It’s no secret I like am obsessed with denim, but shopping for jeans has been a constant trial and error hunt for me especially when it comes to the wash, or the color, of the jeans. Growing up, I had enough of a hard time finding a pair of jeans that fit me well that by the time I actually found I pair I liked, I didn’t care if it only came in acid wash or bright blue—I went home with it and managed with what I could (but really, I had no clue what the hell I was wearing back then).
Now a day, I’ve learned that style is developed in the details and the wash of your jeans is just as important as the fit of the jean. Personally, I like a midrange natural wash, something that can go from day to night and looks elegant both dressed up or dressed down. But, like anything else, a little variety is needed which is why I’ve scoured my entire closet as well as those around me to compile a list of the best brands to shop when searching for that certain wash you’ve been eyeing for months (years) now.
From polished dark denim to sun-bleached powder blue, I’ve broken down the list by the top 4 popular and standard washes available for jeans. Also, before we begin, here are a few overall pointers when shopping for jeans—regardless of what wash you’re going for:
- 100% Cotton is always the way to go as far as durability goes. Jeans with elastics or spandex in them are more prone to holes forming and early signs of wear and tear
- The best natural washes can be found for $5 at the thrift store #vintageovereverything
- BEWARE OF WHISKERING. Those light wash streaks around the pelvic area of some jeans are a design element called whiskers. When subtle, they add some worn-in character to the jeans, but too harsh or too streaky can make your jeans look cheap or tacky
- As long as you find your perfect wash and style, the other details you want like distressing or hem work can usually be done at home or with a tailor. Wash and fit are #1 priority.
- Disregard whatever the trend is at the moment and go with what makes you feel your best
- But don’t do acid wash. No one looks good in acid wash.
When it comes to dark denim, a plain dark denim is the best option for transitioning throughout the rest of your wardrobe. If you buy a dark denim that is marketed as “raw” or “raw-selvedge,” this just means that the jeans have not been pre-washed or pre-distressed. This allows for the jeans to fade overtime and create those whiskers and fading according to your body and not some manufactured distressing. If you don’t want any signs of fading whatsoever to your dark denim, stay away from raw denim.
This is my favorite shade. I feel like a good mid wash can do no wrong, regardless of the occasion. Again, fading and details are up to your preference but I like mild distressing and a natural worn-in look which is usually why I prefer to find a solid vintage pair and distress them myself.
Medium Light Wash
Another favorite of mine especially when summer rolls in. A medium light wash is relaxed and looks like you’ve spent your entire summer in the sun but paired with heels and a statement top or robe and the look could completely transform for dinner at sunset and drinks by the pool.
Light wash is definitely the most relaxed and casual wash you’ll want in your closet. This wash is perfect to pair with all the whites and nudes in your wardrobe. But of course, there are no rules in fashion so wear them however you please, just go for a piece that has natural distressed elements versus manmade bleaching or dyeing.