We all have that go-to pair of jeans in our closet. Some have one, and others (like me) have upwards of twenty pairs that they cannot live without. Regardless of how much denim you own, chances are, you want to expand the lifespan of those jeans. Learn how with these five-pocket facts and my personal tips and tricks. 

Composition

Most denim is composed of cotton and stretch fabric (spandex, elastane, or lycra). Blending raw cotton with spandex has made possible a wide variety of tailored fits, including the infamous skinny jean. Most denim contains 1-2% stretch fabric. The more stretch, the more forgiving the jean, as it will conform to your shape. There is also pure denim without spandex. These types of jeans tend to be much stiffer to the touch and less conforming.

Wear & Care

Denim experts recommend keeping washing to a minimum. In fact, waiting a few months before the first wash is ideal. Launder your denim inside-out in cold water on a low-spin cycle, and hang or lay flat to dry.  Between washes, spot clean with detergent. Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh claimed that freezing your jeans can kill bacteria, a fad that has been debated by scientists. If your jeans are sanforized (pre-shrunk), chances are, they won’t shrink when you wash or dry them.

My Tips

  • Unless the denim is pure, always, always size down when buying jeans. Look at the tag for the percentage of spandex to determine if you should go one or two sizes smaller. Only go two sizes down if there is more than 2% stretch. You don’t want your fabulous new jeans to be falling off you after the second wear. In pure denim, size up.
  • I’m going to keep it real. Wash your jeans once every month or once every 3-4 wears, depending on the smell. If you can go longer, kudos to you, but honestly, you need not go over two months. You can try the freezing method between washes, but I strongly discourage freezing as the only method for sanitizing denim.
  • Ditch the dryer and iron. Hang your jeans to dry. This will knock out the wrinkles and preserve the life of the stretch found in most jeans. It will also slow the natural fading process. If you hang your jeans, you won’t need to iron them.

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