Waxed denim, where denim is finished with a coating that resembles candle wax, has been popular for a few seasons. The textural effect is stiff, rubbery and quite shiny in an interesting matte way. It often resembles the look of leather or pleather. You’ll find entire garments made of waxed denim, like jeans, skirts and jackets. Or it can be used as a trim, like on the sleeves and pockets of a jacket. 

My clients, across all ages, have been pretty interested in wearing waxed jeans, especially in colours like burgundy, purple, chocolate brown and black, and here’s why: 

  • They are a nice change to ordinary denim. 
  • They provide interesting textural interest.
  • They are a great substitute for leather pants at a fraction of the price.
  • They look dressier than ordinary denim.
  • The vibe is edgy, tough, rock ‘n’ roll and modern.

But there is also a downside: 

  • The texture feels weird when your skin rubs against it, which can be a turnoff.
  • It’s stiffer than ordinary denim, leather or pleather.
  • The visual effect is “wet” which is not everyone’s cup of tea.
  • It’s not the easiest garment to slip on and off the body, or to layer over, because the fabric causes “friction” when it rubs against another surface.

Waxed denim jeans have not tickled my fancy because my trouser-crazy self would rather wear a pair of trousers. But I am fond of waxed denim when used as a trim, which is why this two toned topper earned a place in my wardrobe. I’ve taken it out for a spin and the downside of the waxed coating was definitely noticeable. The friction that the fabric creates when I try to layer a coat over the jacket is hectic. Lots of pulling and tugging, although it can be done. I also had to get used to the immense stiffness of the sleeves. This is NOT the type of item you should wear if you’re after something soft, comforting and cozy. 

That said, I do love my two toned waxed sleeve topper. I’m getting used to the stiff and rubbery vibe of the sleeves, and the patience required to layer over my coat. I quite like stiff fabrications so I know this won’t pose a problem. And if I pair the jacket with a soft silk, cashmere or merino wool under layer, I’m happy. But consider yourself warned if you’re thinking about adding waxed denim to your wardrobe.


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