The Dos & Don’ts Of Denim
The Dos & Don’ts Of Denim

The Dos & Don’ts Of Denim


We’re assuming we don’t have to sell you on jeans. A centuries-old wardrobe workhorse, denim is about as classic as fabrics get. Covering the labels to know, styles to try and washes to explore, this is our guide to making the most of it today…

Don’t Go Too Skinny

Skinnies might have looked good on The Strokes back in the day, but right now you run the risk of looking dated. Instead, try some more relaxed fits. This doesn't have to mean baggy – straight-leg and subtly tapered styles are a cool middle ground. If you do want to go baggy or slightly wider legged, there’s no getting around it – this is an off-duty look, so lean into it.

Do Consider Length

There’s no single jeans and shoes formula, so the length of your trousers will always be a consideration. Right now, you’ve got a couple of good options: leave a bit of length stacking on your trainers, or go shorter to show a bit of sock with a loafer or chunky brogue. 

Don't Save It For The Weekend

Tailoring and smart knits or shoes can elevate denim. If you play around with darker washes or more tailored cuts, jeans can work nicely in a smart-casual settings. Just avoid rips, distressed details or anything too faded. 

Do Trust The Experts

Brands like Levi’s, Agolde and Frame are favourites for a reason. APC and Acne are known for other things, but they’re denim specialists too. Each of these has their own spin on good denim, so it pays to find your favourites and invest where you can. Parisian label APC, for example, is all about great cuts and minimalism. Acne’s denim is often more directional, so you’ll find slightly more trend-led styles, but high-quality, well-crafted denim is still at its core. 

Don’t Be Afraid To Try Other Washes

One of the easiest ways to give your denim game an edge is to find a new wash you like. Even within the spectrum of classic blue, there are several washes worth considering. We’d just avoid blue washes with a green undertone – they can look a little too washed out, or even bad quality. Beyond blue, black, grey and indigo are timeless darker options. You might also want to think of your jeans in the same way you do chinos. Try khaki or cream – treat them like blue denim, pair them with your staples, and they can be real hard workers. 

Do Shop For Vintage

It’s still possible to find a great pair of Levi’s at a charity shop or vintage spot for a quarter of the usual RRP. With their mid-rise waist and straight leg, 501s are what most people look out for. Classic workwear labels like Dickies or Carhartt are also worth seeking out for a cooler edge and utility or cargo details. 

Don’t Only Buy Once

Finding the perfect pair of jeans is a challenge, so if you find a style that works, it makes sense to invest in a couple of pairs. You won’t need to worry about them going out of stock, and you’ll find it easier to put together outfits if you’re always working with the same fit. Just remember it’s wise to buy multiples in classic styles and fits that won’t date.

Do Use Repair Services

Repairing denim is cost effective and sustainable option – not least because it takes a lot of water to produce a new pair of jeans. Most denim repair services or tailors will use traditional techniques such as darning on Singer machines, and will have denim threads to maintain the heritage craftsmanship of the denim. Brands like Nudie have dedicated repair shops offering free repairs, so find out if your denim brand of choice offers a similar service.

Don’t Wash Your Denim Too Often

Denim isn’t like other fabrics. Washing it too often can not only fade colour, but can make that colour look flat. If you’re dabbling in raw denim, the manufacturer might even recommend leaving your new strides unwashed for 6 months. More generally, a good rule of thumb is to wash your jeans every 5-10 wears. Always wash them inside out on a gentle cycle and hang to air dry.

Do Go Into Stores

Nothing beats a try-on. Go to a specialist like Levi’s or a multi-brand store like Selfridges or Harrods, and you’ll have a ton of styles to try on, as well as expert advice on tap. 

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