Editor’s Note: The following is a part of our Denim Diaries project – a deep dive into process of breaking in raw denim. So far in this series, we have explored the journey of a pair of raw jeans from initial discomfort to gradual acceptance. In this piece, Jen Hughes — one of our denim guinea pigs — gives us a blow-by-blow account of her first 2 weeks in her Naked & Famous Classic 11oz Selvedge.
I loved the fit. The look was excellent, and I was optimistic about breaking in my first pair raw jeans. However, about two hours in I was starting to regret my decision. I don’t often use the word hate, but I genuinely hated that I couldn’t take the jeans off until work was done. Furthermore, I could barely bend over, they were strangely itchy (!?) and man did they pinch my thighs. They even left (small but present nonetheless) bruises around my hips. “Why?” I asked myself, “why on earth would a person intentionally cause themselves so much discomfort for a pair of jeans?!”. Then I remembered the pair of heels that I can’t walk two blocks in without bleeding.
It took about three days and a number of squats for me to feel “these aren’t so bad”. I still wasn’t entirely convinced, but these suckers were growing on me. After three days of wear, I could bend over and move without issue, and they weren’t pinching my thighs anymore, but I was struggling with how to style them. I don’t know if it was just because I had never seen myself in anything other than a skinny jean, but it just wasn’t clicking.
It was at the one week mark when I discovered the thick cuff — what a game changer. This was the key to opening this metaphorical Pandora’s box of denim possibilities. It lifted a veil of what I could and could not wear, and opened the door into a world of new possibilities. Funny what a difference rolling up your jeans a bit makes, huh? Because I have fairly long legs, the Classics were hitting me in a strange mid-ankle sort of place that made me feel a bit like an awkward teen who really loves the seventies aesthetic. With a cuff? All of a sudden I joined the rest of the world in the wide-legged trend.
At roughly the two week mark, something else major happened. I was chatting with a friend about this endeavour when he pointed out some indigo loss I hadn’t even yet noticed. The jean had lost some indigo just around the hem. Now, I understand that not everyone is in it for the fades, but fading denim is what piqued my interest in this project to begin with. That in addition to seeing if this whole raw denim thing made sense given the supposed initial discomfort. And, two weeks later, I had a pair of jeans that were fairly comfortable and losing indigo along the way.
So, what’s the big deal with raw denim? I think I get it now. It’s a labour of love. It’s about attention to detail and quality that’s going to live with you through the years. The fact that a pair of jeans, with wear and wash, starts to resemble you and your lifestyle is pretty cool. With that all said, stay tuned for more Denim Diaries updates — coming soon!