Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

140 years of blue jeans

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Greg Peck
May 20, 2013

I own at least five pairs of blue jeans. Three of those I rotate through most off-work hours. They’re worn and tattered on the bottoms. Two other newer designer pairs I keep for socializing, dining out or even wearing on “casual Fridays” at The Gazette.

Today is considered the 140th birthday of blue jeans. The idea emerged after Reno, Nev., tailor Jacob Davis riveted pants for a customer who complained about pockets ripping. Davis feared someone might swipe his idea, so he teamed up with Levi Strauss, owner of the dry-goods company that bore his name, and they obtained a patent May 20, 1873.

Blue jeans, or denims, were at first seen as great for laborers such as miners, farmers and factory workers. Recent decades saw the move to fashion brands. Cotton Inc. says the average U.S. consumer has seven pairs.

You see them most everywhere—including church, where I still refuse to wear them. I also tend to toss out jeans that are so worn that they rip and get full of holes. But judging from the “fashion” trends of young people these days, I probably should be instead selling such holey jeans on eBay.

Do you spend most of your days in jeans? Is there anywhere you won’t wear them? Do you find ripped and holey jeans offensive in certain settings?

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook

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