I'm reading Kristin Hannah's Firefly Lane. There's a scene when Kate (one of two main characters) saw Tully (the other main character) wearing fashionable elephant bells and wished her jeans weren't Sears Rough Riders.

What is "Sears Rough Riders"? Is it tight jeans?

  • 1
    Could you quote the excerpt where "Sears Rough Riders" appears, to help us understand the context?
    – bobble
    Mar 3, 2021 at 14:55

2 Answers 2


You can see a picture and description of the jeans at this etsy listing. They were unfashionable jeans, designed to be durable rather than attractive. Precisely what sensible parents would buy over their children’s objections. Sears was not (and is not) a prestige brand for clothing which is why Kate wished her jeans weren’t Sears Rough Riders.

  • 2
    The etsy listing text says "Rough Riders," but the actual jeans label says "Rough Housers." I recall Sears Toughskins, which were sensible jeans as you have described, but I don't recall Rough Riders. The Rough Riders were Teddy Roosevelt's regiment. I think the original author of that passage is either deliberately modifying the name to avoid licensing issues or misremembering either Rough Housers or Toughskins.
    – shoover
    Mar 4, 2021 at 22:06
  • they were a thing. I remember Rough Housers. I don't think they were as popular as Toughskins.
    – noternie
    May 3, 2022 at 19:04
  • Archive.org has quite a lot of old Sears catalogs from different eras, as PDFs or similar formats. It's not the easiest thing to search them, but might bear rewards.
    – Stuart F
    May 9, 2022 at 15:14

Sears definitely made Rough Riders. We wore them growing up, and related to the Teddy Roosevelt story/image. Just regular boys jeans with iron-on patches on the inside of the knees and probably poly/cotton or some synthetic. You could see a white thread in the twill grooves if you looked close. They came in brown, maybe other colors, as well as dark denim blue. Not sure they came in "girls", we were girls but bought them from the boys table at a small, small-town, Sears in the 1960's.

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