Blue jeans and denim had made its way to Britain and Europe first in the 1950s. Originally workwear, jeans took on cult status and by the early 1960s everyone was wearing blue denim although it was still seen as a slightly “outsider” fashion.
In the mid 70s, Denim exploded and it was everywhere. Status Quo were riding high in the charts with “Blue for You” and everyone was wearing denim not just as trousers but as jackets, shirts and even waistcoats. Denim skirts were popular with girls as well as jeans and denim jackets. Girls often worn their jeans tight and had to lie on the floor in order to pull up the zip (sometimes using a wire clothes hanger)
Denim entered the mainstream in the 70s and you could buy it anywhere. There was still a snob value attached toLevisbut other brands had entered the arena. Falmers, Lois, Lee and Brutus were just some of the popular brands of the 70s. These brands often had a much more fashionable cut than the original Levis.
In the 1960s,Levishad been shrink to fit. That meant that to get them to fit properly you had to sit in a bathtub of water (preferably cold) and supposedly the jeans would shrink a couple of inches and mould to your shape, as well dying your legs blue. This was a hassle and unsurprisingly people just wanted to buy jeans that were ready to wear and the hue of blue you wanted.
By the 70s, you could buy jeans that were ready to wear and a whole range of denim clothing was available, from hardwearing work gear to “going out” clothes.
I used to work on a haberdashery stall downRoman Roadto earn some extra pocket money and would always take a look in Mr Byrites where the jeans seemed to be piled high. I would spend most of my lunchtime in there looking for something I could afford but more often than not would end up spending my money on Sunday going to Beckton Lido. Those were the days!
Today, a walk down any High Street will show people of all ages wearing denim. Everyone wears jeans and you will still see a range of denim clothing of all sorts worn by all ages from kids to pensioners.
Denim set circa 1976/77 from Littlewoods