I love the versatility of dark wash jeans because you can dress them up or down. They form an integral part of the smart casual dress code, but look just as good with Converse sneakers, casual boots or casual sandals when you’re after a more laid-back and informal look.

But I’m intrigued by the abundance of faded vintage washes that are in stores this season. These washes aren’t nearly as bleached as the faded blues we saw last year, but they’re definitely more distressed than normal blue-black and double stonewash rinses.

I can’t help but wonder if the comeback of faded jeans is a deliberate effort by the fashion industry to reflect our tough economic times. For one thing, they are cheaper to produce and can therefore be discounted while still maintaining the same margin. Perhaps they also resonate with the mood of recession-weary consumers. These jeans convey a sense of humility. They are a metaphor for losing the frills, getting back to basics and working hard to turn things around.

I like the new distressed washes for one overriding practical reason – I’m sick of blue dye rubbing off onto my hands, legs, camisole, handbag and shoes. No amount of vinegar and dye setting solution seems to rectify the problem completely with some of my dark pairs of jeans. For that reason alone, I’ll be purchasing a pair of faded vintage wash jeans the next time I need to replenish my denim collection.

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An assortment of faded vintage wash premium jeans. I’m hoping to make this look work for the smart casual dress code if I step up the dressy factor with other elements of the ensemble (at the moment dark, un-faded jeans are a smart casual dressing prerequisite). I have some experimenting to do. I’ll get back to you on whether my efforts were successful.