The History of Jean Trends

From their pop culture debut in the 1950s and 60s, jeans have transformed fashion and trends with their versatility.


Denim has been one recurring trend in each style for the past 6 decades.


Silhouettes, dyes and washes, rise, and length may change over the years, but jeans remain to be a staple item for everyone.


It’s important to recognize the trends before our time because most of the jean types we wear now were worn by our parents 30 or 40 years ago.


Take a look at what jeans looked like many decades ago, all the way up until recent days.


1950s

This silhouette features high waisted, tapered jeans, and fits quite loosely. For an era in which they were just beginning to become popularized, it makes sense they were so modest.


1960s

The original straight jean silhouette began in the 1960s with jeans like these. Remember colored jeans fad of the early 2010s? Yeah.


1970s

A snapshot from That 70s Show showcases one of fashion queen Jackie Burkhart’s best fits. Her high-waisted bell bottoms were snug on top and only got wider and looser as they went down.


1980s

This ad from the 1980s features acid wash mom jeans, with tapered legs. This trend can definitely be seen now, but it will never be quite as iconic as it was all those years ago. The no-pocket look on the right is also a detail you can find in some pairs of jeans now.


1990s



For the 90s we have two looks. The first being the queen of our hearts, Princess Diana, and the second being a promotional photoshoot for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air featuring Tyra Banks. While the Princess of Wales shows off the early 90s trend of a similar shape to the 80s jeans, Will Smith and Tyra Banks display the looser, mid-rise jean trend known for the later 90s.


2000s

Once the 2000s roll around, we see jean trends undergo a completely new shape, rise, and overall vibe. Britney Spears, CEO of early aughts fashion, flaunts super low-rise jeans. The length of these was purposefully extra long, these jeans are meant to drag on the floor as you walk.


Early 2010s

Blake Lively is the first person that comes to mind when I think of 2010 fashion, and skinny jeans. By the late 2000’s, straight jeans were starting to make a comeback, but still very low-rise. In 2010, low-rise and mid-rise skinny jeans were everywhere.


Late 2010s

In the later 2010s, we started seeing mom jeans silhouettes from the 80s and 90s reappear.


2020-2021

In the past year or so there has been a comeback in the 90s hiphop trend of lower-rise looser jeans, as seen in the picture.


The spins on all the trends we’ve seen proves that trends will always resurface.