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Only in Texas: How blue jeans almost became the official state costume

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According to an article written in 1993, nothing defines a Texan like their blue jeans.

Blue jeans were first invented by Jacob W. Davis in partnership with Levi Strauss & Co. in 1871. But did you know cowboys avoided wearing Levi’s jeans because it was considered a poor man’s brand?

According to True West Magazine, Levi’s were primarily worn by gold miners, farmers and the lower classes; however, things would later change.

After receiving complaints from miners that the weight of gold nuggets was causing pockets to rip, Levi Strauss added copper rivets that hold the pants together. That’s when cowboys in Texas realized jeans were great to wear as rugged work pants.

It wasn’t until the 1960s that jeans were worn for fashion purposes despite not being widely accepted.

By this time, some teenage boys in Texas were wearing Levi’s, Lees, or Wranglers to school. Others, whose parents didn’t approve of blue jeans, wore slacks.

According to Texas Monthly, In 1977, a legislator even tried to have jeans declared the “official state costume” in Texas.

After the release of Urban Cowboy, starring John Travolta that jeans became mainstream.

In the 1980s, Levi’s 501 jeans became so popular all over the world that they were sought-after on the black market.

However, Wranglers were considered more Texan, especially the 13MWZ Pro Rodeo Cowboy Cut.

Wrangler 13MWZ Pro Rodeo Cowboy Cut Jeans
Wrangler 13MWZ Pro Rodeo Cowboy Cut Jeans (Wrangler / Boot Barn)

Overtime blue jeans have changed. From cowboy cut to bell-bottoms and skinny jeans, you’re sure to have seen (or worn) it all.

Today in Texas, it seems jeans are just an easy go-to. So while it might’ve been turned down as the official state costume in the ’70s, it could definitely be considered the unofficial costume of today.


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