That’s the sound your drier makes (or at least my ancient one does) to alert you that your clothes have successfully completed a cycle through the laundry. Among the oodles of clothes you finally convinced yourself to wash, are your favorite pair of *insert iconic denim brand name* jeans.
It’s just routine, only like the 17th time they’ve been through the wash. But oh no. What’s this? They’re SIGNIFICANTLY faded and they don’t fit the same as when you first bought them. The once beautiful, dark slimming wash is now an icky shadow of its former self and the seat of your pants are sagging lower than Leonardo DiCaprio’s confidence after losing yet another Oscar. Congratulations. You just ruined your favorite pair of jeans.
Anyone who knows me, knows that jeans are my absolute favorite article of clothing. There’s nothing better than a set of those denim suckers to really show off your best ASSets. Jeans are absolutely a must have staple in any wardrobe; they’re extremely versatile pieces that are generally universal to everyone’s sense of style. Jeans come in vastly differing shapes and sizes, from many different brands that range from the minimal price to the heart-droppingly expensive. But despite their varying styles and qualities, there is a rule that should be followed for all of them: proper denim care. In order to increase the longevity of your denim’s life and maintain the integrity of the denim itself, follow my set of tips:
1. Fit Is Key (How many times have I said this? Are you listening yet?)
Once again, fit is an essential rule in being a true fashion aficionado. But it’s different when it comes to denim. When you’re purchasing your jeans, make sure you look at the tag to find out what the material is composed of. Have you ever bought a pair of jeans and noticed they stretched out and began sagging after two hours? Thanks Obama….I mean, elastic. In an effort to appeal to the public’s desire for comfortable style, many denim brands now produce jeans that have a small percentage of elastic in the fabric for added softness. This is great, but like I said, after two hours you have a saggy butt. The best way to solve this problem if the jeans you like are made with elastic is to buy your jeans as tight as they can possibly be (usually a size down works). Sounds crazy, but trust me. After working at Lucky Brand for almost a year now, I’ve seen countless customers come in and exchange their jeans for the smaller size because they didn’t take my advice and their jeans stretched out. Think about it: if you figure the elastic will allow your denim to stretch out around a quarter to a half a size, the size down will end up feeling more like your original size to begin with after a few hours. They’ll be tight at first, but just give them time to break in. Buying the size down means that you won’t have to wash them as often to get them to shrink back to the size you purchased them at.
If the jeans you purchase are made with 100% cotton, stick to your typical size in that brand.
**Bonus Tip** If you absolutely hate tight clothing and want your smaller jeans to feel better when you first put them on, spray the waistband with a little water and tug at it. This will loosen the fibers slightly and make the denim more forgiving.
2. Preserve the Color
The first time you wash your jeans, throw a cup of vinegar into the wash with them, especially if they’re a dark wash. The properties in the vinegar will lock the dye into fabric and prevent it from fading quickly in the future. You should also ALWAYS wash your jeans inside out as this prevents the dye from bleeding and fading as well.
3. When Possible Avoid Commercial Washers and Driers
These contraptions will severely alter the appearance and integrity of your denim. With repeated cycles through the washer and drier, your jeans will end up looking like a sad memory of their former glory. To maintain the fabric’s rugged texture, try washing them in the sink and letting them air dry. Also if possible, hang your jeans in your closet. This will keep them fresh and help maintain their shape.
4. Honestly Just Avoid Washing Them
Most denim experts say that if you really want to maintain beautiful, well fitting jeans, you should only wash them every 6 to 8 months. I agree with this….somewhat. There are times when you just know you just need to wash a pair of jeans (oops you fell in that pile of mud lol), but honestly I DO NOT WASH MY DENIM. **Collective gasps of horror from all of you**
Now, before you go hurl in your nearest trash can, hear me out. Instead of washing them and risking ruining the fabric or the beautiful color of your jeans, try freezing them instead. Yup. That’s right. Freeze your jeans. Pop them in a ziplock bag and freeze them overnight for at least 12 hours. This will completely sanitize your denim and kill any existing bacteria on your jeans. Allow them to thaw and then spray a little Frebreeze for added freshness and you’re set to go! The only downside to this method of cleaning your denim is it does not remove stains; in this case, just spot clean before you freeze.
I hope some of these tips for maintaing your denim aid you in your quest to preserve your perfect pair of jeans! If you’re interested in a blog post on picking the perfect pair of jeans for your body type, leave a comment or Tweet us @outre_mode!