The Handbook

Take Care of
Your Jeans

They're our go-to pants. A sartorial security blanket. The article of clothing that we men wear more than anything else. We love our jeans, which is why we need to take care of them. Here's how to combat problems like shrinkage, stretched-out buttonholes and the dreaded crotch blowout.

Wash Them

The raw denim explosion a few years ago lead to a slew of young men who swore to never wash their jeans. And while this certainly leads to the best wear patterns and "whiskers," you're actually breaking down the cotton along with the indigo you're wearing off. The sweat and grime weaken the fabric and the build up of dirt particles—in the crotch area or along the cuffs—actually grinds away at the denim until it rips. The solution is to wash your jeans more frequently. But avoid using harsh detergents or fabric softeners because they can over-soften the jeans and cause them to wear out faster. Whether you choose to hand wash or use your washing machine's gentle cycle is up to you.

Avoid Heat


The dryer is a dangerous place for denim. Heat breaks down the cloth fibers and also shrinks the jeans. After washing, lay them flat or hang them up to air dry. Speed up the process by rolling them tightly in a towel to soak up any excess water.

Call in Reinforcements

As the old adage goes, a good defense is the best offense. You can tell where your jeans are wearing thin before they rip open—usually around the pockets, where cell phones and wallets make a constant imprint. This puts stress on the fabric, so have a tailor or repair shop reinforce the area before the fabric breaks down completely and causes holes. The same can be done for buttonholes that start stretching.