Denim jeans are named after the strong hardy fabric from which they are made. The original fabric was a serge made in Nimes in France, hence the name ‘denim’ but a type of cotton trousers were also being made in the Italian town of Genoa and these became known as ‘jeans’ after Genes, the French word for Genoa.
In America during the 1870s, jeans were also being made and patented by the Levi Strauss Company. Denims made by this company came to be called ‘Levi’s’ and hence another name for these trousers was born.
Regardless of the names by which they are known denim jeans have become a mainstay in the wardrobes of men, women and children alike. Originally designated as work wear this popular pant has transcended the lines of both class and gender to become a garment that everybody wears.
Speaking of wearing denim jeans, many people like their denims to be faded and worn-in which is understandable because this thick, stiff fabric often only becomes comfortable when it gets to this stage. In fact, it is common nowadays for denims to be pre-distressed, meaning that they have undergone a process during manufacture which has caused them to become faded and soft without them actually needing to be worn to get that way.
Fashion trends have led to denim jeans being available in a variety of washes and degrees of ‘wear’ and it is common for jeans to appear in retail stores these says looking fully worn-in, complete with wrinkles, ‘whiskering’ and faded patches.
The popularity of denim jeans is so widespread that dress codes have relaxed to the extent that it is now often acceptable for people to wear them to work in all but the most formal of corporate environments. This does not mean, however, that people can wear their ratty old pairs to work. Dress codes relating to denims often dictate that jeans worn to work should not be faded and full of holes.
The dye in denim jeans is notoriously un-colourfast, meaning that you need to take special care when washing and drying them so as to prolong their lifespan. Always wash your denims inside out and use a cold water washing cycle when using an automatic washing machine. You should never tumble-dry jeans and always keep them out of the sun when line-drying.
As a general rule, you should wash denims as little as possible as the washing process causes premature fading. On the other hand, do take cognisance of the wash-care label that accompanies certain newly purchased jeans requesting that you wash them once before wearing. If you ignore the label on these heavily dyed garments then you may find the dye rubbing off on your legs!