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10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT JEANS

29.04.16

Reiss Menswear Buyer, Richard Thornton, knows denim. Here he discusses 10 things that you need to know about men's jeans.

On what makes a good pair of jeans

Like with all items of clothing, the fit is king for me. There is nothing better than a nice fitted pair of jeans that look as cool with a plain white T-shirt as they do with a merino wool roll neck jumper.

Also, there is so much that goes into the fit of a pair of jeans that people don’t realise. When they fit perfectly the pattern at the initial design stage has been cut correctly, the right weight denim has been used, they haven’t been over-washed and also the amount of elastane in the fabric has been carefully considered.

On what’s new for SS16's jeans

For this season we've tweaked the fits to make them a little slimmer and more streamlined. By working very closely with our expert European denim mills and factories, we've come up with innovative new washes and finishing techniques. However, the biggest  thing that we've introduced for SS16 is our Reiss branded buttons and rivets.

On styling jeans well

Styling will always depend on the occasion, but for a fail-safe look I would go tonal with black denim, wearing different shades of black, charcoal, grey and maybe even a pop of off-white.

Indigo denim always lends itself well to a clean and crisp pared-back look. So I’d team mine with white trainers, a white T-shirt, and to finish this timeless look I’d add a bomber jacket.

When wearing white denim, I tend to keep things nice and summery by styling with a printed Cuban collar shirt or grandad collar shirt.

On the things you need to look out for when buying jeans

Jeans first and foremost are designed to be practical, so you need to make sure that the jeans feel durable and won’t need to be replaced after one season.

The tension of the weave and fabric consumption is important as the jeans need to hold their shape but at the same time they need to be comfortable with a nice hand feel. Of course, they also need to look good when you put them on.

When buying jeans always check that they have rivets in the right places - such as the front pockets - as this will add to the strength of wear.

On how you should clean your jeans

I don’t wash raw denim at all as I like the ageing process to be a natural one. I love the fact that my jeans age naturally and you can see unique creases and fades.

I know this might sound a little odd, but I once heard a tailor say that to keep a suit in optimum condition you should sponge or spot clean when necessary and only dry clean in an emergency, so there must be something in not washing garments in order to prolong them.

White denim in my eyes has to always be pristine, so I wash my white denim after each wear. On the other hand, I only wash black denim when absolutely necessary to avoid premature fading.

On the processes that SS16 jeans have undergone

For SS16 we have used three main wash techniques: stone, rinse and enzyme.

For a stone wash denim is placed in a large horizontal industrial clothes washer which is then filled with large stones. As the wash cylinder rotates, the cloth fibres are repeatedly pounded and beaten as the tumbling stones ride up the paddles inside the drum and fall back down onto the fabric. Thus when the wash is finished the denim has the look and feel of a distressed fabric.

Enzyme washing was developed as a more environmentally-friendly alternative to stone washing. It uses cellulase enzymes to “eat away” at the exposed cellulose, loosening some of the indigo dye particles and giving denim a worn, aged look.

Rinse washing is used to make garments more wearable as this wash softens the starch that has been applied to the denim's warp during the fabric construction.

On the best way of making your denim last for longer

First and foremost no knee slides on dancefloors. Only wash jeans if you have to and try to rotate pairs as often as possible otherwise the seat may give way due to wear and tear. Lastly, always store your jeans in a warm, dry place.

On little know denim trivia

The term denim derives from an old French nickname: ‘Serge De Nimes’, which means ‘Serge from Nimes’ and the word jeans comes from the French word for Genoa (Genes) as that is where the first pair were made.

The most expensive jeans ever made have a retail price of $1.3 million .

On which jeans to choose if you’re tall

Slim jeans are most flattering if you’re a taller man as a pair of jeans that are too skinny may be overly slimming. One thing I would say here is that regardless of your body size, super skinny, boot cut and flared jeans are never your friends.

On which jeans to choose if you’re short

Straight jeans are the way to go if you’re a shorter man as this will ensure that your silhouette remains nicely and proportioned.