Denim decoded longform

The Fashion Insider's Guide To Denim Shopping

Because spring has an explosion of shapes and styles

'"Mom" jeans don't look good on everyone,' says Natalie Brewster. 'So don't buy a style because it's on trend.' As someone who tops up her extensive collection of jeans every five months ('I'll happily buy three or four pairs each time') the Style Director of Matchesfashion.com is a bit of an in-house expert. 'I wear jeans every other day,' she admits.

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We are now living and shopping in an age in which we have more variety in denim than we've seen in decades (1.24bn pairs were sold in the UK in 2016*). That's a good thing according to Brewster. But she adds, that with the new wave, comes a new set of rules. 'Try on as many different styles as possible to find your fit. I pick several sizes in the same style until I find the right ones,' she says.

If you're not sure where to start, check out our five favourite jeans styles to shop this season, here to shop this season, here.

Blogger Camille Charriere agrees. 'I suggest going to the denim section of your favourite department store and trying on every style: boyfriend, mom, skinny, cropped flared, frayed. And leave only with the one that makes you (and your ass) feel like a million dollars.'

Some argue it's more comfortable (and less soul-destroying) to try on loads of pairs of jeans within the comfort of home. It can be tricky with exchanges and returns. ASOS, Matchesfashion and Net-a-Porter all offer the smoothest return policies. Or if you prefer not to front the money needed to try on multiple pairs of premium jeans from an ecommerce site, go the old-fashioned and most reliable route in a shop fitting room. The most important thing is the trial and error. Like a job, partner or house-hunting, it takes time to find the right match.

And when you do, strike quickly- or you might miss out. 'This is my biggest rule for denim shopping,' adds Charriere, whose most recent purchase is a slouchy pair of white Balenciagas. 'If you try on a pair and they fit perfectly, always buy them. I find that great denim often sells out much more quickly than you'd expect.'


HOW TO MAKE YOUR DENIM LAST

Levi's Head of Design Jonathan Cheung on how to wash and preserve your prized denim buys over time

  • 'If you usually wash your jeans once a week, try doing it once every two weeks or once a month,'
  • 'You can spot clean the odd bit of dirt by dabbing the area with a damp cloth,'
  • If you must wash, turn them inside out to prevent fading. And always turn denim inside out, for drying too.
  • Speaking of, hanging them out to air dry is generally best. 'It will preserve the rigidity of your denim and the fit. Plus, you'll save water, energy and time — and your jeans will look better!
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