Monthly Archives: August 2006

jean fridays

rethinking casual fridays

a short list of slang for denim offered by James Sullivan, author of Jeans.

“Fornication Pants”: The term used by Mormon leader Brigham Young, back in the 1830s, to describe the new style of denim work pants featuring front-and-center button closures. (Before this provocative innovation, men’s pants fastened down the sides.)

“Bibless Overalls”: A la “horseless carriage” or “motion picture,” the garment industry’s term to help people understand a radical concept. Used until the fifties.

“French Jeans”: A synonym for designer denim from the pre–Calvin Klein days. “In the early seventies, there was a store in New York called French Jeans, and they sold brands like MacKeen that had slimmer cuts and fancy stitching on the pockets,” Sullivan says. “In The Bad News Bears, Tatum O’Neal’s character agrees to play for Matthau’s team only when she’s promised a pair of French Jeans.”

“Tommy Hills”: Yes, we’d forgotten about that too, but Hilfiger jeans were indeed huge in the mid-nineties. “A lot of rappers would mention their ‘Tommy Hills’ in their songs,” says Sullivan.

“Wack Slacks”: “Back when there was a lot of hype around the Seattle music scene, a reporter from The New York Times called a marketing person in Seattle and asked her to describe grunge culture. The marketing person told him that grunge had its own slang and that old ripped jeans were known as ‘wack slacks.’ The Times printed it, not knowing that the marketing person had made it all up.”

hmm, i used to be all for jeans at the office, but now maybe not… fornication pants? sounds like a sexual harrasment suit waiting to happen. ahha

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