Aside from amazing fades, raw denim also has a well-deserved reputation for the difficulty of its break-in period. As the weight goes up, it only gets tougher and tougher to get to that “sweet spot” where the jeans being to really feel like a second skin.
Of course, all denim is different–some fabric is known for being exceptionally supple out of the gate. However, others like the Naked & Famous 32oz. pair above can be likened to wearing a starched potato sack on your legs for the first couple of days (or weeks). Our intention here is to give you the reader some ideas on how to break-in that new pair of raws, especially for those who may be new to the genre.
1. Ride a Bike
This is probably the most popular and immediately effective way to quickly break-in a pair of raw denim. The constant motion of the legs is a sure-fire way for crazy honeycombs, and the constant sitting position will open up the seat.
The only downside to this strategy is that cycling is a tried and true way to cause an early crotch blowout. Proceed with caution, especially if your pair of raws are super skinny/low-rise. Unfortunately, not everyone has a bike available, so they’ll have to resort to other methods.
This probably harkens back to the prevalence of skinny jeans, but for the slimmer fits of raw denim, this still applies. By doing some quick deep lunges around your apartment/backyard/bedroom (but please, not in public), the knees tend to open up along with the seat and crotch of the jeans.
Like we mentioned before, not everyone owns a bicycle–doing lunges is a cheaper, but also significantly more ridiculous-looking option. Being a fresh pair, don’t worry about insta-tearing your crotch open, unless the pair is already super-tight. In that case, you may want to proceed carefully with all forms of break-in.
3. Soak Your Jeans
Not everyone will want to immediately soak their jeans after bringing them home, but for those who are willing to sacrifice some immediate fades, soaking is a great way to expedite break-in. After giving them an initial cold soak, let them air dry out to a slightly damp level. At that close-but-not-completely-dry stage, put the jeans on and go about your day.
Not only will the wet fibers stretch more easily, but the pair will also conform to your body. Known primarily as the initial step for those buying unsanforized denim, a quick soak can do wonders for jeans that are uncomfortable off-the-bat.
4. Wear the Jeans to Bed
This definitely falls on the “slightly crazy” side of the spectrum, but it’s not unheard of in the lore of raw denim threads. For those that move around a lot when they sleep, this is certainly a way to etch your movements into your denim. Just make sure your sheets are a darker color–nobody wants to see blue streaks all over your bed.
5. Live Your Life (Not at Your Desk)
While the simplest suggestion, this is likely the least stressful. People tend to overthink the process of breaking in and fading their raw denim to oblivion. For that reason, sometimes just forgetting about what steps to take and just wearing them is the best way to go.
Get on your knees while fixing your bike (or finding that remote under the couch). Take the stairs at work and not the elevator. Don’t be afraid to sit on the ground and get your jeans a little dirty. Raw denim is supposed to show the marks you leave on it–how can that happen if you’re glued to a chair every day?
Have a favorite ritual or technique to break in your jeans? Let us know in the comments below.