STYLE. GROOMING. INSPIRATION. ADVICE.
By Matt Glazebrook, 30 September 2014
Farewell then September. It's been... denim-y. Over the past 30 days we've given you the lowdown on some classic categories – skinny-fit, coloured denim, straight-cut and super-skinny jeans – as well as exploring the joys of the denim shirt. We've celebrated some of the best ever denim outfits from the movies, and taught you how to put together one of them. Via the medium of video, we've shown you how to style denim jackets, skinny jeans and jeans with blazers, how to rip jeans and care for them, and how to make a single pair look fly all weekend. Basically, everything you need to know.
And now, to play us out and into October, we present a musical history of the beloved blue jean. Take it away!
Late 60s/early 70s
Gene Vincent sang about the Blue Jean Bop in 1956, but pop music didn't really embrace the denim look until the mid-60s, when the suited-and-booted uniform was gradually replaced by something a little more liberated. Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant's denim flares encapsulate the dichotomy of the bell-bottom: the free-flowing lower section is all 'the forests will echo with laughter', while the crotch-hugging top part says, 'I need a whole lotta love.'
After a decade or more of billowing around the ankles and dragging in the dirt, punk came along in the 70s and demanded denim either shape up or ship out. The Ramones' drainpipes defined the new form: skinny, ripped and ready to rumble.
Rock got a bit peacocky in the 80s, and its jeans were no exception. Hair metallers wore theirs eye-wateringly tight, while Guns N' Roses showed a grittier edge with some elaborate tattering.
The rips remained in the 90s, but the message was very different. Whereas Axl Rose's shredded threads had signaled 'bad boy rocker with a hot model girlfriend', Kurt Cobain's gaping kneeholes said 'sensitive, tortured artist (who also happens to look super cool)'.
Grunge heralded a decade of spacious jeans wearing but, by the early noughties, the success of the Strokes and others had revived the skinny indie-boy silhouette for a new generation. From then on, denim got ever slimmer until cartoon goth scarecrows The Horrors pushed things to the tackle-crushing limit around 2006.
Until a few years ago, hip-hop and denim meant only one thing: big, baggy pants with some serious sagging around the boxer short area. Since then however – inspired equally by Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci and skate culture – things have tightened up considerably. These days, you're much more likely to see the likes of Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and Lil Wayne sporting slim-fit jeans with their oversized tees. Or, in the case of rap style god A$AP Rocky, some killer cut-offs.