We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Denim?

Niki Acker
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Denim is a type of cotton textile known for its use in blue jeans and other clothing. It uses a sturdy twill weave with a characteristic diagonal ribbing. Originally used for workmen's clothes, denim is now ubiquitous and has even entered the world of high fashion. Nearly everyone has at least one garment made of this fabric in the closet these days.

Levi Strauss is credited with making the first blue jeans out of denim in the 1850s, for gold miners in California. In the 1930s and '40s, commercially sold denim workwear became very popular, with new companies such as Dickies and Wrangler joining the trend. Comfortable, durable, and associated with blue collar culture, the fabric soon became fashionable among the working class youth throughout the United States. Denim jackets became a fashion statement in the 1950s along with jeans.

what is denim?

Throughout the decades, denim continued to gain a wider market. By the 1970s, women were wearing it as often as men, and denim skirts and dresses could be found in numerous styles. In the '80s, designer jeans were the rage, and a style once associated with the working class was updated for affluent yuppies. Though denim is still considered a casual material and is not usually worn for more formal occasions, it is not unusual to see people sporting jeans at high end night clubs, and many designer garments cost in the hundreds of US Dollars (USD).

Denim was originally dyed blue with indigo — hence the characteristic color of "blue jeans." While blue remains a popular color, the fabric can be found today in nearly any color imaginable. It is also available in cotton blends, though it is traditionally 100% cotton. Some blends add a bit of Lycra® or spandex to create stretch denim. The earliest manufacturers, including Levi and Dickies, still dominate the market, though haute couture designers like Calvin Klein are also well-known for their denim garments.

what is denim?
About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Niki Acker
By Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a About Mechanics editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range of interesting and unusual topics to gather ideas for her own articles. A graduate of UCLA with a double major in Linguistics and Anthropology, Niki's diverse academic background and curiosity make her well-suited to create engaging content for WiseGeekreaders. "
Discussion Comments
By anon295380 — On Oct 06, 2012

I caution everyone to check all rivets before buying denim jeans or what ever else. Some of my friends told me that. They had a very bad experience with them because they found sharp edges on the rivets and they were wounded. Otherwise denim is good and durable, but only indigo. Other colors of denim are junk. --Ahmed, Pakistan

By anon229839 — On Nov 15, 2011

My boss says that we cannot wear denim of any color. I have some pants that I honestly don't know if they are considered denim. Is there any way I can determine through the label that tells what the pants or made of, or by the way the seams are sown. I have some pants that have a Lee label. Does that automatically make them denim?

By Charlie89 — On Aug 19, 2010

I may be opening a can of worms here, but for me, unless your denim is blue, then they're not jeans.

I really don't like all these other colors of jeans, especially the white ones -- I think they look awful.

What's wrong with a good old denim blue jean? Things become classic for a reason, you know.

By FirstViolin — On Aug 19, 2010

Stretch denim jeans are great even for those with very fit bodies, because you can get the look of jeans without the stiffness.

Of course, they do have a few issues -- you have to be more careful about washing and drying them, and many times the stretch either loses its elasticity so that your pants balloon out, or the fabric gets really thin and weak.

However, for me, I think that having denim trousers without the stiffness is definitely worth the extra care in the wash.

By Planch — On Aug 19, 2010

I am all for denim -- my closet is stuffed with jeans, but one thing that I think just looks universally awful is denim shorts.

Very, very occasionally I see a man who can pull of the longer style of denim shorts, but for the most part, what you get is cheap looking, pleat-front "jorts" (jean shorts) that really just aren't flattering on anyone.

And those super-short shorts that girls wear? Frankly, they just look so uncomfortable that I can't even begin to think about whether they look nice or not.

So stick to the denim jeans people -- there's no reason to change a good thing.

Niki Acker
Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a About Mechanics editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range...
Learn more
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.