Double denim was undoubtedly a popular fashion trend throughout the 1980s. The double denim style meant that you wore both a denim top and denim pants. Usually this was a standard jean jacket combined with your favorite pair of jeans. These jeans could be ripped or acid wash in style, or really just any pair in your closet.
Although this style dates back to the 1800s, it saw its peak popularity as a result of popular brands like Guess Jeans and iconic films like “The Breakfast Club” (1985) and “Back To The Future” (1985).
Being dressed head to toe in denim was common in the 1980s, and the fashion trend was popular among youngsters and adults alike. You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing double denim, but what made the fashion so popular in the 1980s?
The History Of Double Denim
Double denim is a style that started back in the 1800s when blue jeans first made their way into the American market. Denim was considered to be an extremely durable fabric that provided protection for hard-working individuals in a variety of industries.
Jeans were also a very practical choice due to their cost and availability. It wasn’t until the 1950s, that denim segued from being a fabric used purely as work attire to something that was considered to be fashionable.
Cowboys had been wearing denim since Levi Strauss first opened their doors back in 1853. A century later, it became commonplace for cowboys to wear them as casual wear when they were in town and at the bars.
This style found its way into more urbanized areas, and by the 1970s, the concept of double denim was slowly gaining in popularity.
During the peak of its popularity in the 1980s, you could find just about any type of clothing made with this durable fabric. It wasn’t uncommon to see skirts, pants, jackets, shirts, coveralls, and even shorts being worn by both men and women that were made of denim.
Double Denim In The 80s
Even though denim had been around for decades, it wasn’t until the 1980s where denim fashion kicked into high gear, particularly with the popular “Double Denim” fashion trend.
From denim jackets to overalls, to ripped and acid wash jeans, the 1980s was the decade that denim fashion came into full bloom.
It was back in 1981 when Guess Jeans first open its doors to the public. At the time, there were only a few options to choose from when it came to purchasing denim clothing.
But Guess Jeans wanted to create something new that everyone would love, and since the trend of double denim was gaining in popularity, they focused much of their design and marketing in the 80s on the production of jeans, shirts, and jackets.
Since then, and because of the commercialization of double denim throughout the 80s, people everywhere were wearing denim jackets and jeans at the same time.
The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club was one of the most popular teen films of the 1980s. This 1985 film was about a group of completely contrasting teens who got sent to detention over the weekend. The teens came from all different walks of life, yet by the end of the film, they had become great friends.
In the movie, we see one of the main characters played by Judd Nelson to be rocking the double denim fashion trend throughout. Judd Nelson’s role in The Breakfast Club made him popular with women all around the world, and people took notice of his fashion in the movie.
His character’s outfit of choice was a denim jacket, denim jeans, and a red flannel shirt. This choice of style was the epitome of double denim, and many people tried to mimic his style after seeing the film for the first time.
Back To The Future
The same year that The Breakfast Club was released, another popular film featuring Michael J Fox also made its way into the theaters. “Back to the Future” was a very popular film during the mid-1980s, and has since built a large cult following.
A total of 3 films were produced between 1985 and 1989, which featured Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd. Throughout most of the film series, Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) wore high-rise jeans, a matching denim jacket, and a pair of Nike sneakers.
The appearance of double denim in this blockbuster franchise only furthered the popularity of the fashion trend in the 1980s.
Is Double Denim Still Popular?
These days the double denim fashion trend is not as popular as it was in the 1980s. Even though denim jeans are still as popular as ever, jean jackets are not really in demand as they once were.
Aside from modern day cowboys and ranchers, for the most part we do not see the double denim fashion any more. However as with anything retro, we hope that double denim can again one day become a mainstream fashion as it once was in the 1980s.