A few things to consider when caring for your go-to casual trouser.
Almost everyone will have bought a pair of jeans at some stage; many of us would likely consider denim our ‘go-to’ casual trouser. However there is a great deal of variation in how jeans are made, from their construction to the treatment processes the denim itself undergoes. Selvedge denim is a term to become familiar with. Prior to the 1950s most heavy fabric, denim included, were woven on shuttle looms, which produce strips of about a yard wide.The edge of each piece has a bound edge, or selvage, to prevent the cloth curling or unravelling. Selvedge denim is stitched together at the outer seam, selvedge to selvedge, creating a strong, sturdy seam.
Most denim today is produced on projectile looms, which produces much wider pieces of cloth to reduce costs, however that prevents the cloth from being cut to meet the selvedge, meaning the cloth is more likely to fray. Boncoura denim is produced using vintage shuttle looms, and finished with selvedge and a unique sewing thread.
The majority of denim on the market today will have been pre-washed to soften up the fabric, reduce shrinking and prevent the indigo dye from transferring. Raw denim, sometimes also called ‘dry’ denim, is simply denim that hasn’t been pre-washed. Raw denim will almost universally wear better in the long run and will also take on a much more personalised wear pattern than pre-washed denim, although there are some things to be aware of if you’re wearing raw denim for the first time.
Because it hasn’t been pre-washed, raw denim will start out feeling very stiff. This is worth keeping in mind when trying on for size, as you should buy your denim as firm as possible - they will ease more than you might expect - up to a half or whole size with wear.
The indigo dye can also transfer or bleed onto other things. Obviously this is something that one wants to avoid, and on this front you have a couple of options. Denim aficionados will consider wearing them unwashed essential in order to get the most unique fade, however if you are concerned about the dye transferring you can put your denim through a quick, cold wash to help set it. If your jeans are on the long side and you are wearing light footwear as well, it can be worth rolling your denim up at the cuff to keep the indigo off them, especially with canvas sneakers.