"I do like my sparkly jeans!"—Communication through embellished jeans
Damhorst, Mary Lynn
Denim jeans have long captured the heart of consumers across much of the world. One popular contemporary style incorporates embellishments such as contrast stitching, embroidery, sequins, crystals, metal studs, and rhinestones, primarily on the back pockets. Given the ability of jean styles to reflect multiple cultural meanings, it is the purpose of this research to investigate meanings associated with heavily ornamented jeans. In-person semi-structured interviews were conducted with six women aged 19 to 33 years old. Themes emerging from the data revealed that the women adopted this style to communicate desired identity traits, including both fitting in with their chosen social group and standing out from it. Participants embraced the jeans for their semiotic meanings, reading expressions of status and femininity in them. The women made their appearance decisions based on their perceptions of how other people might view them, which in turn was based on assumptions of shared meanings.