Fashion: Jeans’ memories competition to win a £200 Marks & Spencer voucher

Jeans from Marks & Spencer's spring collection; below, winner Grace Holiday with her US friends.
Jeans from Marks & Spencer's spring collection; below, winner Grace Holiday with her US friends.
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Thank you to everyone who entered our favourite jeans’ menories competition. We really enjoyed reading your entries and publish just a few of them below (though not the risque ones). It’s clear that you love your jeans.

WINNING ENTRY: “When I was at University (in the UK), I spent a year studying abroad at a small liberal arts college in America. It was a crazy year, filled with every emotion imaginable. I was my happiest there, my loneliest there, I fell in love and I had my heart broken. I found myself there, lost myself and then found myself again. It was the single hardest, most wonderful and most challenging year of my life. This photograph is the last one taken with the group of friends I’d made that year, from all around the world, as they came to see me off to the airport on my last day (I’m the brunette in the the jeans!). We’re stood outside my campus halls and this was taken just before all of the tears began! I saw them all the next year, but haven’t seen them since. I miss them every day, and owe them everything for the way they got me through that year. I grew up so much, changed so much and they supported me through all of it.

Grace Holliday in the jeans.

Grace Holliday in the jeans.

Grace Holliday, Moortown, Leeds.

Well done, Grace - You’ve won the £200 M&S voucher to spend on the spring/summer fashion collection. see the picture of Grace and her friends below.

Here are some of our other favourite entries:

My memory is of my older sister sitting in the bath in her new jeans until they shrank to the size of her legs. When she finally got out and the jeans dried she couldn’t get them off and Mum and Dad had to cut her out of them, Needless to say, she didn’t try the experience again. It was so funny. Kath Tate, Bramley, Leeds

My first pair of jeans, I saved for week out of my Saturday job wage. They were Levi’s which were quite expensive then. As I had three sisters and one brother Mum couldn’t afford them so I bought them myself. They were my pride and joy. One night I pressed them and got them ready as my friend and I were going out the next night. I was on my way home from work and my middle sister was on her way up the hill in my beloved jeans, hence World War Three broke out when she got back in. Not long after I found out I was pregnant (at 17). I went into mourning as I couldn’t wear my jeans after I had my baby. Being so naive I asked my partner to bring my jeans into hospital to come home in. Still couldn’t wear them. A couple of months later and I was reunited with my beloved jeans and everything was back to normal, lovely baby and wearing my favourite jeans. Linda Robinson, Leeds.

My most poignant jeans memory was owning my first ever pair of Levi’s. It was probably 1970 and they were one of the most coveted items of clothing at that time. I seem to remember them being very expensive so had to be saved up for out of my Saturday job wages at Mathias Robinsons (which became Debenhams on Briggate Leeds). Before they could be worn it was usual to sit in a bath of water to shrink them to fit the individual. They would leach out dark blue dye and when you peeled them off it would reveal two blotchy blue legs - very attractive! They were very heavy and stiff (especially when wet) and took ages to dry. I can’t see the kids nowadays willing to put themselves to all that trouble in the name of fashion but I thought I was the “bee’s knees” in my brand new “shrunk to fit” trademark jeans. Mrs Carolyn Hulland, Leeds.

My favourite jeans are the ones I’m wearing now - M&S black skinny jeans in a size 12 - what’s even better is I need to wear them with a belt to hold them up! I’m the other side of 50 and for years wore frumpy boyfriend or bootcut and only for gardening or work. Then, about 18 months ago, I got a number of health issues which had plagued me for years diagnosed and treated and have since lost more than three stone. What’s more, I took up running and found I can now run faster and further than when I was at school. I’ll never be a marathon runner but it’s something I now love - words I never thought I’d say. After years of wearing baggy, shapeless clothing, my favourite outfit is the above jeans with a little top, biker jacket and boots - and I’m told I look amazing. My goal is that my next pair will be a size 10. Thank you for running the comp. Jane Sanderson, Otley.

September 1964, my 21st Birthday and one month after my first son was born and the slimmest I had been in all my adult life, and I finally bought myself a pair of slim fit, flared, light blue denim jeans! I’d weighed 9st 7lbs when I married the year before, and during my pregnancy I only put on just over a stone. After the birth my weight dropped to 8st 5lbs and I felt the slimmest, fittest and most attractive that I‘d ever been. I celebrated my new found confidence with a shopping trip into Leeds to buy myself a pair of jeans. I can’t remember the name of the shop, however it was a specialist ‘Jeans’ shop in Central Arcade, the small arcade that ran from Briggate to Central Road, just below Woolworths ( now House of Fraser). Happy memories of when I was a young Mum with a lovely little son, nice new home, 21st birthday celebrations, Babycham, dancing & singing along to good music, The Kinks, Beach Boys, Supremes, Elvis & The Beatles, watching My Fair Lady, and not forgetting Happy Days wearing my new blue jeans. Sandra Bellenie, Leeds.

My jean memory is definitely my three-quarter ones with a massive turn up. And they have lime green stitching down the side, and I still have them after 20 years! My best mate bought the same too, and they are always are targets to get into for when we are on a healthy eating regime! Marianne Hopcraft, Westoning.

I got my first pair of jeans in the mid ‘70s, they were flares and had embroidered back pockets and embroidery around the flared bottoms. I loved them, especially the rainbow which was on the pocket on my bottom! Karen Newby, Middlesbrough

The first pair of jeans I had that fitted like a glove and really made me feel good were skin tight Lee Coopers – I was 16 at the time, I am now 52 and I still feel most comfortable and confidant in a pair of jeans. Today I am wearing Per Una. Angela Fenson, Lincs.

Having put a lot of weight on, I had hung on to an old pair of jeans and from time to time I would get the jeans out, hold them up and think “my, I was slim when I could fit into those and I didn’t even realise it”. I went on a diet and lost 7 stones in 6 months and being able to fit into those jeans again was the ultimate achievement! Nikki Spence, York.

Hi my favourite ever jeans were my ‘daisy jeans’. I owned them when I was ten years old in the 1970s. They had, as the name suggests, daisies all over them and, as that era denoted, were flared! When I think of those jeans I am transported back to the long hot summers of the 70s and my happy carefree childhood, and the Silver jubilee year, and a fabulous street party which my family and friends were all involved with. Happy days! I turned 50 very recently but still love to wear jeans, I work out and walk my dog three times a day and I’m lucky enough to still be a size 8 so my skinny jeans are everyday wear for home and work. Despite it being 40 years ago, as soon as I read your article, I immediately recalled my daisy jeans, I loved them so much! Carol Leat

Oh! How I loved my first pair of jeans,

Back then, no stretchiness or slimming tummy seams,

I was just 14, and, Levi’s were all the rage,

Saved my pocket money to buy ‘em, for what seemed an age,

Yes! … had enough cash, now could be trendy like my mates,

Bought a dark blue pair, just ‘dye’ing for those boys to take me on dates!

They seemed VERY baggy, supposed to shrink em in the tub,

Indigo water everywhere, had to wear em til they dried...ouch sore! they did rub!

Fit me like a second skin… one problem! Bright blue legs that lasted weeks

With large, pocket indentations on my ‘cheeks’!

How I thought I was the ‘bees knees’,

Wore ‘em everywhere, wiggling my booty, the boys I did tease!

They always got me noticed, my confidence soared,

In ‘em, I met my future hubby, my jeans he adored!!...

Been married now many years,

Kids, middle age spread, jeans too small, awww ..tears!

Still, couldn’t part with my beloved pair,

Yet it’s not all sadness and despair,

My lovely daughter, spied em, and, tried em on,

To the next generation, they’ve ‘leg’ged it, and, gone!

Deborah Swain, Malton.

Twenty four hours after giving birth to my second baby I triumphantly squeezed into my favourite jeans to exit the hospital. It was however all but impossible to bend sufficiently to get into the car and I was thankful to take them off as soon as I got home. 33 years later I’d give anything to be able to fit into those jeans again! Heather Ellis