Reading, 11


You are going to read a newspaper article about jeans. Choose from the list A-I the heading which best summarises each part (1-7) of the article. There is one extra heading which you do not need to use. There is an example at the beginning (0).

,A The changes are many

B Jeans make money

C A film star start

D A reflection of character

E Teenagers love them

F Three brands lead

G Two things required

H Styles come and go

I Owned by many


0:  I

One in two men and four in 10 women under 45 buy at least one pair of jeans each year.

1: ________

That’s a whole lot of denim, with Levi’s flattening all in its wake with 22 per cent of the entire market, followed by Pepe and Wrangler with an annual battle for second place and the serried ranks of countless lesser-known brands bringing up the rear. We have become so used to the presence of this western uniform that we have forgotten what an amazing achievement it is for any single piece of clothing to be so popular for so many years.

2: _______

Few people know or care about the social origins of neck-ties or short skirts, but the purely functional roots of jeans as good old boy American workwear remain vital to their popularity over a century later. Ever since Brando and Dean wore jeans (Levi’s and Lee) in their cinematic refusal to accept society’s rules of behaviour, they have been the most popular informal dress ever.

3: ______

Designer jeans greatly increased in popularity after they were first introduced by Gloria Vanderbilt, and it has developed into an important branch of designer fashion. Paul Smith, whose own jeans check out at nearly 60 pounds, explains, ‘Jeans have never really been out. They have more important periods than others but they are always around. Designers do their own because it’s a good way of profiting from their brand name.’ In other words, there’s money in it and though it would take a colossal amount of the stuff to get rid of Levi’s, the public is always ready to buy up new styles or change a particular brand’s cool rating.


So effectively do jeans satisfy those two great and differing human needs, to be like everybody else and to be different from everybody else, that they will always find a way of reinventing themselves to fit every social and economic group.

5: _______

I remember going to the first showing of black Levi’s in the early eighties, before black had established itself as the colour of the ’80s. They actually seemed far too strange at the time. Since then, jean styling has gone through several changes, from snow-washed through marbled, stretch, striped, torn, ankle-Zipped, baggy and back to flared out at the ankle.

6: _______

As Ashley Heath, associate editor of The Face, says, ‘If anything is going to make masses of people look really stupid, it’s jeans.’ He calculates that it takes two months for these different designs to go from an idea in the designer’s head to the shops; then they slowly fade out of the shops.


The single most important item of clothing to emerge in the last 50 years, the most widely-worn uniform ever to be adopted by successive generations, jeans still appear to say less about fashion than they do about you. No one wants to wear their heart on their sleeve but few people can resist wearing a little piece of their soul on their rear end.

Check your answers here


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