Why You Have Tiny Metal Buttons on Your Jeans Is Actually Fascinating

Why You Have Tiny Metal Buttons on Your Jeans Is Actually Fascinating

Hilary Hagerman

Yahoo Style Staff
April 30, 2016

The small metal circles on the pockets of your pants are often overlooked — but they actually serve a pretty important purpose.

Called rivets, they’re placed on the parts of your jeans that are most likely to be ripped by everyday movement and wear. Basically, they help hold the fabric together so your favorite pair of jeans don’t fall apart after one wear.

And the impact of these rivets actually goes beyond that — they’re the reason you have jeans as we know and love them today. According to , in the 1870s, laborers wore denim trousers but they disintegrated quickly, so a worker’s wife asked a tailor if there was something that could be done to make them last longer. The tailor, Jacob Davis, came up with the idea of adding these small metal accoutrements to the pressure points where jeans showed the most signs of wear — the pockets and base of the fly. His pants ended up being a hit with laborers.

Following this small success, Davis reportedly “contacted a certain Levi Strauss, who was a dry goods merchant at the time and had sold Mr Davis the fabric to make his trousers. The two men received a patent on the design in 1873, and the riveted trousers became a huge success — though they only took the name ‘jeans’ during the 1960s.”

And the rest, as they say, is history.

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