These experts have the answers to your biggest denim-care questions, from how the heck to wash embellished styles to maintaining a flawless indigo.
VIDEO: How to Create the Perfect Frayed Hem on Your Jeans
1. To Wash Or Not to Wash?
The rumor that you’re not supposed to launder denim isn’t true. “Bacteria and grime can deteriorate the fibers,” explains Genah Kim, bottoms designer for AG Jeans. “It is true, though, that you don’t need to wash them all that often. Every three to five wears should do the trick.”
2. Keep Dark Rinses Dark
You already possess the secret to preserving that perfect inky blue. “Skip the heat,” says Kim. “The best way to keep dark washes looking like new is to wash them in cold water or, even better, soak them by hand in a cold bath. The less heat and agitation, the better.”
3. Prevent Baggy Knees
Form-fitting skinnies with sagging knees is not a good look. But it is avoidable. “The knees see the most impact from movement,” explains Catherine Ryu, women’s creative director of Citizens of Humanity. “Look for jeans with Lycra—it allows them to adjust to your body and maintain their shape.”
4. Make a Hole Disappear
Sure, a rip or tear adds character, but what if you have a hole you don’t want? “A denim specialist like Indigo Proof (indigoproof.com) can create a virtually invisible repair using a darning machine,” says Kim. Don’t believe it? Check out the company’s before-and-after gallery.
5. Handle Blingy Jeans With Care
Styles with embroidery, studs, even pearls have increased in popularity but require more care. “Hand-wash your embellished styles with a gentle detergent,” advises Ryu. “It also helps maintain the shape of the jeans if you don’t scrunch or twist them too much while they’re wet.”
6. Stop Shrinkage
The best way to keep your favorite pair from shrinking in the wash isn’t a nifty new trick; it’s age-old advice. “Wash them in cool water and hang them to dry,” says Jonathan Cheung, head of design at Levi’s. “Don’t put them in the dryer—heat, more than anything else, is what causes shrinkage.”