These days it feels like everyone is preaching raw denim or bust as if it's the end all be all when it comes to your jeans. I've helped feed the beast on this one, no doubt, but consider this my way of making up for lost time. While raw denim is a favorite of the style set due to its unique fading and the various personalization that comes with each wear, it's not always the best move in S/S. The heavy nature of the raw (unwashed) and often stiff fabric is a recipe for an uncomfortable outing, especially in the dog days of summer. Assuming you don't want to ditch your jeans in favor of chinos, shorts or various other cotton trousers, what are you gonna do? Well, white jeans are always a popular choice, but they can be tricky to pull off. Not to mention, if you doubt yourself while wearing white jeans you're as good as finished. At this point it seems as if conventional style knowledge tells us that our only choice is to suffer through the heat. And don't get it twisted, you can totally do that if you want to. I've done it myself and I'm sure I'll do it again at some point. If form truly outweighs function in your specific case, who am I to tell you that you should change - just keep doing you. But for those of you who are looking to avoid the unfortunate scenario of sweating right on through your pants, you might want to look into a pair of great fitting, washed jeans. Shit, maybe even selvedge.
[Pictures courtesy of The Sartorialist, GQ and Jake Davis.]
There's no real tricks or rules. Wear them just like you would your most prized pair of raw denim. Dress 'em up with a tucked in shirt, knit tie and blazer or neat roll them so there's no break and pull out your haggard ass Vans. You love your raw denim, not just because of how they represent your specific lifestyle (i.e. your grease stains, your creases, etc.), but also how effortlessly they can bring a kit together. With such a classic and stylish base, even your white tees look unstoppable. I don't think there is any reason to think washed jeans can't do the same thing. Except this time you won't look like you just got ambushed by some punk ass kids on a water balloon drive by - that's never a good look. In fact, you could even argue that washed jeans look better this time of year. Their light coloring and smooth texture really has that whole S/S aesthetic vibe thing on lockdown, eh?
The marketplace isn't as flushed with washed jeans that keep things classic and understated (i.e. the wash itself and the cut of the jean) as it is with raw options so a little bit of digging is encouraged. If you are a little hesitant about going back to washed or are just straight up broke start at the mall (blasphemy!). Gap, J. Crew and Levi's should have some options, some of which may indeed be selvedge, which really helps when showing off to girls how many blogs you read on your lunch break. If you're big doggin' it and money aint a thang brands like RRL, Brunello Cucinelli, Spurr, Billy Reid, 4 stroke and Baldwin Denim have pricier numbers that will last longer and hold up despite the thin, washed cotton. So I guess what I was trying to say was that raw denim is great and everyone knows it, but that doesn't mean it's your only option. Washed denim - try it out. Or not. Whatever. Food for thought.
[Editor's Note: Thanks to everyone who helped me out with this one over on that Twitter thing and read Prepidemic's take for some more insight.]