Ah, the trusted jean skirt (opens in new tab). For millennials, it conjures up a lot of memories, since it was an early 2000s wardrobe staple. But this item has been making its way through fashion's lexicon since the '70s—and it's due for an even bigger comeback than it's already brought. Take a journey with us as we trace the evolution of the jean skirt (opens in new tab) throughout the years, ahead.
1840: The Skirt
In the 19th century, a woman's dress code was strictly limited to dresses and skirts with an emphasis on layers and covering one's skin.
The first pair of jeans were created in 1873 after a tailor engineered a pair from the cotton fabric sold by Levi Strauss (opens in new tab). The design was especially useful for workers during the gold rush who needed pants that wouldn't rip.
1890: Utility Skirts
Towards the end of the 19th century, skirt hemlines rose became the go-to piece of clothing for active women when they were boxing, riding bikes, and more.
1925: Shorter Hems
By the 1920s, the hems on women's skirts were higher than ever, grazing just above the knee.
In the 1930s, women dared to wear pants. Actresses like Constance Bennett (seen here) started incorporating jeans into her wardrobe as the textile became more widespread.
1948: Casual Wear
Everyday women started to adopt jeans, but reserved them strictly for chores and yard work.
1955: Jean Shorts
We got one step closer to the jean skirt when jean shorts stepped into the fashion scene in the late 1950s. This trend was especially popular in Hollywood.
1965: The Mini Skirt
By the late '60s, mini skirts had taken the fashion world by storm. From corduroy to cotton to suede, all fabrics were fair game—except denim.
1970: Denim Skirts (Finally!)
Jean skirts were first introduced in the 1970s. They were originally created as a way to repurpose worn denim pants, but pretty soon the trend took off.
1972: Flower Child Style
The jean skirt proved to be a perfect fit for the free-spirited flower child vibes of the '70s...especially distressed denim with patchwork.
1975: A New Style
Soon, fashion houses took notice of the jean skirt and began producing them in a variety of styles. The most popular? The front snap skirt.
1980: Pencil Skirts
In the '80s, fashion was anything but understated and denim was no exception. Pencil skirts were major and if you rocked a matching jacket, even better.
1986: Oversized Everything
Everything was bigger in the '80s, including denim. Kirstie Alley models an oversized denim jacket with a matching jean skirt here.
1987: Acid Wash
Acid wash denim was the ultimate trend in the late '80s, with people rocking it on everything from jackets to dresses, and, of course, the jean skirt.
1990: Acid Wash (Still)
It took a few years for acid wash jeans to filter out of fashion. Even in 1990, the style was all the rage—just ask the cast of Saved by the Bell.
1992: Lighter Washes
By the 1990s, people began wearing more subdued denim washes. Here, the Duchess of York styles a billowing jean skirt with a belt and a colorful print button-down.
1993: For All Ages
Jean skirts officially entered the tot market by the mid-'90s, as shown on Princess Eugenie in 1993. How cute is she?!
1995: High Fashion
By 1995, you could catch jean skirts on the catwalks in Paris and Milan as fashion houses like Chanel started to embrace the trend.
1996: The Midriff
Pamela Anderson looks very '90s chic in a light wash jean mini skirt and a crop top. The motorcycle she's posing on adds a great touch.
1998: The Teen Market
Teenage girls flocked to stores to recreate looks like this one made popular by Britney Spears in 1998. Since jean skirts were so popular with young girls at the time, they were heavily marketed to teenagers.
1999: Over Pants
Ah, we fully suppressed the memory of this fashion choice from the late '90s. The jean skirt was indeed sometimes worn over pants, as seen here on Gwen Stefani.
2000: Maxi Skirts
By 2000, everyone was wearing jean skirts—the color and styling was endless. The newest style was the jean maxi skirt, which is being modeled here by Heather Locklear.
Trendy additions, like crystal embellishments or fringe detailing, really made their mark in the early 2000s. Is there anything more 2000s than Tori Spelling pairing a bedazzled jean skirt with a tube top?
2002: The Front Slit
A knee-length cut was a go-to during this decade. As a result, the front slit became very popular. As Gwyneth Paltrow can attest, it looked amazing with a pair of tall boots.
2003: Mini Skirts (Again)
While longer jean skirts remained in fashion, people began playing around with shorter hems again, as demonstrated by Scarlett Johansson circa 2003.
2004: With UGGs...
For the teens, pairing jean skirts with boots, like UGGs, was the epitome of style. Tall socks were a bonus.
2005: ...And Tights
In the 2000s, people loved jeans skirts so much that they decided to wear them year-round. Tights were the perfect solution for colder months.
2006: For Any Occasion
Jean skirts were no longer just worn by teens at the mall. They were just as easily styled with a blazer and heels as it was with a T-shirt and sneakers.
2007: Trendy Overalls
Cameron Diaz models overalls, which was the *trendiest* way to wear this staple circa 2007. Shout out to TRL!
2008: Business Casual
By 2008, jean skirts were fully versed in fashion's lexicon and elevated by the introduction of the denim suit look, a.k.a. a jean blazer and pencil skirt.
2009: High Waisted
This retro take on the jean skirt was a popular red carpet statement in 2009, especially with the addition of sailor-inspired buttons up the front.
2011: A Comeback
By 2010, the jean skirt that blew up in the previous decade was no more. There was a brief period when jean skirts were considered passé, but in 2011 they reemerged in a whole new way.
2012: Fashion Forward
The jean skirt continued to evolve in the early 2010s, as fashion houses started to implement denim into their designs again.
2013: Playful Designs
Denim-on-denim ensembles, as see here on model Gigi Hadid, were trending. The model's GUESS outfit offered a young and playful twist on the piece.
2014: The New Maxi
The maxi jean skirt returned, but this time it was designed with a sleek and less boxy cut.
2015: Retro Style
The A-line, front-snap button skirt reigned supreme in 2015 as people channeled this casual '70s style. Dakota Fanning wears one here while running errands.
2016: Belted Skirts
A belted jean skirt became the go-to look for everyone from fashion people to teenagers in school in 2016. If you had a belt with a logo, even better.
2017: Add a Blazer
As oversized blazers dominated, jean skirts became the perfect piece to pair them with. Pretty soon, a jean skirt and a blazer became the new business causal.
2018: T-Shirt Combo
Harkening back to its casual nature, the next great thing to pair with jean skirts was a simple tee.
2019: Colored Denim
Jean skirts haven't been spared from the broadening color wheel of denim. From pale yellow to deep red, you can find a jean skirt in just about any hue right now.
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