I became an unapologetic denim-head the day I discovered selvedge jeans.
If you haven’t heard of selvedge denim before, here’s a pretty good explanation. Some people disagree that selvedge denim is any better than non-selvedge denim (Mauro, I’m looking at you), and you know what? They’re right. The difference is often only in how the jeans are actually sewn, ie: the quality. But that’s not what I’m here to rant about today.
Whether you’re into selvedge jeans from Japan, or the latest unwashed offerings from the Paul Smith collection, I’m betting you want to get some sweet fades in the process. Right? I mean, why else would you bother with unwashed jeans otherwise? There’s always those beautiful pre-faded jeans from… oh, who am I kidding? I can’t even finish that sentence without wanting to vomit.
Sick Fades Bro!
So here’s the deal… you spent weeks researching the perfect pair of unwashed jeans, they’ve arrived in the mail from Japan, New Zealand, or the United States, and you’re ready to start breaking them in. But where do you begin?
Should you take a dip in the ocean and let the salt water soak in?
Should you start carrying around a lighter and brass knuckles in the front pocket to give yourselves the fades of a total bad-ass?
Should you wear your jeans while you sleep?
No, you shouldn’t do any of these things because they’re bloody stupid, and completely unnecessary.
There are a few “rules”, but they’re simple, and won’t force you to go to extraordinary lengths or extreme discomfort to break in your jeans and form that beautiful patina that comes with hard wear. So here is what you should do…
- Wash your jeans once in cold water when you first get them. Most jeans are going to shrink a bit anyway, so you might as well get it out of the way at the beginning. Besides, it actually makes the fading process quicker. Just trust me on this one.
- After the first wash, avoid washing them for the first 6 months. Some people wait longer, and that’s fine too, but I usually go with 6 months. If you happen to spill mayo all over them, or someone dumps a bucket of mud in your lap, then you’ll just have to suck it up and wash them. Don’t be one of those disgusting freaks that won’t clean them no matter what.
- Wear them a lot… like, a lot a lot. Wear them to work, when you’re going for a walk, when you’re awkwardly trying to pick up women at the bar, and every event in between. Just don’t wear them to bed, because that makes you an obsessive nutcase.
And that’s it. Don’t try and crease your jeans by hand, don’t try and sandpaper them… really, just forget about breaking them in altogether and wear them how you normally would. The beauty of unwashed jeans is that they fade and patina to match your lifestyle. Some people compare them to human skin, and I think that’s a creepy but apt analogy.
And last but not least, if you don’t smoke or punch people in the face with brass knuckles for a living, please, please don’t jam that shit in your pockets for the fade. As I mentioned earlier, you’ll just look like a tremendous douche-bag. No, not even your mother is going to think you’re cool.