Denim has helped shape pop culture since the dawn of time (ie: the late 18th century); in fact, we think the natural history museum should have a pair of Levi’s hanging somewhere next to the dinosaur bones. Some looks inspired us, other looks changed fashion forever. We are counting down to the number one iconic moment in denim’s pop cultural history.
10. The Kriss Kross concept
Remember those teen rappers in ’92, that had that song that would make you “jump jump” but also want to wear your stuff uber baggy and backwards? Yes, that was the magic of this wiggity wiggity whack duo from the ATL.
9. Sticky Fingers – Rolling Stones (album cover)
One of the most uncomfortable album covers to look at with your parents around, Sticky Fingers displays a tight pair of high-waisted skinnys that leave little to the imagination. We would have suggested sizing up a little.
8. Winona’s boyfriend look
Remember that scene in 1994’s “Reality Bites” where Winona is trying to pay her phone bill by hogging out her gas card for cash at the station? In that red tank top and slouchy Levi’s 511s? There still isn’t anyone that can do this disheveled look better. Winona forever (in blue jeans).
7. DeGrassi’s opening butt credits
For all the Canadians, let’s not forget the classic 80′s-90′s Degrassi opening credits ending with the high school’s logo on the back pocket of a girl’s stonewashed “PWT”s. This was of course later recreated for the reboot series Degrassi Next Generation with a jean jacket (just to really flesh out the Canadian tuxedo tradition).
6. Coppola’s “Outsiders” in faded glory
A band of brothers in faded, flooded, slim-straight Levi’s and Wranglers paired with dirty white tees and denim vests; could costuming in the 1983 movie “The Outsiders” could have gotten any sweeter? I mean, how many of us tried keeping our king packs rolled in our shirt sleeves after seeing that magic?
5. Sid’s pins
Ripped jet-black skinnys with a thick leather belt? Yes please. After seeing these iconic black denim pipes on their favourite Sex Pistols front man, young punks went to town with the tapers; and who needs a shirt when you have blood and a guitar? Sid was the OG of the distressed look for various reasons, but most notably his tight black, ripped-up raws.
4. Marilyn Monroe’s tight indigos
This golden-haired beauty made cuffed denim sexy for women in several movies, but most notably in Levi’s for the Western “The Misfits”. Three pairs worn by Monroe during the film were later auctioned off to designer Tommy Hilfiger for close to $50, 000 (and he gave them to Britney Spears as a gift)!
3. 2Pac’s overalls
One strap or two, there is no way Dylan from 90210 is going to take 2Pac’s place on this list as the overall master. Worn with a sweat top underneath and THUG LIFE stitched just below the bib, this king player wasn’t playin’ around in his Dickies
2. “Born in the U.S.A” – Bruce Springsteen (album cover)
Faded blues and a red bandana hanging out of the back pocket. This is really the moment in time when the Boss became the Boss. Simple and straight up, the workingman’s poet; this signature laidback look was (no doubt) bolstered by a good pair of worn-in Levi’s.
1. James Dean (in “Rebel without a cause”) vs. Marlon Brando (in “The wild one”)
It was battle to choose between these two handsome icons – Dean in Lee’s 101 vs. Brando in Levi’s 501s. Both young hoodlums wore their jeans cuffed around a boot while they ripped and raced on the streets. Nobody has come close to the cool these two rebels exude in their classic selvaged cuts. How about we make their future holograms battle for the top spot?
***Honourable mention: Lest we forget this matching outfit from the Britney and Justin era. These two, for this moment, will always be remembered as all that was soulless and unholy in the decade of lip-syncing pop.