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Know your measurements
Don’t be governed by the number on the label – the reality is, denim sizes vary wildly between brands, so taking note of your own measurements is the easiest way to know whether they’ll fit or not. “Avoid size conversion charts, as it’s not an exact science,” says Louise Edgley, co-founder and brand director of denim label SLVRLAKE. “Instead, take your hip and waist measurements and compare those with the numbers given in the product description. A common mistake people make when measuring their waist is to go across the belly button. Instead, you should measure at your true waist, which is the smallest area above your belly button. Your hip measurement should then be taken at your widest point below your belly button.” Chloe Culpin, founder of vintage denim brand Pin Denim, agrees: “Buying jeans online can be tricky but knowing your measurements will make things so much easier. If you’re not sure, measure a pair of jeans you already own and like the fit of (we have a step-by-step guide on how to do this on our site). For the leg length, measure from the crotch seam, down the inside and to the bottom of the leg. This will hopefully minimise any disappointment and avoid having to go through the dreaded returns process.”
Check the fabric
While stretch-denim jeans might be attractive from a comfort perspective, in most cases your denim will last longer if it doesn’t contain elastane. “If you're looking to buy a jean that lasts a lifetime, you can’t beat 100% cotton,” says Louise. “In my experience, this kind of denim produces the most authentic-looking vintage wash and truly gets better with age, with the right care.” Elastane may also result in you taking a different size, so it’s worth checking the label for that reason, too. “Checking the fabric is key to ensuring you choose the right fit,” adds Chloe. “A lot of skinny jeans or modern denim styles have an elastane content, so your size will tend to be smaller compared to an 100% cotton pair. If you’re going with a rigid denim, straight leg, or vintage style, don’t be surprised if you have to take one or two sizes larger,” she adds.
Opt for classics
Most of us are aware of the negative impact denim production has on the environment, so it makes sense to invest in shapes you’ll wear for years to come. “Invest in classics that are versatile and offer longevity,” says Chloe. “Classic styles like Levi’s 501s are great for all occasions and suit lots of different body types. More expensive doesn’t always mean better, either – it’s better to take into consideration the cut, fit and wash of the jean that suits you best.” Louise agrees: “Avoid buying into fleeting trends and instead, invest in a jean that fits you really well. If you're small at the waist, look for styles that sit higher, such as our Beatnik and London designs. Our Lou Lou style is a great all-rounder, too. It’s an elevated classic slim silhouette that works on just about everyone.”
Avoid machine washing too often
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to wash your jeans nearly as often as the rest of your clothes, and if you can hold off, they’ll actually hold their shape far better. “Machine washing is the main culprit of speeding up the ageing process,” says Louise. “Hand wash or place them on a short, delicate spin in the machine where possible and when it comes to stopping raw hems from fraying, always snap excess thread by hand, never with scissors. If you can, stick to spot cleaning your jeans and when it comes time to wash them in a machine, put them on a short cold wash and hang to dry inside out – never tumble dry or place them on a radiator.”
We’ve all bought a pair of jeans we thought fit perfectly, only for them to stretch after a couple of wears and look baggy. So, if you’re in between sizes, opt for the smaller one. “Good quality jeans won’t stretch out, however,” adds Louise. “You can allow for good jeans to relax, mould and contour to your body but not become too loose – with proper care and a fine quality fabric, they should retain their shape,” she adds.
Go for high-rise
If you’re on the shorter side or just want to create the illusion of a longer leg, a high-rise waistline is your best bet. “Whenever we’re asked about making someone’s legs look longer, the answer is always high rise, high rise, high rise,” says Louise. “Our Beatnik, London and Grace styles are personal favourites when it comes to adding height, as the high waistband gives the illusion of a longer leg. However, you should find the rise that you feel confident in – there is nothing worse than wearing a pair of jeans you don’t feel comfortable in.”
Consider your shoes
Getting the length of your jeans right can be tricky – after all, how cropped is too cropped? Louise says it’s unique to each person. “When thinking about leg length, think about the shoes you wear most and where you want your jeans to sit – if you wear boots a lot, then perhaps you want a more cropped jean. If you wear ballet flats or loafers, then you might want something a little longer.” She advises: “When developing our signature London jean, we designed it with in a full 30in inseam – this means it is versatile enough to wear rolled up with the ankle on show, or at full length.”
Let loose with the wash
From white to indigo, different colours work for a variety of occasions and outfits, so don’t be afraid to experiment with the washes. “There are no rules on washes when it comes to age or skin tone,” says Louise. “Select ones that complement the pieces in your existing wardrobe you wear the most – that way, you’ll get the most wear from them.”
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