A History of Denim in Pictures

From Marilyn Monroe to Britney and Justin.

Princess Diana, Rihanna and Dolly Parton in denim
(Image credit: Getty Images/Shutterstock)

Before French actresses and supermodels glamorized the blue jean, laborers wore the sturdy twill fabric—which was developed in 1873 by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss—to work. Almost immediately, other manufacturers followed suit, producing their own versions of the original Levi 501 jean. Overalls. Jean jackets. Jorts.... Each new iteration of denim has stood the test of time, all the while embracing new washes and era-defining embellishments, some of which have lived through the trend cycle more than once. From Audrey Hepburn to Britney and Justin, here we present you with a timeline of denim at its best.

Sara Holzman is the Fashion Editor at Marie Claire covering runway trends and tracking down the latest finds to buy and wear. When she’s not writing about fashion, she pens about the best places to jet-off to.