This Is the Real Reason Blue Is the Most Common Denim Color

Blue might not seem like the most neutral color, yet they're the color of what are likely your most versatile pants (jeans!). Where did the color come from?

this-is-the-real-reason-blue-is-the-most-common-denim-color-525174409-Guzel-GashigullinaGuzel Gashigullina/shutterstock

Calling your pants “blue jeans” almost seems redundant because practically all denim is blue. While jeans are probably the most versatile pants in your wardrobe, blue actually isn’t a particularly neutral color. Ever wonder why it’s the go-to hue?

To answer that question, we have to go back to when the first jeans were created. Levi Strauss might be known for “inventing” jeans, he just patented the style with rivets to make them sturdier—he wasn’t the first to create the fabric, according to Levi Strauss & Co. Denim was already a traditional fabric for laborers, so he was just adding a new twist on the trend of the day. In fact, he used the same design for brown cotton pants called “duck” trousers, which eventually fell out of fashion and made way for jeans. Those tiny front jean pockets, however, are still on modern designs today—and this is why they exist.

Blue was the chosen color for denim because of the chemical properties of blue dye. Most dyes will permeate fabric in hot temperatures, making the color stick. The natural indigo dye used in the first jeans, on the other hand, would stick only to the outside of the threads, according to Slate. When the indigo-dyed denim is washed, tiny amounts of that dye get washed away, and the thread comes with them. The more denim was washed, the softer it would get, and eventually achieving that worn-in, made-just-for-me feeling you probably get with your favorite jeans. And when it’s finally time to part with your over-used pair, you can recycle or upcycle them. While you’re at it, read how often should you wash your jeans.

That softness made jeans the trousers of choice for laborers. As demand for jeans went up and duck trousers went down, blue jeans took over and locked their place in history as the classic American fashion.

[Source: Business Insider]

Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.