Gloria Vanderbilt Jeans


On Dinosaur Jr.’s first album they desperately plea for listeners to “Forget the Swan” but try telling that to a teenage girl in 1981. If she cared at all about keeping up with her classmates in the fashion department, these jeans, emblazoned on the fifth pocket with a swan as golden as King Tut’s mask, were standard issue. I’m not sure why “poor little rich girl” Gloria preferred to loll around on the floor with fabric shears and bolts of denim instead of gardening or sitting for tea with guests like she should have been doing, but anyone who appreciated a shapely derriere back then was certainly glad for these eccentricities. Heck, it may be that Gloria herself appreciated a nice ass as much as the next fella. In any case, the jeans fit well.

Each pair received Gloria’s “stamp of approval”—her actual signature on the right rear pocket rendered in that fabulous golden thread. This logo was so shiny and bright that some were sorely tempted to read it with their fingers like Braille at times, which usually resulted in a justified slap to the face. The kids back then called it “goosing”–today it would probably be labeled “sexual assault.”

Since these jeans were made only for girls, they could also be used as a unique instrument of punishment. If, say, you had a son who was getting bad grades, you could force him to wear a pair of these to school every day until his marks improved. His classmates would take care of the rest.

Gloria was the undisputed doyenne of denim for a number of years, but fashion is fickle, and by the mid to late 80s, these jeans had been forgotten as the teenage set went crazy for those weird high-waisted floral print jeans made by any number of labels. Clothing is still made in her name to this day, although the company’s products now seem to be shipped directly from the factory to the clearance racks at Burlington Coat Factory and Ross.

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