1 Why don’t my expensive jeans last longer than my Levi’s?
High-end denim isn’t made from carbon fibre – it’s still denim. You’re investing in designer name recognition, pocket details, signature washes, and unique hardware, says Lisette Geller, managing director of the all-things-denim website Denimology. On the bright side, if those jeans are made in Australia, you’re supporting Aussie labor.
DO THIS: Opt for little to no distressing or fading on your pricey denim. Chemical and mechanical treatments weaken the fabric and may hasten their departure to the op shop.
2 Why is the crotch always the first part of my jeans to rip? Sorry, it’s not the unrelenting force of your manhood. Two factors – friction and tension – can cause any fabric, even a tough fabric like denim, to wear, especially in the crotch. Those same stress factors affect stitching and may cause the thread to break. As a result, the seams may come apart, which is how holes develop, says Jonathan Cheung, senior vice president of design at Levi’s.
DO THIS: When you start to notice your favorite pair of jeans becoming worn out in that area, take them to a tailor for repair and reinforcement.
3 Why do my new dark jeans seem to rub off on everything? Look at a cross-section of an indigo denim yarn and you’ll see a white core and blue exterior. “The dye usually sits on the top of the yarn, so it doesn’t penetrate the core,” says Cheung. While the bond between the dye and the yarn is strong, the indigo rubs of naturally, exposing the core and making the denim appear lighter.
DO THIS: Rinse them a few times in cold water. Hang to dry to lift some of the surface color from the denim – and spare your girlfriend’s white couch, says Eric Goldstein.
4 What’s so cool about selvedge denim? Selvedge refers to the flat, self-bound edges found on good denim. They’re often marked by red-and-white tape along the seam and don’t easily fray or unravel. US makers pioneered the manufacturing process, but when mass production made the looms obsolete, they sold them to the Japanese, who have carried on the small-batch tradition ever since. So blame our ego: selvedge is a status symbol.
DO THIS: If you lay out the green for these blues, own your obsession: flip your cuff once to show off the characteristic red selvedge seam.
5 Is it really true that I should never wash my jeans? It’s true that repeated machine-washes and trips to the dryer will eventually fade your dark denim and weaken its fibres. Wear your jeans as often as you can without washing, says Morrison. “If you hand-wash your jeans every 30 to 120 days,” he says, “the results will amaze you.”
DO THIS: Soak your jeans inside out in a tub with a few inches of water and a bit of castile (olive oil-based) soap for an hour. Rinse thoroughly in cold water, and roll them up in a dark-colored towel to wring out excess water.