Identifying the best type of denim is a subjective assignment, so it's difficult to single out one. The choice will depend on the individual or designer's personal preference and needs, plus the purpose of the fabric. For instance, your Winter bootlegs will likely have a heavier weave than that cute, stretchy mini that hugs your peaches in Summer.
Choosing the best type of denim for your occasion can be challenging, as there are so many options! For instance, this versatile fabric comes in different weaves, colours, and thicknesses. Some examples of the different types include raw, Japanese, stretch, lightweight, heavyweight, and vintage.
Are you privy to the chic pedigree of denim? Its full moniker - "Serge de Nîmes" - whispers tales of its inception in the charismatic corners of France back in the 1800s. Back then, its robust weave found favour in the utilitarian sphere, lending its strength to worker's garb, makeshift shelters, and even equestrian blankets. Fast forward to the present, this humble fabric has staged a spectacular revolution, becoming a stalwart in our wardrobes. From the eternally classic jeans, playful skirts, and edgy tops, to the most summer-ready bikinis, trendsetting hats, and coveted handbags - denim has emerged as fashion's darling, consistently reinventing itself for the modern woman.
How To Choose The Best Denim For You
When choosing denim for a clothing item or accessory, there's no single answer telling us which is best. Everyone has their own opinion, preferences, and ideals regarding the topic. However, your best choice or personal favourite will likely be affected by your age, body shape, height, and unique style.
Something else to consider is the type of garment we're looking at. For instance, a feminine blazer is probably made of soft and lightweight denim. At the same time, certain styles of jeans will require stiffer and thicker fabric.
Speaking of jeans, they now come in various colours and styles. Initially, you could only get indigo jeans. Now you've got a variety of colours, grades, textures, and designs from which to choose. Some examples of popular jean styles:
As you can see, classifying "the best type of denim" really comes down to the individual. Your choice will be based on how you like your clothes to feel and look and what style you aim for. Furthermore, other personal factors will influence your decision, like budget, availability, and practicality.
Types Of Denim And Their Best Uses
As mentioned, there are a few varieties of Serge de Nîmes (I like that fancy name). We'll discuss a few of them, their properties, and the best or most popular application for each.
Raw (or dry) denim is characterised by its untreated and unwashed state, and it is known for its stiff texture, dark indigo colour, and ability to "shrink to fit." Given that it's in a raw state, this hardy fabric ages and develops unique wear patterns according to the owner's activities and lifestyle.
As such, it's highly regarded among enthusiasts for its ability to personalise with time. For instance, Levi uses raw denim in their famous 501 range.
Selvage denim is woven on traditional shuttle looms, creating a tightly-woven edge that prevents fraying. It is often associated with higher quality and durability and tends to cost more because of how it is manufactured at the fabric mills. However, its quality and durability will depend on the producer.
A benefit of the selvage is that the neat seams reduce fabric waste when cutting out a pattern. For example, you can align the straight edge of pattern pieces along the "self-edge" of the fabric and cut more from it. While selvage is used more in men's fashion, a few brands make women's jeans from it, often with a bit of stretch included.
And, if you have a pair of selvage jeans, be sure to cuff them so you can show off those tell-tale seams. If you've got it, flaunt it.
Japanese denim is highly regarded for its craftsmanship and attention to detail, especially since the local mills are known for using traditional weaving techniques and high-quality materials. They also employ unique dyeing techniques that add to the allure and high quality.
As a result of the top-quality production process, this type of denim is exceptionally durable and offers unique textures. You will also find that many Japanese twills are selvaged, so remember to show off your cuffs.
If comfort and flexibility are important to you, stretch denim might be your best choice. This stretchy fabric usually has a small amount of elastane or spandex woven into it (about 1% or more), providing give and additional comfort. It offers a more relaxed fit and is particularly popular in jeans that prioritise ease of movement.
Additionally, stretch twill is often used in ladies' jeans to show off their sexy curves without hindering their ability to breathe or move. And more often than not, this fabric is sanforised to soften and shrink it so it feels great on the skin and is slower to stretch out of shape.
Vintage denim refers to jeans made to replicate the styles (e.g., mom jeans) and manufacturing methods of older weaves from the mid-20th century and earlier. These jeans often feature heavy, sturdy twill with a classic look and feel. However, the fabric needn't always feel heavy or sturdy. For instance, some vintage-style denims are washed to achieve a particular colour, feel, or effect.
Lightweight denim is suitable for warmer weather and for those who prefer a softer feel. Additionally, this fabricusually has a lower ounce weight (around 8 – 12 ounces) compared to traditional and heavyweight versions.
On the other end of the spectrum, heavyweight denim (16+ ounces) is known for its durability and ability to develop noticeable fading and creasing. Because of these factors, famous brands tend to use heavyweight optionsto make quality products.
The best type of denim for you will depend on the item's purpose and your personal style, comfort level, and how you plan to wear and care for the jeans. It's essential to try on different types and brands to find the one that suits your preferences and requirements the most. Consider factors like fit, colour, weave, and how the Serge de Nîmes will complement your wardrobe and lifestyle.