Denim fabric has changed a great deal in my 47 years. I remember it being stiff, crisp, thick and 100% cotton when I first started wearing it in the ‘70s, and that was after the stone washing process. At one point, wearing raw, untreated denim was trendy. It looked rather interesting and rich, but felt like cardboard.
Over the decades, we’ve seen denim fabric become thinner, softer, stretchier, span a range of colours, and look as distressed as can be. We’ve also seen 100% cotton jeans disappear as blends take over the denim world. Jeans with a two to four percent elastic component in the fabric rule.
I tend to like my jeans stiff, sturdy, thick and crisp, so NOT stretchy, soft and prone to bagging out. I used to love hard 100% cotton jeans back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and have tried modern versions over and over again in the last ten years hoping to rekindle some of the magic. I’m still not impressed with today’s 100% cotton jeans because they simply don’t make denim the way they used to. I’ve bought pricey 100% cotton premium denim jeans and been really disappointed at how they lose their shape after a single day of wear.
This brings me to jeans that have a polyester as well as a stretch component. As someone who prefers denim the way they made it thirty years ago, and can barely stand any amount of stretch in her jeans, I was appalled when the industry began adding polyester to denim. NO WAY, I thought. That’s just wrong.
Well, the joke’s on me this year because one of my favourite pairs of jeans at the moment are 73% cotton, 14% rayon, 11% polyester and 2% spandex. I was unaware of the exact fabric composition when I bought them, expecting the jeans to be the usual 98% cotton and 2% spandex. In fact, I only found out after two laundry cycles. When I eventually read the label, I GASPED, shook my head, rolled my eyes, and laughed. There was no turning back now.
They’re the full-length “Slim Jeans” from White House Black Market. The online photo does not do them justice because they look like soft and stretchy body-con skinnies, which they are not. You can see me sporting them here to get a better idea of fit and drape. They are tailored, robust, polished, thick, flattering, crisp, comfortable, do not cut off my circulation, and DO NOT BAG OUT. They make me feel pulled together, dressy, streamlined and fresh throughout the day. I just duplicated them. Enough said.
Polyester has its place in fashion, something I’ve shouted from the rooftops over and over again. 100% polyester fabrics can be nasty, but pop the fibre into a blend, and good things happen. That’s why my jeans don’t bag out or crease, and look neat and tidy throughout the day. Polyester even has its place in denim. I’d have never believed it if it weren’t for these jeans. So I’m a cautious Yay to a bit of polyester in jeans.
Over to you: Yay or nay?