Denim can be a tricky buy and finding the perfect jean is still a task that eludes many. With it being such an essential piece for anyone’s wardrobe it is also just as essential that you know exactly how and what to invest in. I’ve put together a guide to help you find that pair of jeans to see you through for many a year to come.
The price of denim can wildly range so first things first – set yourself a budget. This will dictate whether you are looking for an artisan Japanese label, known for their innovative denim, or a more recognisable, just as durable, American brand. Nearly every brand makes jeans but it is the specialists who do it best. Because of this you should sample widely to find your favourite. Once you have found the brand that fits you perfectly, you need look no further, it’s a match made in heaven.
Commonplace is denim is that the cost corresponds to its longevity. A quick fix from the high street will barely last the year; splitting quick and leaving more exposed than you would care for. Therefore, I think it wise you invest in as much as you can afford. American and Japanese manufacturers produce the best and durable fabrics and are a safe bet when investing in a pair. There are two main types of jean: standard and selvedge. Standard are woven in industrial quantities, are perfectly serviceable and are largely associated with the American brands. In contrast, selvedge is crafted on a traditional shuttle loom and is marked out by stitching on the inside of a turn-up. The Japanese recognise that craftsmanship counts and favour manufacturing selvedge in small batches, better materials and use a scarlet thread as a signature of quality.
With so many different cuts to choose from, it can be a daunting task. Thankfully this task is made a lot easier if you know how you like your silhouette. In the past decade, slim fits have dominated the market but things are starting to loosen up, giving us more choice than ever before. A blessing for those of us who are tired of squeezing ourselves into jeans that may as well just be painted on. The most versatile cut I will recommend is slim, tapering below the knee thus avoiding excess fabric around your calf. An easy cut to start with before trying more adventurous variants.
When it comes to choosing what colour of denim to adorn there are four washes that you cannot go wrong with: black, faded, indigo and white. Indigo and faded jeans have been a staple in our wardrobes since the introduction of denim but in recent years has seen a decline in comparison to black. The darker a jean equates to a smarter jean. For this reason, black denim has seen a steady rise due to its versatility to be dressed up, down and to pretty much go with anything. The same cannot be said for white denim which should be kept for during summer seasons and even then can be difficult to pull off if not accompanied with the right and complimentary pieces.
Finally, let’s talk cleaning. Yes, contrary to popular belief you will have to wash them one day but it is true; the longer you leave them unwashed, the better. Well… dependant on the denim. For example, when it comes to raw denim (dark indigo jeans that have yet to be washed), they lose dye where they crease, creating fades. The spin cycle of a washing machine extracts this dye all over, causing your jeans to fade everywhere at once. Ideally a raw denim should be kept out of your washing basket for a minimum of six months but let’s face it, a poor scent has no time for fashion and can tempt an early wash. With your standard denim you needn’t worry too much about the strict washing regime of raw and you can gauge for yourself when you think best to give them a wash.