Oldest Women's Jeans Date to 1934

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September 3, 2017

The oldest known pair of women's jeans is now in the hands of their maker.

Levi Strauss & Co. recently purchased a pair of jeans made specifically for women in the early 1930s, a decade before such trousers became mainstream for women and only then because of the war effort during World War II.

The owner of the jeans was Viola Longacre, who died recently at age 100. She wore the jeans when she was a student at what was at the time Fresno State College, according to her daughter Bette. Viola got her bachelor's and master's degrees at the college and would have worn the jeans to summer sessions, which were held in the Sierra Mountains, her daughter said.

Lady Levi's were introduced in 1934. Viola's jeans did not appear in catalogs and appear to be a prototype because of the fabric of the back patch, which is cloth. The usual fabric would have leather, according to a Levi's historian.

The previously oldest known pair of women's jeans was worn by Harriet Atwood to Soda Springs Ranch in Rimrock, Ariz., in 1938.

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