1. According to one anthropologist, around … of people wear jeans in daily life on average.
2. Jeans were created in the ... century.
3. Jacob Davis asked Levi Strauss for help because he ...
a. didn't have enough money to pay for the patent.
b. didn't know how to operate a large factory.
c. wanted assistance with marketing the brand.
4. Denim jeans were the most popular type because...
a. the color changed over time.
b. the fabric was lighter.
c. they were stronger and more durable.
5. Before World War II, jeans were seen as … clothing.
6. Jeans … in the 1950’s.
a. became fashionable because Brandon and Dean used to wear them
b. were associated with a positive image
c. were prohibited in schools
7. Women liked jeans because...
a. they found jeans time-saving.
b. jeans suited them.
c. jeans were seen as a symbol of middle-class.
8. Author Paul Trynka says we love jeans because...
a. there are many different fashions.
b. they are casual and comfortable.
c. they reflect our lives and personality.
Nearly everybody has a favorite pair of jeans. Invented in a simple tailor’s shop in the U.S., jeans are now a staple in wardrobes across the globe. One anthropologist observed hundreds of people on the street in dozens of countries and found that nearly half of passers-by wear jeans on any given day. How did this American invention win over the world?
Sometime in the 1870s, a woman asked a tailor named Jacob Davis to make a durable pair of pants for her husband, who was a woodcutter. To make the pants, Davis used a strong fabric, which he bought from a supplier owned by Mr. Levi Strauss. He then reinforced the pants with copper rivets to prevent tearing along the seams and around the pockets. Word about this robust new style of pants spread like wildfire among manual laborers, and soon Davis was receiving so many orders for the pants that he could barely keep up with the demand.
Davis wanted to patent his invention, but he couldn’t afford the patent application fee. This spurred him to call Levi Strauss to ask for financial assistance. As a result of this conversation, the famous brand of Levi’s jeans was born, and Strauss and Davis opened a large manufacturing plant in San Francisco. Jacob Davis continued to manage the factory for the rest of his life.
Levi’s jeans were initially made in two fabrics – one was cotton duck (which is similar to canvas) and the other was denim. Although both pairs were dyed blue, the denim jeans turned out to be far more popular. The blue dye didn’t penetrate the denim as deeply, and the result was that the color faded and changed over time – giving the denim jeans a unique “character.” In addition, denim was a softer and more comfortable fabric, and became even more so with age.
Jeans are certainly practical for workers - but their explosion in popularity can be credited to Hollywood. Before World War II, jeans were primarily worn in the western part of the United States. They were considered cowboy clothing - a symbol of rugged American individualism - but hardly appropriate for more casual or elegant wear.
In the 1950s, two legendary American actors - Marlon Brando and James Dean - wore jeans in films where their characters were portrayed as rebels who were "cool." Jeans became associated with the "bad-boy" image, and were even banned in schools - which of course made teenagers all the more eager to wear them.
Within a decade, jeans had spread to the middle class and many variations of color and cut were being produced. Women loved the fact that they didn’t require frequent washing, and didn’t need to be ironed at all. Not only that, but they fit close to the body in a way that rivaled even tailored clothing.
Today jeans are an everyday item and a symbol of youth, casualness, and comfort. According to Paul Trynka, the author of a book about jeans, we love our jeans because they come to represent our identity. He says, "The eternal appeal of jeans is just that they reflect us and they reflect the lives that we've had in them."
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