Are You Getting the Jeans You Paid For?

Jeans can carry high price tags. Can you tell real quality from cheap jeans? The first thing to look for in a boyfriend jean is the quality of denim and overall construction. A selvedge jean will be much more expensive. Turn up a cuff and look at the seam. The word ‘selvedge’ relates to the ‘self-edge’ of fabric, which is woven so the fabric’s ‘edge’ can be used in garment construction. In jean construction, using the outer edge of the denim, or the self-edge, makes a jean a ‘selvedge’ denim jean. Cheaper jeans reveal an edge that has been finished with a serger.

Selvedge denim is woven on a narrow loom using old-fashioned denim-weaving techniques. A sample selvedge denim could measure about 30 inches wide while a cheaper denim woven on a wide loom would be about 60 inches wide. It would take twice the amount of selvedge denim to make a pair of jeans. The resulting expensive jeans will be noticeably rigid without stretchiness. They are extremely durable.

Another factor that adds durability is the weight of the fabric. Denims range in ounce weight from eight, which is chambray, up to as much as 205. Heavier denims are more stable, and they last longer.

Originally denim was made with 100 percent cotton, but more recently manufacturers have been adding elastane. Elastane makes the jeans stretchier. You can tell if the jean contains elastane because the material will be wavy. Stitching won’t be as nice because the material is harder to control while the jean is sewn. A jean made with elastane will lose shape as you wear it but washing and drying will return it to the original shape.

Another good indicator of better quality is detail in the stitching. Sewing that isn’t smooth and that leaves threads untrimmed and bunched on top of each other shows a lack of care in manufacturing. The jean lacks polish. Take a ruler with you to the store, measure off an inch of material and count the number of stitches per inch. Higher quality jeans will have more stitches per inch. The jeans took longer to sew than jeans that were run through a sewing machine must faster. The stitching will last longer than stiches that are bigger.

Pay attention to subtle details and embellishments. More expensive jeans will have buttons instead of zippers. Zippers actually cost less than buttons.


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