Levi's Overalls - Yesterday, Today, and into the Future

This month we are celebrating 80 years of Levi’s® women’s clothing. We will tell you the story of the evolution here @Denimology in a few stories.

Being that right now the denim overalls are the most sought after MUST HAVE item we all need to have in our closets, I thought it would be interesting to feature them here as part of our Levi’s® story.

Levi’s® is the Far Western cowboys’ name for a particular style of tailored “blue jeans” that they’ve been wearing for nearly 70 years. It’s short for “Levi’s® Western Copper-etched Valet Overalls”.

And here a bit more about the Levi’s® overalls:

In 1853, the California gold rush was in full swing, and everyday items were in short supply. Levi Strauss, a 24-year-old German immigrant, left New York for San Francisco with a small supply of dry goods with the intention of opening a branch of his brother’s New York dry goods business. Shortly after his arrival, a prospector wanted to know what Mr. Levi Strauss was selling. When Strauss told him he had rough canvas to use for tents and wagon covers, the prospector said, “You should have brought pants!,” saying he couldn’t find a pair of pants strong enough to last.

Levi Strauss had the canvas made into waist overalls. Miners liked the pants, but complained that they tended to chafe. Levi Strauss substituted a twilled cotton cloth from France called “serge de Nimes.” The fabric later became known as denim and the pants were nicknamed blue jeans.

From the Archives: Denim in Vogue

“The blue denim look… is the uniform of the world, the way we all want to look when we’re feeling easy, moving fast—a way of life,” observed Vogue in 1971. As potent a symbol as the red, white, and blue, jeans are globally recognized as an American icon. Created in 1873 by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss, jeans lived a life outside of style for many years until fashion shook the dust off of denim and made it what it is today: the fabric of our lives. This acceptance of denim as a fashion material, rather than a specialized—and marginalized one—coincided with the sixties’ Youth quake, which announced the widespread acceptance of street-inflected individuality. The new era it introduced was infused with what was called “the jeans spirit,” which continues to hold the world in its thrall. Why? The answer might be as simple as that proffered by Vogue in 1999: “Jeans are always cool—and always evolving.”