A few months ago I had a conversation with Catherine Salfino of Sourcing Journal Online and we both found ourselves lamenting over the 'side-effects' of too much stretch in jeans, specifically their inability to recover their shape after just a few wears. Salfino said that she's seen jeans with more stretch than cotton, which I quickly dismissed as not denim. But then I should know. After all I eat, sleep and write about jeans. It's all I wear only broken up by the occassional dress. For me anything less than 92% cotton is a legging and as I mentioned above, even 8% stretch has a significant impact on the quality. To further emphasize my point let me share a story. Last week while I sat on a crowded subway, a girl stood in front of me in a pair of vibrant pink jeans. No matter how hard I tried, my eyes kept focusing on the back of this poor girl's thighs. Why? Because I couldn't stop staring at her cellulite. No her jeans weren't see-through. On the contrary they were quite opaque. The problem was her jeans had so much stretch in them that every hill, valley and orb of her flesh was clearly defined. I found this unfortunate. Not because of the cellulite, many of us suffer from it, but because her jeans were doing a poor job of concealing it. Again, this is not supposed to happen. Jeans are supposed to keep their shape, get better over time and hide major flaws.
Denim has been a hot topic this spring, making it's way on countless lists usually titled "Top (enter number here) Denim Trends to Try This Spring". Included on these lists are usually items that share no other quality to traditional denim jeans except for the fact that they are tailored in a five pocket style. For example, Elle.com recently featured a pair of sequined jeans by Wildfox on a must-have list. To further emphasize their sparkly character, the model wore them with a pair of spangly hi-tops. Then there's Opening Ceremony who featured a pair of "handwoven boucle mohair" jeans on Instagram. Wait a minute, jeans are supposed to be cotton twill. Am I right?
The line between what constitutes denim jeans has gotten so diluted that even I sometimes wonder what constitutes a jean. Is it the fabric (a 2×1 right hand twill) regardless of fiber (cotton vs lycra)? Is it the five-pocket construction regardless of the type of fabric (twill vs mohair)? Is it the indigo-dye, regardless of either one? I tend to be a traditionalist. Although I like the other versions, in my opinion, if they're not cotton twill they're just pants. But I'm curious to hear what you think.
When do you think a jean is not a jean?
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