Aaaaah…designer jeans. Nothing signified the “Me” generation more than jeans made by Tale Lord, Sasson, Jordache, Calvin Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt, and Guess jeans. Well before kids sagged their pants and just randomly threw on any ol’ pair of jeans, teens and young adults were defining their status with their high waisted pants showing off the iconic horse, triangle with the ? mark, or whatever else was hot in their heyday. Initially, they were marketed to women, but eventually everybody wore them. Also unlike today’s generation, they weren’t rumpled or wrinkled, some were creased ( I actually knew of a few people who had permanent creases put into their jeans…lazy, right?) and the men wore them straight legged and for the ladies, the tighter the better.
Prices ranged anywhere from 30 to 60 dollars for a pair of jeans (Guess jeans were priced a bit more if my memory is correct) and some like the Lee’s and Levi’s came in different colors so for those who really wanted to could color coordinate from head to toe. But let’s keep one thing in mind, Lee’s and Levi’s were the ‘antithesis’ of designer jeans because they didn’t have that ‘flash’ or ‘glitz’ of other jeans, American made, and because outside of the flavored variables they rarely altered their iconic logos is probably the reason why they survive today. Towards the late 80s and early 90s acid and stone washed jeans became popular and eventually ripped and shredded jeans became the style that is still popular today in some circles.
My experiences with designer jeans was that as a teen over the 6′, my mother absolutely refused to buy me any because 1.) I was in adult territory and anything that fit me cost almost double what most kids’ parents would pay for and 2.) my mom knew that sooner than later I would grow out of them and of course 3.) they were a fad. But it was a fad I wanted to take part of so like any other teen who wanted to ‘fit in’, I got a part time job and bought my own.
One of my friends, Andrea reminisces fondly about the style: “We dressed them up with anything from rider boots to shellhead Adidas to Domino boots (predecessors of the Timberland boots) to flats from Payless. Ladies could dress them up with their favorite baby doll shirt and men could dress them with their favorite Nike shirt or favorite sweatshirt with your name in cursive letters.”
(you remember these shirts don’t you?)
What made the jeans special? It was all in the name of the designer as well as the designs on the back pocket of the jeans. The jeans were made to been seen, it gave people a sense of status and style. They marked a period when we wanted to show everybody what we wanted to do with a few dollars and in a sense that really hasn’t changed.
Who remembers when Brooke Shields did ads for Calvin Klein?
Want to see some of the ads? Check some out below.