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Then & Now: Denim

Then & Now: Denim

Wish Book

It's been well over a century since the invention of denim, and everyone's still sporting casual blues. From the early days of dungarees to modern cuts and colors, there are so many trends that have come and gone—and some that come back even if we didn't like them the first time. Since jeans have been a Sears Wish Book standard through the ages, here’s a look at past classics or disasters in denim, depending on your sense of style. And probably your age.



Happy Trails

Where today he'd be a superhero mutant saving the world, in the 1950s he was a cowboy just trying to keep away rustlers. Circle Ranch was a Sears brand in 1957, and sold Western jeans with matching jackets alongside the "Roy Rogers gun and holster set roundup." If you added a cowboy hat and boots, he'd have the hottest denim getup this side of Dodge City.

Blue Jean Sweeties

Donning his-and-hers jeans was apparently a thing as Wish Book ushered out the Summer of Love decade. The 1969 Christmas Book dedicated a full-color, eight-page spread to couples fashion, including striped jeans with bright red button-front shirts. It's not only the loudest style statement ever, but the designs were way more effective at marking your mate than tattoos or wedding bands.  

Kids' cowboy denim in the 1957 Sears Christmas Book
Couples' striped blue jeans in the 1969 Sears Christmas Book

Coordinating denim clothing in the 1975 Sears Wish Book
Euro-chic jeans in the 1989 Sears Wish Book

Pants Set, Party of 2

Remember a time when top-to-bottom denim was considered a big style no-no? Obviously, that was nowhere near 1975, when bold denim pants sets splashed across Wish Book pages for juniors’ fashion. Contrast stitching, calico patchwork and bellbottom flare were all there for the flaunting, complete with cringe-worthy prints and spread collars. Still a no, unless Studio 54 reopens.

Beautifully Baggy

Before the dawn of mom jeans, there were high-waist baggies—yet another loose-fitting phenomenon of 80s fashion. Roomy and pleated in all the wrong places, this Euro-chic denim shares space with mock turtlenecks in the 1989 Wish Book, selling conservative casual looks that perfectly balance a triangle bob. (Now if only parachute pants had been this flattering.)


Whether you've been a fan of fleeting looks or stayed with tried-and-true style, one thing is clear: denim fashion isn't going anywhere. While you'll always have the luxury of recycling the denim culottes trend or bringing back novelty pockets embroidered with Ziggy, there's plenty of denim on the market today to satisfy your demand.

Among this year's Wish Book offerings is everything from skinny jeans with comfort stretch to timeless straight cuts. You can make your jeans dressier than ever before with trends for her like velvet-soft tops, or combos for him like a shirt and cardigan, or keep your jeans even more laid-back with worn-look finishes and torn-up knees.

The important thing is, you’re not stuck in the past. People will talk if your jeans balloon out in a sea of slim fit denim. Also, "boyfriend jeans" no longer means you can dress matchy-match with your other half (#sorrynotsorry).   

Simply Styled Women's Skinny Jeans in the 2017 Sears Wish Book
Embellished Jeans from Simply Styled

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