Finding the right pair of jeans can be challenging, so we thought we would share what we have learned over the last 13 years to help you get started.
Fits, styles, fabric, and up-keep vary from brand to brand, which is why we offer so many options. Unless otherwise stated, it is fairly safe to assume that your jeans will stretch out with wear about a half size, so we recommend buying your jeans a bit tighter and letting the jeans stretch to your body for a more comfortable fit. Certain jeans, like those made with raw selvage denim, will stretch out 1-2 inches in the waist. For these, we recommend going down one full size, if not more. All special sizing instructions should be listed with each individual pair, but feel free to still ask us for guidance.
Below are some of the fits that we offer:
- Low– Low-rise, hipster, hip-huggers; Meant to sit low on or just below the hips. 7″- 8″ rise, 3″ + below the belly button.
- Mid– Mid-rise, regular rise, medium-rise; Meant to sit at hips. 8″-9″ rise, 1″ +/- at the belly button, depending on the torso.
- High– High rise, high-waisted; Meant to sit at the belly button, higher than belly button, or at the smallest point of your waist. Most universally flattering fit.
- Cropped– Shorter inseam with ankle exposed, great for warmer weather, and paired with flats or sandals.
- Legging– Very thin, very stretchy, like leggings! The skinniest of all cuts.
- Skinny– Thin fit, small leg opening that hits at the ankle or puddles. Great everyday fit.
- Slim Straight Leg– Similar to Skinny, but more of a tapered Straight Leg; a bit more breathing room around the ankle and leg opening. Perfect tucked into boots.
- Straight Leg- Slim fit through the thigh and straight fit from knee/calf down. (The width at the knee is generally the same opening at the ankle). The all age-appropriate jean!
- Slim Boot- The Slim Straight Leg of Boot Cuts. A Boot Cut jean normally starts to flare at the knee, while a Slim Boot will flare at the calf or just below the calf. A modern spin to the Boot Cut.
- Flare– Exaggerated Boot Cut. Compliments a curvy figure and gives a narrow figure some shape!
- Wide Leg– Similar to the Flare minus the slim fit through the thigh. Tuck a fitted blouse in for a classic vintage look.
- Low– Low rise, hipster, hip huggers. Meant to sit low on or just below the hips. 9″- 10″ rise, 3″ + below the belly button
- Mid– Mid-rise, medium-rise, regular rise. Meant to sit at hips or just below hips. 10″-12″ rise, 1″+/- below the belly button
- High– Mid-rise, high rise. Meant to sit at hips or above hips. 11″-13″ rise, rest at belly button or higher.
- Skinny– Very slim, tight, silhouette fit. Great for a small frame and/or build
- Slim Tapered Leg– Similar to a Skinny fit, but with a wider thigh that shrinks in the opening, typically at the knee down. Perfect for that guy who likes them tight, without showing everything off!
- Tapered Straight Leg– Straight leg with either smaller leg opening at knee down, or a more relaxed thigh. A good pair of jeans for guys who want slim-fit jeans but have a thicker build.
- Relaxed Tapered Leg– Loose-fitting jeans with very relaxed thighs and/or that get smaller at the knee down.
- Straight Leg– Same width through the thigh, knee, and leg opening. Classic fit.
- Slim Straight Leg– Straight leg with slim fit or slight taper. A modern look to a classic fit. Good for a smaller framed guy who wants a straight fitting jean that won’t swallow him.
- Relaxed Straight Leg– Similar to the straight leg, but with an overall looser fit. Comfy, casual look.
- Boot Leg– The opposite of a taper. The lower leg will be looser than at thigh. Cuts at knee or calf down to a wider leg opening.
- Trouser– Denim with trouser pant cut and accessories (i.e., pockets).
To prevent fading, wash jeans inside out in cold water with the tiniest amount of detergent possible, and hang dry. If you have to dry them in the dryer, do it on the lowest heat setting. Keep in mind that jeans will shrink in length but most likely will not shrink in the waist. Most washed denim can be dry-cleaned, which will preserve the color best.
It’s best to wear your raw jeans for 6 months before washing them. This allows the jeans to form whiskers, honeycombing, and wallet marks. If you just want to cut down on stinkiness, stick them in the freezer or stuff the pockets with fabric-softener sheets at night. When it does come time to clean your raw jeans, dry cleaning is your best bet. You can also follow the non-dryer instructions above. Make sure you don’t get them pressed – that will remove the whiskering and honeycombing you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Keep in mind that completely raw denim with no stretch can shrink a lot if it’s washed and dried-sometimes up to two inches in the waist and two inches in length.
Premium denim is made long so that you can hem them to the proper length. If you do need to get your new jeans hemmed, there are two options you can choose: You can get a regular hem, or you can get the original hem reattached. If the jeans have a slightly distressed hem, it’s best that you get the original hem reattached. Be sure to go to a tailor who is familiar with hemming premium denim for the best results.
If you will be washing and drying your jeans, you should wash them and dry them at least once or twice before hemming them- they will definitely shrink up in length. You can also have them hemmed a little long to account for shrinkage.
Inseam measurements vary from brand to brand. Some men’s brands and most women’s brands have graduated inseams. That means that the smaller sizes have shorter inseams and the larger sizes have longer inseams. Most inseams will be around 34”, even in graduated inseams, unless otherwise noted.
Durable cotton twill weave fabric with an indigo-dyed yarn in the warp and a natural, undyed yarn in the weft. The origin of denim has been attributed to serge de Nimes, a cloth produced in the French textile manufacturing town of Nimes during the 17th Century.
The dark blue dye used for denim was originally taken from the Indigofera plant. It is now manufactured synthetically and used for dyeing denim due to its ability to fade.
Fabric weaving machine.
These jeans are washed and treated in different ways to give them a worn and used look from day one. To get the authentic, secondhand feeling and washed look, the distressed denim is achieved through bleaching and several mechanical treatments like stone washes, sandblasting, and scraping locally. All these processes are time-consuming, handmade, and expensive, which is reflected in the higher prices compared to dry denim. The effect of the treatments that are made to get a secondhand feeling are permanent and can not be removed. They are comparable to jeans already worn for years and years. This means that they will not last as long as if you them dry and break in your own denim. Prewashed jeans don’t have to be treated as dry jeans; there is no point in waiting a long time to wash them.
Unwashed Denim (also called dry or raw)
This is the strongest and most durable type of denim because it is not washed or treated before being sold. This type of denim will give the most personal results if worn for several months without washing. As long as they are dark and stiff, they have a surface almost as if they are water-resistant. The longer you can keep them unwashed, the more beautiful they will get. We recommend at least six months of wear before the first wash.
Selvage (Selvedge) Denim
It comes from the phrase “self-edge,” which refers to the edge being finished by the loom instead of sewn together after weaving. Selvage is the term commonly used to refer to denim that has been produced on a shuttle loom. Since the amount of fabric produced from a shuttle loom is significantly narrower than a projectile (wide) loom, the cotton consumption is higher, and the time required is greater. In selvage jeans, you will see the actual edge of the fabric where the weaving stops and is finished by the loom, as opposed to denim woven on a projectile loom, where the fabric has been cut off at the ends. The “redline” selvage is Levi’s signature and was used in all their jeans up to 1982 before Cone Mills nixed them for the more modern projectile looms, which are faster and much more efficient. Most of these looms were sold to Japanese investors in the 1980’s.
Open End Denim
This is the most common type of denim. The cotton fibers are shorter, and a simpler process is used to form the yarn. It is, therefore, cheaper to produce. For a denim purist, it is considered too refined and does not possess the unique character or strength of ring-spun denim.
The indigo-dyed thread. Also commonly called “surface threads,” as they account for a majority of the thread you see on the surface. It is the opposite on the underside of the jeans, where the weft (filler) threads are more visible, and the warp threads are in the minority. They are woven in and out of the weft thread vertically to create the denim twill.
Weft (Filler) Thread
Weft, or filler, threads are traditionally ecru-colored; however, many companies now bleach or dye their weft threads. The weft is visible mostly on the underside of the denim but resembles diagonal stripes on the surface. They are woven in and out of the warp threads horizontally to create the denim twill.
All jeans contain starch. It is the reason new, unwashed jeans are so stiff and rigid. In pre-washed jeans, most of the starch is washed out. However, starch is an essential part of breaking in raw jeans because the stiffness of the jeans allows for them to crease sharply and mold according to your body.
Sanforizing denim is a method of stretching and manipulating the cloth in the factory prior to any washing so that any shrinking during future washes will be minimalized. It is important to note if your raw jeans are sanforized or not before determining what size to buy. Non-sanforized jeans will shrink 7-10%, while sanforized jeans will shrink 1-5%. It is often advised to give non-sanforized jeans a warm soak before wearing them to get the shrinking done before you create wear marks on the jeans.
Denim Guide: Maintaining Your Jeans
Ever dreaded trying on your favorite pair of jeans after you’ve given them a good wash? Check out our tips for maintaining your jeans!
1. Keep the color intact.
Turn your jeans inside out before you put them in the wash, and make sure the water is cold. This will help prevent the color from bleeding out and leaving you with a faded replica of your favorite jeans.
2. Protect the fabric.
Try to use mild, environmentally-friendly detergents that don’t contain bleach, and make sure you set your machine to a gentle or delicate wash.
3. Not too many at once.
Avoid washing more than three pairs of jeans at once as denim is a heavy material, and your jeans will end up rubbing against one another instead of getting a proper wash.
4. Maintain the fit.
Tumble-drying jeans usually lead to shrinkage or alteration to the original shape. A handy tip is to set the dryer to low and get the excess water out before removing the jeans and letting them air dry.