Style & Beauty

The Mystery Of Those Little Metal Rivets On Your Jeans Has Finally Been Solved

If you’re a person who wears jeans, chances are you’ve probably wondered at one point or another, “What are these stupid tiny useless buttons doing on my jeans? Why are they here?” They sort of look like a button closure, but they’re not supposed to connect to anything. So what’s the deal? Well, first of all, they’re called rivets. And second of all, they’re there for a surprisingly important reason: they keep your jeans together.

Well, okay not exactly. Rivets are there to protect the corners of pockets from wear and tear—because those places react the most to the stress of daily use, they’re more likely to fall apart sooner. Pockets are constantly under strain when we are sitting (most of the time) or putting things into them (the rest of the time), so these rivets protect the seams and prevent the pockets from splitting.

Levi Strauss originally came up with the idea of adding rivets to jeans in response to miners complaining that their “canvas pants” wearing out too quickly—and he actually patented the idea in 1873.

Between this revelation and finding out that the tiny pocket inside the front pocket actually served to protect cowboy’s pocket watches back in the day, it seems jeans are a never-ending source of mystique and intrigue. Maybe next we’ll discover the true secret behind why mom jeans were ever invented.

Other fun facts about jeans:

  • Americans own an average of seven pairs of jeans.
  • Jeans were originally called “waist overalls.”
  • The orange thread on Levi Strauss jeans is trademarked. It’s a subtle feature to help make the brand recognizable and also matches the copper rivets.
  • 225 pairs of jeans can be made from a single bale of cotton.
  • The first jeans came in two styles: indigo blue and “duck,” a brown cotton.