Casual trousers in 1912 Did blue jeans exist at the time


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May 27, 2007
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Howdy Tracy
My family moved to Laramie Wyoming when I was little and as we were poor I inherited my sisters navy pea coat yuk. Bell bottoms I still wear those. I remember my mom cutting up a old pair of pants along the seam in the pant leg and sewing a bandanna to make instant bell bottoms for me in high school when we had dress from 60s day. I had the whole nine yards. Tinted sun glass and a wig for long hippie hair. A leather Indian vest with beads man. I was groovy
 

Bob Godfrey

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'Groovy' dates back to the jazz era of the late '30s and was popular for the next couple of decades but out of fashion by the '60s, except for the turtleneck sweater and goatee beard brigade who still preferred jazz to rock. Can't recall ever 'feelin' groovy' myself!
 
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I'm feelin' Groovy at that. My generation kinda brought Groovy back as a joke word when fashions went back to bell bottoms in the late 90's early, early 21st century.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Remember the dreadful AMC Gremlin Levi~Strauss edition? The ugliest small car of the 1970s made worse by the addition of denim-colored paint on the outside, and an ultra-groovy blue-jeans inspired interior featuring genuine Levi rivets along the seats that heated up red-hot and burned your legs on summer days.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMC_Gremlin
When it was new, it was what you prayed your parents WOULDN'T buy you on your 16th birthday as your "first car". (A crown worn in my generation by the Yugo) The standard AMC Gremlin Joke ~ Q: How do you double the value of your Gremlin? A: Fill the gas tank. If your parents DID buy you the "blue jean" Gremlin, you were guaranteed to be the object of derision until it rusted away to nothing- usually about two years was all THAT took.

My own favorite "jeans" memory is of the Elephant Bells craze. A pair with a 30" inseam actually measured at least 34," which meant that A) your mom had to hem them severely, or B) you had to buy unisex platform shoes to get them to fit properly.

Then, in high school came the ultra trashy Next Step In Jeans after bell bottoms died out. Tapered leg jeans, worn by both sexes, which you put on wet so that they dried obscenely skin-tight. TOO tight, or sans underclothing, and you'd be pulled out of class until your parents brought you something "decent" to wear...but, did Trashy Jeans Detention remain as a "blot" on your permanent record? Remember using a fork to zip constrictor-tight jeans up? It was the only way- in some cases- that you could. Just another odd Ca 1980 memory.

> Groovy..out of fashion by the '60s, except for the turtleneck sweater and goatee beard brigade

...and sitcom writers.

>Bell bottom trousers,
Coat of navy blue,
She loves a sailor
And he loves her too.

Was the song that "Goody" Goodelle was singing in the Melody Lounge at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub justas the room caught fire.
 

Tracy Smith

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Yes, I was thinking of awful shows like the Brady Bunch when I thought of sitcom writers who used "groovy" in their scripts.

And I think the AMC Pacer wins over the Gremlin as the 70s Ugliest Car -- it looked like an upside down fishbowl on wheels.

And I remember wearing blue jeans so tight that I had to lay back on the bed to get them zipped.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>And I think the AMC Pacer wins over the Gremlin as the 70s Ugliest Car <<

For what it's worth, my own family referred to this ugly little beast as a "pregnant roller skate." At least it didn't have that unfortunate tendency to explode the way the Pinto did.
 
May 3, 2005
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>>>Bell bottom trousers,
Coat of navy blue,
She loves a sailor
And he loves her too.<<
(Popular song during WWII)

Hmmm....Maybe I was in the U.S.Navy at the wrong place or the wrong time (Korean Conflict) but if you were to wear "bell bottoms" aboard ship you would have been put on report for wearing a "non-regulation" uniform or if you went on Liberty or Leave the Shore Patrol would have surely gotten you....Not that I ever remember seeing any.

At that time there were three types of uniforms for the Enlisted Men.:

The dungaree trousers (which looked much like blue jeans..darker blue color ) Long sleeved shirts (probably cotton) of a light blue color.
This was the "working party" or every day working uniform.

The "Undress Blue" uniform which was the standard issue woolen Navy Blue trousers and a plain jumper (no stripes or stars on the cuffs and flaps.) This was sometimes with or without the neckerchief.

"Whites" were of cotton material about the same as the above.

"Dress Blue" was the woolen uniform with the jumper with the stars and stripes on the cuffs and flaps. (And of course no self-respecting sailor every went on Liberty or Leave without his "spit shined" shoes !)

"Dress Whites" were worn with the neckerchief. (Black silk and carefully rolled around a penny.)

And of course the "White Hat". "Flat Hats" (the dark blue woolen type) were also standard issue but I understand they were just worn on the East Coast.


There were some who bought tightly fitting "Dress Blue" jumpers that had to be zipped up the side to get into them, but I believe they were also frowned upon. I did see some of these and they were of terribly shoddy material.

Hey, real sailors ! Correct me if I'm wrong in my observations ! LOL.

Were "bell bottoms" ever "Government Issue" at some other date or era or is this just another case of a myth or literary license ?

"All I know is what I read in the papers and that's my excuse for ignorance." - Will Rogers
(Substitute "The Internet" for "papers" in the above.

Also I'll probably get a lot of flak from "real sailors" but I'm glad to see that the U.S.Navy
is now giving the Enlisted Men (First Class Petty Officers and below) a break with some decent military looking uniforms....My ambition was to "Make Chief" and get to wear a Chief Petty Officer's Uniform....but, alas !, I only got as high as First Class during my four years in the Navy.

It seems the purpose of some postings is to get some people riled up (which I usually don't try to do on ET) but maybe this will be a first for me.
:-( & :)
 
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>>Were "bell bottoms" ever "Government Issue" at some other date or era or is this just another case of a myth or literary license ?<<

The dungaree working uniform was something of a bell bottomed design, though not overly so. The only time I ever wore one on liberty was in South Korea, but that was Pohang South Korea in March. It was so bloody cold there that nobody cared what you wore so long as it was warm.

This uniform has since gone away.
 
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>>The dungaree working uniform was something of a bell bottomed design, though not overly so.<<

The dungaree trousers of my remembrances were pretty straight.... very much like blue jeans ...no trace at all of a bell bottom.

>>It was so bloody cold there that nobody cared what you wore so long as it was warm.<<

Southern California propaganda notwithstanding, but it could get "bloody cold" in Long Beach or San Diego...and especially San Francisco...in the winter. The Pea Coat in winter was a welcome piece of wearing apparel....
 
May 27, 2007
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Hi Bob-
Austin Powers indeed.

I always thought Mike Myers was cashing in on a 60's 70's nostalgic trip all ready in progress by the youth of America.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Another bit of 1970s denim trivia....who among us remembers 100% synthetic denim-look pants that actually melted and fused with your skin if you tried sliding into a base with them? Virtually every boy under the age of 12 whose mother did the Back to School shopping in places like Pik-n-Save experienced that particular wardrobe malfunction in 1977. In my case, a cigarette tossed carefully out the window of The Obligatory 19 Foot Long Chrysler, hooked back into the car and "ignited" my lap. Then, after a bunch of fatal Halloween Costume ignition accidents, spoilsport parents and Creeping Big Government conspired to pass Flame Retardancy Laws for clothing, and the thrill of discovery was suddenly removed from day-to-day activity (I spent Halloween 1969 in the ICU after eating part of my costume and getting internal chemical burns ~ Yes, really. The yellow dye was caustic)

Jeans snobbery was rampant as well. Levi bellbottoms or Lee straightlegs were IT as far as jeans were concerned. You might have gotten away with Wrangler, but their odd commercial jingle gave them a gay connotation that, in 1970s schoolyards, was fatal to cool. (Mustached guy struts as tough sounding voice sings "Here comes Wrangler. He's one tough customer. He's built to take it. In jeans that make it..." Even at 12, you KNEW that commercial was dripping with subtext. "Built to take it?" Oh god...) Anyway, another fervent prayer when you were too young to work, was that your mom did not buy you three pairs of some lame off-brand for the price of one pair of Lee originals....

"BEER CANS? What the hell are BEER CANS? I'm not wearing these..."

"WHAT did you just say?"

"Nothing...."

(Actual dialogue, ca 1978.)

...because to wear jeans that got you branded as a dork was the worst fate imaginable. Mean Kidz WOULD comment, loudly, "Cool RUFF-n- TUFF Jeans you got there," and you'd pray that they would soon catch fire and be destroyed in a playground accident. A fate you ALSO wished on the doofy jeans mom had foisted upon you.

Jeans lost their lustre for young people during the "Designer Jeans" fad. Gloria Vanderbilt, who looked like a reanimated cadaver with bad hair, and her minions suddenly convinced OUR MOMS that they would look "Upper strata" in jens that cost, what, 5 times as much as a decent pair of Lees. And, suddenly the woman who sent you off to school in an $8 pair of "Good N Huskies" because $19.95-is-too-much-to-pay-for-one -pair-of-jeans- you'll-just-ruin-anyway, found it in herself to spend over $30 on a pair of jeans. Jeans that, at best, made one look like one should be tricking at the Ramada Inn Tiki Lounge.

Simultaneous to that, lots of us with older siblings of either gender were scarred by having Bro or Sis explain, in detail, exactly WHY it was desirable to pour warm water onto the crotch of your jeans WHILE YOU WORE THEM, and then letting them air-dry before heading off to the local disco or redneck bar. You could then do the Travolta bump-n-grind to "Love To Love You Baby." Didn't get much trashier than that.

At that point, khakis and preppy look pleated pants started looking a whole lot cooler.

>And I remember wearing blue jeans so tight that I had to lay back on the bed to get them zipped.

Zipper Wax, or Chap-Stik helped!

>And I think the AMC Pacer wins over the Gremlin as the 70s Ugliest Car -- it looked like an upside down fishbowl on wheels.

I respectfully disagree. Pacer's main problem was that it got gas mileage equivalent to a Cadillac but was marketed as an economy car. AMC outsourced the Pacer engine, and when the supply was cancelled just before production began, they had to shoehorn the engine from the departed full-size Ambassador, detuned, into their new, sporty, economy compact. The end result was a small car that sucked gas like a big car, and was horribly sluggish and no fun to drive. The VW Beetle was no beauty, but its owners - and the public at large- came to associate the quirky styling with the "fun" of owning a VW. The Pacer, alas, inspired suicidal or homicidal depression in most owners, and so the oddball looks never translated to Endearingly Different. Gremlin was just ugly.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMC_Pacer
 
May 27, 2007
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I inherited jeans just like that or what was left of them. I was a Salvation Army Brat. My sister got a job so she could get calvins and look like Brooke Sheilds. Hence be popular. Ah the memories.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Southern California propaganda notwithstanding, but it could get "bloody cold" in Long Beach or San Diego...and especially San Francisco...in the winter.<<

How well I know that. Port Hueneme as well. It didn't help that what was running offshore was a cold water current. The benefit of course was that summers were at least bearable until the Santa Ana's blew in and the arsonists started lighting up the hills!
 
May 3, 2005
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>> It was so bloody cold there that nobody cared what you wore so long as it was warm.<<

...And to the best of my remembrances it could get "bloody hot" at Camp Elliott during the summer of '51......and Iwakuni during the summers of '53 and '54......

Note on "Bell Bottoms":

I have just finished watching the series "The War" on PBS.

From watching the old newsreels and snapshots, apparently "bell bottoms" were common during WWII.

Note on dungarees:

After having to wear dungarees for 3 years, 10 months and 17 days ...I don't have the exact count as to hours, minutes and seconds... (Early separation "For the convenience of the government") I vowed never to wear blue jeans and never have. Even though that may seem a bit weird for a native Texan. LOL, y'all !
 
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>>Funny, I've never had that concern, but the work I do is sufficiently rugged that anything less just won't survive long.<<

I'm not the only one who thinks I'm weird. I probably just wear out more slacks than you do, Michael ? ...and my work has always been admittedly more or less of the sedentary type...as I sit here and type this . Let's see...where were we anyway on this thread ?
 
May 27, 2007
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Hi Robert-

Good Show wasn't it.? The War. I saw parts of it on PBS.
happy.gif
 
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