Invented by Jacob Davis and patented by Levi Strauss, the blue jean was originally intended to be a flexible and durable work pant for miners and cowboys in the 1870’s. Today’s blue jeans, which are more versatile and fashion-focused, remain a staple of the modern wardrobe in part because of their durability. The average useful life for a pair of blue jeans, according to the International Fabric Institute Fair Claims Guide, is well over one year.
While there is a natural level of wear and tear to any garment, the life and value of your jeans depend on three variables:
The quality of the fabric:
Most jeans are primarily made of cotton with some spandex provided to enable the fabric to stretch. When you blend fabric, you introduce more variability. While adding spandex may create a better fit, the designers are trading comfort in exchange for some vulnerability in the fabric. If you’re looking for durability, we recommend jeans with as little spandex as possible. Additionally, make sure you check the care label for warning. If the label of your jeans says that they are not pre-shrunk and or their color may bleed, you can reasonably expect them to change shape and color faster than other garments.
How often you wear jeans:
The useful life is dependent on the amount of strain put on the fabric of the garment. The more you wear denim, the more friction and stretching placed on the material, which slowly weakens the garment’s weave.
How do you care for jeans:
There are two major factors related to how you care for your jeans that will contribute to the value of the garment:
- How the jeans are washed: Similar to the strain put on the fabric through multiple wears, washing your jeans can cause deterioration over time. Specifically, residential washing and drying machines add a high volume of friction to garments. To avoid putting unnecessary strain, we suggest either hand washing your jeans or bringing them to a professional cleaner like Rinse. We offer door-to-door service, 7 days a week and we have decades of experience cleaning jeans.
- When the jeans are washed: We often hear customers say that they avoid washing their jeans too much because they fit better over time when they do. While this is true since washing denim will cause the garment to shrink over time, leaving stains on your denim for long periods will also cause deterioration. The general rule of thumb is to wash your jeans as soon as they need to be cleaned in order to limit the amount of time a stain has to set.