So, you want jeans that have really earned their rips and fades, and have decided to embark on a raw denim journey. We think there’s nothing more rewarding. Here’s our ultimate guide to aging your raw denim.
The first stage is so easy, it’s impossible to f*ck up. There’s just two things to keep in mind, and you’ll have the one-of-a-kind, made-just-for-you jeans in no time.
Wear your jeans everywhere. Make them your official uniform. They’re your sweatpants, your fancy date-night pants, your swim trunks, your pajamas...OK, you don’t have to sleep in them (though, TSOL’s raw denim is so comfortable, you totally could). And actually definitely don’t swim in them (see pointer #2). But you get the picture. The more you wear your raw denim jeans, the better and faster you’ll break them in, and the better the results will be.
Do not wash or dry clean your raw denim for the first six months, OR EVER!!! Why? Because you want the indigo to naturally fade out at wear points, the fades to become clearly visible overtime, and for some of the indigo to still remain under the creases for a stepped-up contrasting effect. Fading is the main way to make raw denim jeans your own. Washing raw denim bleeds out the indigo all over, which kind of defeats the purpose. You and your TSOL raw denim deserve better than that!
(Pro Tip: Inseam on all sizes is 33” for perfect stacking fades.)
In this stage there are still only two rules: Keep wearing your jeans as often as possible, and don’t f*cking wash them. But, this is when the raw denim journey gets super rewarding, because you’ll be able to clearly see the whiskers, honeycombs, stacking fades, and wallet or phone prints that map your life.
In this stage there are some things you can do to help control the customization process. Here are our top tips.
To cuff or not to cuff? If you cuff the hem, it might rip along the fold. Patching up the rip and sewing it along the edges will keep it from opening up more. Once patched up, the hole wont get any bigger, but will fray out, creating that distressed look everyone’s thirsty for right now. If you don't want frayed bottoms, then don't cuff your jeans, let them stack and fade.
The bees knees. You'll notice your raw denim stretch out at the knees, especially when they're hanging up. Due to the slim fit, and the natural stretch of raw denim overtime, creases will form from the knee into the honeycombs. One of these creases will eventually give out and start to rip. That is the first sign of the knee blowout! That sounds bad, but stay with me. You should love your knee blowouts. They're a part of the process. Let the knee rip fully from one side to the other naturally, don't try to assist it. Let the cotton fray out and rip. We recommend patching up the rip when it reaches the size and look you want. This will prevent the hole from expanding. Over time the patch itself will rip, forming a second knee rip, which is outright bad ass. Plus, the second rip is a real testament to your raw denim journey.
We know it’s been a while, but still don’t wash or soak your jeans. If necessary, you can dry clean them, but try not to. There are a ton of alternate, style-safe ways to clean your raw denim. Check out one of our tried-and-true alternates instead: disinfect your jeans with Lysol and let them air out, put your jeans in the freezer (seriously, it works), or buy a special denim cleaning spray (yes, they sell those!).
After a couple of years and zero washes, your denim will have preserved the deep indigos and faded in all the right places. There’s technically no final product when it comes to raw denim, because the jeans are constantly evolving as you wear them, but by now the fades have built up in patterns distinct to your body, and the style is peak you.
The jeans to your right are about eight-years-old. They’re my favorite thing in the world (and they’re also kind of an inspiration for the TSOL brand as a whole) They have been dry cleaned once, repaired numerous times, but never soaked or washed. They were cleaned using all the alternative techniques listed above. There have been about five crotch blowouts, which have all been repaired using a patch of TSOL signature 12 oz raw denim. Both the hems and the knees have been blown out and repaired using the same signature TSOL technique, for that double-layered rip look. This way, the cotton frayed out instead of continuing to rip. The thighs are oily, and tan from constant wear. The back pocket has been repaired for the double-layer look as well (and also to prevent my wallet from falling out).
Once again, if you want the worn-in look, which you absolutely do, we suggest you never soak or wash your jeans. Breaking in raw denim is a master class in learning to chill the f*ck out. The less you check up on the progress of your jeans, the better the end result will be.