You may not own a wristwatch, a button-down shirt, a trench coat or a cocktail dress, but chances are - you have some jeans, and more than one pair.

Jeans, jeans, jeans. They come at you from television commercials, from billboards on Times Square, from the pages of glossy fashion magazines, from the bodies of socialites, construction workers and vagabonds.

Jeans are profoundly democratic. There is no elitism, no distinctions of wealth or status. In a sense, jeans helped bring America into a more integrated society and culture. Both the rich and poor, black and white, male and female, etc. wear denim without any prejudice. Blue jeans became a common ground for all.

Cowboys conquered the West in jeans. Hippies fought for peace in jeans. Bohemian people made jeans their trend. Rappers created a genre of music in jeans.

And while they may be cut in India and sewn in Vietnam or China, using cotton from Turkey and indigo dye from Germany or Brazil, they are still seen as uniquely American. Once called ‘American trousers’ in the outer world, blue jean is the quintessential piece of American clothing.

To be totally honest, those ‘American trousers’ are about as American as apple pie (which was in fact invented in Europe during the Middle Ages).The first jeans were worn in the 16th century by sailors from Genoa, Italy, whom the French called Genes. Their blue pants, made of a blend of cotton, wool and linen, are ancestors to our modern denim trousers. As for ‘denim’- there was a serge fabric, a mix of wool and silk, manufactured in Nimes, France, way before the jeans were ‘invented’ on American continent. “Serge de Nimes” is of course the denim’s father.

So, how have these twill pantaloons grown to personify America, to become an American symbol of attitude to life, style and culture?
Bavarian immigrant, Leob (turned Levi) Strauss, who first started to make copper-rivets-reinforced pants out of leftover tent material for California gold miners in 1870s, would be amazed at today’s mass appeal of his denim ‘waist overalls’. Not only his flagship product initiated the global jeaning of the world, but it also became an international symbol of independence, equality, freedom, and youth. And this has happened in America. Here a practical item of clothing has overcome the highest controversy and achieved an unprecedented success.
In the beginning Denim was a cloth that communicated class distinction, designated for the farmer, the worker, the poor and dispossessed.

American cowboys wearing jeans in 1930s movies created the first jeans-appeal; in 1950s American movies and TV made jeans a symbol of teenage rebellion, in the '60s and '70s, blue jeans were embraced by the hippies, by the ‘80s Gloria Vanderbilt, Bill Blass, and Calvin Klein turned this practical commodity into high fashion.

And thus, the low-class durable humble-wear has transcended all classes of society and became both practical workers' attire and high fashion designer apparel. Blue jeans were the first to accomplish a rather revolutionary cultural achievement - bring upper class status to a lower class garment.

Another jean controversy was the rejection of consumer concept, valuing only brand-new goods. Like antique furniture or old paintings, jeans with wear and tear started to be treated more like a friend than a garment. The creases, holes and patches draw a roadmap of the wearer’s life. Vintage blue jeans became more valuable, and to raise the price they have been bleached, ripped, stone-washed, washed with acid, cut up and distressed.

Exposed branding is also initiated in jeans culture. A little red tag on Levi’s bottoms was the first example of clothing with a brand name on the outside. Today, it’s difficult to find garments that do not show a label on the outer surface.
For generations jeans are major wardrobe nuts and bolts. They are worn everywhere, from yard work to special occasions. It is hard to imagine, there was life before jeans. And yet it was. A simpler life, when people didn’t care about cholesterol, did not count calories, enjoyed tobacco without feeling guilty, did not use tranquilizers and did not know about the Pill. Before zippers there were buttons. And there was fashion in pre-jeans days.

Bell-bottoms came and went. Platform shoes had an intense, yet short, life. Polyester made a brief appearance. Sailor suits could be seen everywhere; not anymore. But jeans seem to have survived. They have achieved the impossible: remained a major trend through the centuries, made it across borders, oceans, social classes and genders. Popularity usually comes with an expiration date, but apparently not for jeans.

So why is it that jeans have survived through time? It’s jean evolution. In order to survive, every thing must adapt to its ever-changing environment. Jeans have done exactly that. High-waist, low-rise, boot cut, stonewashed, flare, distressed, destroyed, straight cut, skinny… white, black, gray, pink, green and every imaginable shade of blue… With every generation, jeans have been adapted in order to ensure their continued popularity.

But in spite of achieving the cultural idol status, jeans are still banned from the corporate culture. Denim is still the first ‘not to wear’ item of business dress-code inventory. Though, it seems to slowly invading the corporate setting. Appropriate jean-wear is allowed more and more in smaller and even large companies not only on ‘casual’ days. It is even making its way to the Capitol Hill. One of the recent executive orders of President Obama: the staff working at the White House on Saturdays is being advised that they should wear jeans.

Seems like the corporate jeanocide is coming to the end.