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10 Questions You've Always Had About Denim, Answered

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There are tons of denim options available, so it remains a mystery how daunting it is to find the perfect pair of jeans. I'll wear my favorite pieces out until they're hanging by a thread. A pair I'd had since college literally started to disintegrate in the crotch, at which point I finally got rid of them. But since it's something nearly every woman struggles with, I asked the purveyors of the best basics, Toni Spencer and Jenny Graham, of Velvet by Graham & Spencer – who just launched their inaugural line of perfectly-worn-in jeans – to answer ten of my most pressing denim questions. Read on to see their answers!


What denim styles are big for fall?

Tailored boyfriends are sleeker and slightly more fitted than your typical boyfriend jeans.  It's a more subtle take on the girl/boy aesthetic. The flared silhouette is also making a come-back for Fall. Think '70s luxe rather than '60s bell-bottom.

What are the rules for rocking a Canadian Tuxedo?

We like to pair a light chambray shirt with a dark wash denim.  Another good tip, keep one half fairly fitted.  An oversized shirt with a pair of baggy boyfriends can teeter you into shapeless sack syndrome. 

Where should the hem hit for different styles?

We love to cuff a boyfriend so the hem hits right where the ankle is.

We love the cropped skinny silhouette and for that the hem should hit about 1" above the ankle bone.  Ankles are the new erogenous zone. 

We love flared jeans when they hover right above the floor, it's a tricky length because if they're too long, they can become floor cleaners.  

Wide leg jeans should stop about a quarter of an inch from the back of your shoe.  Specific, but true.

I love the idea of repurposing old jeans into cut offs - what are your tips for this?

Try them on before cutting! Too many pairs of beloved denims have been butchered when we rushed in and forgot to pre-plan before wielding the scissors.  It's also good to go longer than you think - you can always re-cut but you can never sew an inch back on - unless you're going for a patchwork look. Which could work. Possibly. 

What is the best way to take care of jeans? Should you really never wash them?

Washing denim isn't a total no-no and can often make a favorite skinny pair get their fit back.  Our best tip is to wash them inside-out on cold.

Any do's or don'ts when it comes to finding a pair of jeans that's flattering to your butt?

Do: take your best friend when shopping.  We all need a second opinion and a 360 view-point.  

Don't: worry too much about it, most butts look great in denim, especially with the right amount of stretch. 

What are your takes for wearing white jeans in fall and winter?

We're all about all-year white jeans.  This season the folk-luxe inspired, chunky, textured knits look great with white denim. Toughen them up with moto boots or keep it classic with a pair of oxfords. 

What are the three biggest mistakes you see people making with jeans.

We rarely see girls and think MISTAKE.  The glorious thing about denim is that it's super forgiving and really flattering to every body type. I think girls are so much more educated today, thanks to the internet and bloggers. Most girls seem to know what they're doing.

Can you talk about the pricing of denim. it seems to get more expensive every day. is there a reason for this?

Reason 1: We can't speak for anyone else, but we have as much denim as possible that's made in the US and we use dye-houses and manufacturers in Downtown LA.  We use premium denim, top notch rivets and luxury stitching and it all adds up. However, our denims are pretty moderately priced for the market. 

Reason 2:  Design, fit, production and the sourcing of quality denim has all led to a general rise in price in the luxury denim market.  However, the variety of styles and washes, fits and silhouettes has grown too and there is still a market for every price point.  There are high street denims for $20/pair or high end Japanese denim for $500.  

What details prove that your jeans are well-crafted?

The rivets should be good quality.  They're the little grommets at the waistband and around the pockets and belt-loops.  The selvedge should have finished seams and ideally will be a contrasting color to the interior, for good-looking cuffs.  The denim shouldn't have too much stretch - if it's more than 10% you're going to get sagging in inappropriate places.

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