It's a bit like handkerchief code for online clothing geeks
March 15, 2015 8:19 PM   Subscribe

Today I washed my jeans. It’s the first time I’ve done so since I bought them in July, and yes, I’ve worn them every day. It’s fair to say that I have an unhealthy relationship with my trousers—but I’m not alone. There’s an online community dedicated to freeing the world from the tyranny of washed denim. It was these people who I turned to last year when I embarked on a hunt for the perfect pair of jeans and subsequently found myself being sucked into the world of raw denim fandom.
posted by sciatrix (81 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's like a bonsai tree for your ass.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 8:35 PM on March 15, 2015 [12 favorites]


I always get so sad when these "I didn't wash my jeans" things come up. Clean, non-smelly fabric is good for your crotch and will (believe or not) still fade very well. If you want QUICK STRONG FADES NOWWWWW, that's very much like feeding your Pokémon rare candy in order to level up: it'll work, but could be a bit better and the crotch of your jeans might rip because they've been subject to way too much friction.

There are people who wear very heavy denim (e.g. Iron Heart's 20-22oz) in order to get SiCk FaDeZ (note: no one actually types like this), but good fading is possible with any pair, provided that you wear them long enough and wash them (gently). I'm wearing a fairly light pair of Sugar Cane 2014s right now and I'm digging them.

I just like the denim because it fits well and is cut way better for my skinny legs than (say) a Levis 501.

So please...

WASH 1
YOUR 2
DAMN 3
JEANS.4

Also, does anyone else prefer the spelling "selvedge" to "selvage", or is that just me?

--
1 Denim Mythbusters from Denim Hunters
2 Interview w/ Kiya Babzani of one of North America's premier denim shops, Self Edge
3 Same as above, but this time at one of MeFi's own, Put This On.
4 Rawr Denim's guide to washing your jeans.
posted by raihan_ at 8:36 PM on March 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


I'm a bit uneasy that the article felt it was necessary to point out that "changing underwear is key", like that was a novel idea. Isn't that sort of a given for, well, LIFE?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:38 PM on March 15, 2015 [29 favorites]


which inevitably leads to the dreaded “crotch blowout.”

Well, that's good timing!
posted by escabeche at 8:39 PM on March 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Maybe it's because I grew up at a time when stiff, never-washed jeans were the epitome of uncool, or maybe it's because the idea of not washing my jeans through an entire summer's worth of sweat makes my balls itch, even though I haven't actually worn jeans for at least a couple of decades now. But this strikes me as yet another example of the internet leading to ridonkulous beanplating.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:39 PM on March 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


Doesn't wearing those make your legs blue and chafed?
posted by gingerest at 8:44 PM on March 15, 2015


“Pocket prints” are love-it-or-hate-it fades caused by constantly carrying a phone or wallet in the same pocket.

Around here, it's always a can of chew.

I can accept that some people are just more hygienic, but personally my Carhartts get dirty and smelly and washing is non-optional. There's the usual sweat and stuff, and then there is the dirt and grease and hydraulic oil that get on them; even if I had a hipster office job, I'll never be one of those tidy perfect people who could dream of wearing pants for months or years with no washing.

I'm a bit uneasy that the article felt it was necessary to point out that "changing underwear is key", like that was a novel idea. Isn't that sort of a given for, well, LIFE?

I had at least two roommates in my twenties who had not learned that life lesson.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:44 PM on March 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


Dear raw denim enthusiasts:

Stay the fuck away from upholstered furniture.

Love,
Everyone

The dye in raw denim will transfer if you so much as look at it sideways.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:46 PM on March 15, 2015 [18 favorites]


This is a clothing subculture I can't even begin to understand.
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:55 PM on March 15, 2015 [4 favorites]




These are not my people.
posted by Aranquis at 9:05 PM on March 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


There are wonderful things about online communities. Some communities can help folks in rural areas or conservative areas discuss ideas they could never discuss locally. Some communities help distressed youth get through tough years. Many communities are invaluable to LGBT folks.

But then there are communities that have real questionable value. This isn't at the point of hate-groups converging online, or suicide groups that encourage people to kill themselves, or pro-anorexia...

But it ain't good for the world.
posted by el io at 9:10 PM on March 15, 2015


Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga, By Hunter S. Thompson:

Every Angel recruit comes to his initiation wearing a new pair of Levis and a matching jacket with the sleeves cut off and a spotless emblem on the back. The ceremony varies from one chapter to another but the main feature is always the defiling of the initiate's new uniform. A bucket of dung and urine will be collected during the meeting, then poured on the newcomer's head in a solemn baptismal. Or he will take off his clothes and stand naked while the bucket of slop is poured over them and the others stomp it in.
  These are his "originals," to be worn every day until they rot. . . . It takes a year or two before they get ripe enough to make a man feel he has really made the grade.

posted by bhnyc at 9:10 PM on March 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


No. No. No.

This is precisely where that gif of Steve Carell screaming "NO" over and over belongs.

You raw denim people are a cult. A crazy, smelly pants cult. Jeans are pants. Wear them to go outside and do work. Or to paint your wall. Or to walk along the beach. Do not ask how to get the poop out without ruining your fades.
posted by Justinian at 9:21 PM on March 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I was talking to someone a few weeks ago who is getting into the not-washing-jeans thing, but he made it sound like the idea was to prevent fading. This, I don't get at all.
posted by zeptoweasel at 9:24 PM on March 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Whenever I buy a new pair of pants, I have to wash them. I just have to. It's non-negotiable. I don't know who else has tried them on and they're probably covered in some kind of carcinogenic flame retardant. Plus, washing them gets rid of that nasty "smells like a clothing store" scent.

So yeah, raw denim people and I do not see eye to eye.
posted by fremen at 9:25 PM on March 15, 2015 [14 favorites]


I actually have a couple pair of Levi's 501s my grandma bought in 1979 that have all the "desirable" features mentioned in the article. Selvage edges, roping at the bottom, that perfect whiskering that you only get when you've worn the same pair of pants for, oh, 45 years give or take?

They don't fit me the way I like to wear jeans anymore, so they just sit at the back of my pants drawer, but I can't make myself give them up. They're so perfect, the platonic ideal of jeans. And I know my grandma probably paid like $7 for 'em.
posted by town of cats at 9:29 PM on March 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Even the supposedly non-weirdos have been indoctrinated. I mean, I bet most people didn't bother to check raihan_'s links and just assumed they said to wash your jeans. Because most of them do not despite the implication of his comment being that they do.

#2 says "We say, if it's sanforized, which most denim is, you wash it every couple of months, inside-out, cold water, line dry". #4 says "We should probably preface this post by first saying that we don’t necessarily condone washing raw denim. As explained below, we advise wearing your raws for at least 6 months, thereby achieving that second-skin denim feel" Yes, the link raihan included under "wash your damn jeans" says you shouldn't wash your damn jeans.

So the non-crazy denim cultists apparently recommend washing your pants every six months in cold water. I recommend giving these malodorous fellows a wide berth.

I think we should call raw denim fade enthusiasts Captains Smellypants.
posted by Justinian at 9:33 PM on March 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


Once back in 2010 I tried to follow this advice (because hey! optimal method of doing something that's nerdy and also lazy!), and I was fooling around with a guy back in my sublet, and I woke up the next morning and there were totally denim smear-marks all the way down the wall. True story.
posted by deludingmyself at 9:34 PM on March 15, 2015 [17 favorites]


I wash my jeans now.
posted by deludingmyself at 9:35 PM on March 15, 2015 [20 favorites]


Apparently changing underwear regularly is key.

Underwear?
posted by 2N2222 at 9:42 PM on March 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


If this were framed as fabric art instead of fashion I think the responses would be quite different.

It is quite a lovely bit of art, with fabric worn nearly daily over many months finished with a baptism and reveal of the life lived.
posted by littlewater at 9:48 PM on March 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I once tried to explain to insanity of buying pants for over $200 that you weren't allowed to wash to my friends' blank stares.
posted by elwoodwiles at 9:56 PM on March 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's nice to travel with 1-2 little USB desk fans because you can use them to "tent" a pair of slacks with moving air, maybe one leg at a time or from the torso end and make them smell somewhat clean if you can't re-wash them easily. Basically you're "oxygen bleaching" them in a pool of mostly-nitrogen gas (around 20% oxygen) and the moving air is like changing the pool constantly like dumping a dirty wash basin and filling with fresh water.

TLDR, I haven't tried the freezer tricks but a constant bath of moving air will accelerate the known effect of hanging slightly-stinky pants on a hanger (less stinky the next day!) vs. leaving them in a crumbled heap.

However, more than 2 days as a dude with one pair of unwashed pants? Not my scene. I was corrected on this behavior in middle school when girls started teasing me for emitting a baseline level of unpleasant odiferousness.
posted by aydeejones at 10:13 PM on March 15, 2015


I started an experiment with a pair of totally raw, non-sanfordized jeans several months ago. They were on like triple-discount, were very stiff and weird, and it's something that I never did before so I figured, hey, why not?

I wear them every day. They do not smell that I can tell, and I am extra-sensitive to stank. They started out like cardboard, wiry, rough, and now they are the best fitting jeans I've ever owned. I haven't washed them in about four months. I know I will have to wash them eventually, but I don't know when that's going to be. Yes, I still have slightly blue hands when I wash them sometimes. Yes, I have to avoid sitting on anyone's nice couch while wearing them. But I have to admit, grudgingly, that they are the best-fitting, best-feeling pair of jeans I've ever had. I am not pleased that this is the case, but so it is.
posted by 1adam12 at 10:25 PM on March 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I love how these articles, when trying to explain the alleged beauty they're aiming for, have to constantly qualify everything with, "but to the seasoned denimheads..." "to a raw denim lover..." this actually looks cool! "Selvage edges are just that, edges. But to jeans aficionados, they mean so much more."
posted by straight at 10:30 PM on March 15, 2015


What a bunch of wusses. REAL denim is soaked in engine oil and THEN worn unwashed until they fall apart, or they burn off when the bike backfires past the exhaust gasket.

But you don't bring them in the house. Ewwww.
posted by Dreidl at 10:36 PM on March 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have one pair of raw selvage that has been washed twice in three years, last time nine months ago, and one I bought in late December that's never been washed. I cook everyday, have two active young kids, bike everywhere and work in the garden and hike in them. They smell only of frugality with a wiff of unicorn's dreams.

I invite anyone in the Randstad area to come and sniff them for yourselves those of you from the last A'dam meet-up already have...
posted by digitalprimate at 10:53 PM on March 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


But, yeah, do wash them before the crotch blows out, especially if you bike a lot.

/rookie mistake + ask me how I know.
posted by digitalprimate at 10:53 PM on March 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


he made it sound like the idea was to prevent fading

I think the thing is that washing just fades your jeans evenly, what people are after is for the contrast between faded and non-faded areas you get from wearing. If you wash your jeans the dark bits fade out too.
posted by markr at 11:22 PM on March 15, 2015


I think that, like much in life, it depends on the wearer. I know that I cannot wear a pair of jeans more than about 3-4 days maximum (if I'm not terribly active) before they need washing. I sweat a lot. I dislike wearing smelly clothing. Jeans that have been sweated in tend to smell. The logic is not difficult to follow.

But I have noticed that there are weird people who don't seem to sweat much, and possibly don't wind up oozing garlic from every pore after they eat it, and those kinds of things. I have also noticed that there are people who really cannot smell things. And I have also also noticed that one tends to become inured to constants in the environment, like a persistent hum from a fluorescent light, or the gentle reek of unwashed denim. So yeah, I guess not washing your jeans EVER would work for people who don't sweat, or can't smell, or have just become used to their own stench. Me, I will continue to wash my jeans - before I wear them, to make them unstiff and comfy and not smell like store, and throughout their lifetime.

Also, I totally have phone imprints, whiskers, honeycombs and all that stuff on my jeans. Just from wearing them normally, and washing them normally. I actually think some of them look pretty dumb (like the phone print), but hey. Everybody has their own goat.
posted by Athanassiel at 11:32 PM on March 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I spill coffee on my jeans a lot. And sometimes wine. Do these people not drink?
posted by lollusc at 11:53 PM on March 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think spilling coffee on my jeans would make them cleaner.
posted by meowzilla at 12:17 AM on March 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


Our washing machine has a "Jeans" program, right up front taking up a fair bit of the dial. It does not, however, have a setting for "Denim". Wonder what that would consist of. Gently rock the drum back and forth, maybe turn on the vent fan to air them out a little?
posted by tigrrrlily at 12:23 AM on March 16, 2015


I once saw, on a raw denim forum, (and I swear to God I'm not making this up) someone post a picture of an actual homeless person sitting on the street, with a comment saying he was jealous of the excellent fading said homeless person had managed to achieve (presumably by sleeping on the ground and quite possibly only owning and ever wearing a single set of clothes).

The poster in question was at least self aware enough to state that obviously he wasn't jealous of the person's actual situation and that he realised that this may seem a bit off but, still. I mean really.
posted by Dext at 12:33 AM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's ironic that there's no hankerchief code for people with a sneezing fetish.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 12:37 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I almost got into this but then I just decided to sew my own jeans out of three hundred one dollar bills
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:37 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't want my jeans to fade actually. Is that weird?
posted by Sourisnoire at 3:13 AM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


The manufacturer of the jeans I buy (who are all environmentally friendly - made of plastic bottles and whatnot) recommend not washing for six months

"Left raw, these jeans will age beautifully but they’ll look better if you wear them for a good six months before washing."

I have no idea how this is beneficial but I'll follow their instructions with the assumption that they know what they're talking about.
posted by longbaugh at 3:37 AM on March 16, 2015


I buy $20 ($15 with a coupon!) Wranglers at my local big-box, and wear the everloving crap out of them year-after-year-after-year. And I wash them regularly because life. I've also accepted that I will never, ever be invited to any tiny-home house-warmings, and I'm good with that.

I do miss being able to fit into 501's, though. Oh, days of youth...
posted by Thorzdad at 4:03 AM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


I introduced myself to neighbor, just out of courtesy, and she was kind enough to invite me in for a cup of tea. It was like walking into a wall. The rank odor of cat urine and cigarette smoke was like a physical presence. But how could I say my eyes were burning, I could barely breath, even the tea was starting to taste like cat piss? It's a schoolyard taunt to call someone smelly. It's like calling someone fat, or they have a big nose.

Only jerks will tell you you smell like ass. Maybe coming from a very close friend can be even worse. Maybe there needs to be an intervention of some kind, where all your loved ones take you aside and ask you to please wash your jeans.

Because people build up an immunity to their own funk. They don't smell it, but oh boy everyone else does. Ever been turned down at a job interview, even though you were qualified and the phone interview was positive? Why, it's like the guy made up his mind before you even opened your mouth! It may be because you haven't washed your jeans in a year, but of course they couldn't say that.

And for heaven's sake, what fantasy realm do you live in where you think you can wear the same pair of jeans, everyday, for a damn year, and have them not smell?
posted by adept256 at 4:11 AM on March 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


that's very much like feeding your Pokémon rare candy in order to level up: it'll work, but could be a bit better and the crotch of your jeans might rip because they've been subject to way too much friction.

OK so I haven't played that much Pokémon, but I don't recall how feeding your Pokémon rare candies involves making your crotch rip. I feel like you and I haven't been playing the same Pokémon games.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:51 AM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Geez people, it's just fashion. Well ok, and a bit of fetishism.

Come sniff me! Really!
posted by digitalprimate at 4:55 AM on March 16, 2015


Oh and also: it's not necessarily an expensive or snobby fetish see here for lots of raw and/or selvedge denim for under $100.
posted by digitalprimate at 5:01 AM on March 16, 2015


Lot of hate in this thread. One thing that I have not seen mentioned so far is the painfully obvious fact of fashion: it's only for the 1% of people who it works for.

Most people can't go 12 months without washing their pants. Many people can't go a single week without washing them.

But some people can, because (a) they don't sweat so bad, (b) they literally never are not in an air conditioned environment, (c) never exert themselves, (d) have a good way to air the denim out afterwards (I like to hang mine from a bookshelf in my bedroom, where I am constantly running an air filter.).

The people saying "this will never work" totally ignores the fact that it does work quite well for many people. The people saying "This is simple, it will work" ignore the people for whom it won't work.

Anyway, don't get your jeans in a knot. Literally yesterday we were talking about how everyone (everyone cool anyway) wears light wash now anyway. Raws are just about to fade (ha) into obscurity.
posted by rebent at 5:15 AM on March 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


Is this where I come in to say I outgrew this 25 years ago?


runs, fast
posted by infini at 5:47 AM on March 16, 2015


Because the dryer has t̶e̶e̶t̶h̶ ̶ a lint filter. I wash them when they're dirty and hang them to dry.

Works for me.
posted by MrJM at 5:51 AM on March 16, 2015


Oh jesus people, wash your clothes. This isn't Oregon Trail where you have to contemplate buying a set of clothes or a spare wagon tongue.

I wonder what the overlap is between these people and the no-poo people and the I dont wear deodorant and nobody notices people. You all make me want to take 100 showers right now.
posted by asockpuppet at 5:54 AM on March 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


I have a better solution: don't wear jeans.
posted by sneebler at 6:21 AM on March 16, 2015


I have a better solution: don't wear jeans.

This is my recommendation as well. I haven't worn jeans in 30 years (I'm 46) as they are too restricting and heavy. I've never found them comfortable. The best pair of pants I've ever found are Outlier Climbers. They're expensive but they last, don't smell, have 4 way stretch, dry incredibly fast, are a great bike pant, and go with anything from t-shirt to suit. I have every color they've ever manufactured but wish they would make more.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 6:44 AM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


The manufacturer of the jeans I buy

Huh, and Ventile outerwear looks really neat too...
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:51 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


You Should See the Other Guy--oh god, I wear the Outlier Daily Riding Pant (being a woman who can't wear men's pants and jealous of those women who can) and dear god are they indeed the best pair of pants I have ever found. They are close to the only pair of pants I have ever worn.

Team Better Solution: don't wear jeans.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:54 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Recommended article from Canada on this very topic...

http://syruptrap.ca/2015/01/caring-for-your-jeans/
posted by khites at 7:00 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


There was a time when the ins and outs of getting your jeans to fit tight and fade right was a discussion that followed pretty close on how to get your baseball glove or your figure skates to be soft and pliable.

I mean, it was something that 14 to 19 year olds were supposed to pontificate on. Not grown ass men. Maybe, could acting like adults be the next trend please?
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:03 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I wanna call it late 1970s, early 1980s maybe...when I was a tween, we would all go buy Levis, and walk into the ocean wearing them, and then let them dry while wearing them, leaving blue trails of indigo along the shore, so as to create the tightest possible fit. For the record; I'm pretty sure we were all really high, because I can't imagine any other reason why this would seem like a good idea. Much like not washing your pants.
posted by dejah420 at 7:08 AM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


khites, that article... wow:

Over time, your pair of jeans will mould to your body, taking on a wear pattern that is unique and authentic to your personality. For instance, if you are a librarian, they will project a calm confidence. If you are a bike messenger, they will be mildly anarchistic, yet militantly punctual. If you are a graphic designer, they will exhibit pleasant self-possession and an obliviousness to socio-political issues.

Epic.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:16 AM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Come on, it's 2015, can't we get some high-tech superfabric that doesn't smell, repels dirt and (most importantly) doesn't deteriorate if you've got non-stick-figure thighs combined with non-Hammer-pants?
posted by pseudocode at 7:34 AM on March 16, 2015


Before I throw my unwashed 501s in the washing machine, can MetaFilter please tell me how are fanny packs being worn this season? Still with cargo shorts past the knees and an oversized "bazinga" t-shirt?
posted by entropicamericana at 7:43 AM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


TIL a bunch of unfashionable Dads dislike cool fashion and prefer to wax poetic about cargo shorts.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:45 AM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


On non-preview I totally missed entropicamericana's post lol.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:46 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


psuedocode -- that future is here courtesy of outlier
posted by anthropophagous at 7:47 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think part of what people are missing is how important denim is to the business world's fashion scene. Right now everyone from Times Sq to Soho is wearing jeans, from the CEO down to the interns are wearing jeans. How can you tell them apart? You can look at someone's dress shoes or suit and know in a moment what social status they belong to, but everyone can't be rocking the same Old Navy steez--how would you be able to judge the power and importance of the man you are addressing? Within 10 years Finance managers will be wearing $500 Japanese unwashed selvege jeans to work, and the college kid doing the M&A analysis in the back room will be wearing $80 Uniqlo 10% spandex skinny jeans and everyone who matters will be able to tell the difference and all will be right with the world.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:56 AM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


and the no-poo people

Wait, what?!? What heretofore unknown bit of horror are you referring to here--oh wait, you mean the people who don't wash their hair, not... what I thought you meant. Okay.

For what it's worth, I made this FPP because someone mentioned selvedge jeans in another thread and I had no idea what people were referring to, and I got curious. You have no idea how hard it was to find explanatory pieces that weren't also saying "omg raw denim is the best thing ever you are fools for buying cheap jeans!!!"
posted by sciatrix at 8:59 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is a really good piece of writing for sure. I'd love to read more about the history of denim. Is there a definitive book about it?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:06 AM on March 16, 2015


JEANS TELL ENTHRALLING TALE OF AREA PERSON'S UNIQUE LIFE

Denim-poet's irreproducible fade-patterns reveal epic journey of sitting, walking, keeping iPhone in pocket
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:17 AM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


longbaugh: "The manufacturer of the jeans I buy"

I really hope recycled plastic adulterants for jeans don't catch on in a big way. 100% cotton jeans are the cheapest work wear you can buy that won't melt to your skin during an arc flash. I'd hate to be forced to spend four times as much for Carharrts.
posted by Mitheral at 9:33 AM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


If you are a bike messenger, they will be mildly anarchistic, yet militantly punctual.

If you are a bike messenger, you're wearing bike tights under cutoff jorts. And you wash those jorts all the time, and they still kind of smell terrible.
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:59 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


TIL a bunch of unfashionable Dads dislike cool fashion and prefer to wax poetic about cargo shorts.

Other people sneering (from above and from below) at what you think is cool fashion is intrinsic to the entire concept of cool fashion.
posted by straight at 10:05 AM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


TIL a bunch of unfashionable Dads dislike cool fashion and prefer to wax poetic about cargo shorts.

I am a dad and I'm so fashionable that when I smile it doesn't go "ting!" but rather "sigh!" I put more thought into how to tie my tie than most people put into their whole outfit, and then I take it off and throw it on the ground because ties are a noose for the working man, man. My kid's clothes are so cool that the other kids in her preschool berate their parents at pickup time for putting them into "these Osh Kosh rags."

In summary, dads aren't your benchmark for things unfashionable. And if you have to ask me to put you on the guest list, the answer is already "no."
posted by 1adam12 at 10:41 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd love to read more about the history of denim. Is there a definitive book about it?

I'd be interested in recommendations too, since I haven't found a great answer to this although I've been idly poking around the topic for a while. I found James Sullivan's Jeans incredibly fluffy and contentless; enjoyed Michael Harris's Jeans of the Old West as a window into an obsessive collector's view (full of lovingly described photos of ragged scraps) but not really a history at all; and learned a ton from Jenny Balfour-Paul's Indigo: Egyptian Mummies to Blue Jeans, but it's a world history of a dye, and barely gets into the 20C fashion history of jeans at all.
posted by RogerB at 12:47 PM on March 16, 2015


In summary, dads aren't your benchmark for things unfashionable.

No personal offense intended, but that's exactly what I hope to be. To teach them that you can look put together for any situation without spending a fortune or fussing.

Within 10 years Finance managers will be wearing $500 Japanese unwashed selvege jeans to work, and the college kid doing the M&A analysis in the back room will be wearing $80 Uniqlo 10% spandex skinny jeans and everyone who matters will be able to tell the difference and all will be right with the world.

This had already happened in (admittedly always dressed down) Holland. Yes, I am a co-conspiritor.

Look, it's just a rare sub-set of fashion. I have several bespoke suits I don't often have to wear nowadays, but when I do, it's like a set of armor. Yeah yeah, first world problems and such, but it's who I am and what I do. Are you really going to hate on [insert Class X from Geography Y] because they try to fit in? Denim is no different and carries all the semiotic signifiers that a suit or a set of tennis shoes does.

And I'd hate to be forced to spend four times as much for Carharrts.

Welcome to the Netherlands. Four times is exactly right.
posted by digitalprimate at 12:52 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


But some people can, because (a) they don't sweat so bad, (b) they literally never are not in an air conditioned environment, (c) never exert themselves, (d) have a good way to air the denim out afterwards (I like to hang mine from a bookshelf in my bedroom, where I am constantly running an air filter.).

*raises hand*

I just wear the slim Levi's (514 or 513, I forget - they switched it from one to the other). I wear them to work and when I get home I change into track suit pants or shorts to lounge around the house. I wear the same ones for probably a month at a time and I don't notice them getting dirty or smelling weird. Sitting at a desk all day my legs don't really ever sweat that I can tell. I think of jeans as being closer to a jacket in terms of how often I wash them. But I do obsessively change/wash socks/briefs/t-shirts of course.
posted by freecellwizard at 1:10 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Doesn't wearing those make your legs blue and chafed?
posted by gingerest


The hipsters call it "going full Tuareg."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:12 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


But some people can, because (a) they don't sweat so bad, (b) they literally never are not in an air conditioned environment, (c) never exert themselves, (d) have a good way to air the denim out afterwards

I have been amazed many a time by the different life experiences I have been exposed to on MetaFilter, but very very few of them have left me staring in such utter disbelief.
posted by psoas at 1:57 PM on March 16, 2015


Yeah, I ride my bike everywhere, and

A) I blow the crotch out of every pair of pants/tights/etc that isn't technical fabric, it's a normal part of life

B) everything smells so bad that once my dog ate the crotch out of a pair of shorts (things that smell offensive to humans smell irresistible to a dog)

Pedaling around in a pair of heavy, stiff denim sounds like a nightmare as well, so I'll leave this to people who never move above a slow sloth-slither.
posted by Juliet Banana at 3:27 PM on March 16, 2015


I look forward to the day that Outlier decide to start making trousers for fat people, because if anyone needs tough clothing that stands up to lots of wear, is liberating rather than restrictive and breathable rather than sweat-inducing, it's us. And contrary to popular opinion, being fat does not mean being inactive.
posted by Athanassiel at 4:09 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wonder what the overlap is between these people and the no-poo people and the I dont wear deodorant and nobody notices people. You all make me want to take 100 showers right now.

My partner is in both groups 1 and 2. Her pants are always immaculately clean seeming, and her hair is always super clean and nice unless she hasn't rinsed it out in weeks. She also showers, i don't know, maybe three times a month? Yea she washes her face and stuff, but she doesn't even always rinse out her hair when she showers. Always clean seeming.

I have several other friends like this. The secret is just that they don't sweat really.

Rebent has it here. It's completely unfair, but thems the breaks.

I'm a really sweaty guy, and i'm so jealous of these sweatless oilless smelless people. Well, except for the fact that all of them seem to have dry skin and need to apply lots of lotion/face products/etc.


However, i have yet to meet someone doing the no deodorant thing wasn't utterly full of shit. I wouldn't group that one in with the other two. Some people have hair that just naturally isn't greasy/dirt attracting somehow(next stage of human evolution?) some people just don't sweat enough or anything to make jeans gross, and if you're not going commando they're fine. EVERYONE smells like shit without deodorant if it's been more than 6 hours since they got out of the shower and they haven't been sitting in front of an air conditioner the whole time.
posted by emptythought at 4:26 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't know, the hate seems unnecessarily strong with this one. I mean, I'm tubby and middle aged now so I am literally happy just to find jeans that will clad my fat arse, but it's not like I don't remember my teens and 20s. That was the era in which vintage-look jeans became cool, and everyone I knew spent hours and hours bleaching, staining, sanding and otherwise destroying brand new jeans when not trawling vintage stores for authentically trashed pairs.

Jeans have been a way to declare tribal affiliation through fashion since 1976 and Gloria Vanderbilt vs Jordache vs Sasson. The only problem here seems to be that this tribe is not accessible to those of us who are too old, too fat, or too tired to wear or or care about skinny, skinny selvedge and raw denim. Like, you know, me.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:07 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


this tribe is not accessible to those of us who are too old, too fat, or too tired to wear or or care about skinny, skinny selvedge and raw denim

I've been seeing quite a few rather portly young men wearing skinny jeans lately -- I'm not sure it's a Thing or just something that is unusual enough for me to notice, but I've been seeing it a lot and they look quite happy (if somewhat constricted). It's not a look I think is super flattering for almost anyone, so I'm glad that they don't seem to feel that it is off-limits.

100% cotton jeans are the cheapest work wear you can buy that won't melt to your skin during an arc flash. I'd hate to be forced to spend four times as much for Carharrts.

Carhartts last more than four times as long as cheap jeans in my experience, but I don't weld; the guy who does all of our fabrication wears them because the double fronts take the damage from the metal spatters, but I could see the math working out the other way too.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:38 AM on March 17, 2015




Hey, raw denim enthusiasts. Why don't you just buy a pair of any jeans and actually do physical work? These jeans will provide a better narrative than simply wearing dirty jeans for a year.
posted by breadbox at 12:47 PM on March 17, 2015


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