In terms of style, my approach has always been somewhat boyish, meaning that I’ve never felt more at ease donning pants than skirts. Hence it’s no wonder that I’ve been trying to unearth the perfect pair of jeans for years – probably the most elusive item ever, at least if you want perfectly faded, broken-in jeans that fit like a glove in mint condition. Seeing that the search has been rather unsuccessful, I thought: «What the heck, I should just get myself a pair of raw denim jeans and break in the perfect jeans myself.» I wish I’d tried raw denim earlier so that I could save myself the trouble of continuing that endless search.
What is raw denim? It’s simply denim that hasn’t been washed or chemically treated after being dyed during its production. Admittedly, I’ve been lurking on a few raw denim blogs for quite some time, and I’m rather fascinated by the concept and nature of raw denim. I love seeing how they gradually adjust to the body of the person who wears the jeans, not to mention how the denim fades, creases, and ages into uniquely beautiful shades of blue and mold. I find the transformation of raw denim jeans extremely interesting, as each and every transformation is truly unique and records a special story of the wearer.
I like the idea of breaking in, personalizing, and distressing a pair of jeans from scratch on my own. It’s a long process, but that only makes me appreciate the jeans even more. Letting them age and evolve into something beautiful over time instead of rushing the process, or simply fall into the fast fashion trap (which I’ve done several times before when it comes to jeans). In addition to searching for the perfect fit and wash, the labor-friendly and eco-friendly aspects prompted me to convert to raw denim. Besides, the denim is a lot more durable than factory-washed jeans. They can literally last forever.
I could probably go on and on about raw denim, but please check out RAWR DENIM’s essential raw denim breakdown. No need for a recapitulation of it.
So, here is my attempt at documenting my own pair’s ongoing transformation month by month. I also wanted to share my raw denim fascination with you and show how my jeans will eventually become that elusive pair of perfect jeans. However, I have yet to see a woman’s take on raw denim online (from A to Z, that is) – apparently, guys are more into raw denim than girls. The raw denim forums and blogs out there are surely swamped with testosterone, I must say.
BRAND, MODEL, SIZE & LENGTH I bought a pair of ‘Petit Standard’ jeans from A.P.C, which retail for 135 euros (watch out for rip-offs). In general, you should go two sizes down, as the raw denim will stretch A LOT despite being terribly stiff at first. But sizing down also depends on the fit you’re aiming for. If you want a skinny fit (referring to the Petit Standards), two sizes down would do. I wear size 24 in jeans but opted for size 25 in my A.P.C.s because 1) I want a looser straight-leg fit, and 2) I could barely fit into size 24. That’s just normal, though. But don’t worry, the first few hours will be painful as they’re unbearably hard and as stiff as a piece of cardboard, and you have to wear them unbuttoned till they stretch out to your size, which happens within a day if you’re patient. Since I went for a size larger than usual, my jeans are now probably equivalent to a size 26 or 27. When it comes to length, I had to take up the jeans. The A.P.C. store in Berlin, in which I bought them, offered the service for 8 euros. The A.P.C. jeans are unisex, so they are quite long. Anyway, regardless of the purchase date, you can always drop your old A.P.C.s off at the store to have them hemmed professionally.
FREQUENCY OF WEAR I bought my jeans just a month ago and I wore them every single day for two weeks. I wore them with two buttons unbuttoned in the house, which is recommended until you can get them all buttoned comfortably. After the first two weeks, I’ve been wearing my jeans 4-5 times a week. The more I wear them, the better result.
AFTER ONE MONTH OF WEAR My jeans have become incredibly soft. Well, after the two weeks of constant wear, they got much softer but now my jeans are very comfortable. I liked feeling the stiffness slip away as it was replaced by the softness. In the beginning I couldn’t wear my jeans buttoned while eating, so I tried avoiding eating in public with my jeans on. Even though the fading process is almost annoyingly slow, I’ve noticed slight whiskers in the lap, honeycombs behind the knees, and vertical fades on the front of the thighs. As for fit, the jeans are much looser now (skintight to begin with) but I keep hoping that they will stretch out even more for that immaculate loose straight-leg fit I have in mind. Right now it looks a bit more as if I lost some weight and forgot to wash the jeans I wore when I was fatter. If that made any sense?
No photos this time because the difference wouldn’t show in a picture, so I’ll try again in a month or two.