensely popular throughout America until the late ’00s, when they fell out of favor.