riveted: the history of jeans cowgirl magazine

Cowgirls love their jeans! With every shape, size, color, and pattern you can imagine, Western ladies can express themselves through denim. On February 7, The PBS series American Experience will kick off its new Winter-Spring season with “Riveted: The History of Jeans,” the fascinating and surprising story of the iconic American garment.

Included in the documentary is the rise of dude ranch culture that would change the perception of blue jeans as working-class attire. A huge fad in the 1930s, American women of a certain class vacationed at these working ranches, helping with the chores and enjoying a taste of the cowboy life made popular by Hollywood. These women were able to wear pants, perhaps for the first time. Jeans soon evolved into a garment not just for labor but for leisure, moving off the pages of the Sears catalogue and onto the pages of Vogue.


Worn by everyone from presidents to supermodels, farmers to rock stars, they’re more than just a pair of pants — America’s tangled past is woven deeply into the indigo fabric. From its roots in slavery to the Wild West, youth culture, the civil rights movement, rock and roll, hippies, high fashion, and hip-hop, jeans are the fabric on which the history of American culture and politics are writ large.

“Jeans are the perfect, quintessentially American item through which to examine the complex story of America,” says American Experience Executive Producer Cameo George. “They reflect their times and provide a unique and unexpected starting point for discussions of race, gender, class and culture. And they’re also one of the few things we all agree on—we all love our jeans!” 

American Experience “Riveted: The History of Jeans will stream simultaneously with broadcast and be available on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video app, available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. All titles will also be available for streaming with closed captioning in English and Spanish. PBS station members can view many series, documentaries and specials via PBS Passport. For more information about PBS Passport, visit the PBS Passport FAQ website.