24 Jan 2013


Jenny Matlock
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday

I remember very well when I got my first Jeans !

me at 13(my hair wasn't that dark!)

I was 13 and looked much older ! But that was only the appearance inside I was still a playful child, which sometimes caused me some troubles because people thought that for an about 18 year old looking  girl I shouldn't behave so childish and run around and roller skate like a 10 year old. In the 50th the girls were not so developed as today. As the Barbie doll of my mother, I wore whatever she wanted me to wear, that changed later !

It was rather difficult to get nice clothes just after the war, Germany was occupied by the allies. But we were lucky we lived in Bonn which belonged to the American sector.

As the population had to be dressed in the in the postwar period, in the American Army Surplus stores Jeans from Levis, Lee and Wrangler were for sale and greeted with enthusiasm especially by the teenagers ! They also were cheap and came on purpose for the parents to dress their sons and daughters.

We wore Jeans everywhere even at school. Uniforms were banned, Germany had seen enough uniforms since 1930 ! They had an overdose. Even policemen who had to wear a uniform were disliked for that. I grew up with the conviction that all people wearing a uniform were bad and especially the military.  It was put into my mind by my grandma and it hasn't changed ever since only I became a bit more tolerant.

My first jeans were the real once from the American Army stock and of course they had to undergo a special treatment. With the help of my mother I put them on and then sat in the bath tube while she filled it in with hot water so that they would shrink to fit exactly on my body.  It was a funny procedure, and I had to keep them on until they were dry ! My father shook his head, and stated that at least I was slim enough to wear them.

I was very proud with the result and together with all my girlfriends and classmates who had done the same, we all wore jeans !

When my parents moved to Belgium in 1959 I was shocked ! The teenagers there didn't know Jeans yet, wore uniforms at school and their fashion was old looking and  far behind what I called fashion and to what I was used to. Jeans only moved slowly in later in the 60th, but were mostly worn by boys and not by girls. Girls still had to wear skirts. When I left the German school and went to a Belgian college, I had to wear skirts or a dress and over that a blue apron dress !! I thought they were 100 years behind modern times !

In the 70th when I was a respectable working wife and mother, the Jeans disappeared from my wardrobe and I only wore them occasionally on weekends.

black and blue Jeans

When I stopped working, I started to wear Jeans again, I have no skirts anymore, I wear Jeans in all colors all the time and when I have to go out I wear some dressed up trousers, I went back to the past and to the future ! I think Jeans will last forever in fashion !

The history of the Jeans you find here


The Furries of Whisppy said...

I have been wearing jeans for as long as I can remember! Thankfully I don't have to soak in a bathtub of hot water to make it fit me. LOL!

catsynth said...

What an interesting personal history of the late 20th century through clothing.

Art of RetroCollage said...

You were very pretty then, & still are...You've got the gift of eternal youth!

Cezar and Léia said...

You are such a great writer my friend, I'm delighted here reading your story about jeans. Very well done!You should be writing articles for magazines!

By the way,I also love jeans!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Gattina .. you were so tall and slim at 13 .. love the photo.

We had a uniform at school and I possibly only bought some jeans when I'd left home .. I simply don't remember them being around. Now I live in them!!

Cheers Hilary

Linens and Royals said...

You were ahead in the fashion of wearing jeans. Jeans didn't come here until years later, now I wear them all the time. I always had to wear a uniform to school including a hat and gloves in high school.

Erin said...

I love your J post because I love jeans!!! I can't imagine having to get in the bath with jeans on though! :-)
I used to live in jeans constantly, and I still wear them a lot, but I've got a few more dresses and skirts in my wardrobe now.
You're right - jeans will never go out of fashion. They really are one of the best inventions ever!

Bee said...

This is a wonderfully interesting "J" post -- it includes so much history, not just about jeans but about fashion in Germany in the 50s. I never realized that uniforms were frowned upon, though I can understand why.

Carol L McKenna said...

Love my jeans! Fascinating and great post for 'J' ~

(A Creative Harbor) ^_^

A Lady's Life said...

My parents hated jeans and I had so much trouble to wear them. They said only farmers wore jeans lol
They also had a great fear of uniforms. It's something that never went away and stayed in the back of their minds. Never trust a person in uniform. In our school we wore tunics and white blouses. They were very stict with clothing and I didnt like it.If your blouse was a little off white, they'd send you home to change it. If your skirt was a little shorter than you knee they'd send you home.
They tried to make me a Prefect to
enforce school laws and I refused. I told them I break them myself so I won't enforce them.Lots of people loved high school but I hated it. I was only too glad to graduate and move on. University was a lot nicer and freer. lol

Mara said...

I can't remember the first time I wore jeans. I do wear them now though. When I don't have to wear my uniform!

Julie Maloney said...

I'm wearing my favorite pair right now!

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I live in jeans and t shirts...

so comfortable and practical!

storybeader said...

I wore jeans in school, in NJ in the 1970s. But when I was younger, wee weren't allowed to wear them to school. Now I wear jeans to work (at my museum) but usually they are dark or colored, so they look a bit more "fancy." {:-Deb

Judie said...

I LOVE MY JEANS!!! they are not allowed on the golf course, however. i am most a home in my jeans.

Ann said...

You were tall and slim even at 13.

Pamela said...

I wore a dress to my daughter's wedding... the only time in years.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I missed this post last week and am so glad I came back to read it. Loved the bits of biography you shared. And agree that jeans will always be in fashion! I love that grandmas (or great-grandmas in my case) can still wear the same fashions that we wore as teenagers! I couldn't live without my jeans -- and cut-offs here in Florida!