Monday, 21 May 2018

Bell Bottom Blues



Jeans? Even Jon was surprised. Back in the late '90s through until the early 2000s I lived in them - possibly as a reaction against the corporate suits I was forced to wear for work. Back then I'd wear them skinny (always Topshop Baxters) with vintage knee high boots and either pussy bow blouses or skinny band tees and waistcoats but, after quitting the drudgery of paid employment, I could wear whatever I wanted all the time so the need to dress down became obsolete. Trying my old skinnies after a long break I noticed how they accentuated my mismatched hips, the replaced left hip doesn't curve like my unoperated right side, and whilst I wasn't bothered about looking lopsided (it sure beats being in constant pain) I didn't particularly want to advertise the fact. The jeans were sold on eBay and I moved on.


I've flirted with jeans in the nine years since I started blogging, I've had a couple of pairs of vintage flares but ended up selling them as the fit wasn't quite right. I've always kept my eyes peeled for a decent, well-fitting pair to wear with my collection of vintage hippy tunic tops and blouses but to no avail. That was until yesterday when helping a couple of mates set up their new venture as vintage traders I spotted these original deadstock 1970s Lois bell bottoms hanging on their rails.







How cool are the original tags? It seemed a shame to remove them!



I'm not sure if many non-Europeans will be familiar with Lois denim but to us Brits they were the epitome of cool. My Mum was an avid Lois jeans wearer which was pretty outrageous for a mother of two back in the 1970s when all the other mothers at the school gates dressed exclusively in Marks & Spencer dresses.

Abba publicity photo from 1973 (SOURCE)

Endorsed by hip European celebrities like Johan Cruyff & Bjorn Borg (and the not quite as cool, Abba), Spanish-made Lois jeans were massive. You'd be hard pressed to open a magazine or to pass an advertising hoarding without seeing the famous Lois bull back in the 1970s.

The gorgeous Bjorn Borg advertising Lois Jeans in 1979 (SOURCE)

So how did a family business from a tiny village in Spain become one of the big players in the world of denim? It started with two brothers, Joaquin and Manuel Saez Merino, who started selling anything they could get their hands on. The brothers started making their own work wear, based on craft production by the women in their village. Travelling around the country selling their products on the back of a donkey, they picked up on the growing popularity of denim in Europe amongst the younger generation.

Advert from 1962 (SOURCE)

After experimenting with different styles they discovered that jeans were not difficult to make but the challenge was to find similar fabrics that were used by the popular American brands in Spain. After attempting to import denim from America, the Saez Merino brothers decided to invest in their own looms so that they could manufacture denim to the highest quality themselves. At this point, the name Lois Jeans didn't yet exist as the brothers were keen to learn their craft inside out and establish themselves in the market first.

From 1967 (SOURCE)


SOURCE

1965 advert (SOURCE)

Confident that their jeans were now of the highest quality as well as being comfortable and good-looking in 1962 Lois Jeans was finally born


Lois advert from 1977 (SOURCE)

The Lois ideology fitted in perfectly with the mood of the time – with the youth movement of the seventies in Europe revolving around both student protest and hippy culture, jeans became the uniform of the nonconformist. It was also the first time that the flare appeared, leading to the massive popularity of Lois’ iconic GAUCHO jeans.

1977 campaign poster (SOURCE)

Ad from 1975 (SOURCE)
Up the workers! Ad campaign from 1977 SOURCE

From 1976 (SOURCE)


Although Lois jeans are still made to this day the brothers' manufacturing company, Saez Merino, S.A., went into liquidation a couple of years ago and the denim is now manufactured by the Dutch.

SOURCE
Early jeans label (SOURCE)


WEARING: Vintage Lois bell bottoms in indigo blue, 1970s Indian block printed cotton top by Rhode Island Exports, New York ; Jeffrey Campbell Woodies; 1970s tooled leather belt; Moroccan -made leather clutch with a tassel trim (all charity shopped), vintage sunglasses (car boot sale)



I'm wondering if I should do a jeans week like Sheila did recently and wear them every day? It could be the wrong week to try what with glorious sunshine and temperatures set to hit the balmy heights of 22 degrees.

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.

74 comments:

  1. How fascinating, Vix! Never heard of that brand before. You look incredible in those jeans. ( I stopped wearing jeans in the early 80’s -though would wear jean skirts or overalls).

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    1. Hello Carol and thank you! A long time since you ditched the denim. I don't blame you, I like having these jeans to wear with funky tops but they aren't the most exciting things in my wardrobe! xxx

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  2. We had Lois over here. They were very big in the 70s as you mentioned.

    They sure fit you perfectly.

    I wear jeans all the time but rarely on the blog. I walk the pug in jeans or jean cut offs. Dresses don't really go with my runners.

    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

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    1. Vintage dresses and trainers are a thing here - - strange but true! xxx

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  3. Oh these Lois's fit you like bespoke! I remember those ads, and ABBA, and yes I had a major crush on Bjorn. You look so groovy and happy! xox

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com







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    1. Thanks, Patti! Bjorn was a dish, wasn't he? xxx

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  4. I had Pepe ones along with some bottle green big flares.
    You’re looking fab in your denims and the photos took me right back in time xxx

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    1. I'm liking the sound of those green flares! xxx

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  5. I almost did a double take seeing you in jeans but of course, being you, I knew they wouldn't be any old jeans, but real vintage ones! Lois were everywhere, and I'm sure I had a pair back in the 70's. I do remember the adverts, which were everywhere too, especially in youth and music magazines. I do remember insisting on huge flares when out shopping with my Mum! You're looking fantastic in jeans, by the way. Unlike me ;-) xxx

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    1. Yes, they did target the youth tribes, didn't they? I found some great adverts with mods and Northern Soul boys on my searching. Clever tactic, until then we always associated denim with American cowboys! xxx

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  6. Don't remember them for sale in the US, but they were everywhere in Canada during the 70s.I never bothered buying any on trips north (major regret there). I like how you styled them with the top, and they look great on you. The thought of wearing them in hot weather though...

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    1. I didn't think Lois would have made it to the States.It's like the old saying, "Bringing coals to Newcastle". xxx

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  7. I don't remember them growing up in Canada.

    GWG was our Canadian brand of jeans, considered a bit lame by teenagers.

    The sought after ones were Lee with the leather belt loop label and Seafarer's.

    At the time I felt bad because I could only fit into a 28 waist. I starved and couldn't do the 26 inch waist for the life of me.

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    1. I've never heard of GWG but yes, Lee Riders were the holy grail in vintage denim back in the 1980s when everyone was obsessed with James Dean. xxx

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  8. What a week! My favorite royal gets married and you wear jeans.
    Never heard of that brand. How nice it is to learn something new

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    1. I love finding brands that aren't all that common! I bet you'll find some Lois jeans now. xxx

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  9. Hey, it's a hippie chick. Never heard of those jeans before, but then we were inundated with Levis and Lees in the US. You're looking pretty groovy.

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  10. The seventies photos that accompany those perfectly fitting jeans are a joy to look at.
    You suit jeans, you look great in them, especially with the handkerchief halter.
    My peak jeans moment was Levi 501's, I just loved them. xxx

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    1. Thanks, Sally!
      I used to loved vintage 501s back in the 1980s. There used to be a warehouse in Leicester that imported them by the tonne from the States, I'd get a National Express coach over there and spend all day rummaging. xxx

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  11. You have a peachy bottom there Vix-mines dropped x

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    1. Thanks, Flis! I bet you're in great shape being a fellow vegetarian and a daily dog walker! xxx

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  12. I've owned Lois jeans - I had no idea of the history of them, how fun! These are amazing on you, Vix - I do love how fabulous one's bum looks in a pair of high-waisted jeans! These look great on you! Thanks for the shout-out - you are too kind!

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    1. Hi Sheila! Thank you so much! Fanc you having Lois jeans, too although nothing surprises me, we seem to have a fair few wardrobe items in common! xxx

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  13. Whatever they are you look fabulous in them xxx

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  14. You look AH-MAZING in jeans!!! Goodness woman, you belong on a hoarding yourself! Love how you accessorized with the delicious tribal necklace.

    Enjoy the sunshine!

    happy thrifting ;)

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    1. You say the sweetest things! xxx

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  15. I'd never heard of Lois jeans before but then we had all sorts of denim brands in my native California in the 70's & 80's.
    Those look fabulous on you & I love how the Lois did the pockets right on those jeans- narrow & high on the bum - unlike a lot of the skinny jeans I see nowadays.
    xox

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    1. Thanks, Bibi! You're right, the pockets are perfectly positioned and the waist sits where it should. the skinnies I used to wear used to drive me daft.
      I can't imagine Lois would have been welcomed in California when there was so much home grown denim. xxx

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  16. Great arse! Seriously, you look amazing in these jeans and styling them with the handkerchief top and leather accessories you look ready for the festival season ....although probably anything goes at festivals?
    Can't say I remember that brand, I had a pair of Wranglers.xxx

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    1. Thanks, Fiona! I'm trying to get my head round packing for the next weekend's festival, jeans are the norm for most although these wouldn't be very practical, with a 36" inside leg I need massive wedges to stop myself from tripping up. xxx

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  17. This pair of flared Lois jeans looks great on you. I loved reading more about Lois jeans, I wasn't familiar with this denim brand. I love this outfit! Wearing jeans for a week sounds interesting, but with the weather being pretty much perfect I can see how dresses can be more tempting.

    My husband is always trying to get me wear jeans, but for some reason I don't wear them that often. It might be because I have scoliosis so any pressure on my back is unpleasant and there aren't that many high rise jeans options available. I'm a big fan of flare jeans though and the vintage ones seem to be the best fit for me.

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    1. The high rise ones are much more flattering and comfy, i think. I can't be doing with flashing my underwear every time I move (that's so 1990s!) xxx

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  18. We are having the same temperatures here on the coast! Jeans would be way too warm for me.
    I love all the backstory of the Lois brand. How cool that the two brothers were so successful. They certainly deserved to be with their business ethic.
    Your bum has never looked better ;-)
    xo Jazzy Jack

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    1. I loved that the most successful denim company in Europe in the 1970s was run by a couple of brothers who originally hawked their goods on the back of a donkey.
      It would have to be over 100 degrees for me to be too warm, I think I was a lizard in a previous life! xxx

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  19. You totally rock in your jeans & top ensemble, fabulous outfit and looking gorgeous!. Fab accessorizing!!
    Those 70's Lois jeans were so fab!, I remember that all the cool people used to wear them!. And their corduroy pants were also really well made (oh yes, corduroy! so 70's!)
    I do love this post, so many stunning ads and lots of information and nostalgies!. Brilliant!!
    besos

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    1. That's funny, a friend mentioned on Facebook earlier today that she had two pairs of Lois cords in the late 70s - I'd love some of those, needlecord is so cool! xxx

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  20. its the perfect jeans for you - you look fabulous!
    we had 2.hand lois jeans in my early teens - send from family members living in west germany. it was the start of the 80s and i sewed the bellbottom into skinny......
    thanks for that history trip - never knew they were from spain - what a gorgeous add campaign.
    xxxxx

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    1. I've heard of sewing skinny jeans into bells but not the other way round. xxxx

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    2. it was tricky - you could easily end up with twisted (trouser) legs.....

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  21. They really suit you. I'd never heard of that brand.

    I have one really rubbish pair of jeans (black, Matalan, men's) simply for going to metal gigs. And they're the first pair I'd bought in 25 years. Nowhere near as stylish as yours.

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    1. Thanks, Mim! Jon's a big fan of black denim, it seems really hard to find secondhand. xxx

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  22. I've never heard of Lois jeans, but I love that Abba picture! I'm surprised that you didn't like jeans for a while, I love a good pair of bell-bottoms. I wore a pair today, I'm sure they'll show up on my blog soon.xxx

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    1. Thanks, Jess! I didn't have a problem with jeans but didn't feel the need to dress down for a while - living in a uniform during the day really makes you embrace the casual! xxx

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  23. Those jeans really were just waiting for you - they fit like a glove. I have never heard of Lois jeans either , they probably weren't sold down here. The advertising from the era takes me back. I now remember why Bjorn Borg was so popular.

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    1. I wondered if Lois were just known in Europe, I was surprised when Sheila and Suzanne commented that they owned them, too.
      Wasn't Bjorn Borg gorgeous? I think his good looks passed me buy in the late 70s! xxx

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  24. So stinkin' cute in those jeans!!!! Maybe not for a week in the summer---but srsly, you will have to continue to rock those!!!

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    1. Thank you! You always look amazing in your jeans. xxx

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  25. That is not a brand we see here in the states. I would sure snap them up though, if I am going to wear jeans (which is rare), I would opt for bell bottoms.

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    1. I think you're either a skinny jean or bell bottom girl, aren't you? xxx

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  26. The jeans look fab on you and the little top you wore with it is charming! I remember Lois jeans so well and had several pairs. Bell bottoms is a word that transports me back immediately to the 1970s! What fabulous pictures you found to illustrate the Lois brand.

    Yes, please do a week long jean challenge but wait for the right weather. This will be a real challenge as you don't normally wear jeans. I remember smock tops and bell bottoms were a thing in the 1970s...

    Hope your week is going well.
    xxx

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    1. Lois were the thing to have, weren't they? I'm not surprised with that advertising campaign. I don't remember Bjorn Borg being that good looking, I think I just saw him as old back then! xxx

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  27. Jeans in summer? Not in my steamy, cornfield encircled yard! However, IF there was a truck or a horse involved in a project, and IF my rear view wearing them was as flattering as yours, then I'd definitely opt for Lois. As it is, I can wear only a certain size and style manufactured by Gloria Vanderbilt once upon a time in a country far away...

    Permit me a little snigger at your descriptive "uniform for the nonconformist".

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    1. Your Summer and mine are very different, I think. It's not unusual for me to wear fake fur and gloves in August!
      My Mium had a pair of Vanderbilt jeans, I remember the advert with Brooke Shields. xxx

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  28. These look really nice. I have had a difficult relationship with jeans over the years because I find it very hard to get them to fit me properly, being the shape I am. I generally avoid wearing them although I had some lovely pale flared jeans when I was at uni!

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    1. Thanks, Kezzie. They are tricky to find a good fit, the waist to hip ratio is rarely perfect for girls - these would be baggy around the waist without the belt! xxx

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  29. I don't remember ever seeing these in the US -- and as always, you wear them well!

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  30. Lois is new to me, this was fascinating! That pair is a perfect fit on you, they look great! I am still searching for my perfect vintage jeans, not found them yet... xx

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    1. Keep your eyes peeled for Lois, the quality is fab. These came from a car boot sale in Spain - a great excuse to go back to Nerja! xxx

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  32. WOW!!! How wonderful to find a brand-new pair of vintage jeans - and such a legendary brand too! I of course knew nothing about it! You look gorgeous in jeans, but then you look gorgeous in everything you try on!! I'm also not a big fan of jeans, never have been, though I enjoy experimenting, and currently have 1 pair of jeans that (I hope) still fit me - wide-leg high-waist medium wash. I will style them for my blog one of these days. :)

    Lots of love!

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    1. Thanks, Natalia! I love (high waisted, bell bottomed)jeans on other people but I think finding the right fit is nigh-on impossible. While I won't live in these they make a nice change from my maxis! Go on, show us yours! xxx

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  33. Reading the replies above I'm amazed how many people have never heard of Lois, I remember them really well.

    I too used to wear jeans all the time when I lived in Yorkshire there was a chain of shops called Jeanery and their Smart R's jeans were the ones to aspire too, all the cool kids had a pair and even the uncool kids like me!

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    1. I know, I assumed all Brits would know Lois, those ads were everywhere and, like Ann said, in all the music mags, too.
      I'd have bought a pair of those jeans just to have Smart R's on my bum! xxx

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  34. Good for you, I didn't wear jeans for years but got some last year that I wear with the bottoms rolled up, they are a bit torn and worn but my god they are comfy. Now if I had a slim little arse like yours (I did once) I would wear those jeans for sure, they look mint on you!!

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    1. They can be really comfy, can't they? I love seeing tatty ones worn under pretty dresses, it's a really cool hippy look, isn't it? xxx

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  35. I had never heard of this brand until this post. Those jeans make your arse look fantastic! If I could find a pair that did that for mine, I'd wear them all the time. I did find a pair of Vivienne Westwood bell bottoms while thrifting but they need to be shortened and only worn on "thin" days, so it may be a while before anyone sees them.

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    1. Thanks, Shelley! I think the shape of the pockets are great for bum enhancing, they're in the right place, too.
      Those Viv Westwood jeans sound like quite a find. xxx

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  36. I used to wear jeans every day too. Now it feels like a treat to wear them. Yours look fabulous! A jeans week would be fun.
    xx

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    1. I reckon those jeans are what caused the weather so nice - it's been too lovely to wear them! xxx

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  37. OMG! That picture of Borg... now that is sexy!

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