Our Favorite Article of Clothing Tuesday, Jan 6 2015 

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My husband once questioned why I buy inexpensive denim jeans, which I wear  nearly every day, yet spend considerably more on a dress for a handful of special occasions.

Jeans must be the most commonly worn article of clothing, at least in the U.S. Nearly every American owns a pair or more. We have dress jeans, everyday jeans, and work jeans in various shades of blue as well as black, white, and other colors. We also have a wide selection of styles including baggy, boot leg, skinny, casual, and dressy. Jeans are our go-to pants and worn everywhere from hiking trails to fine dining restaurants, churches, and the workplace.

Jeans were introduced to Americans in 1853 during the California gold rush when Levi Strauss, a 24-year-old German immigrant, made sturdy overalls from canvas for prospectors. After complaints about the rough fabric, Strauss used a twilled cotton called “serge de Nimes.” The fabric soon became known as denim and the overalls called blue jeans. Strauss received a U.S. patent on blue jeans in 1873.

The word “jeans” most likely comes from the French word for Genoa as serge de Nimes originated in Genoa, Italy and Nimes, France. By the 17th century, the fabric was commonly used in clothing of the working class in Northern Italy.

According to Wikipedia, after actor James Dean wore jeans in the movie, Rebel without a Cause, the pants became a symbol of rebellion and sometimes banned in theaters, restaurants, and schools. I remember as a young child in the 60s resisting my mother’s insistence that I wear my brother’s hand-me-down jeans. I thought then that they were only for boys. But it wasn’t long before they became part of my daily wardrobe.

Jeans popularity has endured due to their durability and longevity. We keep them for years, as they get more comfortable with wear and washing. Ironically, as we search for the best prices, they are our best wardrobe investment.

©2015, Mary K. Doyle

 

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Powwow Monday, Aug 20 2012 

Drumming, lively dances, brightly colored costumes, crafts and exhibits, fry bread and corn, and ceremonial prayers, presentations, and recognitions. Native American powwows offer a day of outdoor culture and fun for the whole family. And we have several coming soon in the Midwest.

The Midwest was home to Native American tribes including the Algonquian, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Chippewa, Dakota, Delaware, Erie, Foxes,  Huron, Illinois, Iroquois, Kickapoo, Menominee, Miami, Minnesota, Mohawk, Mound Builders, Ojibwa, Omaha, Ottawa, Potawatomi, Sauk, Shawnee, Sioux, and Winnebago.

Today many of the country’s Native Americans live on reservations, some of which can be found in Midwest states including Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Residents often struggle financially, live in substandard housing, and experience high unemployment, alcoholism, and abuse. Supporting schools such as Red Cloud (http://www.redcloudschool.org/) and St. Joseph Indian School (http://www.stjo.org/site/PageServer?pagename=contact_us) in South Dakota assists young people in regaining pride in their culture and achieving a productive, positive future through education.

Keeping their rich and diverse heritage alive is an important element of not only their history but also the country as a whole, and a fun way to do this is by experiencing the celebration of a powwow. Following are a few upcoming ones from which to choose.

Aug 26-28th

  • Cha Cha Bah Ning 31st Annual Traditional Powwow, 21 miles north of Deer River, MN, Inger, MN

Aug 27-28th

  • Mending the Sacred Hoop Powwow, Adrian, MI
  • Heritage of Healing Summer Gathering & Powwow, Ypsilanti, MI
  • 18th Potawatomi Trails Traditional Powwow, Shiloh Park, Zion, IL
  • Three Fires Homecoming Powwow, New Credit Powwow Grounds, 1st Line Road, Hagersville, ON

September 2, 3

September 22 (11 a.m to 10 p.m.)  and 23 (11 a.m – 5 p.m.)

  • MSF 18th Annual Harvest Powwow, Naper Settlement, 523 Webster Street, Naperville, IL 60540

©2012, Mary K. Doyle

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