Five Tips for Getting the Perfect Pair of Jeans

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During the 1950s, LS&Co. made its first international forays, both in philanthropy and in business. In 1959, LS&Co. participated in a trade fair in Moscow, complete with displays of jeans and local ‘cowboy’ singersLevi Strauss & Co. Archives

Lizzie Radcliffe, the master tailor for Levi’s UK, shares some advice on getting your next pair of jeans right

According to one website of questionable repute, 1,240,000,000 pairs of jeans are sold every year – which, if true, is huge. And concerning, given that each pair takes an estimated 1,800 gallons of water to produce. This makes choosing a new pair of jeans an important decision – one that should be made mindfully. These jeans should be selected carefully, fit perfectly and bought with the intention of wearing them for a long time.

Lizzie Radcliffe is the master tailor for Levi’s UK and has worked at the company for ten years. After first reading architecture at university, Radcliffe went on to study fashion at the London College of Fashion, before training under dandyish Savile Row tailor Edward Sexton. Today, she heads up Levi’s bespoke denim service, Lot 1 in London, where you can create a pair of jeans exactly how you want them, from the fit, to the colour, to all the smaller details, like the buttons and the fabric of the pockets, making the finished product completely unique and personal to the client. Like a Savile Row suit for the modern age.

Working at Levi’s in this capacity, there’s probably no one better placed to offer some tips on acquiring the perfect pair of jeans than Radcliffe. So, as Levi’s celebrates the 50th anniversary of the 501®, that’s what we asked her to do.

1. Invest in good quality denim

“As you can have a pair of jeans for a long time, invest in a good quality denim with a high cotton content, they will fade over time so start darker. Get a fit that has longevity.”

2. Choose what suits your body

“The twill weave of denim will naturally give over time so they must be tight, a little bit of a squeeze when you first try them on. Don’t be held steadfastly to an idea of style or a waist size number – try on both gender’s jeans and also try up-sizing too for a different look. Go for what suits your body, not an image you had in mind.”

3. Try them on and move around

“Remember we aren’t static – move around in them in the fitting room, trying bending down, imitating walking and sit down in them too.”

4. If you can, get them tailored

“It can be quite a personal experience working with a tailor to create the ultimate fit. It is a safe space in which to talk about your body – your loves and loathes and let them help you show off the assets. Even if you can’t do a Lot 1 jean, working with our in-store alteration tailors, something as simple as a length adjustment can change how that jean looks.”

5. When you’ve got them, don’t wash them too much

“When getting them snug and with high cotton content, wear them at least eight times before giving them a wash. This will allow the denim to mould to your body. Don’t wash them as frequently as you might want to – you could hang them inside-out in an airy space to let them breathe after a hot day and rotate with another pair to give them a breather. Wash them inside out and cold, no need to wash them singularly as you’ll end up using too much washing product.”

Find out more about Levi’s bespoke denim service, Lot 1, here