Nstyle: September 2023
Carson is a wardrobe & personal stylist based in Nashville. Her main goal is to help clients present and feel like their best selves, so they are ready for whatever life brings them. Find her online: CarsonLove.com or follow her on Instagram @carsonmlove
After a long summer of beating the heat and avoiding waistbands of any kind, it can feel a little funky, pulling on a pair of jeans again. Does anyone else have a signature little jump or wiggle they do when putting them on?
For my clients and me, I find the shift into a new season to be the perfect time to reevaluate the different categories in our closets. With denim being a staple for most people during the coming autumn months, get a jump start by going through this section now.
Consider this your guide to curating your perfect denim assortment.
First things first, you must edit and evaluate what you currently have. Pull out all your jeans and go through them one by one. Any pairs that aren’t an automatic “yes” or “no,” you’ll need to try on. (Yes, this might mean you have to try on a lot.) This process requires some honesty and reality checks along the way!
Ask yourself which pairs have been your “go-to,” to help determine what the most versatile styles are for you. Do you wear jeans into the office, and therefore benefit from having some cleaner, non-distressed styles? Or are your days fairly casual, and you love the more laid-back fit with a lighter wash?
Hot Tip: Denim can be altered! During this process, you might find some pairs that could be given new life with a simple hem or a waistband adjustment.
Consider this next step cardio time! When shopping for new jeans, I encourage you to try on a variety of brands and styles. You’ll kiss a lot of frogs in order to find a princely pair or two. It’s important that you try to throw numbers and sizing out the window here; you will quickly see just how wild size variances can be, even within the same brand!
I also encourage you to explore new styles you’ve never tried before, along with ones that feel more familiar. Keep in mind that denim goes through trends just like every other category of clothing. I’m in full support of trying the trends and sticking with Old Faithful pairs, too — just as long as you’re taking home the ones that feel best to you.
Hot Tip: As you start to notice the brands and styles you gravitate toward, take note of the fabric label. There’s such a wide range when it comes to the fabrication of denim, in particular, the ratio of cotton to artificial fibers.
Once you bring home the new jeans that you worked so hard to find, we want to maximize their versatility and lifespan! I have found that some fading and stretch is unavoidable, but it can certainly be kept to a minimum.
Some “denim heads” are religious about only using the freezer trick to preserve their jeans — where you store jeans in the freezer overnight to kill bacteria without having to actually wash them. I simply wash mine on the coldest setting, no-heat tumble in the dryer for a few minutes, then hang to dry.
Hot Tip: I find that most denim brands will stretch over the course of a year or two, depending on how frequently you wear them. That’s why — when shopping with clients — I encourage them to purchase the smaller of two, if they’re in-between sizes.
Bentley is a Nashville-based men’s personal stylist who helps guys up their style and confidence and take the guesswork out of dressing themselves. Have a fashion or styling question? Visit his website: BentleyCaldwellStyling.com or follow him on Instagram @bentleycaldwell
Question: What is Mario and Luigi’s, from Super Mario Bros., favorite fabric?
Answer: Denim, denim, denim. May have to say that one out loud, but you’re welcome.
In its inception, denim — a cotton twill fabric — was considered a work-wear fabric, due to its durability. Nowadays, whether it’s shirts, jackets or jeans, denim is one of the most versatile fabrics a man can have in his wardrobe. For the sake of this article, let’s focus on jeans!
I always tell my clients to splurge on their denim. It’s what we live our lives in, so a good pair of denim should last you for a while. Aim for a darker wash in the fall, and be forewarned: Not all denim is created equal. Stay away from denim that contains high amounts of synthetics — rayon, polyester or nylon. These are essentially denim sweatpants. The high levels of synthetics undermine the integrity of the jeans.
I always steer my clients towards selvedge denim. It’s higher quality, better made and will mold to your body over the course of its lifetime. Look for jeans that are 96 to 98 percent cotton and are otherwise elastane — for stretch. Who doesn’t love a little bit of stretch?
Generally speaking, there are three fit types for men’s jeans: Slim, straight and skinny. I tell my clients, “Don’t worry about the ‘S’ words. How do they fit your body?” Men hear the phrase, “Skinny jeans” and automatically assume they need to have side swept bangs, wear guy-liner and listen to Fall Out Boy. Incorrect.
If you have thinner legs, skinny jeans are a great fit for you. If you have thicker legs, wearing straight leg jeans is the way. Dress the body you have. Now, if your jeans are so tight that others can count the change in your pocket, you may want to consider sizing up or trying a different fit.
We can all agree, though, that JNCO jeans should never make a comeback. Correct?
Denim care is just as important as the quality of denim you buy. Typically, it is suggested that you wash your denim about every 10 wears (or longer), inside-out, and in cold water with like colors. This will keep the dye from fading or transferring onto your other clothing.
Hang-dry your denim to extend its lifespan. Fabric softener and the excessive heat of tumble drying can damage the fabric and cause shrinking. If your jeans become odorous between washes, toss them in the freezer for 24 hours. It’s sorcery! Or the cold temperature kills bacteria. But I’m going to go with sorcery.
Fall has finally arrived, gents. Carpe denim!
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